Friday, April 24, 2015

What I Mean to Say Is

Sometimes I talk like Penny never existed.

Sort of. I've never forgotten her, although the pain of mourning her passing has dulled. There just aren't the right phrases to explain our family in short conversations. In particular, I notice it when I'm talking about my first child, or the number of children I have, or child order. 

For example, when someone comes up to me and August at church or in the grocery store and, usually as an excuse to spend a few moments with my cute baby, they start a conversation with me. A question that naturally comes up is "Is he your first?" Or, "Is he your only child?"

I usually pause before answering this question. The fully truthful answer is "No, we had another daughter who passed away." Sometimes I'll say that, especially at church, but it leads to a longer, not very happy, conversation. Sometimes I just don't feel like getting into it. Then I'll often say "He's our only baby at home right now." It's an odd way to phrase it, though, and again might come across as evasive or confusing for someone who was just trying to make light conversation.

But what can I say? The right, short phrases don't exist in English.

How do I explain that she never felt like ours, at least not solely ours? She was a true gift from God for us to love briefly and struggle over for a lifetime. He warned us, through doctors, about her pending dramatic arrival. She flit into our lives for a short three days to change it forever. We had made a place for her, but her true home was in God's hands.

So yes, August is our first that God gave us to raise in our home. He's my firstborn son, who I love. Any of his future siblings, who we pray will be as healthy as he is, will be our second, third that fit that description. But they will be our third, fourth overall.

But August has a big baby sister, with God in heaven. He'll learn about her as he gets older. She will be a non-present member of our family always. She may have made our lives complicated, but we will always, always love her.

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