I am often asked how I manage to keep my calm each day. My house has an array of colorful characters ranging from a teenager with autism to premature triplets and a spirited little guy all under the age of 4.
On any given day you will find me enduring exponential meltdowns, potty training disasters and doctor, therapy and school appointments. But in that above list of children is one who will never have another birthday. One who will forever remain in my count of “under the age of 4.” I wish I had a short answer as to why I can remain calm amid chaos, one that does not change the mood in a room or leave eyes searching for tissue.
My answer is one I can put into words, but only in print. I have never been able to give sound to it without my voice failing.
It is simply this:
I have sat with a daughter with no life left. I have felt the silence and the emptiness of saying goodbye when she was already gone. Those tragic, mind-numbing moments have left me with a profound gratefulness for the pulse of life.
Marker on the walls, clay in the carpet and a 3-year-old who assumes the plank position when I try to buckle his car seat are not even a blip on my radar screen. They are reminders of life.
Life is debating over hot pink sandals in the thick of winter, confiscating a red pen mid-swipe and peeling stickers off the bathroom mirror. Life is the weight of a sleeping toddler on my chest, the tickling warmth of a blonde head on my shoulder and a teenager innocent enough to still hold my hand.
My choice to treasure the ups and the downs is an easy one.
The silence of loss makes the noise of life music to my ears.