Hey there baby Olivia.
You’re not so baby anymore, you know that?
You were due to arrive safely in my arms three years ago today. Well, at least that was the plan. You know how plans go. And you definitely know how this plan went.
Looking back, I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in the last 3 years. I look older. I hope I don’t look QUITE the 32 I am — but I can see how much grief has aged me. It’s kinda ridiculous actually.
You know the “hope deferred makes the heart sick” thing? Well, apparently it causes wrinkles too.
I’m stronger now. And weaker. Sometimes I think I break more easily now. Other times, I think I had no idea what I was actually capable of handling. (With God of course. Never on my own.)
In those 3 years, I’ve learned that everyone has a story. I used to think “us” and “them.” Those who have experienced pregnancy loss — and those who haven’t. While all pain is pain, some pain has a different flavor. I’ve learned not to expect other people to understand who haven’t walked in my shoes. Afterall, I know nothing of the pain of an affair, or infidelity, or the loss of child you got to hold. These are things I can’t understand — but even if I don’t get the right flavor of pain . . . pain is still pain. And there are a lot of us here on earth going through it.
If 3 years ago you would have told me that I would go on to lose 3 more babies in early pregnancy, I would have probably lost so much more of my will to keep going. Losing you was enough. It has always been enough. If you had told me that I would likely never go on to have a successful pregnancy . . . If someone had said, “By the way, welcome to infertility . . .” I might have just given up hope.
It’s a good thing we don’t always get a heads up on the challenges coming our way.
You were the last baby I truly had hope for. The last due date where I actually expected that someone was going to be due. You were the last time I jumped into love the moment that second line appeared.
3 years ago today, I should have been either getting ready to give birth or have a new baby in my arms. Today, I should be celebrating a birthday, or planning a party for you. (Ok, let’s be real. My parties take very little planning. You would have decorated cupcakes and we would have had family over for cake, coffee & ice cream. And then you would have gotten spoiled by all the people loving on you with gifts.)
You and me — we have a lot of shoulds. Should haves, should have dones. should have beens . . .
But here on earth, the shoulds mean nothing. Well, they mean something to us. But in how life plays out, they mean nothing. They are empty, they are illusions, they are dreams never realized.
Our story is something I wouldn’t have chosen. Not in a million years. In my story, I would have chosen you to be with me always. (Or at least until college, and then I would have settled for weekends. And summers. Until you got married, or moved out. But then you really would have needed to visit. Especially if you were bringing grandchildren with you!)
In spite of all the empty “should haves” between you and me — God has still done a lot. He brought us your sister and your brother. And sometimes I wonder, dear girl, if He has used your short 7 weeks you were with us to impact more people through our story than you could have in your own lifetime.
Heaven only knows.
It’s time for me to get to bed. I think you would have probably given your mama a lot more rest than Z and Leyla do — but they always wake up at 6 am, no matter how late they go to bed.
One last thing before I go — Remember how I used to sing on worship team before you left us? And then I stopped because all I could do is cry during worship. And crying on stage doesn’t really HELP anyone else worship. Well, today, I followed up on a calling I’ve felt for over a year now. I joined the worship team again. On the anniversary of the due date that never was — I’ve restarted a passion of mine. Even as we’re a spiritual world apart, we’re praising our Father together. I love that this happened on your should-have-been-birthday.
Happy (almost) birthday my love.
Wish I could squeeze you tight.