The day my daughter met her sibling was a scenario that I had played in my mind for months. Ever since the first positive pregnancy test I wondered what that day would look like and how Audrey would respond/react/feel. I imagined her coming to the hospital after delivery and navigating the halls until she found our room. I imagined her wanting to snuggle in bed with me. I imagined her being very curious of the baby but likely wanting the attention to be on her. I often asked (and answered) the question, “what is she going to do when she has a brother at home?” … She would have been a really awesome big sister.
Audrey is a super sweet, independent, and fierce little girl who would not have taken kindly, at first anyway, to having someone to share her mama and daddy with. But she would have loved having a playmate and eventually, when the dust settled from the new baby coming home and things got back to normal, she would have loved on and snuggled her brother with the amazing capacity of love that only a toddler can express.
The day that Audrey met her brother didn’t look very much like I had imagined and somehow it looked an awful lot like I had imagined. She did come to the hospital the same day we delivered. She did walk the halls of the hospital looking for our room. She did want to snuggle with me and she was very curious about George Mason. All of the things I envisioned for the first time she met her sibling, happened, they just didn’t have the same joy and celebration linked to them that I had always thought they would. Instead of meeting her brother in my postpartum room and dressed in the outfit she helped me pick out, she met him in a NICU room. One of the ones reserved for the sickest of kids and one that she was only allowed into because he was not going to survive the night.
Adam and I didn’t plan to be at the hospital on February 10, so our hospital bag was hastily packed and our “game plan” for the various scenarios was all kinds of thrown off. When the doctors came and told us they would be moving George Mason into a private room so that his sister could come meet him I just cried. It was some of the hardest information I’ve ever had to hear. Adam needed to process it all and someone needed to get Audrey… so he left to grab our daughter, and my camera, and come back to say hello and see you in eternity to our son. I had hoped that someone would document our last moments with George Mason, but I honestly didn’t really care, I just wanted to enjoy whatever amount of time God had given us with him. I just wanted to hold him. I took one picture. It was of Adam introducing Audrey to her brother. She looked at him with big, curious, and loving eyes and very sweetly told her daddy that was “Jooje Mason”. After that I sat my camera down.
I will forever be thankful for the nurse from that night. She was so good. She stayed out of the way but she got pictures of everything. Some of them aren’t the best of quality, but I have them. I only have 16 hours to remember of my son but I will have the pictures to help me never forget those precious hours. That was a pretty awful day but God was good. He gave us time to say good bye to our son. He gave us respectful doctors and nurses who let us weep without interruption. He gave us a nurse with an amazing heart who picked up a camera and just started clicking. Most importantly, He gave us ultimate confidence that our son is with Him and is so very loved.
“At that time Jesus declared, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’” -Matthew 11:25-30