I wrote the journal entry below in August of 2009. Two years later I am still battling the same emotions. This week I sent my son off to 3rd grade and my baby off to 1st grade. On the second day, just Brooklynn wanted me to walk her in to class. By day three, she woke up and said, “Momma. I got this. I want to walk myself to class.”
Smiling because I am so proud of the confidence she has.
Smiling because dropping her off in the car line is so much quicker and easier for me.
Tears because I know the years are slipping by so quickly, and I know I will blink and I will be dropping them both off at college.
Tears because I know that there are so many mommas out there who have children that went to be with the Lord before they could feel the proud moment of sending them to school.
As you read this blog, please pray. Pray for all those mommas in your life who grieve a child that they never got to drop off at Kindergarten. This week our family is grieving the loss of our precious Daisy Elizabeth.
August. The month of August has had several different meanings to me over the years. As a child I can remember the flip-flopping feelings of anxiety and excitement as August rolled around. Anxiety because August meant that the freedom of summer was coming to an end. Excitement because August meant new classes, new teachers, new textbooks and I have always loved change.
As a teacher I again had mixed emotions as August rolled around. When I turned the page of the calendar from July to August, there would often be knots in my stomach as I thought about all the work ahead preparing for the new school year, while at the same time I would be filled with joy as I thought about the new students, the new lessons and the prospects of getting a fresh start.
Last year again I experienced yet another version of the mixed feelings of August. As my first child started kindergarten, I found myself on the edge of tears one minute and the next minute my heart would be bursting with pride at the young man Caleb had become. We gave our son, who was conceived after three miscarriages, a middle name that would remind us to always celebrate his life…to never take his life for granted.
Caleb’s middle name is Matthew. We named him after a special young man named Matthew, who was a part of one of our children’s ministries. I will never forget the mixed feelings as I sat in the halls of Cook Children’s Hospital chatting with Matthew’s mom, knowing that in the next room her son was dying while at the same time my first child was being knit together in my womb. Matthew’s mom told me that when she hears a mom say that she wishes her child would stay young forever, she felt like screaming, “no you want to see them grow up. You need to be excited to see them grow and experience life.”
This August took me by surprise. Caleb was starting 1st grade and my daughter, Brooklynn who is 4, would be at home with me for one more year. I expected that the emotions I would feel would be very similar to last year, but on a lesser scale. I was wrong. In late July, I found myself battling off unexpected bouts of sadness and tears.
I really couldn’t pinpoint my feelings until one afternoon I was sitting in a Starbucks drinking my usual grande black coffee, and I found my eyes filling up with tears as I watched three preteen girls giggling as they sipped their iced coffees. I started imagining Brooklynn and her cousin Ashlynn as preteens and then realized that I was imagining my niece Daisy giggling along with them. I had to stop my daydreaming short, because it was likely to send me into an ugly cry and I wasn’t sure if I had put on waterproof mascara that morning!
You see, last August my beautiful niece Daisy went to be with Jesus before she even took a single breath on her own here on earth. I will never forget the night I got the call that my sister-in-law was alone in a hospital half way around the world, and had been told that her daughter had died in her womb just weeks before she was due to be born into this world.
This August I have found myself battling back a new emotion. . . the emotion of what will never be. I will never have the privilege of taking the first three babies I conceived to their first day of school. As I walked Caleb to his class, I found myself wondering what it would be like to have four kids in school already. Granted….getting one child to school on time was stressful enough and I really don’t think that I could possibly get three more ready in the morning and to school before lunch time but…. just knowing I will never have an opportunity to see those babies grow into independent young people can bring a tear to my eye at a moment’s notice.
This August I also was hoping to be celebrating my nieces 1st birthday. Instead of a pink princess crown and a new birthday girl onesie, my brother will be buying his daughter a gravestone to mark her all too short life. This August I was hoping to celebrate my husband Joe’s sister’s baby’s 1st month of life. You see his sister and her husband have longed to be pregnant for many, many years.
After years of infertility treatments, she finally became pregnant last fall only to have the pregnancy end in a miscarriage. Her baby, due to be born into this world on July 7th, would have been giving us his or her first smiles this August. Instead of the joy of life, she had to experience the sting of death as mother’s day and her 40th birthday rolled around this year.
August. A month that is filled with such memories. Some full of joy. Some full of tears. But as I remember Matthew, Daisy, and my three babies that I never got to meet face to face, I am determined to celebrate. Determined to celebrate another day of my own life. Though I look forward to the day that I will meet my Maker face to face and see the beautiful souls that have gone on before me, I don’t want to miss out on the joy that is available to me here on earth.
Though tears may fall each August, my comfort comes from knowing that every life no matter how short that life may have been, is of significance to our Maker. My days are numbered, and I desire to honor my Creator by celebrating each of them!
Psalms 139:13-16 (NLT)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.