The cabin beds were topped with handmade quilts, each one different. They held the weight of a parent and little girl just perfectly. The waves crashed and the walls shook with wind, but the four walls stayed warm and the coffee bubbled hot in the morning. Everyone slept, except me. I stayed awake and listened to the waves and the sweet suckling (all night) baby laying next to me.
Prayed for so many babies, new babies, in womb babies, birth and all the change. So many friends and a sister all awaiting, or newly loving on, babies. I avoided letting my prayers go past friends. I couldn’t face the regret and feelings I have been pushing off for the past few days. I thought about the empty space next to me. I heard their identical sighs in the bed behind me; Charlie and Nolie make the exact same sleep sounds. The space felt empty but listening to them made me feel full. Our family feels huge to bursting and just right. Right now.
The next day brought exhaustion, a nap, a good book, some wine and some coffee and a decision to head home early in hopes of having some sleep. It brought sleep that night and a big long cry in the car, a cry that has been a long time coming.
Ever was overtired when we loaded her up. Nolie was sad to be leaving her “tiny cabin!” and I was tired, over touched by my bigger nursling and, more than anything, feeling so much regret lately and their tandem crying was the trigger for the barricade to break.
I have been rereading journal entries and posts from when Nolie was a baby. The mistakes I made. The things I thought. All of it. . . I feel horrible. The plight of the first child is a heavy one. Nolie changed everything about me. What I think is important, how I feel about my body and needs, what I know love to be, how I understand Gods love, how I view my parents and the sacrifices they made, how I excuse (or don’t) other parents choices, on and on and on. Nolie gave me a new definition of Love and Grace.
I made huge mistakes. Have a thousand regrets and just keep racking them up (I wish I hadn’t yelled that day. I wish I hadn’t left her to cry with Charlie that night. I wish I had just come home faster that evening out. On and on.) and I am sure the same will for for Ever too. I am flawed, sinful and… a parent.
This morning I woke up. New from shedding all those tears and ready to change. At least for today. I remembered Nolie’s name.
Ever’s name is a constant reminder for me to hold onto Joy. And she makes that so easy to remember, her bright eyes and easy smile ooze joy in almost every moment. But Nolie, her name is harder to grasp, see and hold onto. But this morning if feels clear as day.
Noele Grace- Anticipate Grace. Anticipate that forgiveness, the fresh day that I never deserve but am always offered. My little girl with a heart always growing, resilient and shining. My girl full of grace.
This morning I am letting the dishes rest, the dinner be easy and my girls be the center. I am anticipating grace for my failings and knowing that a gift I could never earn is laid out for me, despite my regrets and failings.
My beautiful girls give me Grace and Joy in every day. Praise God for offering me a tangible reminder when I fail to let his words be enough.