The Birthday That Isn’t
Today might have been a birthday, or near to it. There could have been a soft new baby to love and introduce to the family. Tiny toes to count, and exquisite hands to hold. Excited squeals from siblings, and the happy, exhausted smiles of new parenthood might have been. But it isn’t and there aren’t. I’m carrying a baby (and so thankful to be), but not the baby that could have had a birthday today.
Instead of a new day to celebrate, we have a phantom birthday. A day to remember the child who lived only a few weeks cradled inside my body, before going to the embrace of our Heavenly Father.
One might not think such a short life could leave such an impression. I’m not sure I even understood the weight of the shortest lives before our littlest Pea. The thing is, from the very first moment I held the pregnancy test that whispered our baby’s existence, my mind leaped to accomodate this new life. I imagined hundreds of possibilities for this baby, just like I’d done for her siblings before. Just a few minutes before that test my idea of our family had consisted wholly of the 5 of us. In the space between those two little blue lines, I saw 6. Even though we had only a few weeks of the knowledge of her, I saw the potential of her whole life, and I loved her.
So then, when the ultrasound technician held her wand over an empty womb and told me the baby was gone, a life sized hole tore into the tapestry I’d imagined. I’ll never forget that. No matter how short the life, it matters. It has meaning. It has a purpose. And it is all wrapped up together in the goodness and providence of God, whether we ever really understand it or not. I doubt I ever will, to be honest. But that’s okay. As it happens, we have a new piece to our puzzle–a little boy who, God willing, will give us a new day to celebrate in June. He’s our rainbow after the storm; and he couldn’t have existed without the storm.
It’s a discordant feeling–grief over a loss mixing with joy over a life that exists because of the loss. I know this though: I’ll remember that short life for the entirety of mine. I’ll remember the birthday that could have been, and the day that we lost her. I’ll be sad that we didn’t get to watch her grow up, and I’ll be glad that I’ve had the opportunity to know the depth of love a parent feels for a child from the very beginning. To be honest, I expected to be utterly sad today, but over and over as I’ve pondered through it all, all I can see is the goodness of God in every facet of our life–storms and rainbows notwithstanding. And in the end of the day, all I have the heart to do is thank God for the children he’s given to us, and rejoice for the child he has taken into His arms.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~ Proverbs 3: 5-6
In memory of our forever littlest Pea on the day that might have been a birthday ~ 05.08.2018