These spaces take all forms.
There's the obvious space in our house. The room that got cleared to make a nursery, not once, but twice.
This is a stretch, maybe, but there's the empty space in the size 5 t-shirt that reads "big brother." The space from the hem of the shirt to the top of Levi's waist band, signifying the years lost. He was three when I got that shirt, expecting him to grow in to it by the time he became a big brother. I never dreamed he would have out-grown it.
There's space in the cabinet that I cleared for formula and bottles. The formula that I slowly stockpiled seemly quickly began to expire, so I gifted it to another family.
There's the space in my daily schedule where free time screams, "You should be caring for an infant."
It's odd to be a SAHM to one child, who is now in school. I found myself trying to fill these days with a job, feeling selfish for the privilege of time. Herb, so supportively, encouraged me to pursue things that have been on hold for the duration of the little years - reading, exercising, visiting with friends and family, investing in me.
And it's not just the school time space, but even the night time space after Levi is in bed and Herb is doing homework. Times when I expected to be washing diapers, doing late feedings, and rocking in to the late night hours.
I can tell you about these spaces now, because they are less severe - their edges have softened.
My counselor suggested a dedicated space for grief. I don't know if she actually meant to make a physical space or not, but for me, this is a basket tucked deep in to my closet. The basket holds the big brother shirt, Addison's quilt, and gifts I had purchased to give both of the expectant moms at birth. I struggled with holding on to these things - would I be wasting precious closet space?
The lie I have fought in the last year is that my grief is not deserved.
And when I step back from our situation and remove the element of adoption and just embrace the fact that I have lost two babies in the last year, the wasted closet space is at the bottom of my list of cares. If there had been an actual death of an actual human, of course I would grieve these spaces and allow myself the time and space to do so.
So I have. I am.
And slowly, some of the spaces are filled.
In the nursery, the crib has been returned to the attic, the newborn clothes carefully packed away or given away. In it's place, a set of bunk beds.
The bunk beds represent our future. Space to entertain (my sister! my in-laws! my nieces and nephews!). Space to plan for the future of our family - in fact, we have begun training to be foster care certified! That's going to be another story for another day, because, like most of my hopes fulfilled, that too is a story of God's redemptive goodness.
The cabinet spaces were not filled, but efficiently rearranged, completely able to be cleared for formula again if needed.
My schedule is filled with good things - but all flexible things, so that when the call of motherhood rings again, I can readily answer it.
And some spaces will never be filled. The cousin gap, the age gap between Levi and his future siblings, the spot in my heart - those will always remain empty and dedicated to the loss of Addison and Micah, but co-existing with the loss is hope, and by God's grace, peace.