Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joy Touched with Pain

Ezra is 6 months old today.  It's hard to believe I have had the great blessing of watching 2 of Rachel's little brothers grow so much since she was born.  And although I thought Asa would be jealous of his attention thief, he is absolutely head over heals in love with his baby brother.
my two babies

In every smile, giggle, cuddle and cry... I miss her. 

But in the same moment that I miss her... I get lost in thankfulness for him.  I stare in his big brown eyes and talk to him, hoping he knows what he means to me.  I feel his soft warm skin and pray I never forget what it feels like to know my little E as a new baby.  I feel his chubby strong baby hand around my finger and I am overwhelmed with the miraculous nature of each tiny detail of his body having been created inside of me... in the same space that once belonged to Rachel.

I know that my love for my children is deeper because of knowing what it felt like to hold her and then have to let her go.  I'll feel my sinful nature start to get frustrated with one of them and the next thought is if only I could be so bothered by her...  I wake in the night to care for another hungry infant, a screaming toddler or someone standing next to me saying they wet the bed  (often all in a row!) and I think grieving her is harder than any amount of sleep deprivation. I'm just glad they are here to care for and love.  I struggle though a day of schooling and cleaning and cooking and trying to meet demands left and right and remind myself any day one of these children could be gone too... how would I wish I would have responded if tomorrow never came?  Would I wish I spent the day differently?  Taken more time to love them?  Sat down and read to them instead of being preoccupied with my tasks?  Laughed instead of being mad?

I'm not claiming that I never get upset or frustrated or even that I never lose my cool.  I'm not claiming that I never feel so tired I think I could collapse or that I live my life completely regret free.  Actually, it's just the opposite.  I'm as human as they come with a hot head and quick tongue and I am grumpy in the morning and over stimulated and ready for a quiet house by 7pm.  But what has changed in me since Rachel left my world is that I am no longer content in any of that.  What is different is that I don't take time for granted.  What I work on every day is remembering the gift that each of these children are - and counting each "inconvenience" that comes with them as a blessing knowing that every single one of them is something I didn't get with my girl.  And every moment is a gift and I want to receive it as such.

Today after our Sunday school before church, I stopped by the nursery to check on Ezra and as I peeked around the door, I saw his huge smile as his eyes met mine and I immediately smiled back.  He's got to be the happiest baby I've ever seen.  He just lights up my entire world.  It's only been 6 months and I can't remember - or imagine - my life without him.  I'm very grateful to watch him grow and to learn more about him every day as I watch him develop more into his own little (*super cute*)person... but I'm in no rush for these days to go too fast.  Milestones are always bittersweet for me and much more complicated than for the common mother.  Things that 'should' just be exciting are reminders of what I never saw in Rachel.

I saw on my old calendar that on January 8th last year, I first heard Ezra's heartbeat.  As I went to write down the arrival of his first tooth exactly a year later, on January 8th this year, it struck me how fast life changes.  How quick they grow...  I wondered if Rachel would have gotten her first tooth at 5 months old too - and if it would have been the bottom left, just like all 5 of her siblings.  And a couple days later when he got his 2nd tooth and I was feeding him cereal, Desirae said "ooohhh, he's getting so big, getting teeth, eating food and trying to talk to us."  I looked up from the bowl and saw that her eyes had welled up with tears.  And in that moment, I realized how old SHE is getting... my little girl, getting emotional about her siblings growing too fast... I think her & I will be good friends when she is an adult... and oh how I pray I get to experience that with her.  But if I don't, Please dear Lord let today be a day without regrets.

6 beautiful months with our 6th baby.


Um...don't you just want to squeeze him? 
I forgot to add Rachel's bear in this one.  Wishing she was in it.

I posted this on facebook, but for those who didn't see it, I think Ezra is saying "victory!"
as he rides in Jay's wheelchair and she stands behind them pushing!!

As I just finished up this post, the sermon we were listening to quoted a hymn and the words resonated in my heart and that speak of what I was just trying to say.  I'm thankful for the way my joy is touched by pain... it reminds me that this world is not our home.

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found
I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,

That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.
For thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Hast given us joys, tender and true,
Yet all with wings;

So that we see gleaming on high
Diviner things.
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

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