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I’m not a sentimental mom – I don’t save everything my kids own to cherish forever. Sure, some things are special, but others I’ve never felt attached to.

My first son’s crib? Take that away. Don’t need it. It served as a toddler bed from the time he was 18 months until he got a big boy bed at age … I don’t know. When he had his little brother had to share a room because I was pregnant with my fourth son.

See? Not sentimental.

My third son was kicked out of his crib and moved into the bedroom with the first to give his crib to the fourth. My oldest got a real bed and we said goodbye to his toddler bed.

Life changes man, life changes.

My fourth was the second baby to use this crib – a gift from my mom for our second son.

Our second son that never came home. Well, I guess he did.

But it was in an urn.

Our second son was a full-term stillbirth. The crib was his. A crib he never got to use; not for even a minute. Unless you count me leaning on it while I was heavily pregnant.

This was a fancy $500 crib that we didn’t even put together until I was 38 weeks pregnant because we were lazy and busy with our oldest son, Jules, who was seventeen months. For a while I blamed Joel’s death on this; obviously I didn’t prove that I wanted him because it took us so long to paint and fix up his room. Logically he died because we didn’t put his crib together.

That, The Band, is just one of the many insane things you think when your baby dies and you’re trying to figure out why. Because babies don’t just die. There has to be a reason, even if it’s silly and pathetic.

After we found out that Joel was dead, one of the worst moments was coming home and going to take a bath. I was surrounded by baby stuff. My husband went to that bedroom and shut that door. We had to block that out. That was the only way. That door was both literally and figuratively shut. His urn was placed in there after his service. His funeral flowers, too.

Over the next year, the room had magic and hope again when Blair came into this world, our rainbow baby that survived. It was a little hard turning Joel’s room into Blair’s, but we did it. Joel came into our bedroom. His crib was still his crib though, even though it was in Blair’s room and being used by Blair.

By the time Blair was ready for a big boy bed, I’d gotten pregnant with our fourth son, Reid. Now it was Reid’s turn to use the crib. Blair moved into Jules room and Blair’s room turned into Reid’s room which still housed Joel’s crib.

I don’t know why it was Joel’s crib but it was. It’s that one item allowed me to have a piece of him and to share a piece of him with his younger brothers. Even though he never used it, he passed that down to them.

A couple years later, Reid is becoming a big boy. He needs a toddler bed. Thankfully the $500 crib converts into a bed but the problem with that is that it’ll no longer be Joel’s crib. It becomes Reid’s bed. And even though it’s been five years of grief and trying to find ways to let go … I can’t let go of Joel’s crib. If I convert it, Joel’s crib is gone.

Then what do I have left?

I’ll make another painful decision and piece by piece, we will take Joel’s crib apart. Tears will flow, like everything else that normally involves him. We will load it up and store it at my parents, who understand. When I asked if we could store a crib there, they asked why I was saving a crib. When they asked who’s crib it was, I replied, “Joel’s.”

Without hesitation, my parents said, “Sure, we can find a safe place for that.” I’ll buy a toddler bed for Reid and, in a couple years, I’ll buy him a real bed instead of converting Joel’s crib for him.

Sometimes I wonder how this story will play out when I’m old and dying.

Will I find peace?
Will I continue to run his story through my head over and over, asking why?
Will my chest still hurt?
Will my eyes still pour tears?
Will the events run on a loop through my head like a bad movie?
Will my last thoughts be, “what could I have done differently?”

I won’t know until I get there. But I do know that some memories aren’t painful. Knowing that my rainbow babies – my pregnancies after we lost Joel – used Joel’s crib doesn’t make me sad.

I know I’ll always love that crib.

Joel’s crib.