HOLD. My beautiful children, today I hold you a little closer. Hug you a little longer. Kiss you a few extra times. Just when you are ready to squirm away and go back to your puzzle, your snack, or your ladybug collection, I’m going to pull you back to me and breathe in the smell of your soft hair. I’m going to touch your cheeks, and hope my fingers never forget the tenderness of your soul.
LUCKY. Sometimes the universe has a way of reminding me how lucky I am to have you. The reminder stabs at my heart and consumes every emotion I have. As I scrolled through Facebook this morning, there it was. The universe staring me in the face. His name was Riddick, and he was only 3 years old. He lived a happy life with his family, but he was afflicted by unthinkable medical conditions. His life was a constant battle, but his family was always by his side to love and support him.
GOODBYE. I never met Riddick even though he only lives 15 minutes away. I never met his brave parents, but I feel like I know them. Through Facebook they shared the story of their family and kept the world informed every step of the way. I would read about his latest battle and say a small prayer for his family….but there it was today. Riddick was gone. There was a picture of his parents holding his tiny body in their arms, saying their final goodbyes as he slipped into the hands of God.
HOME. With tears streaming down my face, I quickly packed up my laptop and headed home. I left my emails unanswered, my phone calls went to voicemail, my to-do list sat on my desk, and I just drove. I had this overwhelming urge to be near my children. I had to feel the weight of their bodies in my lap and in my arms. I needed to hear their giggles and touch their feet just to make sure they were still with me.
LUCK. It’s times like this that I appreciate how many things have to go RIGHT in order to have 3 healthy children. Riddick’s battle began even before he was born. I’m sitting in the kitchen staring down at my growing pregnant belly and wondering, could I possibly could get lucky for a 4th time? Could everything go right 4 times in a row, and I am blessed with 4 healthy children?
GUILT. And then I feel guilty. I do a quick mental inventory of all the time I’ve spent with my kids and wonder, am I doing enough? Am I thankful enough for their health? Or have I taken it all for granted…..that babies just grow inside you and pop out with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a pair of healthy lungs. A body free of disease and illness isn’t a guarantee, but a blessing. A special gift from the universe.
THANK YOU. I just peeked into Brady’s room and found him fast asleep in his crib with his smelly yellow duck clutched close to his chest, and chocolate ringing his mouth. Avery is walking around eating a tiny box of raisins, wearing shoes 5 sizes too big. Katelyn is on her way home from school before she has to make a mad dash to work. And I’m lucky. I am so, so lucky. Today, my children, I am going say two prayers. One for Riddick’s family, and another thanking God for mine.