This morning two years ago, I was propped up in a hospital bed trying to complete my substitute’s lesson plans because the pregnancy was failing and my baby was scheduled to be delivered 5 weeks early. The urgency kept my mind off the imminent c-section and the unknown beyond. We had no idea what was before us, and I think it was better that way. It took a long time to dawn on me how different James was and would be—at first because I was so medicated after the surgery, but later because we didn’t have a lot of information about his condition, and the docs were still trying to figure him out. But there was a gradual, fierce, protective love that grew for the little man in the glass box. He might be broken, but he was mine.
Last year we planned a big party for James’s first birthday, with an amazing cake and many friends and family. In fact, we wrote about his awesome birthday cake today on Cake Wrecks, our friend Jen’s blog. In hindsight I’m so thankful we had a big cake, so glad we got his picture professionally done, so glad we tried to celebrate his accomplishments without dwelling too much on his disabilities.
This year I couldn’t resist buying James a “2″ candle, a small echo of his last birthday. I doubt they need birthdays in heaven, but it still feels right to celebrate his here. If James were still on earth, I wonder what he would be doing now. Would he be walking? sitting? eating? feeding himself? turning more pages in his books? Using more words? Would he have entered the terrible twos in an angry quest for independence that he would never attain? Would he have seen the beach, the forest, the mountains?
Last week I was looking for a videotape to record over, and I pulled an unlabeled one out of the bottom of the camera bag. I popped it in and was surprised to find a long recording of the underside of the kitchen sink. (At first I thought it was the bathtub plumbing, but that must have been a different tape.) At the time we had a slow leak that John was trying to find the source of, so he set up the camera to record the drips. I was about to rewind it to record over it when I saw the date was Dec. 31, 2007. I thought, James was home then. I wonder… I hit play, turned up the volume, and sure enough, I could hear my father singing to James in the background and James’s characteristic snort and coo. He never appears on the tape, but his precious sounds were such a gift to me this week.
Today we celebrate anew the joy we had in him, and how God used the weak to teach the strong. James is no longer ours, but he’s also no longer broken. He’s eternal and even more beautiful than he was in life.
Happy Birthday, Mister Cute. Mommy and Daddy love you, and we miss you.
Our Journey, Our Journey (chronological) | Comments (64)