On our long car ride back home from the Grand Canyon, Mateo starting asking Dennis and me about life before the kids were born. He’s been doing this more lately and it tickles me to no end! He’ll continually ask “Then what?” when we gloss over years with general statements. He wants details! This time he said “Tell me everything that happened.” With hours of driving ahead of us, we indulged him and enjoyed a trip down memory lane. We told the kids about the apartment downtown and how we ended up moving to a condo in Hillcrest, that we toured while looking for a place for Gaga (aka my mom) to rent.
We went through my high risk pregnancy with Sienna and her joyful birth. We shared about Gaga moving back up north and how we found Grace Lutheran Church and Preschool so Sienna could attend school and be baptized. Then, we told them about the miscarriage we had in the fall, when Sienna was just under two years old. Teo had a lot of questions! I assured him that we had indeed told him about this before, but he must not have been old enough to understand or remember. We recounted how, while wiping tears and driving home from the medical office where they discovered the missing heartbeat, I prayed and then told Dennis: “We’re going to look back in a few years and we’ll have the children we were meant to have.”
After answering several questions, there was a long pause in the conversation. Then, Mateo asked “Would you have had me, if that baby had lived?” Time froze for a second as I pondered the poignancy of his question. “Well, no. We wouldn’t have.”
As I’ve told people this story, a few have prompted, “Of course you would have!” before I told them my response to Teo’s question. I understand the sentiment there, not wanting Mateo to feel that his existence was ever in doubt. But I’m pragmatic and tend to be very transparent. Just based on biology, my response was accurate. If that pregnancy had continued successfully, the baby would have been born in June, 2010. Teo was conceived in April, 2010. We likely would have stopped after two children, and, even if we hadn’t, a baby conceived at any other time would have been a different child.
I turned around to face Teo in the backseat of the car. “Lovie, remember what I just said. We knew that God was blessing us with the children we were meant to have. You had to be born. You completed our family.” He smiled and rubbed my hand. I turned around and swallowed the lump in my throat. I couldn’t believe how insightful and philosophical Mateo was to consider his place in the history of our family life.
It’s so fun to have kids at an age where they’re curious about our life before they were born. I remember my parents telling us stories about their years in Sacramento where my dad was in law school. The passage of time feels so real when you reflect back on the years this way.