I thought of you again today, when my friend Tyler complimented my cupcake carrier. I remember purchasing it over 15 years ago. He said he liked its layered trays and sturdy red handle.
It came from a strip mall in Nashua. I recall feeling silly and frivolous as I stood at the checkout. I never baked then, and you weren’t even here yet. It was a daring and optimistic purchase - a symbol of your eventual arrival, when it would be a necessity for friends’ birthday parties and room-mom events at school. It was the first item that I purchased with you in mind.
I remember your sunny childhood room, buttercream yellow walls with white chair rails and matching furniture. The white rocker in the corner next to the window for gazing out back at the woods. I remember thinking of you as we bought this house, the nicest that we could afford, so you’d be proud to bring new friends home. We chose this town carefully for its charming community rituals. I couldn’t wait to take you to the annual Apple Blossom parades, Tuesday farmers markets, and even the town history museum - open only one day a week.
I remember your Montessori preschool near the ski slope, and the private primary school in Concord that I’d gaze at for hours while sitting in traffic. The plays and holiday concerts that I would record on my phone, while proudly beaming from the audience. Nights doing homework, flash cards to quiz you, teaching you how to study, how to present. Your sports and activities - skiing by age three, tee-ball at five, your first trip to the driving range; piano lessons and recitals, teaching you checkers then graduating to chess.
I remember the planned summer vacations with long flights to new countries, all to expose you to as much as possible. Teaching you about history and different cultures, trying new foods…excited for your reactions. The importance of manners - napkin on your lap, holding doors, yes please, no thank you, you’re welcome - teaching these phrases in multiple languages.
I spent decades planning for your arrival, and could fill a book with my mental notes. I couldn’t wait to witness your first smile, and see your reaction to every new experience. I would do my best to teach you kindness, empathy, love, and independence - all while building your self-confidence, cheering you on during your hardest moments, and protecting you from every possible danger.
As I sit here in my home office, with its buttercream yellow walls and white chair rails, I am sorry that we never met and that you never came.
E.G. Herbst is an emerging writer that completed her Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from University of Pennsylvania in 2021. She focuses on poetry and creative non-fiction, and was recently published by Wingless Dreamer and Poet’s Choice. E.G. lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania (U.S.) with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Herbst works professionally as a Director of Marketing in management consulting. She earned her M.S. in Organizational Communications at Northeastern University, her M.P.S. in Design Management at Pratt Institute, and her B.S. in Graphic Design at Drexel University.