Some time ago, I learned that for each child you love, you grow an entire heart, just for that child. That way no parent is ever lying as she whispers to her little one that she loves him with all of her heart.
I think I learned this instinctively as the oldest of six children. Both as a mechanism to believe and know that there was still room for me, and because the littlest ones were born when I was a teenager. I was starting to know that each of them had a place in my heart that was just theirs. It is a beautiful happy idea. There is always enough love to go around.
Two years ago, I learned the darker side to that truth. A whole heart had grown inside of me for my little boy. I was 36 weeks pregnant and counting the minutes until I would meet him.
Two years ago, that day came much too soon, and without any joy. Two years ago, we rushed to the hospital only to hear that my deepest fear was true. The nurses and doctor couldn't make my baby move either. His heart had stopped. And mine was irreparably broken.
Two years later, I have moments still when I am paralyzed with grief. When that broken heart becomes so heavy and hard to carry that I think my own actual heart cannot bear it.
Two years later, I have grown a new heart for my Little Bear that sits right next to his brother's and is sometimes so big and full that carrying around my broken heart almost feels light. Two years later, I know that they can coexist - my love and wonder for the little boy that is growing and changing and fascinating me every day, and my love and sadness for the little boy that will never grow any older.
Today, I am missing my little one with all of my heart. I love you, today and every day, whole-heartedly.