He would be nine

It’s been so long since I last wrote here.
Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I write here all of the time. I just don’t hit “publish” anymore.
Today, our boy would be nine. It’s just totally surreal. He would be nine. I both can’t believe it’s been that long and also can’t believe that, if he’d lived, I’d have a child that old. A third grader.
I look at the third grade kids I know here and I wonder if he’d know them - because would we even be living in CT? When people ask why we moved, I tell them that LA was so expensive, and we needed a bigger house and our offers were being turned down, and the public schools here are so incredible and we just needed a change of pace..... and it’s all true. It really is all true. But also - we were running away from heartache. It was really naive and desperate. I can only speak for myself but, I needed to open my eyes to a different landscape. I needed everything to be different. And it is. It was probably a fine idea. Except for the part where I had to meet all new people, and do it with PTSD (diminishing, but PTSD nonetheless), and decide who to tell about losing my son, and try to distract myself with small town drama. That stuff has all been a lot of “work” - but has successfully kept me preoccupied with pretty benign stuff. It didn’t take the pain away though. It just packed more into my brain. the good news is, it isn’t so in my face anymore. I don’t have to drive past the ER or the daycare every time I leave my house. I’m not always worried about who I’m going to run into everywhere I go (I mean I worry - but now it’s just because I live in a town small enough that I basically can’t go anywhere without running into someone). The bad news is that I don't have the comforts of my known life around me. I don't live near the cemetery and can't drop by to sit with him. I have made some mistakes and trusted some people that were not as kind as I thought they were. I don't live in a house where he ever lived and I have very few memories of him here.
I really don’t think we would have moved had Max not died. I don’t think we would have had more than one more child. People sometimes ask me how I feel about that - you know, that we wouldn’t necessarily have Myla and Mace if Max hadn’t died. I don’t have an emotion tied to that that makes any sense in the linear way we think about stuff. I just know that I adore them all - all four of my kids.
The kids and I were talking yesterday about what Max would be like if he were still alive. This conversation is one we have fairly often. Would he be sporty or maybe more of a gamer or a bookworm, or all of the above? The kids have a lot to say about Max. Mo has a deep connection with Max. When Mo was born, the feeling of Max still being around was palpable. Mo has never met Max, but he knows him. Myla thinks Baby Max is cute. She looks at his pictures and says “Oh, he’s so adorable” (“adorable” is one of her favorite words, as are “actually”, “fascinating” and “irritating” - she got that last one from me). She knows it’s sad but she doesn’t really connect. Today she said, “Since Max is dead, can WE eat his birthday cupcakes?”. “Of course”, I answered...because that was the actual plan, which she knows. Macie has been telling us lately that when he grows up, he’s going to be Max’s daddy. I’ve decided he might know something we don’t and so I’ll be paying very close attention to his children. That would be a great motivator to try and stick around long enough to meet reincarnated baby Max.
Eight and a half years later - this is all still really complicated, really dark and heavy, and I (we) am (are) still so sad. Of course we are. I’ve learned so much - life altering enlightening revelations that have made me wiser than I could have ever imagined. I’d gladly unlearn it all for more time.
Wish we were celebrating with him today. Eating HIS cupcakes all of these years just makes me sad.