It's been just about a month since Mother's Day, but I'm still trying to work through its after effects. Now there were so many ways to celebrate Mother's day this year. Brunches, flowers, candies, gifts, personalized jewelry, and of course, a good sale, as everyone knows that nothing says, "Thanks for giving birth to me," better than 30% off small appliances.

I still find it impossible to lie, even to strangers, about my daughterBut the most popular gift in my neighborhood was a t-shirt. Around the corner from my apartment, a boutique was and is still selling T-shirts that declare to the world how many children the wearer has. On stylish, burnout cotton, the tops are emblazoned in trendy print, "Mommy of 1", "Mommy of 2", etc. Everyone had one. Now that Mother's Day is past us, the brunch specials are over, my omelet and mimosa are but a pleasant memory and my discounted blender is installed happily in my kitchen. Meanwhile the t-shirt's have hit the clearance rack yet I am left with a dilemma – which one do I buy?

Living in New York City, I spend a lot of time in public. Having a ridiculously adorable baby with me tends to invite a lot of conversation. Depending on the length of the bus ride, eventually, people will get around to asking me if this is my first child. Yet one good look at the amount of wear and tear on my baby carrier and stroller and one can gather that no, this is not. When I tell strangers that Izzy is my third child, the natural inclination is to ask about my older two. "I have a son who just turned four, and a daughter who died when she was almost five months old." Silence. No one knows how to react.

So, do I get the "Mommy of 3" t-shirt? Should I be wearing a trendy conversation piece begging strangers to ask where my third child is when I'm out with my boys? No, that's not the kind of awkward interaction I want to invite on myself. Yet, I still find it impossible to lie, even to strangers, about my daughter. I refuse to pretend she never existed or use a nebulous answer regarding her whereabouts to gloss over the fact that she died. So, the "Mommy of 2" shirt isn't for me, either.

Every day, no matter how pleasant, no matter the occasion, will be a day without my daughterThere's no "Mommy of 2/3", shirt, but that's the one I need. Better yet, I need a t-shirt that says, "2/3 of Mommy", because each of my children is a piece of me, and one piece is gone. Some days, that is very obvious and the easiest way to communicate this to the rest of the world would be to have it on a t-shirt. The grief of losing a child is devastating to a parent's psyche and there are many ways in which I'm "not all there." My thought processes are fractured, concentrating is harder than it used to be and I'm not as quick on my feet as I once was. Most profound, though, is the incompleteness of my happiness.

Thank G‑d, we recently welcomed into the world our third child, a son, Yisroel Simcha, or Izzy for short. When I was pregnant with him, I told my husband that I wanted to make a big deal of his birth. I wanted balloons, a big party for his brit, the whole shebang and I got it.

I thought that creating a big celebration would lighten my heart and maybe even repair it. The sadness of grief found its way into my joy and took up residence, redefining joy for me. Every day, no matter how pleasant, no matter the occasion, will be a day without my daughter. Even the happiest moments for me, no matter how bright, will always be tinged with darkness.

Happy feels different nowSometimes I look at my living family and feel so filled with love that I could radiate with it, overwhelmed with joy to the point of spilling incoherent tears because these people are just so amazing. But even those heavenly moments of crazy-lady love are so augmented by the constant presence of grief that happiness is now a completely different emotion than it once was. Happy feels different now. This ecstatic adoration of the man I chose and the men I made is not a single color of joy, but an iridescent emotion, glimmering in varying shades, depending on the light.

I don't know if that can be condensed onto a t-shirt, or run through a discounted blender, but my mimosa will be commemorating all I've had and all I have left. I'll drink to all of my children, wherever they are. Happy Belated 2/3 Mother's day to me.