This would have been our first Christmas together as a family. We are not two this year -- we are three, minus one. And it might not seem like it, but that is a big difference.
Because we practice Natural Family Planning, we know when Ewan was conceived. This is his first Christmas, not just since being born, but since he came to be. As I've seen "Baby's First Christmas" stockings and commemorative ornaments, I find myself wondering what Christmas in heaven is like, and dreaming about there being something special for those who are not only having their first Christmas in heaven, but their first Christmas since existing. I know Ewan is in good company in this regard.
I have mentioned before how strange it is: how, from the outside, our lives from the outside look much as they did last year at this time. We were not expecting, and when we spoke of our children, it was with a sense of hope and wonder. Would our first child be a boy or girl? What would he or she be like? What name would we choose? Who would he or she grow up to be?
But once again, Ewan's arrival changed everything. Our lives look much the same in a very superficial sense, but our every day now is colored with wondering what we might have been doing right now had Ewan not had a broken heart, or had he been able to recover fully from his surgeries. And so I wonder what it would be like to have a three-month-old, to be looking forward to his first Christmas.
Some days it is easier than others to reconcile myself to the truth that Ewan's days on earth were numbered at sixteen. Given the state of his particular internal anatomy, it seems so very certain that he just was not meant to stay here long. It was always going to be the case that his first Christmas would not be with us.
We are not two this year -- we are three, minus one. And it might not seem like it, but that is a big difference.