My mom's best friend's daughter just had a baby. It's her first and I'm super excited for her to experience the joy of motherhood. But, see, I have clothes hanging in the closet of the
So on the day that my mom's best friend's daughter was in labor, I had to open that closet (which I really rarely do because it's filled to the brim with baby stuff in the hopes that one day it'll be used) and I happened to fix my eyes on the matching outfit. I want her to wear hers, of course. I'm just reminded that Kate will never wear hers.
So a couple days ago, I cried. It had been weeks since I'd shed a tear which is really a testimony to the grace of God and the power He has to heal if we let Him. Sometimes we like to be stuck in our grief. Sometimes it feels so wrong and unnatural to be happy that we allow ourselves to stay fixed on sadness. But I am convinced that our loved ones do not want us circling sorrow for the rest of our lives.
They want us to live.
Still, sometimes, the grief creeps up on me. When my boys stare longingly at babies in Walmart. Grief. When I think of the life she won't lead. Grief. When I see tiny baby clothes left unworn. Grief. I sat on my bed and allowed myself to feel the weight of sadness for several moments. My eight-year-old walked into the room, took one look at me and said, simply, "Kate?" Then he came, wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. I am convinced that, one day, he is going to love his wife just as tenderly. I simultaneously cannot wait for that day and could wait a lifetime for it.
Troy came in and pulled me close. I explained. "I just wish I could have one child that I did not have to cry buckets over." And I know that we will all cry over all of our children for one reason or another or a hundred. But just once, I would have loved to experience the joy of conception and birth and life without the pain of infertility and contested adoption and stillbirth.
Matthew wandered in and then wandered out. Later, he came up the stairs and handed me a gift he had made.
"It's a Paper Kate," he said.
"Now you have her. It's a doll. You can snuggle her."
It's stuffed with toilet paper. I plan to keep it forever and for always. I hugged him and told him I couldn't love anything more. This experience has not been fun. There are a million things I would rather do than go through this and, especially, watch my children go through this.
But it is making them tender. It is teaching them about life and love and Heaven and grace and mercy. It is, in painful ways, making them better.