I've been thinking about this for a while now. Three weeks ago, my sisters and I hired a photographer to take pictures of all of our kids together, and I wanted to represent Carpenter as much as possible. (Liv wore an awareness ribbon and carried his toys and pictures.) And even though it was my money and my little family, I still felt strange interjecting this absent person into a fun family shoot. My sisters didn't say a word--they're very supportive--but through the photo shoot, I constantly felt like I was the weirdo, asking people to hold up pictures of a dead person most of them had never met.
Monday, when I got the pictures back from the photographer, I decided to get a photo book printed because they were on sale. I decided to reserve one page for each child, then a page for each individual family, then the full-group shots at the end. I enjoyed mine so much, I started making one for my parents. When I got to the page for Carpenter, I went back and forth for an hour, trying to decide whether to include him. "Will they want him in this?" "What should I say on his page?" And the most irritating question, "Is this the last time they'll be supportive and will they want me to drop it next time?" I mean to say, "Can I keep including Carpenter in family photo shoots, even just family discussions, forever?" ...or will people lose patience with me?
It's amazing how quickly people move on. Like Betty said on Mad Men, "I know people say life goes on, and it does, and no one tells you that's not a good thing." They keep moving on, and I'm trying to figure out how to keep one foot back there on February 19 when I held my son in my arms. I cling to ways to stay close to him, which is why I'm sitting here stitching awareness ribbons and designing t-shirts all night long instead of sleeping (which is completely overrated anyway).
But I have to wonder, when will people close to me expect me to move on? What's the shelf life on their attention span as far as Carpenter is concerned? And I know that's not a question I can ask. I probably wouldn't even like the answer. So instead I think I'll just keep interjecting my little boy wherever I can. Whether or not people are ready for me to move on, it's just not something I'm willing to do.
|The kids and Liv's awareness ribbon|
(Absent: one recent NICU grad!)
|Liv looking at her little brother|
|My sweet kids!|