Hey Little Girl!
Work schedules and life have kept family time scarce. So, when we had some unseasonably warm weather over the weekend, your momma decided it would be fun for the whole family to get outside.
It was nothing spectacular. We threw one of Courtland’s blankets on the front lawn and sat outside for a bit. Courtland smiled and giggled and cried. Caroline ran around like a crazy seven-year-old, breaking from youth-induced havoc only to attempt to amuse your brother. Mostly, she made him smile and giggle and cry. Your momma and I just relaxed and enjoyed the moment.
A lady from the neighborhood walked past. I don’t know her name, but she is out walking all the time. We’ve exchanged pleasantries, but walking is her exercise. So, our conversations have always been to the point. We probably never delved any deeper than the weather.
This time, she stopped more deliberately. “I just have to say,” she said as she walked towards us, “that as I was cresting the hill, I saw your family sitting out together and enjoying the day. It looked like something that should be on a magazine cover,” she continued. “You all just look like you’re doing it right, as a family.”
She was clearly ready to get back on her way as we thanked her for the compliment. Leaving on her trek, she asked, “Aren’t you the family that has that angel out front at Christmas? That angel is just so unique!”
Your momma responded that the angel was indeed ours, giving the rhetorical question an appropriately concise answer. At this point, the conversation had reached its logical conclusion. The sweet lady was back on her way and all necessary inquisitions and responses had been fulfilled, in accordance with protocol and decorum.
But, that angel is precious to us. I couldn’t let it ride. So, I jumped in from the back row, forcing the poor lady to strain a crick in her neck as she continued, full stride, on her route while simultaneously trying to pay me proper attention. “We had another infant that passed,” I offered—awkwardly (although I do applaud myself for softening the conversation with the diction of ‘passed’ as opposed to ‘died’). “We got the angel shortly after her death to remind us of her.” Her response was kind and thoughtful.
I had to say it. We are the perfect family. But, if we belong on a magazine cover, it’s not because the story has unfolded according to our plan. It’s not because things are perfect. Things aren’t. You’re not here. We are the perfect family because, come what may, we are a family. Your mother and your sister carried me through your loss. Your brother has renewed my hope. You have put my treasure where it belongs: in the eternal. We are the perfect family.
I don’t suspect that sweet lady needed a lesson. Maybe I did.
I love you so much, my precious little girl!