Leo was real. Leo was a real boy. My life right now is sort of the opposite of the tale of the Velveteen Rabbit. I had a very real boy who sort of evaporated from the physical world, and it helps to keep reminding myself "He was real."
This is a real loss. There was a specific kid that was coming over to my house for dinner roughly 6570 times (18 years) and now he's not. Leo's not here. Leo's not coming. Leo had a godmother, a car seat, and a crib.
It's hard to talk to woman at church about Leo. (Leo's All Soul's Day Candle on November 2nd put a spotlight on me six days after his funeral.) There is so much callousness. "Oh, you've got plenty of kids, why are you sad?" The callous hearts will say this to me as I have 18 month old Abigail on my hip. I so badly want to say back "Really? Have you seen this girl? Have you noticed how awesome she is? You think I can be blase about never meeting her younger brother?"
To me, it isn't like I lost a generic role of changing another baby's diapers, or breastfeeding or lost another four months sleep due to colic. That's how I feel when I talk to some of the callous women. They act like "Aren't you tired already of changing diapers?" I want to tell them, I'm not excited about this role of motherhood because I enjoy potty training. It's been 10 YEARS of dealing with infants and diapers and sippy cups and potty training. The cool thing about babies, is that they don't stay babies. They turn into delightful, awesome human beings. Babyhood is just the preview.
My son Alex is a pain to parent. His innate strong will is off the charts. It is a daily struggle to get him to walk the dog, do his schoolwork, brush his teeth, and stay chill around his sisters. Yet my only son is off the charts awesome. He has enriched my life in countless ways. We're only in the Origami Yoda, Lego, and Minecraft Stage. What is going to happen when he reaches the Electric Guitar, Skateboarding and I-Adore-Physics phase?
Leo died before Jon and I even got a chance to figure out what we lost.
Leo's hospital bill came yesterday. I opened it up and my lips made a perfect O of shock. Leo's birth costs exactly the same as his older siblings. I felt confused. How could that be? I usually get c-sections. Should the living kids be more expensive? Then I remembered "This was a real birth too."