Today is my first Mother’s Day without Charlie. I never actually had one with Charlie because he arrived sometime around the very end of May. Since Mother’s Day usually isn’t a huge deal in our family anyways, I didn’t have many expectations of this day. Every day is a hard day. Every day is a day I deeply miss my baby boy.
And honestly, it isn’t usually on holidays when I feel the most grateful for my kids anyways. It’s on the random Tuesday mornings. The mornings when Fred cuddles up next to me while we’re reading. I can’t believe I get to be his mommy. The Sundays when I pick up Sophie from the nursery and she lights up like a Christmas tree. She gets so happy every time Mommy comes back for her and she gets to go home with me. I can’t believe I get to take her home with me. It’s those moments with Emma when she’s out on a special date with Mommy, and I can tell she feels like the luckiest girl in the world because she gets to be alone with me. These are my Mother’s Days. Those moments when my heart skips a beat and I think, “I can’t believe this tiny treasure is all mine.”
And that’s what makes my heart ache so much today. Today, and every day. I will never have any of those moments with my Charlie. No unexpected cuddle times, no smiles when I walk in the room, no special Mommy dates.
Instead, I have a Mother’s Day spent by a grave. There’s fresh flowers everywhere at the cemetery today. Mostly, I’m sure, from the children who came to visit their mommy’s grave. But what do you do when you’re the mommy who’s come to visit your baby’s grave?
People often say to us, “I can’t imagine….” And you can’t, honestly. We can barely imagine the depth of sorrow and agony we’ve experienced daily since January. I honestly didn’t know that the human heart could endure this much pain and still keep beating. Some days I’m still so shell-shocked that I go through much of the day in a cloudy haze. Some days I’m angry and throw my dinner plates. Some days I weep so hard I have to remind myself to breathe in and out so that I don’t suddenly hyperventilate.
But everyday…I feel so very proud to be Charlie’s mommy. That moment when the nurse asked for his middle name so she could write it on his newborn card, I could barely breathe out the words…but I felt so proud of the baby boy we got to name. That moment when she wrapped him in swaddle clothes and placed him in my arms for the first time, I was so proud of that perfect little face who looked just like me and just like Daddy.
And every time I see God using Charlie’s”short” life to give people a deeper longing for heaven, heal broken relationships, make the Gospel of Jesus known, and show me a new and clearer picture of the face of One who made his face…I am so very proud to be Charlie’s Mommy.
And though I wanted it to be so very different, and I still hate my new life of constant brokenness and pain…if I could go back to last May and have skipped Charlie and all of this endless pain…I would not trade one moment of his life. He is mine. And I am so grateful for the honor of being Charlie’s.
And someday…being his mommy will mean joy upon joy upon joy. The glorious day when I finally, truly meet my Charlie James. When I finally see his eyes. When I finally hear him sing. That will be my best Mother’s day.
Until then, I am so very grateful for each one of my precious babies. My cup overflows at the joy I feel at belonging to them, and they to me.