One thing I still struggle with is when & what to share with strangers. When we went to Eureka Springs we stopped in a store that I've loved for years. The owner sort of knows me, but I'm pretty sure she is just really friendly and has a talent for making a person feel remembered. I hadn't been in there in years, so I can't say if she really remembered me or was just being nice. I was wearing Eleanor and the owner commented on how we didn't have her last time we were in and then eluded to us having other children. I said, "yes, we had two older girls," and intended to leave it at that. But as we looked around the store she continued talking and by the end she asked how old our other girls were now. I'm not sure what happened, really, but instead of explaining that they died, I answered with, "11 and 13." As soon as it came out of my mouth, I regretted it. I told her how old they would have been and once I told that big fat lie I didn't know how to undo it. I pretended like Alex & Emma were still alive and it felt wrong as soon as I did it. We said goodbye and left the store and now I feel like I can never go back. I don't know what I was thinking. I just didn't want to have the dead children conversation. I hate that I lied, even if it was done in an instinct to avoid a painful & awkward conversation. It sucked, but I dealt with it and moved on.
Then yesterday evening we went to pick Dottie up from the airport. As we were sitting and waiting, Eleanor caught the eye of a nice woman who started playing Peek-a-boo with her. That turned into casual conversation and the "is she your first?" question. She was a complete stranger and just being friendly, so we said, "yes". The next 10 minutes were filled with chit chat as the woman talked about her grown children and what it was like when they were little. She joked about what we can expect as Eleanor grows and how time flies. Drew & I smiled and visited politely, but that conversation was as equally painful as the one a week before. In the name of casual conversation with a stranger, we pretended that Alex & Emma hadn't existed and that we were first time parents. That sucked, but it was nobody's fault. It still sucked.
I've shared this particular struggle with you all before, but these two encounters were just a bit more painful because of Emma week.
Time passes and people forget. The rest of the world will never know her. I know that naturally happens and that it will continue to happen as the years go by, but Drew & I will never forget. Certain things and certain times will always bring up emotions and that's okay. Sometimes it still sucks and that's okay, too. That girl sure was one of a kind. Here's to Emma.