First off, full disclosure; this post is nothing I expect to be entertaining to read. Or even read at all, by anyone, really.
Honestly, I don't know why, but for some reason I wanted to get all this down and entered into the google nets. Maybe as proof? Maybe to make it seem more concrete or if I post it, it will make it matter more? Maybe I just want it to have a permanent place. Whatever way, I guess it doesn't matter. Just giving you warning.
So, here's the thing about Bennett.
I didn't really enjoy being pregnant with him. Alex? Man alive I loved every.single.second of being pregnant with him. I felt bonded with him and relished in every detail of what a miracle it is to have a baby.
But with Bennett it was a way different story. Physically, I was fine. The same. Good.
Emotionally? Not so much. See, with Alex, he helped me grieve for my dad. When he died, the color just seemed to fade from everything and it wasn't something I necessarily wanted to get back. Grief and guilt are funny things. An evaporation of one is really a simple exchange for the other. Somehow, if you aren't smothered in grief, then the guilt of not thinking of them every minute overwhelms you. Like you are already forgetting them or their impact on you wasn't as important because you had a happy moment of the new normalcy. An unnatural equation of the length you grieve is equal to the amount you loved. Being that I was not too comfortable to be openly emotional, I leaned on Alex a ton. There were days I would rock him and would just sit and sob, willing his innocent and easy happiness into my broken spirit. It was like I was clinging to him in order to be able to let go; to feel able to release this horrible pain and sadness without explanation. And with every rock of his glider, I could feel my sadness escape and with every smile he gave me, it was like he knew it was the reaffirmation that the color would, someday, come back. Other than just being my first born, I knew that the way he carried me through that tough time would set him apart and I worried that bond would never be matched in another baby.
However, Bennett wasn't just another baby, he was proof the that our family was moving on.
Moving on without my dad.
Nothing had really changed since he died and it was comforting in a way. Even though I know Alex won't remember my dad, I do. And I wasn't going to have that little bit with Bennet. And it was tough. I didn't feel the bond with Bennett that I felt with Alex. I was so over being pregnant by, like, 15 weeks. Maybe it is a second baby thing, but I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would love him when he was born, it was just a different level of acceptance or finality I had't expected.
Then, Bennett was born.
He was born, and the second I heard his little cry, all the color that drained when my dad died, suddenly, instantly it all came back. The sadness lifted like a veil; evaporated like morning fog. Just gone. And when they showed him to me, my mind learned what my heart already knew.
Bennett looked just like my dad.
I felt from the very second he entered this world, that God sent some of my dad's spirit in that sweet, little, doll baby.
I know it.
I just do.
It's corny and you could say "oh, yeah, I'm sure He did", or "that's so sweet", but from the very beginning, I have felt it. I know it as sure as I am sitting here now, as sure as I know Alex will always ask for Nutella for breakfast in the morning. I know it when I look into the eyes of my sweet, easy going baby who smiles at everything, who has looooved my mom from the beginning. I know it when he, from day one, was a side sleeper, always has to have his feet out from under the covers or is oddly independent about things; just like my dad.
I know because I don't ache for my dad anymore. I miss him and the way our family was, but I don't carry around that hurt and pain anymore. It's just gone and the color is back; and I know it is because he is alive within Bennett. I don't feel the emptiness of him anymore, because he is here with me everyday. Smiling at me, reaching for me, laughing with me. Maybe laughing at me.
And the kicker is, is that I have heard the same thing from other people. Unprompted, independent feelings that Bennett is carrying the same light that my dad had. My mam even mentioned over Christmas that it was the first holiday that didn't so obviously feel absent of my dad. This isn't just made up in my head or crazy hormones from having a baby or even the good drugs during the birth.
And I know why.
So even though my dad left this life three years ago today, I know the best parts of him came back two and a half years later.
May 17th. 4:01 pm, to be exact.