Since we are on the east coast for George Mason's burial service, we decided to make the most of our travels and share a few of our favorite places with miss Audrey Nole. Today, it was Boone, NC and the campus her daddy called home for 5 years. It's so fun for Adam and me to share the places we have such fond memories of with her. By all accounts, today was a very good day. We walked through downtown, bought a little too much paraphernalia, and took pictures with Yosef, and watched the ducks swim and play. I'm thankful for good days like today. It means we are settling into this new normal. It means that even though we are missing our sweet son, we are living life and finding peace in the day to day, sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary, goings on of life.

On one level, it feels good to be able to say we are having good days. It is a major accomplishment that any day is a good day. It is a huge blessing that after one of the worst days in a long time, we had a good day. A day full of happy memories and the joy of doing life as a child of God and with the people He placed us with. Any time our family has a good day, I'm so very thankful. But as I sit here this evening reminiscing about today, I feel my heart strings tugged toward my son. It was so normal today to do this life and make these memories with just Audrey Nole. It was comfortable to be the 3 of us; to ask for one high chair at lunch and to not be lugging around an infant car seat. Everything today was so normal and that makes me a little sad. George Mason should have been there. His daddy should have been able to take both of his children to his alma mater. But instead it was just Audrey Nole. So as I slow down for the night and move my thoughts to the to-do list of tomorrow, I wonder what grief is going to look like as our new normal gets more and more comfortable?

I don't want to always be sad. I'm happy to be moving forward and being able to see the sunlight peeking through the storm clouds. God is good and I knew even at the beginning of this stormy season in our life that it would eventually end. That just like God promised Noah, there will be a rainbow at the end of this storm. It's a weird, and if I'm being honest, scary, place to be. Knowing that time and distance from George Mason's day is healing the wound of his loss. Knowing that my life and my family are moving forward and that my son is getting further away from the present of this story is hard. But I also know that mourning his loss isn't going to be a permanent fixture in my everyday life. I realize that God understands the pain of loss and hates death as much as I do, but that He knows death isn't scary and isn't the end of the story. I don't have to be sad in every moment to love my son well. I don't have to be afraid of forgetting him or losing him because I'm not crying during every new memory. My son wasn't with us today and that sucks. I was aware of it but it wasn't debilitating. My pain over his death didn't hinder my joy in sharing this new experience with Audrey. My son's life isn't less relevant because I enjoyed myself and my family today.

I'm grateful for a God who gives me the peace to be simultaneously happy and sad. I'm grateful for a God who provides strength and new mercies every day. I'm grateful for a God who cares enough about me to ordain even the littlest things in such a way that they are noticed and appreciated. We buried our son on Saturday. We celebrated my mama on Sunday. And we introduced Audrey Nole to her second favorite school on Monday. The only way we got through all of that was because He was with us. He is always with us. That is the ultimate promise. He is my joy in the sorrow. He is my strength in the moments when I feel like I can't. He is my comfort and protection in the depth of the storm.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. - Genesis 9:12-16