I picked out a little pink sweater for you today. It has lace around the throat and sleeves. If only I could see you in it right now, all dolled up. I stood there in the store and got lost in thought for a while. I could picture you running around, playing with the stuffed bunnies on the shelves. Somehow, I always picture you with a bunny rabbit.
I could picture you in each of the little dresses hanging on the racks. You swirled in a happy dance when you saw the red one covered with little hearts and giggled when I told you that I loved you for each heart on that dress. Next, I found a purple jumper with little green froggies. I wondered if you'd be a tomboy who likes the mud.
The shoppers must have wondered about me as I touched all the clothes and cried, but I think the young lady who worked there sensed my need to be left alone. Maybe she was a Christian, too. I could almost feel her prayers for me.
Reluctantly, I left the store with only the one little sweater. Somehow being surrounded by baby and toddler things makes you seem more real to me. I drove with the sweater in my lap and could almost hear you singing along with the Veggie Tales CD.
When I arrived at the crisis pregnancy center, I allowed myself to sit in the car for a few minutes. I took my time cutting the price tag off the sleeve with my nail clippers. I pictured your little nails, polished pink to match the cotton yarn.
The kind receptionist inside the center looked up with recognition when I entered. She didn't say much, but gave me a tight hug, like she did each year when I came in. Her hands were soft as she took the sweater, and her eyes said what her voice couldn't.
I hope she knows I don't wallow in the past. This one afternoon each year is my special time with you. It's when I let myself think of what it might have been like to have you in my life for a little longer, to be the one who cheered when you took your first step, and the one you turned to when you fell.
Deep in my heart, I know you understand why we aren't together. Your Christian family will have taught you that. They will have told you that we aren't together because I love you more than I love myself. I wanted to keep you, wanted you so badly that it ripped my very heart out when I let you go. However, I was bigger than my own wants, by God's grace. I knew you needed a daddy and a family that could give you so much more than I could—a hurting new Christian who was still a child herself.
I pray that the memory gift I gave the center will go to a child who will be as blessed as you. I pray the parents of that little girl will be strong enough to do the best thing, whether that is to keep her or to let her go to another.
It's been six years now, Darling. Know that I love you with all my heart and that I pray for you every day. I thank God for your family who keeps you safe and strong for me. Someday in heaven, we'll meet, and I'll give you all the hugs I've held in my heart these many years.
Until then, my love,
Amy Michelle Wiley, a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest, is training to become a sign language interpreter. She hopes to eventually volunteer as an interpreter at a crisis pregnancy center.