Today was my due date in 1998 (the original one of several I was given). It could have been today, or earlier, or later -- but in an alternate universe of happy endings, sometime about now, Katie would have been celebrating her 11th birthday. I saw the Little Girl Next Door outside on her bicycle today, and wondered once again whether she & Katie would have been friends & pictured the two of them together at Katie's birthday party.
My due date, for me, has never had quite the same significance as my loss dates. It's a lot harder for me to imagine what might have been than to remember what was. Emotionally, I don't think it's ever packed the same sort of punch for me (except maybe surviving it, that very first year).
But I couldn't help but think of our little girl today & wonder (for the millionth time) about what might have been. It was a nice day outside, and dh & I took advantage of it by venturing out into our big, kid-friendly but little-used backyard and raking up the leaves that have fallen off the trees over the past few weeks.
One of the trees is "Katie's tree." We didn't start out to plant a tree in Katie's memory. The neighbours have some big maple trees that overhang our yard, & from time to time, the maple keys will sprout in my backyard flower beds & planters into little miniature trees. I normally pull them up without much thought. About a year after we lost Katie, one such hardy sprout made it through the winter unpulled, & had gotten so large that dh took a shine to it and decided to plant it as "Katie's tree." I wasn't sure it would survive (& it pained me to think of the tree meeting the same fate as its namesake -- which is why we didnt' plant a tree in her memory before that) -- but it did. It grew & grew, tall and straight, and must be at least 30 feet high now. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of it to show you here -- must remember to take one sometime!
So I looked up at Katie's tree & marvelled at how big it's grown -- just as I'm sure I would have been marvelling at my daughter, if she were here. Dh & I raked 11 bags full of leaves -- which somehow seemed entirely appropriate. ; ) We showered & went out for dinner & toasted our daughter with Coke.
I can't believe she'd be 11.
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