Sunday, when we left church, Jagger was holding a paper airplane he had made. It was his Sunday School paper...he always folds them into paper airplanes.
He flew it up to me as we drove home. I asked him what they learned about and he said they learned about asking God for help when we need Him. We talked about the importance of asking God for help and that God is always there for us. We got home, and I started grabbing all of our junk from the car. I grabbed his airplane and thought I'd look at it before I threw it away. This is what it said.
I stopped and took a deep breath. I covered my mouth and cried. Jagger's words were so simple, yet so powerful. He just turned 8 on Saturday, and lately it's as if he has realized the void in his life more than ever before. He has always talked about London and "missed" her. However, he seems to understand what he is missing now more than ever, and he has been sad. He has cried more, asked more questions, shown anger and confusion. He has grieved. And he needs God's help. And so do I.
This is a week that I have been anticipating for a while. Every year, as the summer comes to an end, the leaves begin to fall, and the air changes, I begin to "go there" again. The memories of this week start to become very fresh and vivid. I remember details like no other time during the year. This is the week that our precious London Cloe came into the world. It's the week we got to see her and hold her for the first time.
It's the week that Jagger became a big brother for the first time.
After months of anxiously awaiting her arrival, it was this week that we finally got to feel her and hear her little grunts.
It's the week that Jonathan held "Daddy's Girl" safe in his arms.
We got to smell her and rub her little head. We got to swaddle her in pink.
It's the week we got to tell her how much we love her.
We got to pray for her, sing to her, read to her, rock her, kiss her and snuggle with her.
It's the week I got to see her make a funny face when she didn't want her paci.
It's the week I got to see her wear the same dress that I wore home from the hospital when I was born. My mom surprised me by bringing this dress to the hospital.
For two days, regardless of her diagnosis, regardless of knowing that she would endure major open heart surgery, regardless of understanding the risks of the surgery...we got to be London's mommy & daddy. We got to love her and be with her and admire her and be proud of her. She was perfect and so very beautiful. The joy far outweighed the anxiety of her diagnosis. The excitement of seeing her sweet face and loving her unconditionally for two days far outweighed the heartache that we would soon endure.
This is the last picture I have of her precious face.
It's the week we had to say good-bye...for a lifetime. That was it. Two days, and it was over. All of the anticipation, the hopes & dreams, the preparation...
It was over. London was gone...and our lives were changed forever.
Tomorrow, September 11, our beautiful little London would be 6. Every year, I feel like I say the same thing, but I simply can't help but imagine what she would look like, sound like, what she would be doing and playing with and saying. I wish I could hear her giggle. I wish I could hear her sing and see her dance.
I teach Kindergarten special education, so my classroom is in the kindergarten hallway, and I work with students in all of the kindergarten classrooms. I would be working in London's room. I would be seeing her in the hall, I would be with her on the playground. I would eat lunch with her. I would've brought cupcakes to school tomorrow for her class. We would've gotten all dressed up this morning for school pictures. It would've been the sweetest Matilda Jane outfit :) I wonder if she would have argued with me on how to fix her hair. Would she be missing teeth in her first school picture? Oh, my heart aches as I wonder these things.
This week, our hearts are heavy, yet we are thankful. We are thankful that the Lord shared our precious London for 9 months in my womb and two days in our arms. We are thankful that we got to see a glimpse of heaven through her and now long for the day that we will be together again. We are thankful that, although we do not understand His ways or His plan, that we trust Him more because of London. We are thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him and with her. We are thankful that, although this lifetime away from London seems so very long, it is just a blink of an eye to her. We are grateful that we have HOPE.
I thank God for London, that I am her mommy, that I can celebrate her life and her 6th birthday, and that God has given me the opportunity to honor her, share her story, and celebrate her life through photography. Thank you so much for your support...this week and always!! XOXO