Daughter #2 has always had a flair for drama. Because of that, I find myself sometimes ignoring her theatrics, chalking it up to her role as "Drama Queen" at our house. She had a role, however, that she cherished, one she looked forward to with months of anticipation, one she took very seriously, one that was ripped away from her just over a year ago...her role as a big sister.
I was a mother before Kristen; I still have two living daughters.
Will was a father before Kristen; he still has two living daughters.
Emily was a big sister before Kristen; she still has a living sister.
Grace was not a big sister before Kristen; what does she have now?
We all miss Kristen so very much, and the fact that I have two living daughters certainly doesn't take away the pain of losing my baby. Our roles in the family, however, were not defined, as Grace's was, by the birth of Kristen.
I've written before that surely no one was ever more excited about becoming the middle child than my sweet Grace. She talked incessantly in the months before Kristen arrived about all she would teach her, all she would do with her baby sister...her baby sister. That same baby sister elevated Grace to a new role in life, that of a big sister! She now had something new in common with Emily and with me.
With Kristen gone, Grace no longer has a physical confirmation of her role. Of course, Kristen is still her baby sister, but it's awfully hard to be the big sister you always wanted to be to a baby that isn't here anymore. It's exactly that hard reality that leads to her emotional meltdowns.
Bless her heart, she had a big one just last week, the day before my niece was born. She certainly doesn't understand why other people can have babies, but we can't, especially since all she ever wanted was to be a big sister. I'm right there with her in not understanding, but I continue to pray that she learns to trust that God knows what He's doing.
Now that little Sonny girl is actually here, Grace seems better. My dear sister-in-law brought to my attention something I hadn't considered. Everything about her pregnancy must have seemed very deja vue to Grace. (My sil lives just 30 minutes from us, and we see her a couple of times each week.) The anticipation of it all was hard on all of us, but perhaps more so for Grace. Once Sonny was born, however, Grace could see that this baby was an individual, her own person. She looks very different than Kristen. Sonny has a head full of black hair. Kristen had a head not-so-full of very light fuzz. :) Kristen is Kristen. Sonny is Sonny. And Grace is Grace, with her tender heart that's still trying so hard to love the God that didn't answer her prayers as she had hoped...the Grace who is still the reigning drama queen of the house...the Grace who, by the grace of God, now has a renewed role...older cousin.
May He grant you the grace you need, dear Daughter, to come through this very dark place a stronger person, one with even more compassion, one who understands that the trials of this life can lead to an intimacy with your Heavenly Father that you never imagined possible.
Grace for Grace is my prayer tonight.