I have spent the last forty-five minutes pulling and piling fabrics, trying to find just the right combination of colors and patterns for Hazel's first birthday banner.
And as I stood there puzzling over greys and pinks and yellows and blues, furrowing my brow trying to find just the right festive-yet-girly combination, I realized that the banner really wasn't why I was overwhelmed at all.
"Nothing will do. Nothing is good enough. This is Hazel's first birthday and absolutely no fabric combination will capture the joy of this moment."
Silly yes. Really, very silly. I know.
But after that crazy, fleeting thought, I remembered the last time I felt that way - the last time I had a very similar thought: It was the day we buried Evie.
I remember standing at the florist shop, belly still swollen from giving birth only days earlier, insistent that I had to pick just the right flowers to lay on her grave. They needed to say "I love you helplessly", "I miss you desperately", "I'll always be your Mama" and "goodbye, precious daughter" all in one fistful of foliage.
I had one chance to get this right. And none of the flowers in the whole shop were good enough for my baby or for that moment. None of them would do. None of them were pretty enough or delicate enough or perfect enough. And yet, the decision couldn't wait. How can a Mama communicate a lifetime's worth of love and nurturing into a simple bundle of stems and petals?
Nothing can. It's a helpless feeling.
But now, I DO get to give something to my Hazel. I get to show her my love in word and in deed and even with a birthday banner! And I know that when her big day comes, my thoughts will only be on her and the joy the Lord has brought.
But tonight, I can't help but long for my Evie-girl. I ache for the chance to make her a banner. To give her something - anything more than that one silly bouquet. I want to make her a cake and light a single candle and watch her make a mess of it.
We're realizing now more than ever - as we experience so many precious firsts with our sweet Hazel - that we've lost more than we even imagined with our Evie. All the pink, all the dresses, the girly smiles and the sweetness that only a daughter can bring to a family. And, all the firsts. The birthdays. The graduations. The wedding. The babies.
I gleefully and gratefully celebrate the year that God has given us with our Hazel. And, we anticipate with hope many MANY birthday celebrations to come. But tonight, I am feeling the sting of death. I am feeling the loss of the first birthday party that I didn't get to plan for our Evie. And it hurts. Man, it hurts.