Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday

Dear Teddy,
          Today was supposed to be the day that we finally held you. We should be in the hospital straining to bring you into this world. Family and friends should be excitedly waiting for news of your birth. Before the day is done, your Dad and I should be able to hold you in our arms. That wasn't God's plan.

Today I sit in quiet, devoting the morning to you. Tonight our house will be filled with crazy toddlers and snuggly babies ready to Trick or Treat, and I will love every moment of it, but there will also be moments when I miss you. When I imagine you and Sadie and Wyatt sharing the friendship your brothers have and cry a bit. However, I don't want your life to be about me crying. Your short 18 weeks mean more than that. Birthdays are about celebrations and counting your blessings. Today of all days, I want to pause and tell you how you have made me a better Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister and Friend. I want to Thank You for all you have brought to my life, and to thank God for the precious time we had together.

You have taught me to slow down. Before your death, I subscribed to the cult of busy.  I thought that being busy meant I was important, or doing my job. Now I know that it is a form of selfishness. If I am too busy to love and appreciate my family and friends, to see my students as humans, to spend time with my Heavenly Father, then I am not really engaging in life. I am avoiding it. Your illness and death made me stop. All of time stopped and I had to learn that busy isn't what I want to be. Loving, giving,  and living is who I want to be.

You have taught me to depend on God for all of my needs. I thought that I was in control, but I wasn't.  Life can change in a moment, but God is constant. His love never changes. He is always with us.

You have taught me that it is ok to vulnerable. I hated looking weak. I would hold thing in and not share what I was really feeling. You gave me the gift of vulnerability. The inability to even express what I was feeling meant that I was utterly dependent on those I love. They embraced me, buoyed me, uplifted me, overwhelmed me with their love. I now know that love and friendship are bigger, deeper things than I can comprehend, and am so thankful to be able engage in them.

You have shown me sides of your father I was unaware of. In our 13 years, I never know the capacity for love, grief, compassion, and giving he had. You have brought these out in him. He is a different person as well. Our marriage has changed. Our bond is deeper. You will always be our baby. You will be with us forever. When we both say goodbye to this world, the three of us will be buried together. It seems morbid, but you have deepened our love in ways we never could have.

You have made me appreciate all of your brother's moments. Harrison would have loved playing with you. He loves babies, and you would have been his baby. He is such a silly, lovable, compassionate, whirlwind of a boy. You have made me more present with him. You have taught me to pour more love onto him. You gave me the clarity to stop being torn between my professional life and my desire to  mother. You have given your brother a better mother. Someday, I will try to find a way to explain to him.

You have shown me that all things are possible through God who strengthens us. When we found out you were sick, I didn't think I would make it. I wanted to curl up and die with you. As I lay in bed crying, you kept kicking and kicking, reminding me that you were God's child before mine. I sit here today because of the gift of perfect grace and perfect love.  Without God, I wouldn't have gotten out of bed, and that would have been a horrid way to honor your life. With God, I am daily learning and pushing to share love, struggling to give forgiveness, working on offering grace and humbly accepting that the purpose of my life is to share God's love. That is a much better way to honor your life.

I will always miss you, will always long for you, will always want to hold you, but know that I am so thankful for you. The blessing of being your mother is worth all of it and more. The gifts  you have brought into my life have blessed me 1,000 times over. Someday we will be reunited and together we will turn to praise the Giver of All Life,  until then know that I love you, I miss you and I am so utterly thankful for you.

Love Mom.

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