I have 4 kids

Things on the homefront continue on as normal. Josh's mom and dad are in town for the holiday weekend. We will be cooking out with friends tomorrow here at the house. Josh and I have always loved entertaining, and that has not changed since the accident. We are looking forward to it.

So, today I was posed an interesting question that I seem to encounter very regularly. When other mothers see you out and about with a child or children, you are often asked how many children you have. After almost three years, I still do not have a great answer for that one.  I have read of many mothers who have no problem with answering.  Some answer with the number of children they have living, others just say the total number.  Me, I'm a total number girl.  The only problem is- sometimes the conversation continues to how old are they? Hmmm.. this one always gets me a bit nervous cause I realize this could lead into an uncomfortable conversation.  I have even met one that says she has "two that walk and one that flies." I am not really comfortable with this answer.  I'm still at the point where I usually say 4 unless I figure we may have time for the converstation to continue.

Just 3 weeks after Ava died, we went to some friends for dinner.  They had some neighbors stop by to see our friend's new baby girl.  When they were leaving they asked how many children we had and Josh replied two.  I thought I was going to puke and punch him at the same time.  I felt like we were not acknowledging who she is in our lives.  Now, after almost 3 years, I find myself doing the same thing at times.

I remember reading somewhere that losing your parents is like losing your past, but losing your child is like losing your future.  This really captures how I felt soon after we lost Ava.  It left so many questions in my mind, what were we going to do now, would we move back to the home where she died, would our kids remember their little sister (I now see this is my responsibility)?  How was I going to continue on living and still be a mom who functioned for the rest of the kids.  I didn't want my kids to look back at this time and think, "this is when we lost my mom, not just my sister."  I still desired for my kids to have a happy childhood. I wanted my kids to be able to look back and see how present the Lord was through this ordeal, how he continued to be faithful to us even when we couldn't see it through our sorrow.

I realize now how differently Josh and I reacted to Ava's death emotionally. This was addressed while we went to see an amazing Christian counselor for a few months. There were so many feelings hurt, so many things we wished we could have done different, but the past was over and we couldn't change them.  But we could change how we started hadling the future. We realized it seemed a little screwed up, but if we wanted to continue our friendships with those who had fallen off the map, it was us who were going to have to make the effort.  I really balked at this idea and then realized I was just being totally selfish. Just because I lost a child did not give me permission to become self-involved.

Josh and I made a promise to each other, less than 8 hours after Ava died, that we would talk to each other.  There were so many horrible things running through my mind that I would never have admitted out loud.  Josh started by saying something that I couldn't believe he would admit and it opened up a huge door of communication for us.  I remember admitting to thoughts that I couldn't believe I had, but I did.  

One other thing we said from the start was we were going to cling to God, knowing he had a plan- even if we couldn't see it. I knew I was not going to like his plan, I never would, but I have never doubted that God knows better than I do. Yes, I still want Ava back into our family, but this is not possible during our Earthly life.  I believe, 100%, that we will again be reunited with her. This life is just a blink of an eye, I will have plently of time to enjoy her come heaven. 

Posted on May 25, 2008 .