Kellen and Molly have another cousin!
Just over a week ago my brother Steven and his wife Ceci welcomed a beautiful, chubby, little baby boy into the world. They named him Tanner, which I love.
Ceci and I were only two weeks apart in our pregnancies. With the closeness of our pregnancies and the visions we had early on of our boys growing together, his coming was bitter-sweet. Luckily, it was mostly sweet.
The day he came, I was feeling happy and sad. It was a happy moment as I imagined my brother and his wife holding and kissing their new son. I wished I could be there to see my nephew, Jacob, meet his little brother. I was excited to know that a spirit just joined our family who was so recently with my babies. I wanted to hold him because he is the closest thing in the world to holding Kellen. I also wanted to hold him because I wanted to hold and meet the new member of my family. I loved Tanner for being himself and being here, but I also love him for his connection to my own son. I was also so excited because,well, I'm a girl and a newborn baby will never fail to trigger the baby babbling, giggling, puddle of mush side of me.
Unfortunately, when Tanner was born I also wished that I could experience what my brother and his wife got to. I wished that I also had a chance to say 'hello' to my own child and not have to say 'goodbye' the same day. I looked at the pictures of their family together, smiles on their faces, and wondered what it would be like to be in their shoes. When I got the text that he had arrived, it came with a picture of a crying little baby. My first feeling was of pure joy. My immediate second emotion was of a jealous pang that said 'I would give anything I have to be able, just once, to see Molly or Kellen cry.'
I wish I was strong enough not to compare. However, when a pregnancy goes 30 weeks of excited comparisons, it is hard not to continue to compare births and ask the "what-ifs".
I don't know if you remember, but just weeks after Molly was born, our nephew, Hank joined the family. He has continued to be a joy to us, as much as any nephew or niece ever is. However, with Hank, there is a special piece of him that reminds me of my little girl. I love that about him. I love that when I see him I remember that he was with her before we got her. I remember that when I first held him I bawled my eyes out and wished he was Molly. I remember that the next time I held him he looked at me, silently at first- just staring at my face. Then he began to babble so much for a baby so young. Both his mom and I were shocked. It was as though he were telling me all about Molly, and I like to think he was bringing me a message in the only way he knew how. Today, when I see Hank- I feel Molly. Needless to say- I love seeing Hank. (Plus he is one of the happiest most smiley toddlers in the world, so, win-win)
I am so happy that I will get that same blessing with another Nephew. I will always remember and think of my Kellen when I see Tanner. He will always be the spirit that I believe is good friends with his cousins. I cannot wait to hold him. I cannot wait to kiss his chubby cheeks. I am so excited to fall in love with him as I have with all my nephews and nieces. I already love him. And one day, I am excited to tell him the story of his cousin Kellen Michael. I will tell him why I give him an extra hug every time he sees me. I hope he will be proud to know he is named after a friend he can't remember, a pure cousin. I hope he will know that Kellen is looking over him- his own namesake.
See, my amazing brother and his wife named their baby Tanner Michael. They chose to honor Kellen by giving Tanner the same middle name. Tanner Michael. I cry every time I think about him.
I am so happy you are here, Tanner Michael Hermann. Your "Auntie Hermann" as your mom calls me, and your uncle Lucas love you so much. Everyone wont always know it when they see us. Sometimes, too, you might forget. But you will always be a sweet reminder for me of the joy I have waiting for me in heaven. And, I know, that just like your sweet brother or your cousin Hank, you are be a piece of the joy that is already here.