Yes, I have three children and yep, I do know how they got here.
You're right, my hands are full.
No, I'm not pregnant again. This oven is closed for a while.
Yes, I said "a while," because I'm pretty sure we aren't quite done.
And no, if we have another baby, it won't be because we're "trying for a girl."
These days, leaving the house nearly always requires answering at least one of the questions above. I get it. Really, I do. But to the unsuspecting stranger that will one day say, "Three boys! You've got your hands full!", and then be witness to my collapsing into a sobbing puddle on the toilet paper aisle of Target, let me just apologize now. It's not you. It's me. It's all the questions before you and the lack of sleep and the privilege of showering that seems to elude me.
Recently, I can't seem to walk in and out of a store without hearing, "Three boys!" Some take it a step further, "I guess you just aren't meant to have girls." I nod and say, "It's busy in our house," and I try to shuffle away quickly, because I want to tell them I had a girl named Lily. Her life began in me and slipped straight into Heaven. I want to tell them that, but I recognize this to be difficult Target small talk. And I know that there's something sacred about her story...I won't just throw it around.
You guys, I can't believe how much I miss her. I'm shocked at how sad I still feel when I think about her not being here. And it's a strange sort of conflict, because the reality is that this guy is here because she lived and then died.
He is joy embodied. I wouldn't change a thing if it meant he wouldn't be here today.
I don't miss her because she was a girl and he is a boy. I miss her because she was mine. And I want her here, with him. Fourteen months later and my heart still senses her absence almost daily. Even now, to stop and actually speak about her brings new tears; so when someone, with the best of intentions, laughs and says, "Three boys!", I want to tell them we have three boys and a girl.
Sitting here tonight, listening to the squeals and laughter erupting from the back of our house, I imagine her with us. All four of my children in one room. I wonder what she would be doing right now and what her voice would sound like mixed in with her brothers; and the grief I came to know last Spring revisits with surprising force.
Women told me it would be this way. They shared stories of children that slipped away and described the sadness that lingered decades later. I hated hearing that. I wanted to believe that with time would come forgetting. But our hearts were made for eternity and there's nothing natural about death. It isn't a part of the original design.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When we lose babies before they come earthside, I believe that their lives are purposeful. I believe their being is intentional. And I believe their existence, however brief here on earth, matters for eternity.
My hope will remain rooted in eternity.
For tonight though, I just really miss her.