The other day, I had one of those moments which happen several times a day. One of those moments where I look at my daughter Evelyn and feel flooded with emotion.
I was buckling her into her car seat, and I kissed her on her forehead, looked into her sparkling blue eyes, and said, "Do you have any idea how much I love you?" not really expecting a response.
And then I hear this adorable toddler voice respond, "Two."
I froze, because something in her response was triggering something deep within me.
"What, honey?" I asked her.
She looked at me, holding up two fingers, and said, "You love me this many, mommy."
Suddenly, I was back in that funeral home, identifying Evelyn's twin brother Elias's body. People had said I didn't have to be the one to identify him, but it was one of the last (and only) things I could do to parent him, so I went.
I stood there, trembling, with my husband and my father, peering down at my perfect boy. Hot tears flooded my eyes, spilling down my face, and I told him how much we all loved him. How much we wanted him here. How I would have done literally anything to bring him into the world safely. How sorry I was. How I was going to show his sister twice as much love, shower her with twice as many kisses and hugs, since I couldn't do those things for him. How I hoped he'd be able to see all of this from heaven and rather than be jealous of it, know that we were loving him too, through his twin sister.
My heart felt broken and full all at once.
I blinked hard, smiled, tousled Evelyn's hair, hugged her tightly, and said,
"Yes, honey. That's right. I love you times two. You're absolutely right."