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Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Who knew that something as little as a crumb could make a you fall to your knees and cry.

For the last 9 years, I have worried about crumbs on the floor. When we had our first daughter Cora, I was meticulous about no shoes in the house. I didn't want anything around her that could make her sick. I was constantly vacuuming, making sure that when she started grasping for things, she wouldn't put anything in her mouth that could hurt her, crumbs included.

Then we had our daughter Quinn, and I was so worried that one of Cora's toys would lose a tiny part and Quinn would stick it in her mouth. That the beads from a bracelet would fall off and Quinn might choke on it. I was still sweeping up those crumbs though. Who knows...those could have been crumbs from the cat food, or worse yet, kitty litter. I tried to be less rigid about number 2 and all.

Then came Sloane, our last child. I was still meticulous about sweeping. I was always asking her big sisters to "pick up that mess", whether it was little toys, dirty socks, little hair bands or crumbs. I wanted to be more relaxed on germs, but it was a freaking pandemic and we had a newborn.

Now, I cry at the sight of crumbs. Little fluff balls on the floor. Mud from outside. Crumbs from dinner. I look at them and cry. I look at them and walk on by.

You see, when Sloane died, my desire to clean the floors left me. I didn't care anymore that there were crumbs on the floor. There wasn't a baby to protect. Cancer stole her from us and I couldn't protect her from that. It didn't matter if there was a mess, Sloane wasn't there to pick up those crumbs and put them in her mouth. She wasn't there to chase around when she had something she knew she shouldn't have. There wasn't any smiling or giggling when her sisters and her would make a mess.

Now, instead of picking up pieces of games or bracelets or food, I am picking up the pieces of me that shattered when she died. I am picking up the pieces for Cora and Quinn who lost their baby sister. I am picking up the pieces of my husband who is just as shattered as me.

I wish I was picking up crumbs.

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