I’ve been thinking more about this: Why, when asked whether I’m thankful for Cricket, can I not say yes? After a few days, my best answer is that I’m thankful for what I have, and parenting for the first time makes it in some ways clearer than it’s ever been how much I do not have Cricket. I don’t mean to make it sound as though I’m looking at Joey and seeing only his brother—aside from an evening in which I talked to him about Cricket and got a bit weepy, I am mostly consumed by nursing and cuddling and not sleeping, without a lot of brain left over for noting every time I see or have something with Joey that I missed with his brother. And that’s probably a good thing, because those things are happening every day, and I would rather be fully present with the baby who needs me than pining for the toddler I won’t even see until next year. I miss him, but I need that to be a manageable feeling.
In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what to write in the book that I’m giving Cricket for Christmas. This will be the third year that we send two books and each write in one—Mr. Book will effortlessly find something graceful and loving to say, and I am spending a week grinding my brain, looking for a way to say “Wow, it has been a big year, and I miss you so much” that is charming and timeless and not weird . . . and that I don’t mind his moms reading. No luck so far. If I don’t watch it, my writing to Cricket gets this relentlessly cheery tone that makes me cringe on rereading; I also get caught up on dumb details, like “If you get bored when we see you in January, there are Sesame Street dvds.” He does not care, he will not care if he looks at these later, what is wrong with me?