Friday, April 5, 2013


Last year around this time I was broken. I'm still broken now, but last year around this time I was holding back tears and forcing myself to smile. It hadn't even been two months since I had lost my Ian and I was looking for ways to get through the days without losing my mind.

I went jogging one day and I saw that the Upland Lemon Festival had begun. I cut my jogging session short, ran back home, got the boys ready and took them to walk around the festival. It wasn't easy for me. I really just wanted to hide in a dark place and cry. I kept picturing myself walking around with my big boys and my little baby in my arms. I was so angry. I was supposed to have a baby with me. My Ian.

Still, I managed to force myself to pretend I was ok. I didn't want my boys to think I didn't want to be there with them. We were walking around looking for kettle corn, when we came across a stand selling bubble guns. Of course, the boys immediately forgot about the kettle corn and begged for a bubble gun of their very own. There were other little boys running around, filling the air with bubbles of all sizes, so I couldn't say no to them. I bought them their bubble guns and watched them as they joined the other little boys. It made me happy to see them smile. And the hundreds of bubbles floating around made me smile, which wasn't an easy thing to do.

I was standing to the side watching the kids play when a group of teenagers walked by. They were fanning the bubbles away from their faces, trying to make their way through, when one of the boys in the group, maybe about 16 or 17 years old, declared very loudly that is the most annoying toy in the world which, apparently, was quite funny to the rest of the group who laughed and glared back at me as if they had just offended me as a parent and a person. I looked at the teenaged boy as he walked away feeling like a hero for not being ashamed to speak his obnoxious, childish mind out loud. I smiled at him, which clearly took him by surprise. I think he expected me to frown and express my disbelief, but my heart was too exhausted from the all the trauma and the pain, so I just smiled.

It's been nearly a year since that day. I know this because the signs for this year's Lemon Festival are all around town. I can't help but wonder if that young man has matured a little since. I wonder if one year is long enough to learn to be kind and humble. I wonder if he would have acted the same way had he known the pain in my heart. I wonder if he knows that I would have gladly purchased three of the "the most annoying toy in the world" for my Ian to join his brothers at the Lemon Festival Bubble Gun Battle of 2013. He'd be a little over a year old. Just old enough to hold the most annoying toy in the world in his tiny hand and watch the bubbles fill the air. He'd be running and playing and exploring.

I wonder.

To the teenaged boy who thought it was cool to be shamelessly mean,

I hope you are well. I hope life doesn't teach you to be nice the hard way, as life often tends to do. I hope you never lose a child. I hope no one ever walks by you and kicks you when you are down. I hope you enjoy your youth thoroughly, because one day you will grow up and realize the world doesn't revolve around the kid with the loudest mouth. I hope that one day you develop an appreciation for annoying toys and it takes you back to when you used play with them. I hope you learn to be sensitive and kind. I hope you spread goodness. I wish you joy. I wish you love.

To my Ian,

I know you'd be saying mama by now. There isn't a single day that goes by that I don't think of you. I miss you so much. There is no way to describe the pain in my heart. I'm going to wonder about you for the rest of my life. What would your voice have sounded like, what color were your eyes, what would your favorite cereal have been.... People tell me God needed you. I don't know if I believe that, because no one could ever need you more than I do. I see your baby brother do things every day that I wish I could have seen you do. I don't know how I am supposed to go through an entire lifetime with this pain in my heart, but I'm doing it. Right now, your brothers need me here on earth, but one day I will join you in heaven and I will hold you and kiss you and tell you how much I've missed you. Until then, send me bubbles, baby boy. I love you like the ocean loves the shore, tiny angel.

Last year around this time, I was broken. I'm still broken, but now I don't have to force myself to smile. I have three beautiful boys on earth and one waiting for me in heaven. More than enough reasons to smile, I think.