This past Saturday was the due date of the baby we lost in October. Russ and I were talking over the weekend about the honor of having two babies who have already attained the prize of Heaven. We personally still have so much reaching and striving through sin and its effects to do, so much to press on through. And we witness, every day, that same struggle and striving in our children on Earth.
To be responsible for forming our children's hearts for Christ, while simultaneously working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, is an overwhelming and humbling thing for a parent. I admit there are days that the earthly toil is so exasperating, I hardly give a thought to my heavenly home. Even as I was trying to take a quiet and somewhat emotional moment to write this, Ruth came down from her afternoon rest time. She was in tears. And there was a large round hairbrush stuck in her hair. Like really stuck. The cycle of disobedient child (she knows not to go in my drawers), exasperated parent, earthy consequence (ten minutes worth of tugging and detangling), and apology and reconciliation, is a familiar one.
I'm no fool. I know that this is my relationship with my Heavenly Father as well. But I have two children that haven't known this struggle. They only know the prize!
What an emotional dichotomy it is to be a Christian parent mourning a child. I long to hold my child, to know what she looks like, to smell her baby skin. But she's in Heaven. I wish I could see my other children hold her and kiss her and snuggle her so excessvely that I have to say, "Ok, enough for now! You'll smother her!" But she's in Heaven. I want to introduce her to our friends. I want her to be in our family photos. I want to hear her cry and hold her close to nurse. I want to see her personality develop, her loveliness bloom, her love for her siblings deepen. These are all the things I want for me. But she's in Heaven!!!! And there is nothing more I want for her.
Russ and I have talked about finally naming the two babies that we have lost to miscarriage. The fact that we're having some, ahem, arguments about the names themselves, is a good indication that we've truly embraced these little ones as our own and are not taking the honor of naming them lightly ;) Among other reasons, we think naming these dear children will help make them more relatable in conversation, and approachable in prayer, to their siblings here on Earth. To refer to a brother or sister by name, one who is truly living in the arms of our Lord in the company of Our Lady and the angels and saints, is a reminder that their home is also our home. There are two Blackstones already home. I pray that those of us still striving will live this life - the daily struggles, the times of immense joy, the crazy loud fun of wrestling in the basement or splashing in the creek, the quiet moments of sadness, and life's little hairbrush dramas - so as to lay hold of the prize - eternal life in the presence of the living God. Laying hold of that prize will also mean a reunion with our babies in the true home of the Blackstone family.