Today my dad was in from out of state. The last time I saw him I was newly pregnant (and curled up with a puke bowl on the couch). He had planned to come out again in May, to see the new baby.
He saw a new baby. I saw my father’s whole side of the family (who I love but am mysteriously estranged from) and they oooh’d and aahhh’d over Jo Jo. My aunt gave me adoption books that helped her through and after she adopted my cousin domestically. Everyone wants to know when I’ll know for sure if I “can keep her”. They all included her immediately as one of the little cousins (the children of myself and my cousins). She fit in effortlessly and naturally, and the truth is, a cute baby is always welcome in most families, but… she also fit in so smoothly because there was supposed to be a baby girl of mine welcomed into our family at the same time. If Avalon had arrived on her due date (May 7th) or even before her due date, this would be about the time I would start showing her off to the family. My dad would have met her right now. She would start meeting her cousins and great-aunt and great-grandma.
My father and his wife posed for pictures holding my niecey-poo and Jo Jo. He kept talking about his “granddaughters”. My heart is equally warm and full of love for my family for seeing Jo Jo as their own, and cold and shattered because of the little girl who was meant for these scenarios, but did not make it. I know I could think of it differently. I could believe that she sent Jo Jo to me because she couldn’t stay. I do believe it, sometimes, in a way. I can believe that I have Jo Jo because of my love for Avalon, not instead of her. I do believe that, mostly.
I want Jo Jo to stay and be my forever child more than I have words to say. But today I wanted my Avalon to be here meeting her other family members with all my heart. And there is no reality, not even in my imagination, where both scenarios can exist.
I sobbed while driving home. Once more I found myself blubbering, “I want my baby. I just want my baby,” and then found myself glancing in the mirror at the beautiful sleeping baby girl in her carseat, and feeling guilty.