I've been babysitting during the day. At any given time, I have quite a few children in our home that are not my children. I care for them, love them, and treat them like my own.
For the most part, I enjoy babysitting, but some days it drains me. There have been a few children who have brought about the grief of losing Joshua when I realized they are Joshua's age. But, I've found the joy in having children around who are his age. It allows me a glimpse of him and what life may be like for him in Heaven (assuming babies age the way we do here, of course!)
I've been seeing Joshua in Hannah lately. There have been a few specific times that, when she looks at me, I swear it's Joshua looking back at me. Hannah and Joshua share a lot of the same features while Caleb and Lukey share a lot of the same features. Seeing Joshua in Hannah is such a blessing. He was such a beautiful child.
This morning, I have a little guy here is who is just a few months older than Joshua- I've known that for a while. It's so good to see some of the developmental milestones that I would have missed, even if it's not in my child. However, as I was doing dishes this morning, it dawned on me that the ages of the children that I have here this morning, would have been the ages of Caleb, Hannah, and Joshua if he had lived. Hannah is almost 5- the age Caleb was when Joshua was born. The little guy that I'm watching is 2 1/2- the age Hannah was when Joshua was born. And Lukey is 1. Just a little older than Joshua would have been.
Watching the 3 of them interact quickly brought tears to my eyes. This is what should have been. This is what my family SHOULD have looked like. But the reality is that it was never intended to look this way.
But, here is where I have found major healing in my life. In that moment, when grief threatened to over take me, I remembered the blessings that came out of Joshua's life. I look at Luke and his beautiful red hair and sweet disposition (who, by the way, has reached the holy terror stage of development- climbing, jumping, and getting into trouble! LOL!). I look around at the beautiful home that we were able to custom build. I look at Caleb and Hannah who have incredibly tender hearts. I see my husband whose strong shoulders have carried the burden of our family with grace and strength that can only come from God. And I think of my best friend Molly, who without her, I would have never reached the level of healing I have. I allow myself to bask in the love of my savior who has held on tight to me, even when I wanted to let go. His grace has been and will be enough. And then I think of our newest project- Joshie Dolls, and what an honor it is to serve CHD families with dolls that bear the beautiful scars that their children bravely wear.
Today, I got a small taste of what should have been, but I also got a chance to see what IS. And for as much as I miss my baby, and wish things could have been different, his life was and still is amazing. God continues to provide for our family through Joshua's life. So instead of being overwhelmed by what should have been, I am thank for it and allowing the beauty of what is to take hold.