April 28, 2008

Anna Vivian

I’m noticing nine-year old girls this spring.

Do you know how, after you’ve bought a Ford, you see nothing but Fords on the road? Or how, having purchased a certain pair of sandals, you see them on everyone else’s feet?

It’s kind of like that for me – in an upside down sorta way.

I don’t have a houseful of nine year olds; my daughters are not quite six and seven. But I have Anna Vivian, and so I see nine year olds.

I miscarried Anna at the beginning of my second trimester. Had she lived, we’d celebrate her ninth birthday right around Mother’s Day.

God graciously stepped me through the most heart-rending parts of my grief. So my days are not consumed with “what-ifs.” But I do think often about Anna Vivian. And every year between Easter and Mother’s Day, I wonder – and notice – more. What would make her laugh? Which “smarts” would be her strengths? Who would she befriend? Since she’d be the eldest, how would Rachel be as a middle child? Would Abbie be different as the youngest of three? How would they all get along? How would I differ as a mom?

Truth be told, when I ponder such questions and when – this year – I seem surrounded by nine-year olds, I do long for Anna’s presence with us. I used to feel bad about that, as if it meant I hadn’t finished mourning or that I wasn’t relying on God enough.

But now I know better. To miss my daughter does not represent a lack of faith. In fact, I’m secure in the knowledge that she is with God and that she is at peace. And missing her is certainly not sinful.

It’s just human. She was physically part of me for 13 weeks. Emotionally, she is with me forever. I cannot help her with math, soothe a skinned knee, or kiss her goodnight. But I wish I could. And that’s okay.

If you’ve lost a child, I hope you know that. I hope you embrace thoughts and memories of your little boy or girl – whether that brings smiles or tears. And I hope you can celebrate that child as much as any other.


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