My heart is 10 times fuller, 10 times sadder, and 10 times more grateful.
I follow a blog, Jamesie Beats the Tumor. I do believe it is the saddest story I have ever read, though to call it a story is nothing less than a major disservice to the respect, sympathy, empathy, and love I have for Kara and Matthew Sikes, a family I’ve never met before though a family that I have cried and prayed for. I can’t imagine ever having to be in their shoes, I wouldn’t make it. They lost their little boy, Jamesie to a brain tumor a few months ago when he was just 8 1/2 months old and I think about Jamesie every single day.
Today I was clicking through a few of their commenters’ blogs and I came across Keeping Up With the Kimmels who lost one of their preemie twins. And like a domino effect, I thought about another post I read the other day on Spilled Milk, another blog I follow, about baby James Anderson who was killed when the shopping cart he was in tipped over in the grocery store parking lot. I thought about Cari Cook, someone I met 5 years ago through mutual friends, who was walking down the street and was hit by a car and killed in front of her 2 little ones, one of them actually strapped to her chest in a carrier when it happened. What those babies saw that day and her husband’s loss, it’s unimaginable. Then I found The Smith Family Scoop, a family with a little boy diagnosed 3 years ago with the same type of tumor as little Jamesie. And then I saw the sidebar… a list a mile long of families and babies to pray for, little ones fighting for their precious beautiful lives, going through illnesses and cancer and chemotherapy, loss, hope, triumph and grief. And I sit here completely overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed thinking about all of the little ones in this world that are fighting and digging deep into their tiny cores to find the strength needed to fight battles that in my 34 years I have never had to endure. Yet these little babies, some of them only days old, have more strength in their tiny little bodies than I could ever need for mine. I’m overwhelmed thinking about their parents and how none of them ever expected they’d end up on this scary journey they’re on, watching their little ones go through things that they would never wish on their worst enemies, let alone their precious little babies. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that I have a small but very healthy baby and she hasn’t had to fight for much in the 4 short months she’s been alive. I have thanked God for that everyday.
And I’m overwhelmed by the fact that tomorrow is never ever guaranteed.
It’s why I take pictures of my little baby every single day. It’s why I don’t delete the blurry ones and it’s why I won’t let Scott delete the dark ones on the camera because there could be a secret little smile hiding behind those underexposed photos with a little tweak in Photoshop that may have never been seen. It’s why when my mom tells me all she took today was another video of my baby sleeping in the swing again I tell her I want it, to send me every video of her she has. I don’t ever want to run out of the images of her along the way and through my tears reading Kara’s words I was reminded that without tomorrow being a promise, the photos could eventually run out.
I hug her tight when she wakes up in the morning because I adore the snuggly morning baby who throws her arms up over her head in a crazy “ahhhhhhh, free at last!” stretch the very second the swaddle’s velcro is ripped open. I hug her so tight when I get home from work everyday because I miss her so much and it hurts my heart while I’m away but I’m so happy to come home to her and Scott every night. On nights like the last when she’s tired and her tummy is hurting and she fights sleep so hard with her little cries, I scoop her up and let Scott sleep no matter how tired I am and I dance with her in the kitchen to the oldies until her little body goes limp and I know she’s finally let go of the angst in her head and drifted off into a peaceful slumber. And I want to do it because peace is so much more delicious than frustration.
And because of all of the little ones who are fighting now and those who have already fought the fight of their precious little lives, babies and families I’ve never met who I pray for everyday, whose mammas and daddies are fighting alongside them, whose journeys completely break my heart…because of every single one of them, I hug her just a little bit tighter everyday because if any moment together is ever going to be our last, I want her to know that above all else, to me she is pure love.
It made me so sad to read that Kara had a fear that her little baby Jamesie might someday be forgotten. But while tomorrow may not be a guarantee, I can guarantee that I will continue to think of him often, a little piece of him is in every hug I give my little one. And I wanted to say to anyone who has loved a baby, lost a baby, or known the pain of a child fighting the fight of a lifetime, no matter what the circumstance, know that there is a momma out there praying for you.