Nine
The number of months it took to create the sweetest blue-eyed boy that grew inside of me. I’ve wanted to vomit many times, my heart hurts, and I can’t sleep just like when I was pregnant with you, but that is not what I will remember from carrying you for nine months. As the quote says, "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." I hope you still know how strong my love is for you even though you aren’t on either side of my body here on Earth. It is not true when people say that I “loved” you. No, I will ALWAYS love you even after my heart stops beating too. Daddy will always love you beyond measure as well and I hope you feel every tender word he says to you in your room each night. 

We took our time traveling, going to concerts, and having late nights with our friends before we decided we were ready for you, so you should know how much you were SO joyfully anticipated. We absolutely couldn’t wait for all the love you would bring to our new lives as parents, and the bliss resonated beyond every corner of our heart in places we never even knew existed. Now MY Daddy and too many other friends and family have had 9 months to know you, play together and love you too. I know as I’ve been reminded countless times, that you “are in a better place,” but forgive me, Baby Bear. Mommy is still jealous. 

I’ve always known that biologically you were ours, but you were a child meant to unite the whole world, too. You loved people just for existing in the same space with you so please hear me when I ask you to continue to help us remember to share that love often in a world full of broken people. We need your unconditional harmony and bright light more than ever right now. Maybe this world was too cruel for you to live in it anymore, but I couldn’t help having dreams for your future. I just knew you were going to grow up and tell us you were moving to some far flung, remote village in Norway or maybe building and racing cars at the Grand Prix. I was already preparing myself for when you fell in love and had your own obligations and family, but letting you go like this was never in our plans. You never did anything the way we envisioned so we learned to adjust. However, losing you without an explanation at 2, and not seeing you again until we get to heaven is something Daddy and I are still struggling every second to grasp and something to which we will never quite adjust. We know we will not find answers on this side of heaven, but it still does not seem like this is really reality. It’s like we are in a long nightmare and you are going to lift up our eyes and your Thomas the Train tent and start laughing after hiding there for nine months. Maybe we are still in some sort of shock because facing reality all at once would take us out of this world, too. 

Nine.
The day in February that you were born and the day that in one week will be here without you whether we like it or not. I wish it could be like the miracle that each baby is to this world, and the 40-week (or 41 in your case) gestation period would be over and I could rest you in my arms again and stare at my beautiful angel. I’m ready for our euphoric reunion to kiss your perfect and innocent, ivory face. It is agonizing knowing we don’t get a countdown with the number of days and weeks we have left until that day finally comes. We are still fervently waiting, but as today starts to spin into another day and that turns into another week, and another month, we realize it is most likely going to be a very long time before that day arrives. Mommy and Daddy miss you more than you will ever know and life will never be the same without your cheerful physical presence. We are still doing our best, but we still need a lot of help. 

Nine.
One of the 30 numbers you knew at only 2 years old. Such a simple memory I tried to capture to show how cute you were just making up words to your book and “reading” to your kitty. Instead I managed a few seconds of what we called your “poop face” and a very proud little boy telling his mommy what number he saw on TV. I hope you don’t mind me showing your fan club this rather personal moment. I will be sure to tell them that sometimes you were interested in the potty, too, and that you had even made this same face twice while sitting on your Spiderman insert with success. Mommy and Daddy were clapping and cheering for you so you joined in the potty party slapping your hands together and yelling “Yaaaaaaaaaaay!” We were so proud of everything you did, Sweet Boy. When you learned your first letter “O” off Mommy’s OU sweatshirt, I excitedly told your teachers when you went to “1s” the next morning. You were still new to the class so they didn’t know you very well yet and I could tell they were thinking “uh, huh, sure lady.” However, when I came back to pick you up that afternoon they said, “Caleb knows his Os! We even quizzed him and he pointed out the letters on the wall and on the rug!” I just smiled. It wasn’t long before you had learned all the letters and they told me you answered all the questions at circle time and that you might be bored when you got to real school. You were such a smart little baby who loved to learn! You would get so excited when the “Letter Show” (AKA “Wheel of Fortune”) came on and you loved imitating the contestants calling out their guesses. You were so pleased with yourself and why wouldn’t you be? When we grow up and become big people, sometimes we forget that we don’t have to be as perfect as we were when we came into this world in order to still love ourselves. Mommy is trying to put this into practice and step outside of her comfort zone to do what she loves, but I’m a work in progress. We learned far more from you, Little Bear Cub, than we could have ever taught you, but it takes us a lot longer than the way it came so easily to you. Even if you didn’t know any letters, numbers, silly songs, or anything, we would have loved you exactly the same.

Nine. 
The number of months we have survived, but nowhere near the number that we will keep your memory alive. We will never stop telling the world about you and we hope the world never stops asking us to hear your story. God only knows how much I miss you and how obliterated my heart will always be. I do believe you are shielded from suffering and from all those that suffer. I also believe you only feel my grief as my love pouring out of my eyes for you. 

The difference you have made in these 9 months is something, although outside my womb, I am going to continue to nurture for the rest of my life.

I love you and there is nothing anyone could ever do that will ever take my love away from you. Someday I will cuddle with you again and kiss your sweet baby face. You will shout, “Mommy” and I will cry happy tears and reach out with my arms open wide. I will hold you and you will pat me on the back and we will kiss each other over and over and over. Someday I will be happy again and I will never let you go. Each day, whether it is full of monotony and unfulfilling duties or not, is still one day closer to you. I try to keep that in mind when these milestones come up.

Nine. The label on the video that I will never get tired of watching.

One day.

Night, night, Angel Baby. Until we meet again. 

Love, Mommy

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