As of ten days ago my younger son has caught up to his big brother. It is supposed to take kids years, decades even, to catch up. Even in high school, even for kids separated by no more than a year, there are skills, knowledge, emotions, physical development milestones, the bright line of going off to college or other freedom after graduation measure. And yet, at precisely 20 weeks gestation, my younger son caught up to his big brother. They are both now legally people. If he doesn't survive, his status will be exactly as his brother's is. We are now on a plateau characterized by this simple statement. Hopefully, a very long plateau of gestating.
Essentially, from here on out, everything is gravy. I like gravy. But it is very much screwing with my mind that if he makes it, by that very accomplishment he will pass his brother. And will keep going. A is no longer my youngest child or my only son. He is losing descriptors, narrowing them down towards that very simple one-- my son who died. I need to find new ones. I do not want A boxed in.
Make no mistake-- I jonesed for this plateau, and am glad to have made it. But my friends who warned me were right-- it comes with its own set of head and heart games, mindfucks all its own and festively unique. Here we are again. Monkey pressing her hand on my belly for her brother to kick. Same hand, slightly larger. Same belly. Different brother. Will this one get to grab her finger? Monkey holding on to my midsection so I can brush her hair with a better leverage. Her face used to be right level with the belly, pressed against it as I brushed. This time it's much higher, above it. Inescapable.
Today is fifteen months. A year ago today I wrote this. Last year I used to feel the monthaversaries approach, the funk settling over me as the months headed towards their conclusions, and my dates. I noted to myself that last month, at the fourteen months line, I didn't feel encumbered by the dates, and I wondered whether the one year mark had released me from the countdowns. Today I am decidedly unsure of it, the funk of the last week or so articulating itself inside of me as that bone-deep sadness and longing it turns out I still know well.