Most babies break my heart. I can look at them and smile and for the most part fake excitement but truth is, it hurts to see babies. Every baby that is older than Nash when he passed is a reminder to me that he died. I’m jealous of every parent who has their child longer than I had Nash. I think to myself they must have done something right that I just didn’t do. Imagine how I feel when I see someone I don’t think is necessarily a good parent, yet their child is still alive. What does that say about me? I know this is a backwards way of thinking, but I feel that way sometimes. I have had people tell Todd and I, “It didn’t happen on your watch.” I wish that let me off the hook, but to me he was always on my watch. Every decision I made for him that led to his death feels just as heavy as if he would have died in his own home.
There are two babies that for whatever reason bring me more joy than I could have ever imagined. Especially when they were the ones I feared seeing the most after Nash passed. The first is my cousin Keith’s daughter Gia. Keith and I are extremely close and his wife Amie and I both struggled to become pregnant. We had really leaned on each other when life wasn’t going as planned. Nash and I were actually there when Gia was born. It was just two short weeks before his passing. I look back on that day with so much happiness. It was just the two of us alone in the waiting room, waiting for Gia to be born. No TV, no noise, no distractions. We just stared at each other. Nash fell asleep for about an hour on my chest and I remember thinking in that moment just how happy I was for Keith and Amie. How I knew they were about to meet the love of their lives. Then I heard the sweet lullaby play over the loud speaker signifying that a baby was born, and minutes later Keith came to the waiting room with a big smile saying, “Come on in and meet her.”
The look on Nash’s face as he stared at her is one we all still talk about. He smiled at her like she was the neatest thing he had ever seen. His smile has always been something special but that day in particular it stood out. So many pictures were taken of him looking at her, to this day they are some of my favorites. I remember Nash looking at Keith as he sat in the corner with a huge smile too. Most likely because he has dark hair and a mustache like his daddy. He just seemed to be having a ball. When Nash died, Gia was a only a couple weeks old. Keith and Amie both expressed their fears of bringing her to the funeral, wondering how I would handle it. She was also so little that they didn’t want to leave her. I told them to bring her. I figured nothing could be worse then how I already felt. When they walked through the door, my chest felt tight and tied in knots. Then I sat beside them and looked at her, I had that same smile Nash had when he saw her. Yes there were tears, but mostly she made me happy. I felt this strong connection to her. I remember my fears as she grew. When Gia hit that six month mark unlike other babies, instead of being jealous I was relieved. Like she had made it. She was safe from the monster that took Nash. Keith put a picture of Nash in her nursery so he can watch over her, and I truly believe that he does.
The second baby is Maddox, Todd’s cousin Ceddie’s son. Like Amie and I, Ceddie’s girlfriend Candice struggled with getting pregnant as well. Ceddie and Todd are more like brothers than cousins. He had had his children when he was very young. We never thought in a million years we would be having children together, something I know Ceddie and Todd had always secretly wanted. We found out after Nash had passed that they were having a boy. My heart was broken. This is what I had wished for when Nash was here. How amazing it would be if they had a boy too. We knew Nash and Maddox would have grown up together with the same closeness as Ceddie and Todd. When Nash passed, Candice was still pregnant. I felt for her as a mom expecting her first child and being present at a baby’s funeral. Not just any baby, but one they both loved and knew was meant to be their son’s friend for life. When I heard the news of Maddox’s birth, I again felt nervous. During the whole drive to their house to meet him, I told Todd I felt scared. Scared of being jealous or just plain sad. Like Gia though, one look at Maddox and I felt an instant connection, an instant love. Holding him melts my heart and when he smiles, all I see is his cousin.
There is just something about these two babies. With all the doubts I have about heaven and where Nash is, I have no doubt when I look at them. I know, I just know, he is with them!! I can feel it. These two babies will forever hold a special place in my heart because they hold a special place in Nash’s. If their are guardian angels and they can chose who they watch over, I know he is theirs. I know with all of my heart he watches over them.