When I was 7, living in Silver Spring, Maryland - I had my first boyfriend. I take that back - to be a boyfriend; he would have to know it. Toby Simpson was my first crush.
Boys that age don't think about those things & besides; it takes them a while to feel the heat. Not being a boy; this is just what I have garnered thru the years - but mostly; I guess, at that age they're too busy with boy things to notice or be bothered.
I loved him from afar; well - down the street.
Dark hair, brown eyes & fit; for a 7 year old. When my mother told me to take my little brother to his house to play with his little sister; I was most happy to do so!
But, one winter day; I heard rumors that I couldn't understand. Something happened to Toby that didn't make sense. He fell in the ice in the back of his house & he was gone. The rest of the seasons of the year it was a deep creek; but now, it was something that mysteriously took him away.
20 years later; I was a suburban housewife in Rockville, Maryland with 2 young children. We only lived there 2 1/2 years; but during that time - right across the street from me; a family of 4 - became 3.
Their youngest son; 5 year old Mikey, was on his first 2 wheel bike when a Garbage Truck backed up & ran over him - right on our street.
Being Jewish; there were ritual "sit Shiva" services for 7 days in their home & I walked over with a casserole or cake & no words were spoken - nor needed to.
For me; it was a Mother to Mother moment - yet it's something I hope I never know. It was not one of those "celebration of life" services; it was clearly an inconsolable sadness only recognized by those who have lost a child - everyone else can just imagine.
Before we sold our house & moved to another part of Maryland - that mother across the street was soon pregnant & gave birth to a baby boy. Thrilled; I went over to see the baby & saw the joy in the family's eyes & the pain lifted to start anew.
When I left; the mother's eyes met mine & we both smiled as I walked away.
Most lives don't get wrapped up like a pretty package like that.
For so many who have lost a child; the agonizing pain causes a rift in the marriage or deep depression that never leaves - no matter how much love & support rallies around you, projects of distraction or volunteerism you attempt.
Yes, there are exceptions & they're so very lucky to have made it thru.
As much as I couldn't be happier that that family was happy with a new arrival; I don't completely believe in the idea of having a baby to replace one that passed away. For one thing; that child lives in the shadow of the 1st.
It's great if they can pull it off; what with relatives/friends or even themselves making comparisons or references.
Of course, the decision has to do with the age, desire & fertility of the couple to even consider the big step; but the heart wants what it wants.
But at some point; the new child will be cognizant of the one that passed & of his gigantic job of taking all pain away - but I guess there are plenty incidences where family dynamics mimic that without having to lose a child.
In the medical community; they call it "The Replacement Child" - presenting a complex & fascinating picture of an individual caught in a dilemma of identity & are often overprotected, restricted & have a designated role.
What do you think?