I’m writing to you today because there is something that you should know. You are far too young for me to explain it now, but someday the time will be right and you will be ready. I’m not sure you’ll understand. Shoot, I’m not sure that I understand. I hope when the time comes, I will be ready myself – to tell you, to explain.
My sweet Iris, you have a sister.
I see you looking at the little urn, turning it over in your hands. You reach for the book and soft little lamb that you are sure is meant for you. I admit that I don’t really know what I’m doing when I gently lead you away.
We named her Elby. She was in our lives for such a brief time. We looked forward to meeting her so much, but we never got to hold her in our arms. We read to her and sang to her and in the end, we did what we thought was best for her. I hope she heard us, heard the hope and love that we sent to her. I hope she hears us still.
Iris, I know that if Elby had been okay, we would have never had you. And I want you to know this: I would not take one step off the path that led me to you. You were meant to be my daughter as much as Elby was – but in a different way. You were meant to call me Mama, to wrap your little legs around my waist and give me hugs and kisses. Of this, I have no doubt.
There’s another thing I know for sure: Elby is watching over us. She is watching over you.
After your Daddy and I lost Elby, we were heartbroken. We were confused and lost because our lives took a turn that we didn’t understand or expect. We spent a lot of time talking and crying together, trying to make sense of what had happened. One particularly sad day, we stopped at a park to look out over the water. While we were there, a beautiful rainbow appeared right in front of us. We both felt that Elby was trying to tell us that it was okay, that she understood. That day, I started to heal. My heart felt lighter than it had in weeks. I will never forget it.
When we had you, it was the most wonderful, scary, and exhilarating moment of our lives. We named you Iris because when we looked into your eyes, it suited you. You were simply not any of the other names on our list. You were Iris.
Weeks later, after we were home from the hospital and we were all able to get a little sleep, your Daddy and I decided to read up on the meaning of your beautiful name. We looked at each other in disbelief. My sweet girl, your name, quite literally, means “rainbow.” In Greek mythology, Iris delivered messages to the gods. She was the goddess of rainbows.
Iris, your Daddy and I firmly believe that Elby picked you out just for us. That she sent the perfect little one to soothe our hurting hearts and to put laughter and joy into our lives again. We believe she is watching over all three of us.
I hope one day I can tell you these things – when you’re ready to be told, when I’m ready to tell. I don’t want Elby to be a secret from you. She gave me hope. She taught me so much about life and love and gratitude. She made me the person I am today. She made the Mama that I am to you.
In so many ways, Iris, I feel like she gave me you. And for that, I am eternally grateful. For that, I wouldn’t change a thing.