The night before our baby boy’s first birthday, Benji and I sat at the local Italian restaurant and reminisced over every detail of his little life. We recounted the day of his birth, the exact place in our room where he was born, the way his hands seemed too big for his tiny body, the way his precious face was so smooshed. We marveled at the beauty of that day, the closeness and the peace we felt as we brought him into the world.
With joy and laughter we talked of his sweet personality, all the funny new mannerisms he is learning and the way he just adores his sisters. We talked of what we would do the following morning to celebrate him – cupcakes with his sisters who are his favorite people and a boda ride with our dear Uncle Fred. We laughed about this becoming Noah’s birthday tradition, picturing him as a teenager and Uncle Fred as an old man riding around the block on his motorcycle.
And as joy over his little life filled up my heart, something else slipped in quietly, too. The deep grief that has taken me by surprise so many times this year as I cuddled his tiny sleeping frame, watched all his firsts and comforted all his cries. For with all the beauty and joy I get to experience with my son comes the stark realization of all I didn’t get with my daughters.
I know them just like I do him, as if I birthed them from my own body. I can see in my mind the different shades of brown of their deep eyes and the unique shape of each of their fingernails and I can hear their distinctly different laughter ring through my head and my heart even now as they are snug in their beds. Our love came more slowly, more gradual, and with more effort than my love for this boy, it’s true, but today, my love for each of them is this same deep, aching momma-love that threatens to break your heart and make it burst for joy all at once.
So that’s where I have been the last few years, friends. Birthing the beautiful gift of a baby and marveling at the love that God faithfully gives me for each of my babies. Sitting with Him in my questions and my grief over the things I didn’t get with my others, things that I so deeply long for as, of course, any mother would, and simultaneously praising him for the beautiful gift of this boy who has brought so much peace, comfort and unity to our family.
And while I grew a baby in my womb, God began to grow something else in my heart. About half way through pregnancy, He began to whisper, “It’s time.” And as I birthed new life, He birthed a new story in and through me, one that had been growing deep inside for much longer than nine months. For the first time in nearly a year, I sat and began to type the words of my heart. The words turned into pages and the pages turned into a story and as I wrote it for you, I was writing it for me, too, and the Lord was graciously reminding me of all the beauty and all the Truth He has shown me through both the joys and the sorrows of our last many years of life.
His grace has been sufficient for us. His love has been enough for us. Through all the trials and all the celebrations, through all the sorrows and all the joys, our Faithful Father has pursued us and held us and known us, and we have known Him. My prayer is that you would know Him too, more deeply and intimately than ever before, and that His whispers to me typed here on these pages would invite you deeper into His arms and His heart.