I snuggled her a little closer, savoring the way her body still fit in my arms. I rocked and I sang, watching her little chest breathe. In and out. Her breathing slowed, she sighed. Contentment. Peace. I kissed her little cheek, so soft and round, whispered in her ear, 'I love you, my little Khaira Tatiana Monique'. She stirred just a bit as I laid her down in the cradle made of wood, made with love by her Grandpa.
Moments earlier I had covered her older sister up, all cozy with blankets and dolls, whispered 'I love you' as I closed the door.
I want to remember these moments. These ones that everyone tells me go so fast. I don't want to blink and miss it all.
If I just have today, I want to hold my baby and just drink her all of the little details about her. She's almost 7 months, where did that time go? If I just have today, I want to tickle my toddler and watch her as she giggles, mouth wide open, eyes all crinkled. I want to hear her say ' 'ix it, Mummy' when I still can, when all that is broken is a little toy easily put together again. I won't always be able to fix it, I won't be able to always just kiss away all her owies and right her little world again.
There are no guarantees.
Children hoped for but still the cradle sits empty and the heart aches with grief and questions. Death, sudden and totally unexpected. He was so young, my brother's age, living a life full of possibility and now, he's gone. A grandma, called a queen by all those who knew her, tall and stately has said goodbye to her husband, leaving him to walk alone with his memories of a lifelong love.
We hope for fullness of life, we wish it for others, we sometimes take it too much for granted.
I watched parents cuddle their little son earlier this week, laughing together in the way parents do until their laughter was interrupted by the doctor. And the reality that they live with every day hit me. I heard the gentle rocking and whispering of a mother soothing her little one and was amazed to see all the tubes hooked up to such a little body. I watched two sisters chatting with each other, sharing another one of life's moments and deepening their friendship. The older leaning on the younger for support. I saw a beautiful girl just on the brink of womanhood, eyes still hopeful and bright but with a battle ahead of her as her body fights and her soul trusts.
And so I take time. I lie on the floor, making direct eye contact with my baby and ignore the fact that the carpet desperately needs vacuuming. We make funny faces and take pictures. Our laughter fills the room. All that they say about having floor time with your toddler is true, it really is one of the most important things to do each day.
I feel the fear subside. I breathe. Asking for peace for myself and for others.
Heartache doesn't vanish overnight.
Gut-wrenching grief isn't just wiped away.
But there's a promise of peace in the valley, a light in the darkness, and God's presence to hold onto in the rocky storm.