By Patricia LaPointe, originally published on Medium
What’s this? The universe sent me a gift?
There was supposed to be only one. The universe decided two would be better. Susan was expected. Jennifer was the gift. The universe must not have told the doctor, either. He was as surprised as I was.
Two tiny, pink beings. They fit in length between one’s wrist and elbow. Their personalities were evident from the day they came home. Susan was strong and demanding. Jennifer was more laid back. I wonder if, being the extra one, she didn’t want to complain. I hope she didn’t think we’d send her back.
Susan walked first. Jennifer “belly” scooted as she followed Susan.
I laughed when they called each other “Toozy” and “Jetchy.”
I laughed when they sat side by side in two potty chairs and congratulated each other for her success.
I watched as they held hands, walking into kindergarten.
I felt their sadness when they were placed in separate classrooms.
I tried not to laugh when I would find them hiding in a closet, eating cookies or chips so their sisters couldn’t have them.
I stood by quietly as they argued about possessions, friends, and bedroom space and threatened to harm the other’s toys.
I watched as they grabbed their books and headed for the first day of high school.
I just shook my head and smiled at the crazy outfits they created — arms of their sweatshirts wrapped around their waists, sandals in winter.
I swelled with pride over their academic achievements, both graduating at the top of their class.
I worried that the mom-daughter conflicts, so common with teen girls, would have ruined the closeness we once had.
I held them when the “perfect boyfriends” ended their relationships.
I was sad and proud when they each began developing their separate identities.
I waved goodbye to them when they entered their dorm on the first day of college.
I cried when each one walked down the aisle on her wedding day. I cried when they waved goodbye arm in arm with their husbands.
I was grateful for having two to “give away.” I cried because I missed those tiny, pink beings.
I was excited when they both gave birth. I wondered if my heart would burst with love as more and more little ones arrived.
I felt joy and pride as I watched my grandchildren grow into adulthood.
I appreciated it when Jennifer began hosting Christmas. Entering her home was like walking into a winter wonderland with her rooms full of delicate lights, gold garland, and the scents of pine and peppermint candy canes.
I was still grateful for my gift when the universe decided I’d had my gift long enough. It took that gift, my sweet, beautiful daughter, Jennifer, from me on December 5, 2021.
I cry for the children she left behind. And I wish the universe’s cruelty hadn’t affected them as well. I would indeed have taken it all on my own.
I may never trust the universe again.
© 2023 Patricia LaPointe
Pat LaPointe, creator of Share Your Voice, an online interactive community for all women. She is editor of the anthology; The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys from Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment. In addition, she has conducted writing workshops for women — both online and onsite. Pat’s essays and short stories have been published widely in anthologies, literary journals and on Medium.com @patromitolapointe. Currently, Pat is completing her first novel, forthcoming in 2023.