There's a wall in Ryan's nursery on which I hung a sign. On that sign was to be Ryan's name. I had the boards cut. I sanded each one down. I stained them outside in the backyard. And I hung each of them on the wall myself. It was (one of) my special projects for him.
It was supposed to hold his name.
I had all the letters laid out. They sat on his window ledge for weeks and weeks. We never added them to the sign. It was unspoken between Rich and I that we "didn't want to jinx it." We'd hang them when we brought it home. When it was "official."
We were a very cautious expectant couple right from the first day. Without ever really knowing anyone who had lost a baby (or so we thought), we were somehow so aware of the fragility of the life growing inside me.
We never really called Ryan by name, even though he was little Ryan Kendrick in our minds for months before being born. He was always Baby R. And it always came back to this notion that if we treated him as real as he was that we would jinx it.
I still sang to him. And we read to him. And we played with him as he rolled around in my belly. I'd lovingly speak to him, always calling him my Baby R. But when I look back and think about how hesitant we were to use his name, it makes me wonder why?
As though by not naming him we'd be any less "attached" to him? That by naming him we were jinxing ever seeing his sweet face?
And then I think, that if I really do believe in "jinxing" things, then perhaps by not using his name it's like we were setting ourselves up for this loss. Like we knew all along this tragedy was coming for us.
Just some of the rambling, outrageous thoughts from the mind of a grieving mom.
I know we didn't lose him because of this sign in his room. I know that his death was just a tragic mistake in this story of my life. But the sign is still there. And somedays it is the most depressing thing in the world to look at, and I want to tear it from the wall with my bare hands.
But somedays it's a beautiful symbol of hope.
If we get a "next time," that sweet baby will have a name we shout from the rooftops. There won't be talk of jinxing. That baby will be loudly celebrated from the very first day. And you can bet that baby will have its name on the wall. On the sign meant for his (or her) big brother.