I will be quite honest with you, I am dreading the next couple of weeks. It isn’t because my husband leaves on a mission trip for a week and it isn’t because there aren’t any fun plans. There actually are some great things on the calendar. But the one thing that over shadows them all is my firstborn’s birthday. Yet, it isn’t just her “birthday”, it is all the days leading up to and following that flood my memory. It seems like another life in some ways, and in other ways I am still paralyzed there on that ultrasound table. The memories that haunt me are almost too much to bear, and if you’ve experienced loss you understand this all too well.
Some of you know our custom of celebrating Callie’s birthday. We have always been determined to “celebrate” and to have a family time to continue to allow our kids to learn about their older sister. Last year it was horribly tough. It ended up with all of us in tears as the kids thought Callie would be coming to her birthday party. So this year I decided we would go to Chuck E Cheese. Am I crazy? Yes, maybe. But they have never been and have always wanted to go. So we are going to go and have a good time as a family. It helps for us to have something to look forward to and focus on and also allows for us to tell her story. As the kids grow older, though, the questions get harder. “How can Callie make a wish for her birthday?” “We want to get Callie a present.” It honestly is hard to hold back the tears at times.
Today the kids were playing in the play land at Chick-Fil-A with a little girl and her stuffed otter. Her mother called out to her “Callie….”. My heart stopped. Did I hear her right? “Callie….”. Yep. I heard the name that is so dear to my heart. The kids said good bye and we got in the car to head to Target. Corban and I began talking and he mentioned that the little girl he was playing with was Callie. Like his big sister. “Mommy, is Callie big or little?” “Well, she would have been 6 on her birthday.” The backseat grew quiet, which is unusual. “Mommy. I wish she would have stayed when she was born. Then she could be here for her birthday party.” I couldn’t hold back the tears this time, and I began to cry behind my sunglasses. “me too, buddy.” “Will we ever get to see her?” I was at a complete loss, so I said “yes, honey, one day we will all be together in Heaven.” Now he was crying. He doesn’t want to die. He doesn’t want to leave his stuffed animals and toys. He doesn’t want to miss out on peanut butter and hot dogs and pop pops. And who will live in our house then? He was inconsolable for a good while but then Matt talked to him and somehow got him calmed down.
I understand his feelings. I wish she were here, too. I hate celebrating a birthday without her. I don’t understand the Lord and His ways, yet I know His great love. I have experienced firsthand His grace and peace. So while I would love to go ahead and turn the calendar page over to next month a little early, I press on. That is what I am called to do.
“The happiest place on earth is not on this earth. This life is never going to fill us, is never going to satisfy our need for goodness. And it doesn’t need to. He is enough.” Mended by Angie Smith
“Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” Job 26:14