"Daddy, do you like my watch?"
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
When I think back a few months to the time I had off of work around Christmas, one memory keeps coming back to my mind.
Christmas Day was different this year for lots of us. Our pre-COVID plan was to spend Christmas with Rachel's family, but instead, it turned into a Zoom Christmas in the morning on Christmas Day. Overall, it was such a fun experience. Obviously, we would have all loved to get together and spend more than a few hours with each other, through three screens. But, we were grateful that we could spend time together, even in a new way.
One of the results of a Zoom Christmas was that we had time around the house on Christmas Day, which Rachel and I spent hanging out with our Linnea & Elias, along with time spent on projects we have been looking forward to tackling. One of those has been going through stuff that we no longer use to donate to those who could use it.
Linnea went downstairs with Rachel to organize some of our stuff in the basement. Linnea loves to listen to some of the worship song music videos from her pre-school Sunday School, and those videos are an excellent way for her to spend some time with Rachel.
After an hour downstairs, Linnea came up the stairs and came to me in the kitchen. "Daddy, do you like my watch?" she asked as she hugged my leg. When I glanced down, I noticed that she had a familiar silicon band on her left wrist, but by no means did Linnea have a watch.
The light blue silicon band was not meant for a wrist but instead for a bottle. Linnea was wearing a bottle label band from her twin brother Anders. Rachel had received silicon bottle identification bands for Anders and Linnea at one of the showers after their birth. Linnea's was pink, and Anders's was blue. They each had embossed on them their full name and also their name in braille.
We didn't use the bottle bands at home too much. We probably would have used them more, but the twins each preferred different types of bottles, so we were never questioning whose bottle was whose. However, we did send them to daycare so the provider would tell their bottles from the bottles of others in the daycare.
"Honey, I love it!" was the response that came from my mouth.
I am not sure where she found it or why she decided to wear it on Christmas Day, but I needed it. Holidays have been tough since Anders died. Giving Christmas gifts to two of three kids isn't what I imagined my Christmas would be like.
With every part of me, I want to not let the sadness I feel in missing Anders let me focus less on Linnea and Elias, but it is hard.
Seeing Linnea wearing Anders's bottle band makes me think that she is telling me it's ok to think of Anders as well. Since Christmas, Linnea wore the 'watch' each day for about a week, and since then, it has sat on the counter, reminding me of my son.
In the months immediately following Anders's death, there were all kinds of situations like the one I experienced on Christmas Day. A pair of pajamas, one of his shirts, a random sock, or a toy would suddenly be found in a bag in the car, on the bookshelf, or under a chair. Each one of those reminded me of a life that was lived.
A lifetime that was lived.
And a lifetime we will continue to remember - whether we miss Anders on Christmas Day, miss celebrating him as he grows a year older, or randomly discover another everyday item that was once his.