Welcome to the World, Kid

She’d be five years old today. That’s what you’d say if you’re thinking on the natural level. Technically I should say she is five years old today. I’ve often said that I firmly believe that she is in heaven, but that doesn’t mean I never consider what she would be, how our lives would be, if her body was still united to her soul. She’d be running around the house instead of buried in a casket in a small cemetery up the street. How’s that for an afternoon reflection?

She’d be old enough to know her big sisters don’t want to go to school, because it’s Monday, but young enough that she probably doesn’t have to yet. I imagine she’d be reminding them how great it is to be five instead of seven or nine for that reason, but the truth is I don’t know what her personality would have been like. I also don’t know if we would have her little three year old sister here at all. That one is a joy that might not have been if not for the sorrow that definitely was.

These are the strange dichotomies that mark my reflections at this time of year. I suspect others have similar feelings. There’s something about the fact that she lived and died starting part-way through Advent and ending right at the end of the Christmas season that sanctifies the time for our family in an intensely personal way. Even if you didn’t lose someone during these holy days, whoever you’ve lost, it makes sense you’d be reminded of their absence at a time when we’re all so focused on gathering together with our loved ones. All the same, this remains my favorite time, even if I’m a little sad today.

When one of our children is born, shortly after their first bath, weighing, etc, I just take a moment to try to catch them with their eyes open to tell them, “Welcome to the world, kid. I’m your father.” I wonder for a moment what life has in store for them, and think about the possibilities. Somehow it feels like that matters. I did it for Cecilia too. Megan had a few moments to hold her in the rush of things happening immediately after she was born, but they handed her to me while they got her ready to be hooked up to the machines she would be attached to for the rest of her short life.

That moment was different because I knew the clock was already ticking before her heart would start to fail. There was less wonder and more appreciation for the few minutes of normalcy before it was time to start taking care of business. Like so many other moments during that time, it was beautiful but sad, if not a bit desperate. I have a lot more to say, and I think there’s more meaning to pull out of this moment and how it’s a microcosm of something or another, but time is running out on me again and I’ve seriously got to rush to school now. Thanks for tuning in.