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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Things I Loved About You

You came into my life without invitation. With wavy hair, eyes that seldom made contact with mine and a voice that was seldom heard. It would be a lie if I said I didn't struggle with who you were and how you came to be. With all of my careful planning, I can honestly say I didn't see you coming. But came you did and with you came an opportunity for God to test my strengths, my weaknesses and most of all my faith. Even though there were times I didn't understand, I just had to blindly trust there was a reason you had been brought into our lives. Bill Cosby once said that kids don't come with an instruction manual, and in this circumstance, he couldn't have been closer to the truth. Being a Mom was all I ever wanted to be.... I just didn't know if I wanted to be one to you.I didn't know how to be what you needed me to be. I was just as scared and confused about life as you were. We were both fish out of water desperately wanting to swim. Occasionally I would catch you looking at me like I had fallen off of a far away planet. Remembering that look makes me smile. I loved it when I would do or say something to one of the kids that was a little crazy and you would smile that little smile as if you were trying not to laugh. Sometimes I got the feeling that you were watching us like you would a play.... Not really sure if you were part of the cast or not... Trust me, you played a bigger part than you ever knew. After what seemed like forever, you settled in and allowed yourself to be comfortable with us. That made me so very happy. I loved watching you play with your brothers and sister. I loved how you protected the youngest from the torments of his other brother. I would smile to myself when I heard you jump in on his behalf..... This is what family should be. The first Christmas you got to spend with us was a special time. I remember watching you make sugar cookies with the kids, ice skating with your brother. On Christmas Eve night I was walking down the hall and I heard your little brother explain to you that you needed to be sure and get in bed early so Santa could come visit. I heard you say "Oh, I don't think Santa will come for me, but he'll come for you." Little did you know that Santa had been very busy making sure that you were well represented under the tree. I'll never forget the look on your face the next morning as you came down to watch your little brother find all of his surprises and he points out your corner of the room where stacks of surprises waited for you. I wish we had more times like those. When we got the phone call that September night, I felt like all of the wind had been sucked from my lungs. Actually I simply chose not to believe that anything tragic had happened. I sat on the plane headed home as home movies replayed in my head. I kept telling myself it would all pass and everything would be fine. I couldn't believe God would bring you into our lives and then allow you to be taken out..... I was wrong. A sadness fell on our family so thick that it covered us like a fog. There were still so many memories to be made, things that should have been said, things we should have done. It wasn't suppose to end this way, it wasn't suppose to end with death. Hanging in my kitchen is a large bouquet of flowers I took from your grave. In the center is a large sunflower,surrounded by smaller flowers. The sunflower reminds me of you, forever frozen in time. I may have failed you in a million ways, but it was never my intent. I may have done everything wrong, but my heart tried very hard to do everything right. If I could have changed your world and made everything perfect for you.... I would have. If I had known how little time we had together, I would have made the most of every second. You deserved so much more and I believe you were on your way to believing that about yourself. Missing you is the easy part, feeling like I failed you is hard. I know the thing you longed for most of all was not mine to give.The best I could do was to welcome you and make you feel at home, to show you what being part of a family was all about. When I look at your youngest brother he reminds me so much of you. I laugh at the irony. He smiles like you did, like he is desperately trying to hold it back. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. Your name is imprinted on my heart. It's a reminder that there is beauty in pain, freedom in discovery, and purpose in each and every one of us. You taught me a lot about the twist and turns of life, the importance of family and family traditions, but most of all you taught me a lot about myself.... and that's just one of many  things I love about you. 

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