Monday, August 8, 2011
Rainbow to the Rescue
Milestones are hard for parents who have lost children.
Ann Catherine's first day of kindergarten last year was incredibly hard for me. I was fine in front of Ann Catherine, but I broke down when I left the school. I wasn't crying because Ann Catherine was going to kindergarten. I was crying because Melissa wasn't.
My parents watched Lily Baker that morning so Chris and I could walk AC into school and spend that time one-on-one with her. But as soon as we were finished, I could not wait to get to Lily Baker. Having her with me is what got me through the day.
This year, Ann Catherine asked if Lily Baker could accompany us on that first day of school. I said yes. After all, since AC attended full-time kindergarten last year it wasn't such a transition for all of us this year.
There was also another reason.
Lily Baker just always makes things better.
As most of you know, we call her our rainbow. Just as God sent the rainbow after that horrible storm to promise he'd never flood the Earth again, he sent Lily Baker to us with our own promise.
A promise that we would be okay. A promise that even after such a devastating less, we would survive. A promise that we would laugh again. A promise that Ann Catherine would finally have the sister we so desperately desired for her.
Lily Baker isn't a replacement for Melissa. Any parent who has lost a child knows that notion is just absurd. No one can replace your child. Melissa was her own person. She was uniquely created by God. She was my oldest, beating Ann Catherine into this world by one minute because her life was in danger and she needed to be rescued first.
Her short life changed me profoundly, in ways that I still can't fully explain. She made me a better person, a better wife, a better mother. She taught me that life isn't about how long you are here. It's about what you do with the time you are given.
No, Lily Baker isn't a replacement for Melissa.
She is a beautiful completion.
She completed a family who needed her more than she'll ever know. She brought laughter back into our lives. More importantly, she brought hope into our lives.
Lily Baker opened our eyes to the immense blessings that God wants to bestow on us. She reminded us that we have to be patient and trust that God has a plan for our lives, even when it makes no sense to us. She reminded us that sometimes you have to brave a torrential downpour before you can see your rainbow.
So as we walked Ann Catherine into school on her first day of first grade today, I was okay. Because Lily Baker was there.
It doesn't mean I missed Melissa any less. I would have loved to have watched my twin daughters walk into their first grade classroom hand in hand. But I know that wasn't to be.
But on this special day, Ann Catherine wasn't alone. Her sister was there. The sister God sent us to heal our broken hearts.
She did that today, just as she has countless times before.
How did Ann Catherine do? Oh, she did great. She is pumped to be in first grade!
I was grateful that this year was easier than last. And as we left school, I squeezed Lily Baker a little tighter - so grateful to have her with me. So grateful that on those hard milestone days, where the pain of losing Melissa threatens to engulf us, she is here with us.
So grateful for the rainbow. And so grateful for our promise.