Audrey and I had a dance party tonight while making dinner. It was the most joy filled, silly, normal moment. And in that moment, I realized how long it’s been since something like that didn’t feel forced or fake. That before George Mason, dinner making dance parties were a regular occurrence in our house. As we danced in the kitchen to *NSYNC, I couldn’t help but smile and offer up a deeply sincere thank you to the one who is the source of that joy.

After dinner, as Audrey and Adam were reading their bedtime books, I couldn’t help but notice the single child that fills our home. In many ways it makes me angry and sad that her sibling isn’t here with her. That instead of teaching her baby brother all the ways of life, she plays so peacefully alone with her dolls - not even questioning if there’s anything else. Yet, as I quietly observe her interactions with her daddy as they comb through every detail of each page, I realize how special this time with her is. How much more intimately we are getting to know her, because we aren’t splitting our attention between her and her baby brother. {that’s not the entire truth... as she has had to share our attention with our grief over her brother, but she’s also an active participant in that grief, and it somehow seems different} I certainly wish with every fiber of my being that her sibling were here and I’m incredibly thankful for this extra, unplanned, time we have with just her sweet soul. I hope that she will one day get to really experience the joys of having a sibling. I hope that she gets her wish to have a sister or a brother to love on and share this life with. I am trusting that God is going to honor that desire of her heart and mine. And until then, I’m going to look back on the moments like tonight, where mama/daughter dance parties and daddy/daughter bedtime stories are special because they are tailored just for her.

As I sit in this place, torn between the gratitude of this time with her and the desire to bring another child into this mix, I can’t help but think of the one in the middle. The precious little boy in heaven. As of now, our whole family has met him and knows him. But anyone new, they won’t know him; not like we do. And it’s a terrifying thought, to realize that someone who is such an intimate part of this family’s story, will be just that - a story and pictures - to whoever comes next. It brings a whole new level of grief but also anxiety. It adds to the complexity of a possible baby #3. As most of this grief journey has, it will send me to my knees. I have to trust God in this. In the timing. In the details. In the everything. Because He has proven He is trustworthy. So I don’t know what our 2019 will hold for us. I don’t know what our family looks like beyond this exact moment. I don’t know how I will I introduce our future children to their big brother. There’s a lot of I don’t knows. But what I do know, is that I don’t have to know everything because I serve the God who does. He will give Adam and myself the exact strengths to face every detail of what 2019 holds. He will perfectly equip Audrey Nole for whatever lies ahead.

2018 hasn’t been easy but it has definitely had some wonderful moments. I am thankful for that and for this little journal of mine, as it has been so healing to look back on all ways that I’ve experienced God in the last 2 years. I know God has worked deeply in my heart. I know that won’t end in 2018. So here’s to a new year. To all the things God has in store for our little family. And for all the things that I still need to hand over and give to God as we navigate life without our George Mason. Here’s to many more “normal” moments as our grief changes shape. And here’s to trusting that God’s got this; right down to the smallest details.