We went Christmas shopping for Charlotte on Wednesday night, Mike and I had our first date night since we went to the beach in August. As a side note, it occurs to me that we don't go on enough date nights. Regardless, we went to Tysons to exchange Mike's Kinect at the Microsoft store and to to Coastal Flats where we had a gift card. Since we were there and together, we decided to do Charlotte's Christmas shopping.
It's still a hard thing. The theory is that we get her what we WOULD have gotten her had she lived. Had she lived, she would have just turned two. Wow. Walking and talking and following Mia like the proverbial shadow. We took it extra literal this year, thinking about how the presents we got Charlotte would fit in with the presents we were getting for Mia. In a world in which Charlotte exists, Ethan doesn't. That's such a strange alternate reality, but it's the truth.
We're getting Mia a Lego table for Christmas, so we got Charlotte a set of Lego Duplo blocks. There's a Lego store in Tysons. We thought, if we got real Lego's for Mia, Charlotte would have liked to have her own set of blocks which would also work on the table. Then we went to the Disney store and got her some Frozen stuffed animals. Mia is still obsessed with Frozen, but Charlotte would be too young to have the barbie dolls and too many dress up clothes, so we got a stuffed doll version of Elsa and Olaf. Mia would probably have stolen them. Or maybe they would have played together.
See, this is the hard part. This is the time of year I really think of the what ifs. I would never, ever wish that Ethan wasn't with us. Still, thinking of having Charlotte with us is so surreal, and it's something I long for so much. I would have three kids in an instant if I could have them all with me. Sign me up. It's so strange to go through and buy all the toys for Charlotte that it seems like she would like, that it seems like would fit with Mia's toys and who I think Charlotte would be by now, and then to give them away. I give them to a kid who will have a nicer Christmas because of Charlotte, but she's not the kid I bought them for. I bought them for my daughter.
I write that so much on this blog. My daughter. It's one of the only places I can put those words out there without the unintentional crazy gothic woman subtext. People don't understand. I think maybe they think I don't need to say it anymore. I think maybe they think Ethan healed the wound. In some ways he did. I see some angel in that kid. In other ways, I have to remind myself that I'm not crazy. Sometimes I have to say it out loud, just to make sure I'm still real. I had one daughter. Then I had another daughter. She died. I had a son. My daughter still died. It's real. She's real. Being a mother to an angel is a part of who I am. It's a part of what my family is. But I digress.
I need to go give the gifts to Toys for Tots this week. I actually still have some gifts from last Christmas that I need to give to Toys for Tots. We did Charlotte's shopping so late last year that Toys for Tots had stopped accepting donations...so I held on to them. That's dumb. But somehow....they had to be Christmas presents. Not just presents. I've lost my mind.