Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day

As Mother's Day approaches, I find myself thinking a lot about what my three children mean to me.  Each one of them has taught me something new.  Individually, they all have brought a whole new outlook on life for me.  Each of my three children mean something truly special, truly unique to me... and for that, I am certainly grateful. 

Micah - newborn

Big brother Micah, my firstborn... my son.  He made me a mother for the very first time.  He is all-boy, and loves adventure.  Dirt, trucks, cars, trains, and water are his favorite sources of entertainment.  If it were up to him, he would live outside - but coming inside for a brief break to read books and do "schoolwork".  Having a son has already taught me more about life, more about parenting than I'll ever know.  At three and a half, he knows how to melt his mom... he knows how to frustrate his mom...yet his tender sensitive heart wins me over most all of the time.  Micah is already a great leader,
Newborn Micah and Mama
teacher, protector, and friend... at two years old he became a big brother for the first time, and took on that role seriously.  He still talks about you, sweet Hannah, and is equally as good of a big brother to your baby sister Keira as well.

Hannah - newborn

Hannah...my sweet Hannah.  You are my middle child, my first daughter.  Of all three children, you taught me the most about life... and... the most about death.  When we were pregnant and first discovered that you had some complications, we vowed to God, you, and to ourselves that we would love you forever...and care for you every moment that you were with us.  The moment you were born, when you let out that one and only cry - the sound of a sweet baby lamb - I began capturing those memories in my heart, never letting them go.  Somehow deep inside I knew we would be separated.  You fought the good fight, my love.  You stood up to battles that most people will never have to fight... you conquered pain and suffering like
Newborn Hannah and Mama
a true warrior... we watched you at your bedside day after day, night after night.  The only thing I could compare is the pain in my heart - the pain I felt watching you hurt, knowing that I could do very little about it.  Our relationship to you was unique...unique to just us, especially to me as your mother.  Every day your father and I would take turns coming to sit at your bedside.  Most of the time, tears just flowed down my cheeks as I talked with you and sung to you.  One particular day when you were just over three weeks old, I remember sitting there not knowing what to say - just tears streaming down my cheeks.  It had been a particularly rough time - you were not doing well, and it was the first time the doctors were at a loss as to what to do.  As I sat there at your bedside that day, God spoke to my heart in the most gentle way - almost as if it was an audible whisper.  I remember it so vividly.  He said, "Erika... give Hannah over to me... give  Hannah over to me..."  I looked up and said "Ok..."  I didn't hesitate,  I didn't fight it.  I knew it would be ok, I knew I had no need to fear.  Prior to that moment, I think I had been holding on too tight.  I hadn't been ready to let you go...but when God reminded me to do it, it brought immediate peace.  I knew I could not do it on my own.  After that, I turned back to you and talked with you.  I said, "Hannah, if you need to go, it's ok.  Daddy, Micah, & I will be ok... it is ok to go..."  I knew you needed to hear those words from me.   At that moment, (and several other moments) I had pictured you saying to me, "Mama... it's ok.  I will meet you there... I will be ok".  I even pictured you telling me about the angels surrounding you, and God holding you... those thoughts went through my mind many times when I visited you at the hospital.  Hannah - your sweet nature spoke volumes about who you were... with all that you endured each day, you rarely became irritable, rarely cried.  Every time the doctors would warn us that you may not do well during a particular procedure or surgery, you come through it amazingly well -proving them all wrong.  You certainly knew how to keep them on their toes!  Four months was not long enough... we wanted more time with you.  Parents are not supposed to outlive their children.  When it came time for us to let you go, you taught us how that there is no fear in deathHannah - you and I had many precious conversations together...many precious moments.  Despite being hospitalized since your (full-term) birth, you responded to me so differently than you did others around you.  One thing you always loved to do to those you loved was hold our fingers so tightly since the day you were born.  Whenever you grabbed my hand, you always tried to bring it close to your mouth to "nuzzle" it... you always knew your mama...(and daddy and Micah too).  When your body began to shut down, one organ at a time, we knew it was time to make some decisions.  On the day you passed away, when your organs had all shut down...your body swollen so severely that you couldn't even move a limb...you still managed to grasp our fingers so tightly in our hand until your very last breath.  That was our reassurance that you were ok...you were at peace...and your "work on this earth was done".  Hannah - you had no fear.  You seemed to know that you were ready, and you had an unexplainable peace about you.  At just four months old, you taught your mother the biggest lesson life has to offer - you taught me to have no fear... especially no fear in death.  That...is...amazing...

Keira - newborn

About 18 months later, your beautiful baby sister arrived.  Keira - my baby, my third child... another girl!  She has your eyes, Hannah... she looks a lot like you, but also has some of Micah's features as well.  The day before she was born, Micah came to me and asked, "Mom... is this baby going to have 'owies' like Hannah did?"  He was trying to prepare his heart, as well.  Being she is only six weeks old, there is not a lot I can say about her right now - although she has taught me some valuable lessons already.  Most importantly, sweet Keira has
Newborn Keira and Mama
taught me how to love again... how to trust again... and has taught me that life does continue on after losing a precious child.  Keira has already endured some hard times as well... which of course has mama and daddy pretty concerned sometimes...big brother Micah, too.  After her recent hospitalization, when I was bringing her home, I pulled into the driveway and up to the garage.  As soon as I pulled in, your song "Beautiful" came on the radio.  I could not believe it... it melted my heart.  I needed to hear that again.  It was almost as though you were looking after her, Hannah.  She is a precious gift from God, just like you and Micah...and we are grateful to God for bringing her into our lives. 

I am grateful to God for bring all three of you kids into my life...I am honored to be your mother. 

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