“Mama? Can I come? Will you let me come on the trip with you? ” She was watching me pack and she sat, legs crossed daintily on the edge of the bed.

“Oh, sweetheart, I can’t. It’s for work,” I said softly as I looked for socks.

“But mama? I promise I’ll stay in my seat and I won’t cry. If I do that won’t you please take me?” Her eyes were wide and there was the hint of a smile, like she knew that this would do it.

“Honey, I really can’t. I don’t have a ticket for you,” as I said this the smile slipped away and she solemnly folded a blanket.

“Ok, but you are going to need this. I don’t want you to be lonely.”

Once again, I find myself gripped by the terror of how fleeting it all is. I know she’ll be fine, I know I should go, but as I zip up a suitcase and tell my sweet, firstborn that she can’t come, I cannot help but feel the excruciating pain of missing. Missing a single moment of Briar.

I love you, sweet Briar. Always my first baby. Always, I promise.