I'm an aunt.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had their baby on Thursday.
I am thrilled for them. They have waited a LONG time for this.
I am happy for my in-laws. They have a new grand-child.
I am excited for myself and Brian. We are an aunt and uncle.
I am pleased for Kaia. She has a cousin very close in age.
I am relieved the baby is healthy and well. Not all babies are so lucky.
But the part of my heart that belongs to Aidan did a tight little squeeze, lurch and drop when Brian, on the phone minutes after delivery, turned to me and said:
"It's a boy!"
It's a boy. A boy. Boy.
I had prepared myself for this. I suspected it was a boy. Was entirely anticipating the arrival of a nephew. Was excited even.
Didn't entirely anticipate the sadness.
Where did that come from?
Last night, laying in bed, I kept myself awake thinking about it, mulling it over, when I really should have been sleeping. A part of me is a little ashamed to admit I cried. I cried, like I haven't cried in a long while. I was so looking forward to this baby being born, and I'm happy, really I am...so why the sudden melancholy?
I went through this a bit when Kaia was born. Maybe I always will when a baby I really care about comes along. For some reason it was different when it was my own. Maybe because I have time to process now. When Kaia was born it was a wash of hormones, milk, blood and sleep deprivation. And above all that, complete and total elation that she was alive. My Acorn was here! She made it! I did it! Beyond that, I had no time or energy to focus.
Now I do.
So as I lay there last night, thinking too much, I considered, what if it had been a girl? If I had suddenly had a niece I think I would have naturally been more inclined to compare to Kaia. To compare the similarities and differences in the births of our two girls. There wouldn't have been much resemblance. I think the overwhelming feeling I might have had beyond excitement and happiness, might have been a bit of jealousy. Jealous because of the things my sister-in-law got to experience that I didn't: healthy pregnancy, full term pregnancy, vaginal delivery, saw and held baby on the day of delivery, attempted to breastfeed baby on day of delivery, will be going home tomorrow accompanied by an infant.
I would have felt a bit jealous because of the differences in the beginnings of our two babies, but recognized that in the days and weeks to come, those differences will cease to matter. If we both had girls, who cares what their first few weeks are like when they are 6 and 7, 19 and 20, 39 and 40? If we had two little girls running around, born so close together, the ghostly outline of a little boy who lives in my head could remain hazy and undefined. There would be no 'exact replica of a figment of my imagination'.
No one to compare with the son who is ashes and lives on the shelf.
But I now have a nephew. A boy who shares 1/8th the same genetic material as Aidan. This little boy will grow and be and do and see, and above all...live. Live a life Aidan will never have. Who has already, at 2 1/2 days old, done so much more than my son ever got to. I'm happy for him. Relieved he is here, safe and sound.
Sad my son isn't.
We are going to meet him on Monday. I'm excited...tinged with a bit of grief. I know I will love this little boy, love him for himself and no other, but I'm afraid he will always be a bit of a forward echo in time of what my little boy never was. And, with the passage of time, I expect that will be okay. May even be somewhat of a joy and comfort, to see him grow up beside his cousin Kaia. A close male relation that is the next-best thing to a brother.
But right now...it hurts a little bit.