Henry would be three.
This fact, this three-ness is hitting me in a way two and one didn't. Until now, I simply noticed he was gone. I thought of him as he was when I knew him last, not as he would have been if he had stayed.
I have always been surrounded by babies Henry’s age. There seemed to be a big crop of babies in spring 2007 among people I knew. I see many of these babies often, and while they sometimes reminded me that Henry should be there with them, I didn’t necessarily think, “Oh, look what Henry would be doing now.” I had expected him to be a bit behind in many milestones, even before his long hospitalization. During his short life, I didn’t compare him to others. After he died, I didn’t expect him to have been doing what his peers were doing.
And then, this spring, I saw pictures and heard stories of two kids from the baby group I took him too. I saw a little girl at an egg hunt. I heard about a little boy’s potty training and preschool open house—and suddenly I saw three.
Maybe it is the increasing distance from Henry that allows me to see not just who he was, but who he might have been.
Maybe it is watching Kathleen at 18 months—talking, walking, climbing, pushing, eating, smiling, laughing—and seeing what I missed with Henry that makes what he didn’t do, won’t ever do clearer to me know.
I don’t know. I just know that he would be three and that means something very different to me than he would be two did and he would be one did. He wouldn’t be a baby. He’d be a little boy.
He would be three.