Birthday Wishes


Dear Zion,

This morning, I woke up to a pile of kids on my bed. After a series of nightmares all night long, I welcomed your brothers and sisters climbing under the covers with me, snuggling in and laughing at the antics of Adoniah. My heart swelled with love for those four little joys, and suddenly, I was keenly aware that someone was missing. You.

“Shuah, go into the other room and get your baby brother to join us!” I only thought the words, and just as I opened my mouth to say them out loud, I remembered.

You weren’t asleep in the next room. You couldn’t join in on the pile of siblings in my bed. Why was my brain playing terrible tricks on me and making me think you were?

Today is May 10. That day that every mom circles and puts hearts all over and writes “Due Date!!” on her calendar for but totally hopes she gets to end up meeting her baby sooner than that date.

But I didn’t want it to be so much sooner. And I had imagined I would get to keep you once you were born.

We have a birthday tradition here. However many years the birthday person is turning, they get that number of candles on their cake. And they try to blow them all out, and if they do, they make a wish. You never got to blow out birthday candles and make a wish. So I will make a wish on your behalf. Lots of wishes actually, because this Mama’s broken heart has an infinite number of wishes for her baby boy.

I wish you could have kept growing inside of me until you were ready to be born, healthy and alive. I wish I hadn’t complained about how awful it is to be pregnant. I wish I hadn’t been afraid of how in earth would I handle five kids?? I wish I had a birth story for you that ended in joy and not sorrow. I wish I could have had that moment with you–that ethereal moment that surpasses all human joy–that moment when you would have come into the world crying and been placed on my chest. That moment when I would have seen your face for the first time, and you would have squinted open your little eyes at me and seen your Mama for the first time. I would have cooed “Oh hi there!” To your squishy, round face, just like I did with your brothers and sisters. And I would have beamed with pride and joy and laughed with your daddy and the midwife over the miracle of new life and birth.

I wish I had gotten that moment with you.

I wish I could have seen the look on your big brother’s face when I told him you were a boy!! And I wish I could have seen the pride in his eyes when he would have held you for the first time. Eliana would have doted in you. Jubilee would have giggled over you. Adoniah probably would have poked you, or even given you a good bop on the head for good measure–just so you could start your life out knowing he was older than you.

They would have loved you. We would have loved you. I wish we could have had the chance.

But sometimes I think about how I wish you were in my arms, and I remember…you are in Jesus’ arms!! How glorious would that be?? You are more alive now than ever. And you have even met your sister before me, and so many cousins. I can imagine all of you enjoy playing and laughing just like I did with my own cousins growing up. Sometimes when I am feeling the overwhelming sorrow, I remember where you are and how happy you are, and I smile. You are in good hands.

But it doesn’t take away the emptiness in my own arms, the ache in my heart, the tears from my eyes. I may never again hold you on my arms, but I will always hold you in my heart. I will always be your Mama and you will always be my son. I will think about you every November 22 and December 1 and May 10 for the rest of my life. Those dates are burned onto my heart. The day you died. The day you were stillborn. The day you should have been born.

Today, you should have been born. But nothing in this world is as it should have been, is it? And you know that firsthand, as you sit at Jesus’ feet, in His very presence, and experience eternal life without sin, pain, and death.

Someday I will see you again. And your sister. And your cousins. Give them all hugs and kisses and play some hide and seek and tell stories and laugh a lot in the meantime, okay? I will do the same down here with your brothers and sisters, and we will always wish you were with us, too.

Love you now, forever, always,

Your Mama



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