I hurried to get the kids to bed as it had been an exhausting day. You know the kind where every second it seems some little critter is tugging at your sleeve, yelling, screaming, and saying “Mom, he hit me, she won’t move her leg, he took my toy, and he won’t share.” ALL DAY!! On days like these I can’t help but think.. Hurry please go to sleep, I desperately need a break!
As the day continued I could feel my tension building, my chest tighten and experience that dull ache deep down rise to the surface. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, it crept upon me like a sneaky little fox waiting for the ambush.
Finally, the kids were all asleep and I eagerly ran to my escape. I walked into the shower bursting with anxiety and a racing core, as I felt my heartbeat pulsating deep within me. Please calm down, calm down I told myself. The warm water cascaded down by back bringing a temporary sense of relief.
I was safe. I was alone at last.
I succeeded in arriving at my safety net of my cream and mauve tiled shower. Not exactly paradise, but the closest thing to it within my immediate reach. Instantly, my thoughts rushed of my firstborn and all the birthdays she will miss and my nose began to stuff up as the memories came rushing down my red damp cheeks.
And I cried. And sobbed as I pounded my fist against the smooth tile, releasing all the mounting weeks of chaos, sadness, and anticipation.
It’s back to school time. My thoughts wandered. She should be starting seventh grade. What would she look like? Would she have long blonde hair? What would her style of clothes be? Would she still hug me and seek my love? Would she be into boys or sports or art? All things I will never know. Which devours my soul day in and day out and will never go away.
And then, on top of that, it happens to be my birthday. Why….oh why was this life given to me?
As I look back 8 years ago, I see three happy people about to indulge in mommy’s favorite chocolate cake. I had no idea it would be my last birthday I would share with Lydia.
Yes, I was 31 back then and thought I had it all. Surface living like many do, not really grasping or comprehending the delicacy and exquisiteness of life and existence.
Since then, birthdays have never been the same and I’ve come to accept that they never will be.
Those big blue eyes will never come running down the stairs again to give me a big bear hug excitedly yelling “Happy Birthday Mom!” She will not be there to stare at the glow in the candles, or to assist in unwrapping my gifts. She could hardly contain her excitement at any birthday party as she always grinned, beaming with joy.
Has it been another year without her? How can that be?
I don’t want a cake, I don’t want candles, I don’t want presents. I want my daughter back. A gift no one can give me, yet a gift that God has given me for eternity.
It’s weird and hard to convey in words, a strange phenomenon. At times, I am so overwhelmed with sadness that I have to live without her it’s hard to fathom. It wasn’t fair, yet I am forever grateful to have had her in my life.
However, God has let me experience a love like no other. He has given me the gift of being a mother (five times) and the unexpected gift of grief as well. I have experienced the worst yet I have survived and my heart and eyes have been opened to the reality of just how fragile life is and how incredibly deep humans are capable of loving. It’s pretty astonishing when you ponder it.
I have been given a heart so full of complete unending and overflowing love. Often, I have been haunted with the demeaning little voice telling me I’m not worthy and that I don’t deserve a birthday, or this or that, which has been one of the greatest struggles. Without a doubt, I would gladly trade places with my little girl. However, looking back, I see that I am still meant to be here. My job on this earth is not done.
And so for now, I will rejoice in the fact that celebrating my own birthday means that I am one day closer to holding my beautiful girl in my arms once again and strive to recognize the everyday beauty in this remarkable and down right miraculous life. I will delight in my children and family, understanding just how blessed I actually am as I am reminded that His word and promises are bigger than any struggle I face. And most importantly, that He has given me hope.
So as my birthday comes and goes I will rest in hope, give thanks, and live to see the beauty of God work in my life.