You know how there are times when the Lord causes you to be still, outside of your own will? It doesn't happen that often with me because I can't seem to be still for that long of a time, but night before last it happened.
Molly has been (thankfully!) sleeping through the night for about 3 weeks now. However, Thursday night, she woke up at 2:00am wide eyed and wanting to smile. This in turn causes me to smile back at her, then giggle, which causes her to giggle and then it is just downhill from there and there is no hope in going back to sleep anytime soon. I fixed her a bottle and then snuggled down with her in hopes that she would drift off.
I have learned that in these moments, especially with Molly, that they are few. I don't know if we will have any more children so these restless nights might be the last I will ever get to enjoy. I sat in the rocking chair that has been passed down through generations, listening to the squeak in the rock that has been there for as long as I can remember and just sat with my baby girl. I was still.
Then I began remembering.
Remembering these days leading up to September 4th, 4 years ago.
Then I began thinking about my life and what has happened in those 4 years.
Another year has come and gone. Another year without Allison and Emily. Another year thinking about what our house would sound like with rambunctious, funny, beautiful 4 year old girls running through it. Another year without them.
It's been different this year. I don't know if the new "normal" that we waited for for so long for has settled in to the point that it isn't a "new" normal, but rather just living our lives with the story of who we are and how we have 2 daughters in heaven. The hole in my heart where the memory of their lives seemed to take up residence doesn't have jagged edges around it anymore. The hole is still there, the edges are just a bit more smooth.
Maybe it is because Molly is here now and she completes a picture we had in our mind of having 2 children. Of course Anna Claire and Molly could never, or would never, replace their older sisters, but when you get married and dream about what your family looks like, we are there.
But we have so much more than that.
I have a house number that I bought, that sits in a place that I see everyday. I originally bought a "5" when Anna Claire was born. It was a way to acknowledge there were 5 people that made up our family; Mike, me, Allison, Emily and Anna Claire. When I found out I was pregnant last year, one of the first things I did was go and buy a "6." There is a part of me that wants so badly when people come over to ask what the "6" is for, so I can tell them about our family. Not just tell them about Molly and Anna Claire, but to speak the names of my firstborn daughters. To tell their story once again, so they will not be forgotten.
More importantly, so that their lives can continue to be a testimony to the goodness of God, the grace he gives us, the mercy he shows us and a Love that is overflowing and redemptive.