But when children get excited to welcome another playmate to the family and one doesn't materialize I get really confused.
A conversation with my sister and her children this afternoon:
Brett: "We're going to a cake decorating class tonight."
Cat: "I want to go!"
Brett: "Sorry, it's just for mommies."
Suz: "And aunts."
Brett: "You're a mommy."
Suz: "Yes, I am."
Cat: "You're a mommy? Where are your babies?"
Suz: "I have two babies. You just can't see either of them."
I realize it's a terribly confusing concept for children, especially those who have siblings, to consider a woman to be a "mommy" when she doesn't tote around a baby. But yes, I am a mother, and I think it's important for the children in my life to understand that not all children can be seen, and that we are sealed as families so we can live together eternally if a loved one passes away at whatever age.
Even though I don't mind talking about Eleanor or Baby Boy to anyone, and I do want the children in my life to know what has happened, that doesn't mean I know what to say.
Over Christmas break we flew into Milwaukee to spend a week with Ben's family. His brother picked us up from the airport. In the car our 3-yr-old niece turned to me and said, "Do you have a baby in your tummy?" I was pregnant with #2 already, but I knew she was remembering my first pregnancy. I said to her, "Yes I do. But it's a new baby. My last baby was a girl named Eleanor who is living in heaven right now." She had a hard time hearing that Eleanor was a little girl in our family, and that they would meet and be friends one day, but that she couldn't play with Eleanor right now.
I realized that I need to be prepared from now on with what to say to children, as the concept of once being pregnant and the child living away in heaven is hard, and hearing that the same woman is pregnant with another baby when they never met the first adds to the confusion.
When Brett picked me up from the airport on Tuesday 3-yr-old Jack was in the back seat and hear us talk about Eleanor.
Jack: "Who is Elmo?"
Suz: "Not Elmo, Eleanor."
We had 3 short discussions during that drive about her, not Elmo, and who and where she was:
Trying to explain to a child about a loss: