|Scarlett + Asher, four months|
When I was a newlywed, I was acquainted with an amazing couple. She was effervescent and so gorgeous. He was handsome and well-spoken. And it was abundantly obvious he absolutely adored her. The insecure part of me wanted to dislike them and find at least one flaw in their seemingly perfect relationship, but they were too nice. I couldn't help but like them.
Summer had cancer. I learned later that George married her in a shotgun wedding so he could support her through chemotherapy. Their first few years of marriage were unimaginably intense, but with George by her side, Summer completed treatment and went into remission.
With the cancer behind her, Summer wanted more than anything to be a mother. Her doctors advised against it, warning that it could threaten her fragile health. She and George had only been married a couple of years when she became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I remember how she glowed while she was pregnant, even brighter after her precious boy was born.
A few short months later, her cancer returned with a vengeance. And just after the baby turned one, Summer passed away. I still mourn for her sweet baby and husband.
I remember my own insurmountable grief about not being able to conceive. With each year of struggle, the sadness grew until I thought I might drown. My heart ached for babies the same way Summer's did - I would have given anything.
Now that I've been blessed with children, even the thought of not seeing them grow up stirs more emotion in me than all of my years yearning for them. I cannot imagine missing the day-to-day moments. The smiles. The learning, discovering and growing.
I can't imagine missing the sleepless nights that turn into a nondescript string of days where I don't remember the last time I washed my hair. The inconsolable crying that threatens to shatter my last nerve until a steady, innocent gaze and hint of a smile breaks through and makes everything okay. The milestones, big and small - four consecutive hours of sleep, sitting up, genuine smiles, growing out of teeny tiny baby clothes.
The first words and the made-up stories. The first time riding a bike or tasting ice cream. The first day of school. The first best friend. The first time behind the wheel. The first date. The first heart break.
And not just the firsts. The seconds, thirds, fourths...
I am so grateful for my life. And that I have each precious day with my children. I know hearts can be healed, no matter how broken. Imagine the joyous reunion when Summer sees her family again and can hear about their adventures first-hand!
Whether you have six children or zero, a husband, job or both, be thankful for the life your mother gave you. Each day, filled with a myriad of ups and downs, creates such a beautiful story.