"This is going to be the best Christmas of your life," they tell me. Do they say this because it is a line society delivers to every parent of a living child that first Christmas? Or do they say it because we just lived through the worst Christmas of our lives?
As we have taken Molly to various holiday parties and introduced her to friends and family for the first time, Cara is drawn to my mind more and more. As people ooh and aah over Molly I find myself wanting to talk about Cara. Do they wonder what she looked like? Yes, Molly looks exactly like me, but I long to share how Cara was clearly her father's with Tim's dark, silky hair and distinctive nose.
When they tell me how perfect Molly is, I wonder to myself if they think Cara was any less. It was not her fault she died, I long to tell them. It was me, my body failed her.
I even struggle with my own inner battle as I deliver lines to Molly like, "You are the most beautiful baby in the world." She is, but her sister was too. I end up feeling guilty as though I have forgotten Cara's beauty, because I am not face to face with it every day.
The reality is we still continue to learn how to navigate this unexpected life of losing a child. We lived through many firsts in the last year and a half but there are still many more to come.
How do you sign your Christmas card? At first it was just our last name, but then we opted for our three names with Cara's absent. We hope the nature of the card we chose draws to mind the one who is missing.
Does Santa only come for the living children? Yes, but we have chosen to donate to First Candle in Cara's memory the same amount of money we spend on Molly.
As these new life scenarios play out, we pray we are being faithful to both our daughters and our little family of four.