split in twain

Anya's heart

The in-laws spent the weekend with us and then left today for a month (more or less) in Mexico with our friends in La Paz.  I almost missed getting them to the bus that would take them across the border where they would catch their flight. Racing against traffic and cursing silently at the train that stalled us near the tracks for a good five minutes.

I ached to take pictures of my sister-in-law's eight-month-pregnant belly.  Dreamt of placing my hands on that beautiful bundle and feeling the little life high-five me from inside.  I caught a glimpse of stretch marks this morning and felt my heart pull a little, remembering the thrill of that tiny, whole person growing inside me, wanting to be able to celebrate this with her.

But you see, my nephew will be left behind when they fly North at the end of February.  Our dear friends will raise him as their own and while I think this is the most beautiful turn of events possible in a difficult situation such as this, I still ache.  It was so hard for me to spend a weekend not acknowledging her belly and speaking of The Baby in abstract terms.  I understand that she is protecting her heart from the upcoming break and so gladly kept my hands and enthusiasm to myself, but it's still hard to know how to feel right now. I am delighted my friends will have another child to raise and devastated that my sister-in-law will not know what it is to nurse her baby.  She will not know her baby.  Despite my unwillingness to share the whole story, this is really what's best, I promise. 

But it still manages to break and elate me, all at once.

A tiny, noisy infant finding love in his new mama's arms and doted upon by a sister and father who will shadow his little life with laughter and affection.

A young woman who left her child behind, knowing it was what's best, but undoubtedly feeling that empty spot in her heart.

How does one reconcile all of this?

And yet?  I feel deeply lucky.  This child will still be in our lives through our close relationship with his soon-to-be parents.  He will not simply disappear.  And for that, I am so very, deeply grateful; I can't begin to tell you what it means.

Still. My heart.  She is so conflicted.