I see you sitting there, while your sisters eat breakfast, you are awed by their independence, the coolness of their banter, you want to copy them, and you try. They would make a fuss and excite you and you would let out a squeal and then curl back into me, that is, if they could see you. You are about 15 months, just starting to call out "Ma ma," which adds to the warmth of our morning and I hold you on my hip, while I fill your sisters' drinks.
We chose not to have you over a glass of wine. The conversation went something like, "Is this it?" I asked him.
"If you want it to be,"he replied quietly. " Oh, I don't know," he said as he took my hand.
"Is our family complete," I asked? "It doesn't feel it," I added, exploring my fingers, seeing if they told my age.
It was a craving, that is the only way I can explain it. It was as though you were waiting to be conceived. You were tugging at the inside of my womb, like a child knocking with both fists at a closed door. It was similar to feelings I had before, feelings which made your father and I whisper promises to each other. Feelings that made us coo over new borns with their little fingers and their curious eyes. It made us dive naked under sheets, giggling, excited about the prospects of new life.
That night we both looked around the house and what it was capable of holding, of the coffee stained bills that stayed unopened. We discussed my past pregnancies and the pain of birth and asked if my body could handle it. We talked about the love for our daughters and how happy we were and from that decided that we couldn't miss what we never had.
But I do miss you.
You are my missing child that follows me through the house, that grows, that needs. You pull on my shirt when I stop to look at baby blankets and little socks and little shoes. You are at my side when I feel the tummies of pregnant friends. After I have put your sisters to sleep, you smile at me from the study. You were a boy, for no other reason than variety. I named you Maxwell. I watch you play with cowboys, build miniature aeroplanes with your father and be spoilt by your sisters.
But, that will never happened because I decided to keep you invisible and I can only cuddle you secretly. Entertained by what I imagine your antics to be. One day the idea of you may begin to dissipate and stop haunting me. One day, I may find a way to marry practicality with love.