As a parent, you have likely had at least one defining moment. Something that changes the way you parent – either good or bad.
Mine happened 2 years before I had my son.
My group of friends were starting to have babies and the first one gave birth on Super Bowl Sunday. We were all so excited. I remember it vividly. The night before, I had moved back to Northwest Arkansas and besides my stomach aching from eating too much and my sore muscles, my heart was full.
I couldn’t wait to meet her and hear all the details from my friend.
And then I got the text. The one that changed my life. Our precious baby girl didn’t make it.
What? It was 2012. HOW does this happen?
My friend went through the pain of child birth and now, was without a child. I couldn’t process it.
I sat at the funeral and saw a casket, not bigger than a cooler, roll by. They shouldn’t have to make them that size.
I was numb for days (I cannot fathom my friend still feels). But once the emotions started flowing, I was MAD. I was made for the little one who didn’t get to live. I was mad for my friend who didn’t get to take her baby home. I was mad at God. My sweet friend, with the hundreds of baby items, had to go home to a nursery that was filled with anything but joy.
I cried for the little one who didn’t get to.
I screamed for the little one who didn’t get to.
I loved on my friend for the little one who didn’t get to.
I changed for the little one who didn’t get to.
That sweet little baby, who lived for less than an hour, changed me forever. She changed my perspective. I relish each stage of my son’s life because she didn’t get to.
2 years later, when I had my son, my friends sat with me all day because that’s what we do now. We do it out of fear and love but we do it for the little one who forever changed us.
My son was born with a fever and had to be taken away immediately. In fact, I barely saw him but I was so thankful he was okay, I was filled with peace. She didn’t get to.
My friends all warned me about how hard the first few months of motherhood are. The lack of sleep, emotions, exhaustion are enough to make you go crazy. I didn’t care. In the middle of the night, I hugged him tighter and cried. I cried for my friend who didn’t get to and I cried because that sweet girl never got to that stage. I cried for the little one who didn’t get to.
I think about her through every tantrum, kiss, hug, sickness, injury, and phase. I react calmer to the bad moments and hold on tighter to the happy moments, for the little one who didn’t get to.
On her birthday, we donate books every year and before we do, I read them to my son and tell him about her.
He doesn’t really understand yet but one day, he’ll know she made me a better mother. Until then, I will hold hug him tighter and react calmer when he throws a fit, for the little one who didn’t get to.