Remember those adorable little models in the last blog post for Sullivan Yates? Those were my friend Joanna’s precious two, Theo and Alma. Joanna has been a friend of mine since she turned my hair into a work of art on my wedding day. She’s truly one of the most thoughtful and creative people I know. As mothers most all mothers do we both care very much about our children and are passionate about their education. However, as I am a public school teacher, we have pretty different approaches to reaching a similar end goal. I find her approach though and hard work with her children to be very admirable, and love learning from her. I thought you might enjoy hearing her thoughts too.
If you follow me on social media, or know me personally, then you know that the event known as “back-to-school” is marked as a holiday at our house. As a teacher myself, from a long line of teachers too, the school calendar very obviously impacts our calendar and the way our family operates. Therefore, after having Abigail and deciding to continue teaching I decided that every year we would celebrate this time as a family. So we’ve returned to school, we’ve celebrated for a week, and we find ourselves very content to be home this weekend. But while in my classroom this week my new (and precious) students and I had a conversation about how everyone has their own unique story. Furthermore, we reflected on how other people’s stories, both friends and strangers, can impact us too.
Laura McCarty has impacted my life and became one of my heroes of the faith a couple of years ago, even before my own grief, though I don’t know her too personally. She’s a home town girl in Birmingham, and we have many mutual friends. But, how interesting that in 2018 you can watch or hear someone’s story from a far, namely through social media, and be moved in such an impactful way. That’s part of what God impressed upon me though when I started this little blog in the midst of my own grief. While trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart I was reminded of a few mamas, Laura being one of them, and so I’m glad to share her motherhood story with you here now.
How would you describe your family?
I feel like we are just your average family. Mark and I met a long time ago, but reconnected after we both graduated from college. We fell in love fast. We began dating, were engaged, and married all in a years time. We are the exact same and the exact opposite in so many ways. We have two fur babies, Lily and Coast, that make us vacuum every day of the week. We have two beautiful girls, Sullivan and Miller. Sullivan went to be with Jesus in October of 2016. Miller joined us in March of 2018, and has brought us such joy. Sullivan and Miller are 16.5 months apart and the light of our lives.
I’ve put this off for over a week. I really don’t want to be transparent, or even really have to ponder this too deeply. But my baby made me brave from start to finish. By the grace of God, all of my babies have done that for me. I have no idea what I am about to type or how I am going to try to shuffle through the various emotions that I’ve had over the past week or more. However, I think it’s worth trying to communicate because I know that I am not alone in this, and once again if anyone can find some strength from my process then I’ll try to share as honestly as I can. To God be the glory!
Our baby isn’t here.
July 25, 2018 was the expected due date. I just knew she would come early like her big sister, but I hoped maybe not quite as early. But it would’ve been really fun if she would’ve come that day because it’s the day before my Mom’s birthday, and I adore my Mom. What a fun way to celebrate for years to come! July 25th came and went, and that baby would never come because she went to Heaven in January. That’s a hard reality regardless of the fact that I now am carrying another baby that’s thankfully healthy and has surpassed the life of my baby in Heaven. Every single day since January 16, 2018 I have missed and longed for that sweet baby in Heaven though. Emotions are less severe, but the ache is still the same. I suppose it always will be that way. July 25th will never pass by as it has before.
That week though my family was at the beach all together, so we chose to celebrate our sweet baby on a beautiful day a couple days prior. We bought a single cupcake and made a picnic on the beach. We talked about the baby, the three of us, and it felt like we were all together enjoying the sun, sugar, and the waves. I am so grateful for that moment, and hope we continue this little tradition of celebrating our angelic family member.
When July 25th came I was a bit weird. I teared up about most every little thing. I wanted to be strong, I wanted to press through, but mostly I just wanted the day to end. I survived it, the day that didn’t go according to my plan. The truth is that no day is about my plan, is it? That’s a tough pill to swallow, and even harder to surrender to the reality of daily.
Days later I reflected on how this life is a dance of joy and sorrow, celebration and grief, exactly. It’s really beautiful that way, and it’s hard too. But I have seen the Lord through this season, and He has carried me through it all, just as I carried my baby for 13 weeks. Selah.