Facebook brought up the most darling memory from this day two years ago. It was a letter, in some sense, to Miss Audrey Nole, two days before she was born. It was all the feelings of anticipation and readiness that two soon-to-be first time parents could be feeling. Our home was clean, our hearts were ready, and my baby belly was at capacity. All that was left was to deliver that precious new life and hold her in our arms. We couldn't wait to bring her home to our little apartment and the nursery we had put together for her. There was so much anticipation for the day she would choose to make her birthday and for all the sleepless nights to follow. We had no idea what we were getting into, but we knew our hearts were ready. 

George Mason's life started so differently from Audrey's. We didn't have the same waiting period month after month for a positive pregnancy test. He surprised us all when I finally broke down and decided I should probably take a pregnancy test. I was so excited, and slightly in denial, when I saw that second line. Our "plan" for having our children 2 years apart had actually gone well. We were having another baby and I was beyond excited. 

Almost nothing about George Mason's life was the same as Audrey. I was less sick and for a shorter amount of time. I was way more exhausted and I had less heartburn. There was one thing though, that was exactly the same: the anticipation and readiness. I remember hearing his heartbeat for the first time. I remember feeling the first little flutters. I remember his first hiccups. They were the signs of the little human growing inside me. All the same feelings of joy, excitement, dreading sleeplessness, worry about being a good parent, all of those things were a part of his life. All of those things changed our life. George Mason changed our lives and wrote his name on our hearts. 

I had all the same anticipation and readiness with George, but he didn't come home. Now I'm living through the pain of those lost expectations as well as the real loss of my precious son. I’m so thankful for memories like the one about Audrey's imminent arrival. It put a smile on my face this morning. I had forgotten I had written that and I had almost forgotten those last days before she came and how excited and ready we were. I won't have the same kinds of memories pop up about George Mason, but even if I didn't get to bring him home, I want to remember how excited I was to meet him. How amazing it felt when I finally got him into my arms. The moments I got to spend with him were filled with exactly the same wonder as those first moments with Audrey. I was in awe of his precious little being. He was Gods creation and he was absolutely perfect. 

It's important to me to remember the good parts of the memories with my son. It's so easy to only recall the bad stuff. The hard stuff. Probably because most of the stuff was hard. Probably because for every happy little baby kick, there was an equally unhappy shadow of sickness. I want to be able to sit down and really remember the good stuff, because there was so much good stuff. George Mason was feisty. He kicked a lot. And hard. He got the hiccups every night after dinner, just as I was lying down for bed. He fought hard to meet his parents and his big sister. In the end, this broken world and his body failed him, but he was such a precious little boy with a strong and fierce personality. It would be so easy to forget the good and the beauty of his life but I'm going to make sure those parts of my memories are shared with as many as will listen. And even though death took him from us way too early, there is still a sweet life to celebrate. I thank God for that sweet life every day and pray that I'll always remember him and that wonderful joy and anticipation. 

“Give me you lantern and compass, give me a map, so I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence. To enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God, sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God. Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.“ - Psalm 43:3-5 msg

Thank you Jesus for putting a smile on my face this morning and for being the ultimate source of smiles each and every day.