Happy New Year!
It's January 3rd. Three years ago, this was my due date for our third baby, our first son. I remember first thinking it was such a bummer to be due so close to Christmas. Would this baby get the shaft and have his birthday be combined with Christmas each year? Would I even make it to the New Year or would I have a Christmas baby? I remember telling Gary that if we were in the hospital on Christmas Day, I wanted a Christmas tree in my room.
But that little guy never made it to his due date. Since then, each year when his due date rolls around, I can't help but wonder when his birthday would have been. When he died, I felt so guilty for being disappointed that his birthday would be so near Christmas.
What if he had lived? Would I be planning a 3rd birthday party right now? Would he be sitting on the counter helping me stir the batter for his cake? Would his pudgy fingers be dipping into the frosting as I decorate his cake and stick in three candles? Would he be just as excited to open presents today for his birthday as he was just over a week ago on Christmas day?
On days like today when I sink deeper and deeper into the what ifs of the past, inevitably my wonderings are halted as little 2-year-old arms wrap around my leg. A little voice asks for juice and I look down to see big brown eyes staring up at me, framed by long red eyelashes. His messy red hair melts my heart and I'm abruptly brought into the reality of now. And I wouldn't trade it.
The timing is such that if Joshua hadn't died, Brody wouldn't be here. Sure, I wonder what Josh would've been like, but I know what Brody IS like. Life without Brody? I can't imagine it. Life with Josh? I can only imagine. I'll take what I know to be true.
I remember before we lost Josh, imagining a freckled little boy in overalls running through the backyard. His giggles carried on the breeze and he captured my heart. It's such a vivid thought for me. I couldn't wait to meet that funny little boy. He seemed like a "Brody" to me, and I filed that name away as a possibility. When we lost Josh, the name didn't fit anymore. This little boy would never run in my backyard or giggle for the neighbors to hear. We gave him his name, Joshua Dale, so that we'd be reminded that the Lord is good even in the darkest of times. We prayed that his name alone would minister to others so that his life wouldn't be in vain.
When Brody was born, we knew - he was BRODY. We loved the name and it fit him.
One day last spring, I was sitting on the back deck watching the kids play in the backyard, when suddenly I was struck with a major case of deja vu. There he was - my little guy in overalls, running through the backyard.
I ran as fast as my pregnant body would allow, to grab my camera. I captured a couple of blurry shots as quickly as I could. The scene was just as I remembered imagining three years before. I sat on the back steps and tears welled up in my eyes. God is so good. Maybe it was my Brody I'd pictured those years before. In any case, God had given me the little boy I'd longed for so badly after Josh died.
I may not have a three-year-old today, but I have a darling little two-year old who has me wrapped around his little finger. I'll probably always think about Josh on January 3rd each year, but it's as much a reminder of what I don't have, as it is of what I do.
Happy due date, Josh. Your mommy will never forget.