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"I’m not sure why I never got around to having you." A letter to the baby I dreamed of but never had.

Dear Emma/Elle:

You’re my biggest regret. Not having you was a mistake. When I was younger, I dreamed of holding you in my arms — I imagined you with a twin brother. Always twins. Girl and a boy. My paternal grandmother had two sets. I was confident I would too.

Emma or Elle? I like them both equally, a languid roll off the tongue. Emma, look over here! Elle — or maybe Ellie until you’re a teenager and insist on Elle — do you want to wear your purple boots today? I would have decided once you were swaddled in my arms, once I looked into your eyes, glanced at those perfectly bowed lips. 

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Your lips would have been full and lovely and pink, unlike my tragically paper thin ones. I wanted that for you.

I’m not sure what happened, why I never got around to having you.

Seems like everything else I wanted I willed into existence. Houses, cars, jobs. 

It’s like you slipped to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list and then just fell off completely.

On my bad days, I think I was too busy being a party girl, wasting my life away with happy hours, men who didn’t reciprocate my love, and bottomless margaritas. Why wallow in that pit though, right?

On my better days, I think it just wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t God’s will. 

That’s kind of a cop out though. Reality feels like I just got too busy — reached for different things. My twenties may have been about partying, but my thirties were about making money and surviving. 

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Besides, there was never anyone around during that time to even think about it as a possibility. My longest relationship being with my cat, Safari.

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I was never pregnant so I don’t even know if it was possible. All the times I thought about having you, I was lying alone in a queen-size bed so it’s not like I ever really tried. Sadly, I couldn’t afford other options. I could barely feed myself let alone pay for in vitro. 

And then what? How would I have worked to support us, let alone feed us anything other than the ramen noodles that were my daily staple?

My life is good, but I find myself missing you, longing for you.

I see your granddad at 90, surrounded by his children and grandchildren and admire the legacy he built. I’m saddened that I never gave him the gift of you. He would have loved you so much. 

And your Mawmaw. Stop it. She would have spent hours on the floor colouring with you, playing Barbies. She would have let you get away with murder.

Then I wonder, if I make it to 90, who will be at my side?

Mostly, I miss you at holidays. It’s lonely with just me and George. I dreamed of a big, huge family. Laughter, board games, kids fighting over Monopoly pieces. 

All the hair ribbons and cowgirl boots that never got purchased. 

George has a son, but it’s not the same. He doesn’t seem to want to be in our family at all most days.

I sit on the beach and look at all the young twenty-something women, and I think about who you might be. 

Sun kissed and confident. Loving, fun, and energetic. 

Slightly introverted like your mum, but captivating like your dad. And, those eyes. Brilliant and soul defining. 

Little moons nestled in a blanket of freckled ivory.

If we were sitting next to each other, what would we talk about? Would we like each other? Would you confide in me? I hope so.

I’m sorry I didn’t will you into existence. I’m sorry I didn’t meet George sooner.

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Funny — we actually met in our twenties, but went off to pursue different paths, different people. What if we had gotten together back then? Would you be here?

Maybe you’d be a mum yourself by now. Or, maybe you’d be an astronaut or a surgeon. 

Whatever the case, I know we would be close. I loved my mum, but we were never as close as I wanted. We were so different. 

I wanted more of her than she was capable of giving, but I knew she loved me so that’s all that matters really.

Maybe I could have given you dating advice. I’d would have said, “Here’s what I did. Do the opposite.” Find a man to cherish you. Don’t chase after any of them. You are precious — honour your body and find a man who respects it as much as you do.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, get a good night’s sleep.

Study hard and work harder. Be your own person. Know how to be independent, and NEVER hand over all of your independence to anyone.

Understand your finances, know how to balance a checkbook and how to save money for a rainy day.

Sorry — I can’t help but give you motherly advice. 

There’s just so much I want to tell you and share with you. I want to show you the world, and see it through your eyes. 

I want to sit on the beach with you from sun up to sun down and listen to the waves while you pour out your hopes and dreams. 

I want to know what your favourite song is and what books you’re reading. Who’s your favorite author? What are your friends like? How was your first kiss?

I want you to hold my old, wrinkled hand and tell me you love me. 

I want your eyes to be among the last I see on this earth. I want to remember the flutter of your eyelashes, the sound of your heartbeat, and your sweet cottony smell all the days of my life.

Instead, I’ll just imagine them and wish you were here.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission.

Feature Image: Getty.

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