Good grief. Grief is partly defined as the loss of something to which a bond was formed.
Recently, a friend from out of the country paid me a visit. We took time to sit on the deck and chat over lemonades while our kids played barefoot in the grass… and naked in the pool. As we processed different things going on in our lives, she reminded me, in response to one situation I shared, that I’m good at feeling guilty about many, many things. She, too, shares that experience. She said that leading a charmed life makes one feel that he or she is not entitled to “freak out sessions” of their own. 3 healthy children? Check. Roof over my head? Check. Able body? Check. Amazing husband? Check. Loving and present family? Faithful, merciful, and intimate Savior? Check. Charmed life? Check. How could I possibly have a freak out session? Guilt.
So, “what do I do with that?” I asked. She replied without missing a beat, “you entitle yourself to freak out and move on. And if you need to revisit your freak out moment the next day, you do that and move on. It’s your story and only you know how it feels.”
Silence. Light bulb.
Freedom to freak out?
Tonight as we put the McBabies to bed, McBaby #1 requested that I be the one to read to her. It was a bit surprising since we seemed at each other for a good portion of the day. (Again, guilt…) We read a book about what it means to be a good friend. She picked it out and the Lord used the book to tie into so many misfires from the day... for both of us. After we read, talked, and prayed, she curled up in a little ball; wet hair, smell of clean-baby, smooth skin, seeing the very edge of a smile on her tiny little mouth as I watched her fall asleep from behind. Blessings.
After leaving her room, I passed McBaby #2’s room and the door was still open as McHusband put him to bed. As he saw me, he called out “Mommy, rock me.” I came in – bone tired as I approach the
eleven- nine- months pregnant mark and sat in the chair to rock him. He nestled in – a feeling I’ve become very familiar with. I’ve memorized the aroma of the nape of his neck, the sensation of kissing his squishy warm cheeks, the dimple in the back of his elbow as he drapes it across my neck in embrace. And it set in. Grief. The feeling that two and a half years has already passed by since I held him in the place I’m soon to hold this new baby. I felt my own version of loss as I thought about the boxes of too-small-clothes I’d just packed up from the kids and the legs that now dangled off of my lap as I tried to still rock and cuddle them. I felt the impending loss of the-4-of-us the same way I did with the-3-of-us and the-2-of-us before that. How many times will I feel this loss even when I know a greater gift awaits?
And so, even though I've tangibly lost nothing, I freak out. I feel the tears brimming my eyes, the sob stuck in my throat, the burning in my heart that asks God why it must all go by so quickly? And as I let one little wimper out, McBaby #2 looks up and smiles – even though I’d thought him long out.
“Don’t be sad Momma.”
“Sometimes Mommy cries when I’m both sad and happy. I love you.”
“I love you most.”
He leans in and gives me his signature smooch – lips puckered and a bit wet. I’ll take it. He instinctively knows my love language.
“Please don’t grow up too fast.”
“I don’t want to get back in my bed.”
And so we rock some more. Just because. And I move on from my freak out and enjoy the wonder that is my children knowing that just hours before I told the McHusband that I hadn’t spent very much of the day savoring them.
And I thank God for the gift of today, the gift of freshly bathed little bundles, for a baby kicking inside of me, and for sweet reminders of beautiful moments that transcend the constraints of time.