It is Christmas time. Children are everywhere. I look at couples with children. Families. It seems like a group or club, I no longer belong to. That I never belonged to. A lie I made up.
It is as though I invented a life full of detail, in which I gave birth to three beautiful children. A grand hallucination, and all a lie.
I grieve daily, over and over, many deaths. The death of my role as a mother. The deaths of my children from my life.
At Christmas time, I remember decorating the tree with ornaments they made at school. Usually the ornament had a photo of their little face at the center. We baked cookies and frosted them, wrapped gifts.
I remember snuggling them, my nose in their hair. Each of them smelled different. My oldest had a sweet, soft smell, my middle was pungent, my youngest a combination of the two. Their smells were the same from the time they were babies till I saw them last.
It would be easier, it seems, if it were a beautiful and sad lie. A life I concocted for myself that never truly existed. A story of a family with three very real-seeming children, dogs and cats, rabbits and lizards and birds, mismathced socks,video games blaring through the house, kids yelling, "Mom, mom, mom, mooooommmm!!" A story I read. That I imagined to be true. Christmases of Barbie, and Power Rangers, Star Wars and candy, baking cookies and going to grandma's, wrapping gifts and hiding them under the bed. Putting my kids in flannel pajamas for Christmas Eve that were much too warm for Southern California.
I cannot talk about my kids without feeling I am lying. When I tell stories of things that have happened, I feel I have no right to the stories. I feel the stories belong to my children now. That I am not suppossed to have even the memories.
So Christmas time is here. And I have plenty of memories that I feel are not mine to have. And plenty of stories that I feel are not mine to tell.