The further away from the initial death you go, the less milestones you think you will come across. But truth be told, I think there will always be something which will connect your baby and the things they should have been doing. September 2016 should have been the year she started school, out of all the milestones to reach; I had assumed that would have been the last one – at least until secondary school starts. But there will always be something.
These next few weeks up and down the country (UK), parents are heading out to watch sports days, or eagerly waiting for the day to finish learning how the day went. The children from Reception classes excitedly taking to the field; looking out for their Mummies and Daddies, in the hope to catch a wave. Fresh yellow P.E kits, tiny bean bags and hoops are spread around the area, ready for the games to begin, lines painted perfectly ready for the young runners to begin their races.
Children’s names being called around the field, cheers echoing across as their child nears the finishing line, louder squeals for the ones who come first, encouraging voices for the ones who come last.
It dawns on me, that some of these children are at the age of which Melody should have been, the friends she could have made, the Sports Day she was meant to be at.
Another ‘first’ that she has not done; another event from which she is missing.
Another day where life just goes on, a day for quiet reflection, thoughts to how she would have been during the day.
Would she have been sporty? Which part would she have enjoyed? She was feisty during her time she was with us; would that have led her to be a determined winner in the field?
Would she have struggled with the courses?
Would she have been embarrassed by her parents calling her name?
Or would she have loved the attention?
Another missed photo opportunity, as she would have returned to her class room all wet from sweat, hair falling out of her hair band, happy to have finished or happy to have competed.
I never thought it would be such a big deal.
As the school year draws to a close, parents evenings are to be had, school plays performed, end of term parties, new teachers to be met, school work brought home, reports to read.
I have kept all of their reports and as many of their pictures as I have space for, there have been a lot over the years. No use to anyone but sentimental, in the hope that one day when they get to adulthood, they can giggle over the work they produced during their childhood, you know the pictures of their parents with huge heads and stick men bodies.
This has been another thing that has dawned on me. A missing school report; a document to prove that she would have been at school this year, a story of who she would have been at school. Information about what subjects she may have been good at, or ones that maybe she’d not really enjoyed. To know how much the prematurity would have affected her. As with all very premature babies there’s a risk of slow development, at least slower than their peers, but she never did follow any text book.
All the reports and meetings with professionals; a bit like parents evenings I guess but in the NICU were all great; she was doing above and beyond expectations. I’ll always wonder, or at least this time of year, whether her school reports would have followed suit.
“Melody is a lovely addition to the class; a little headstrong.”
As I wrote about my living children in their fantastic reports and end of term plans, I realise the only new photos of her I can share are of a headstone with new flowers; with the words.
Lost celebratory words.
No acknowledgement of a girl who should have been here.
Of a girl who should have almost completed her year in Primary School.
Absent – Unauthorised.