An Angel in Target

Last Friday night we went to Target to get a few things. One of the more important was a box of Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. They had the white ones at this Target, so I went crazy and picked up a few boxes. Our Target never has the white ones in stock. So after more shopping, I got in line and Coy went to get the truck.

As I was unloading the buggy, an older woman behind me in line smiled and then started talking about the cakes. She loved them. She loved all Little Debbie’s. She has served those Christmas Tree Cakes as dessert before at a party she loves them so much. So then we started talking about the most important thing I found in Target. A tiny little Christmas tree. I have known all year that when December came I wanted to put a tree on Will’s grave.

So, the woman asked what I was going to do with that tiny little tree. She talked about how simple it was. And how pretty the limbs were. And then she asked. “What are you going to do with that one little tree?” I mustered up enough strength and with that tearful glisten in my eye, I responded, “it’s going on my sons grave.” And then I lost it at register 6.

But, she didn’t let that end our conversation. She asked how old my son would be. So I was able to tell her that he would have been 10 months old next week. She then asked what happened. I was able to stand there at register 6 and give our testimony. And we continued to talk while she checked out. It was surreal.

So I told her Merry Christmas and she said that she prayed the new year would bring joy and hope of another baby; which is what we have been praying for. So I high tailed it to the truck because I knew Coy would be close to the door. I was nearly sobbing because of the sweet encounter. And when I got there, he rolled down the window asking if I was okay. So I said yes, look for the old woman in the red sweater. And she never came out. We sat there at the front door for forever and she never left.

I know she was an angel. I have always known they exist. I never thought I would be able to see one on earth. But in the beginning of the Christmas season, I know God knew I needed that reminder. Sometimes it’s a small star I see in the sky and it is so bright that I know it’s God giving me a wink. Sometimes it’s in the midst of a heavy moment filled with grief that I get a little bit of relief. But last Friday, at register 6, I truly believe an angel came down from heaven to give me some peace.

So today, December 5, Will would have been 10 months old. I’ve tried all day to think about what he would have been doing if he was still alive. Who would he look like? What size would he be? Just about every what if has crossed my mind today. I know he would have loved the Christmas lights this year. And I know he would have been playing around our tree. So we decided on his 10 month birthday to take him his tree.

We placed it on his headstone and wept. It was a sorrowful time but before we left, we thanked God again for his life. Those 52 hours were the best times in the worst circumstances.

Every time we visit his grave, it’s a reminder of time continuing on. More grass continues to cover the ground over him each time we go. The weather continues to change. We have watched the leaves fall off the tree right beside him. And yet, it feels like life is standing still. Time and life continue to go on and I still can’t figure out how to keep up. Maybe I don’t have to keep up, just keep pushing through. That’s all we can really do.

I’ll be Home for Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas movies growing up was I’ll Be Home for Christmas with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. That scene where he waits outside the window watching his family and you can actually see the love has always made me choke up. The music. The lighting. Just everything. I always dreamt of when my son would come home for Christmas. Even as a teenager, I thought about that day years down the road and just knew I would be so excited to see him.

And then last year we were planning for this year with Will. And in my mind, I went 30 years down the road to him coming to our house with his family.

And here we sit tonight, riding down the road and I’ll be Home for Christmas comes on. The lump in my throat grows to those puddles of tears streaming down my face and Coy grabbing my hand again and letting me have my pity party. Then halfway through the song, God placed His hand on my heart, almost literally, and just gave me a peace.

I never get to see him grow, fall in love, marry, and everything in between. But, I’m here with my family and we are celebrating the Christmas season. We celebrated Thanksgiving with thankful and joyful hearts, but with an empty seat at the table. And we will continue to celebrate. That seat will always be there. And I’ll always wonder what would have been. But I don’t have to wonder where he is.

Will isn’t here for Christmas. He never will be. He is HOME for Christmas. Every single Christmas, my baby is home. I get to live this earthly life without him now, but I know that he is celebrating Christmas everyday and eventually we will celebrate together.

I truly hope if you are sitting with an empty seat, you have the joy of Christmas in your heart. It doesn’t mean you won’t have those hard moments, but ask God to give you the peace. He will continue to guide you through the unknown and give grace when you need it most. My prayer is that he covers me and my family in it this season, I know we will need it. Every single day I pray that He covers us in grace like He did in the hospital that day when we gave Will back to Him.

Merry Christmas season!

The Holiday Season

This is my favorite time of year, November and December. Well, they used to be. And they still are, I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Everyday is so blah. Over and over in my head has been the 3rd verse of the song, “It’s the holiday season, so whoop-de-do.” And that’s exactly how I feel most days. Whoop-de-freaking-do.

We have always started to decorate in early November because it’s so fun and so pretty and you can enjoy it longer. And I started. Coy put the tree up. And the other tree. And I put out the decorations on the mantle. And then, we got the buckets out of the attic and I thought, okay, I can actually do this. And then we were tired, so we called it a night and watched tv before bed.

So, that leads us to tonight. I started going through buckets. The stocking we found for Will with the puppy sledding was in the first bucket. Cue the tears. And then the little penguin with his name on it from Coy’s parents. More tears. And then the big glass ornament to start his collection from my parents. It was too much. I fell on my knees and wept. Like, nasty, crazy weeping. Coy came and sat by me and held me. He always is there holding me. And letting me cry and crying with me.

And then I realized that I’ve been approaching the holiday season all wrong. God didn’t send His Son so I could put all the pretty stuff in the house, shop til it makes me a little crazy, and to listen to all the fun little carols. HE came so that we may live. And live abundantly. Y’all, I’ve known this my whole life, but it makes sense now. So much sense. He came so that when Will was born and lived his perfect 52 hours here, there would be something after this life.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” That’s why Christmas exists. That’s why Jesus came. That’s the meaning of everything! Christmas exists to give joy.

This would have been our first Christmas as parents. We should have been having so much fun and seeing the wonder through our baby’s eyes. It would have been magical. But, I know his every second is magical. I can’t even begin to imagine how his day to day is in Heaven. And then multiply Heaven by Christmas! Sheer JOY! I would love to hear the Hallelujah chorus on Christmas morning in Heaven. So, I’m going to try and enjoy Christmas for what it is. The reason that Will is alive today more than he ever was is because of God’s sacrifice of His Son.

So if you see me this season, I might be smiling. Or I might be crying. Or I could just look a little crazy! But just know that whatever my earthly emotions are showing, please know I have the joy of Jesus deep down in my heart. I hope everyday to show that joy. That’s why I share our pain. Because of His love for us, I know one day I won’t have anything to be sad about.

I also know that it’s gonna be a hard time. It will be sad and so full of emotion. So pray for us. Pray for our whole family. I know that I talk about mostly me and Coy, but there is a huge hole in everyone else’s heart too. Life will never be the same. Now we can look forward to Heaven when we are all reunited. And there won’t be anything but everlasting JOY!