Sunday, May 18, 2008
My Greatest Birthday Gifts
I celebrated my birthday on Saturday. The most special part of the day was when Chris and the girls brought me my birthday cake. Chris put it in our refrigerator that's in the garage, and he and the girls went out there to get it. He put the candles on the cake, lit them, turned off the lights in the kitchen, and they brought it to me. Ann Catherine was singing "Happy Birthday" at the top of her lungs, and Lily was just smiling, clapping and bouncing up and down. I just sat there and began to cry.
As I watched those two little girls take such joy and pleasure in their mommy's birthday, I could only think of one thing. Three years ago, on my birthday, I was laying in a hospital bed, doing all I could to keep Melissa and Ann Catherine alive. I had been on bed rest for 4 weeks, and I had just hit 24 weeks two days before. That was such a big deal, because it meant that if they were born, they would have a chance to survive outside the womb. Even so, at that point, we had no idea if Ann Catherine or Melissa would survive if they were born. It was such a scary time.
Fast forward three years. Melissa isn't with us, but Ann Catherine is. And not only is she here, but she's healthy. Then there's Lily, this wonderful, incredible little person who so unexpectantly came into our lives. So much has happened in three years.
When you lose a child, special occasions are always hard. This time of year, it's especially hard because Mother's Day, my birthday and Melissa and Ann Catherine's birthday is in a three-week time span. I just have such a range of emotions during those weeks.
When it gets so hard, there is one thing that keeps me going - the love of Ann Cathrine and Lily. Ann Catherine, who carries within her Melissa's spirit and who sends me hugs from her twin sister without even knowing it. And Lily, who is life, love and happiness all rolled into one, whose laughter literally permeates our home and goes straight to my heart. Those little girls give their mommy more strength than they could ever imagine. They are the ones who help me go on when I just hurt so much. Thank you God for sending them to me.
So, you can only imagine how hearing Ann Catherine sing "Happy Birthday" to me, and watching Lily dance with such joy, literally lifted my heart. Soon after, I sat down to enjoy my cake with them, and Chris snapped the picture above.
These little girls will never in a million years know how they save me on the days that are just so hard. But, I know. And I'll never forget.