Six hundred and seven days. That is how long it has been since your brother was born.
I have had to navigate my life without him and still so very much with him for that long. Before I start crying and can't get out what I want to write, I want you to know what an amazing and unimaginable salve to my heart you are.
You are not your brother. You are never expected to be anything but you. But I want you to know that for every hug and kiss I give to you, I hope that when you have sweet dreams and somehow are connecting with Matthew (and every thing in my gut tells me that somehow that is happening!), it would make Mama so happy if you would share some with him.
I remember daring God to heal my heart. I remember telling Him that He just couldn't do it without bringing Matthew back, and I doubted I was going to be anyone of that miraculous scope in this world.
Of course, He didn't bring Him back. And the hole is still and always will be there.
Instead, He blessed me with you. A type of healing for a wound that will always exist, but not scream out in agony day after day as it once did. You are the balm that soothes that wound. When I get overcome with all the should-have-beens and the it's-not-fairs, I pick you up and you smile at me with such a knowing smile, I SWEAR that God is telling me, "I know. I'm sorry. It's not what I had in mind for this world, but I promise, one day, it will all be ok. Until then, drink every precious thing of this little boy I've given to you in. He's special and he's purposed and one day, the veil will be lifted."
At least that's what I tell myself He's telling me. That's what I cling to.
Yesterday, we went out to lunch with Miss Sherry, Jack and Avery. Avery is only about a month and a few days shy younger than Matthew would be. It was precious and hard at the same time, watching this beautiful little spitfire shine! She made my heart happy--fiery but nurturing, spunky but readily giving hugs and kisses. I admit, it made me wonder about how your brother would be. You, as always, were so good. Sweet, snuggly and such a blessing. We went outside so that Jack could feed the turtles, and of course, the seagulls took everything he threw. There were turtles all over the place, and even a poor, disheveled duck! It was a pretty decent-sized pond, and Miss Sherry and I were talking about the what-ifs down the road.
What if we have another baby brother or sister? What if we could? What if we couldn't?
Do you know what came, out of NOWHERE, right over to where we were?
A RED FISH.
Out of the blue. Seriously. One single, bright red fish came right up to where we (and the turtles and the gulls and the duck!) were.
I know, I know...we can read just about anything into anything.
But Luke, I get such comfort out of those little winks from God. I looked at you and you smiled at me when I told you about the Red Fish.
Like you knew.
Mama loves you so much, Luke. You are a ham and have started doing some weird thing where you tuck your lower lip in your mouth, over your gums. It's funny, because Mama used to do the very.same.thing. Wish I could find pictures. You are also in the throes of teething and just finished a hearty portion of homemade rice and homemade applesauce.
I know people thought I wouldn't stick to either cloth diapers or making your food, but I have to tell you that I love, love, love both.
There are not too many things in this world that give me more pleasure than taking care of you.
As I said, you are never to be a replacement for your brother. His permanent mark and space in our family and our hearts doesn't need to be replaced. I wish it was filled with his chubby little cheeks and loooooong spindly legs running around with me here on earth, but either way, he is our Matthew today and forever. You are always, always, always the little brother of my miraculous gift from God, but that also makes you the answer to so many, many prayers.
And Samuel Luke, God Heard. He gave you to us to bring light back into our days.
Always know that at this very second in time, at 9:36 am, July 28, 2011, my heart is overcome with gratitude for you and Matthew.
Mama adores this smile!!!!!
Seriously, you are a mess. Rashy cheeks, applesauce you must have been storing in your cheeks dripping out, drooling all over...and yet, you are SO.SO.SO cute!