Today marks fifteen years that you left this world, and took your bright eyes and beautiful smile with you. In the last fifteen years a lot of things have changed, but the most important thing hasn't changed, I still don't have you. I still think of you almost every day, about how beautiful you were, how you smiled, and how your laugh sounded. I think about how much you loved to watch the dogs play while you sat in your walker. I think about how much your family loved you and how happy you made us all during your very short nine months on this earth.
I try not to think about all the things I never got to do with you. I spend the first eight years you were gone obsessed by the things you got cheated out of doing. No first birthday, no first steps, no first brownie, no first trip to Disney World, no first day of school, the firsts you didn't have eclipsed the firsts that you did. I had forgotten to think about the first time you smiled at me, the first time you tasted apple juice, the first time we played "Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy", the first time you laughed, and the first time you said 'Mama'. I had lost those firsts in my grief for the firsts you would never get. When I realized how much I had forgotten to appreciate, I made myself a promise not to dwell on all you hadn't gotten to do at the expense of that you had done.
There is one thing I can't help myself from dwelling on, a question I can't stop myself from asking. Who would you be today? In all of my attempts to push past the worst of the grief, I can't help but play the "Would Taylor..." game. It goes like this: I'm watching TV with your little brother, and a commercial for something teen girly comes on, so immediately the game begins, "Would Taylor like that?" 'That' being the Jonas Brothers, Lady Gaga, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, or whatever it is that is flashing across the screen. I can't help but wonder about it because of all the things I grieve the most when it comes to you, I grieve not knowing who would be. Would you be smart? Funny? Good at math? History? Would you play sports or be a cheerleader? Would you like pancakes with peanut butter? Who would be your first movie star crush? Would you listen to Justin Bieber? Would you be listening to Justin Bieber only so you could drive me insane? Would you be like me? Would you sing? Would you write? Would you like horror movies? Would we have been standing in line at midnight to see the Twilight movies? What would your favorite color be? Would you like pizza? The list of things I wish I knew about the person you never got to grow up to be is endless.
I'm still missing you every day; I don't think there will ever come a time when I don't miss you. There are still moments, all these years later, when something makes me think of you and it makes my heart seize in pain. In those moments, my mind stops completely except for a perfect memory of you smiling at me. I used to dread those moments, but I’ve come to realize that the still vivid pain is the payment I must make in order to have the still vivid memories of the happiness. How else would the sweetness of your smile hold context if I didn’t have the pain of the ‘what if’ to remind me of the ‘what was’? Does that make any sense? Does it seem weird that I relish the heartbreak because I know that it keeps you close to me and your beautiful memory fresh? Maybe it does, but it’s all I have, so I take it.
I love you eternally my precious baby girl,