I have a tattoo that says “Always 3”, with a heart for each of my children, in their favorite colors (blue, green and pink). I never thought I wanted a tattoo, and will probably never get another, but this one is so special and meaningful to me. Every time I look at it, I remember that I have three children.
Not had, have. Because one of the things I’ve learned is that Charlie is as present now as he ever was. I think of him multiple times a day. His Bear is the first thing I see in the morning, and the last at night. In fact, I talk to Bear Charlie every night, giving him a good night kiss and hug just as I do my other two children.
He is present through his absence. He’s there when I see my husband tear up because something has reminded him of Charlie. He’s there in struggle my oldest and youngest have in bridging their age gap without the one in the middle. He’s here in my office, his former bedroom, as I type these words.
Of course, he’s not physically here. I can only wonder what he would be like as a 12 year old in sixth grade. I can’t ask him about his day, or teach him how to make banana bread, or help him do his homework. But he is present in my memory every day. He is still a part of my life. My love hasn’t changed, only how I can express it.
Because the ones we love never really leave us. We still love them, so they still are present, safe in our hearts. I am always a mom of three.