There are few things in life that are perfect and can make me smile instantly. I smiled a lot today. Emily and I had lots of reasons to smile. Corey came home after a 7 month deployment. Yeah! Stacy gave birth to her second son, Bryce. Yeah! Emily got to spend 2 hours at the pool with our friends. Yeah! And now I get to enjoy a couple Oreos with a glass of milk. Yum! All of these are wonderful and perfect.
But I noticed a few more things that make me smile. Emily now has tan lines from all the time we are spending together outside and at the pool. I am smiling over this…she has Bryan’s ability to tan!! Not too much of course, but she will not be as pale as I am.
Emily is getting freckles! I love freckles. I hated mine in school, although I did not have a “Jan complex” about them. Now, they are a part of me and I like them. But, I am so excited that Em is getting some. They are on her cheeks just below her eyes and they are adorable. They give her some extra character, not that she really needs extra. Freckles…there was really no way she was going to avoid those, not with me and Bryan as her parents!
And the best part of the day. Corey is home, Emily is following him around like a puppy dog. She missed him like crazy. As he was preparing to head home for his leave and we were getting ready to head out for our evening activities, Emily made a new friend. She followed him outside and got distracted by the cutest little ladybug. She loves them, talks about how they remind her of Nat Nat, and looks for them everywhere. Of course, we usually do not have to look far. They find us. But this one peaked Emily’s curiosity and she began to play with it. She tried to get it to crawl on her hand and finally it climbed up. She squealed, unsure of the tickling it was giving her. She was so happy. When it flew off, she followed it again coercing it climb on her again. This was followed by the same squeal, pure delight coming from my daughter. I was so happy to see her so happy and full of life at that moment. Many of her moments remembering Natalie are somber and hard. But this was so different, so amazing. This one showed me her love for her sister and the memories she has of Nat Nat. This was a perfect moment in my day.
Of course, my mind wondered off to that place where the what if’s come in again. What if Nat was here? Would she be playing with the ladybug? Would she squeal like that, with all the joy her sister showed? Would we have been at home, or would we have been in our old routine? What would be different? We spend a lot of time with our friends, Marc, Maria, Anna and Julia. Julia and Natalie were a mere 4 weeks apart in age. She is an amazing girl, about to turn two. She has an infectious smile, one that makes it so hard for me to turn away. She is inquisitive, hard-headed and wonderfully adorable. She says Emily so sweetly when we come around. She is my constant what if. What if Nat were her age? What if Nat and Julia still played together…would they fight or be incredibly happy together. What would Nat be doing that Julia is? But, I cannot hide my smile when I see her. Because of her, Natalie still gets to grow up with me. I still get those milestones. I still count the days, weeks and months since her birth. And I still count the ones since we said goodbye to her. Maria will get to live vicariously through me and Alie’s birth. And I get the same with her and Julia. I love that and it makes me smile too. I get to remember, wish, and know that I will see these milestones again with Alie. Julia is obsessed with babies right now, pointing out each one so proudly. I hope she is like that with Alie. I will get to see again what Natalie may have been like with her baby sister.
But I know, no matter how she reacts to Alie, she will still make me smile. She will still remind me of my sweet girl.
And smiling will still be a part of my day.
Ps. 55:22 "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken"