Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Our Children

NOTE: No, I am NOT pregnant. So quit squealing and read on (mmm hmmm, Mom).

Dearest Little Bit,

It's been just over three years since we first learned of your existence, and it is just short of three years since we learned that meeting you in person was not to be. How hard that was! How we grieved. We miss you still, but this year for the month of October--Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month--the grief is less sharp and our joy is less shaky. It would have been so amazing to see your chubby arms and legs, to play with your wee toes and fingers, even to fumble through clouds of exhaustion to change your diapers. I don't think we realized just how much we had lost until your sibling came along. The first Christmas that we hung your ornament on the tree, our arms were still so empty and aching. Yet it was a different type of ache when we looked at little Annabel and hung your tiny ornament from the tree two years later. Realizing what we had lost, that you should have been hovering over your baby sister, showing her the shiny tree that We Do Not Touch.

I think the Christmas before we had felt an unspoken guilt over our excitement at your sibling growing in my belly, the way you never could. Perhaps this year at Christmas we will feel yet another emotion as we watch Annabel's distinct personality continue to emerge. An awareness that Annabel is, and never could be, your replacement, but rather that she could have been a complement to you. It's that "could have been" that still stings--the cry of our hearts that things aren't the way that they're supposed to be, that primal realization that all is not right with the world.

Yet what precious joy you did bring us for those couple of months and what precious grace we received from those around us after we lost you. (Thank you, dear friends, for carrying us in prayer and tangibly helping us during that time!) I still marvel at how having to learn to let you go has made me a better mother for your sister as I strive daily to trust her to God's care. And what bittersweet joy I have found in being able to step through that place of continual healing to minister to others as the consequences of a fallen world wreak havoc on us all. Is it blasphemy or merely desperation to thank God that at least you were spared all that? Perhaps both... yet God is big enough to handle it all.

So on the 15th, we'll light a candle for you. Are you swinging on heaven's gates? Perhaps. Maybe you are just resting, waiting with all the saints for the triumphant return of Christ. Either way, we send our love to you and thank God for your precious little life.

Love, Mommy & Daddy

Dearest Annabel,

How you melt our hearts with all the sweet things you do! How much you crack us up at your antics--even the ones that showcase just how sinful man can be. What joy we've had over the past 16 months (Happy Birthday, darling) of getting to know you more. We ask God's blessings over your little life and are breathless with gratitude for your presence in our lives. Rest well, sweetheart--you have a full day tomorrow of playing and eating and testing our patience and melting our hearts all over again.

Mommoo and Daddoo

Precious Future Children,

Some of you are probably still that proverbial "twinkle in the eye," so we pray for God's providence in bringing you into our lives eventually. Perhaps some of you are already born, or will be born not with us, and adoption paperwork will bring you to us. If so, we pray now for your protection, your guidance, your childlike awareness of a good God. For all of you, we pray that God will continue to grow us in our parenting skills (poor guinea pig Annabel!) that we might be better equipped to help you grow and to soothe hurts and bring about healing where needed.

Perhaps you will come to us broken by the world, or with poor health, or perhaps, like wee Little Bit, we will know you for only a short time. We pray that will not be the case with any of you. Regardless, we ask God's blessing over your souls--that he has known since before the foundation of time--and rejoice to know that he loves you more than we ever could. And we believe in him for your lives and growth, and ask him to help our unbelief. So get ready, wee ones. You are going to have some kooky parents that love you wholeheartedly.

Much love,
Mom & Dad

And a note to the Father--thank you for making us your children, your heirs. Grant us the patience and the grace to show your love to our children and to point the way to you. And... thank you for the couple of hours each night between Annabel's bedtime and ours! It is awfully nice to talk as adults and not be preoccupied with what she's sticking in her mouth, what she's doing to the cat or what we can do to not go insane reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the millionth time...

Two of Your Children