We’ve had many park days lately. I could fill a whole photo album (if I made photo albums) of our trips to the park together. The pictures are all kinds of ordinary, but I cherish this kind of ordinary. It reminds me of this beautiful life, and how I could never take it for granted – not one second of it.
Last week (March 5th) was the birthday of Devon’s boys. They would have been five years old. They died on March 7th and 8th, two and three days after they were born – and so all last week Devon and her boys were especially on my mind. I thought back to five years ago, and being pregnant with Vivian and Annemarie – and how time and circumstance have changed me and changed the lives of everyone I know.
A lot of days, I feel like rocks in the canyon, with water flowing over me and carving its name into my soul. It happens slowly – and five years is just a blink. But these past five years have cut deep: Vivian, Annemarie, Blake, Ethan, Grandpa, Eric, Steven. And it spreads out from there – the people I have met, each carrying their own losses too painful to speak.
And in five years, so much joy, as well. Devon has a little girl now – the same age as Ginger. And I have my sweet Ginger and my Violet. I look at these girls and they are miraculous to me. Miraculous works of the Creator. I know all babies are – Blake and Ethan and Vivian and Annemarie are also Miraculous works of the Creator. I know that now even more than I knew it five years ago.
So last Tuesday, like I said, was Blake and Ethan’s birthday. I had been building up to it for a month – thinking about it – wondering what that day would be like – Five Years. I (silently) built it up in my head that no one should do anything on that day. Like there would be a National Day of Silence – no Facebooking or driving, etc.
Paprika’s school sent home a flyer that they would be going on a Field Trip to the Police Station on that day, and I was honestly upset. How could they go on a freaking Field Trip on Blake and Ethan’s birthday?!!! Don’t they understand March 5th: National Day of Silence, no Facebooking and no Driving Day?
But that’s the thing – they did go on the field trip. And I guess that’s how it has to be. Paprika and her classmates all lined up like little ducks and walked (waddled?) downtown to the Police Station. The Mayor’s daughter is in Paprika’s class. So, the Mayor took the day off and waddled downtown with the little ducks…and personally took them on a tour of City Hall. Paprika came home beaming that she got to sit at the Mayor’s desk and pound the gavel one time. She was so full of life, and so very happy.
I’m not sure, but I think Blake and Ethan would have preferred that over a day of silence in their memories. It was me who wanted to sit still and feel sorry about them not being here – about the pain of that day, and what five years means to a mom missing her children. Of course, I’m not just talking about Devon now, am I?
God is working on me in big (and small) ways – and the more I look back at my life, the more I see how fortunate I am to have lived through all I have lived through in these 35 short years. God is using me, and I don’t think He’s finished with me yet. At least I hope not! 😉
I haven’t begun to figure out half the things I want to figure out – and I don’t know what grief looks like 10 or 20 or 50 years from now.
I do know that every day I wake up, I look to my purpose. Some days, my purpose is creating magical moments with my family – days in the sunshine that I know we’ll remember for a lifetime.
And then some days, my purpose is making sure the kids are well rested, fed, bathed, getting the dishes done, taking care of the laundry, putting food on the table. It’s setting the stage so that the magical moments can happen, too. Magical moments don’t happy to hungry, tired kids…at least not around here!. ;-).
It’s about not sweating the small things – like Baby Violet who only wants what her sisters have – so she wears her 6 1/2 year old sister’s jacket everywhere. We roll up the sleeves and make it work. I’m finding that life is a lot about improvisation and finding happiness with what is…not what might have been or could be if only.
Life is not at all how I expected it would be – but it is beautiful just the same.