Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nearly One . . .

I’ve been feeling really reflective lately as Caden’s first birthday draws close. Remembering how I felt a year ago, my belly swollen with anticipation for the new little boy who was about to join our little family. I have been surprised at how close tears are to the surface with the remembering, knowing now what I didn’t know then about what lay ahead for Caden and for our family. Recognizing the places God was about to lead us through as dark and scary but also as beautiful and life-changing and faith-altering. But it’s easier to see that now, of course, as Caden climbs into my lap and gives open-mouth kisses all over my cheeks. He is, in fact, so FULL of life and joy and wild-little-boy, that it’s hard to even believe those first days and weeks even happened.
Emotions and memories still sneak up on me, however, with astonishing speed. Watching Glory Road (which I've seen before, just never noticed), one of the players has a heart defect. And I am suddenly a wreck, Zack giggles a little and pats my leg at the welling up of tears which quickly descends into ugly-cry territory.

Just the other day, I drove past the Olive Garden where we ate the night we checked into the hospital for Caden's birth. And could not swallow down the pit in my stomach. That night, just over a year ago, I winced through contractions while eating probably three baskets of breadsticks. I chatted with the waitress about my second baby coming, telling her his name will be Caden Thomas. Adam and I dreamed together about who he would be. Would he love the outdoors like his daddy? Or prefer reading books like his mommy? Would he be another blond-haired, blue-eyed Stanley, or would he have small brown eyes and a mess of dark hair like my sisters and I did. Would he be loud? Laid-back? Funny and silly or serious and thoughtful . . . In all our chatter, never once did we stop to ask, or even consider: will his heart be formed correctly? We never even imagined he wouldn't be healthy, whole, and coming straight home with us to our brand new house in the 'hood. 

Sometimes, though, God's dreams for us are bigger than the ones we have for ourselves.
 I keep telling myself that I "should be over it." I mean, Caden is HERE. He is in my arms for most of every day, healthy and happy and adorable. And I should be over it. Right? But right in the middle of my sentence the other day, I stopped myself. Because I was telling a sweet friend that there is no such thing as "should be over it" when it comes to how we feel about things. We have to allow ourselves to grieve. To fear, to quake with the weight of almost losing your child. To sob at the realization that I will have to watch them open Caden's chest all over again in a couple years. It's ok to long for your mom, even if you've never met her. To still hurt over long-lost friendships, broken marriages. We have to let ourselves FEEL things in order to move forward, to delve deeper into His grace.

This year has taught us that sometimes God's big plans for us involve nothing more than making us smaller. Sometimes He brings us into dark valleys and hard places because we emerge on the other side as something new. With knowledge and faith and joy that runs deeper inside us because we have been cracked open.

So this week, as I am embarassingly over-taken by emotion at every turn, I'm allowing myself to feel. I'm remembering and sitting with the anticipation I felt as Caden kicked my belly and turned head-down, preparing to enter the world. And I feel the same eager expectations seep into my heart as I anticipate all the Lord has ahead for our family this next year. I know I still have some issues and hurts and fears surrounding Caden's time in the hospital, and I'm extending myself grace to work through them and learn from them as God helps me put one foot in front of the other. Not rushing the slow work of God, but savoring His presence as He walks beside me through it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

*pictures are courtesy of the fabulous Meg Davidson Photography


  1. I can't imagine your emotions. I get emotional looking at my kids sometimes and I have never been in the position that you were in. Happy birthday, Caden!

  2. I know EXACTLY how you feel! Major will be three in December, and I still cry probably once a week over something involving him, another child, kids in the hospital....for pete's sake a Publix commercial. I don't think I'll ever get over it!

  3. Happy Birthday to you precious little boy! What a year you have had, full of highs and lows! So happy to hear that Caden is doing so well.

  4. I am so thankful God healed your babies heart. So thankful that you clung to His promises during your darkest days. So very, very thankful.

  5. I am so there with you right now!!! Will be praying for you as you reflect and grieve. I'm so glad we found each other on the internets so I could have someone who knows what I'm going through and is so honest about it. I can't believe our babies are ONE!!! It's been such a beautiful, crazy year!

  6. Such an amazing post. Praise God for Caden!


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