Silas was born about six weeks after my friend Laura’s son Truman was born. During our pregnancies we talked about baby names and the excitement of having little boys again. Truman would be her second son, after four sweet little girls in a row! Silas would be my first baby boy in eight years. We were excited! Between the business of life in general and the fact that Laura is a long distance friend, it had been awhile since we talked when I happened upon a Facebook update one evening a little over a week ago, with the first words being that Truman drowned last week. I literally screamed and the tears came fast. No God, please no. It took me a minute to process the fact that not only had he drowned, but he had been revived by EMS. I sent hurried emails to Laura and friends promising our prayers to Laura, and begging friends to join me. I debated posting here, but ultimately, you guys are one of my biggest sources of support, and I wanted to share that with Laura’s family. (Thank you. Your words and prayers meant so much and continue to.) Laura sent me an email describing the absolute terror of what happened the day Truman drowned. He drowned in a five gallon bucket filled with only a few inches of water to hold tadpoles. Her older kids had been using it and Laura wasn’t even aware of its presence. I thought to myself, I think we’ve got a bucket like that around here somewhere. And sure enough we did, right next to the house. A few inches of murky water with tadpoles swimming around in it. Enough water to drown a baby, sitting next to my house. And while we moved it the next day, it had been there for months. What gripped me was not necessarily a feeling of “what if…” although I did find myself pulling extra blankets out of Silas’ crib thinking he might tangle himself in them. No, I didn’t really look at Silas thinking that it could have just as easily been him. The makings of tragedy are everywhere if you are looking for it, and living life while trying to keep tragedy out is impossible. I was struck more with the truth that life is so precious and fragile. I hate to be cliche, but truly, life is a gift. What gripped me tightly was grief for my friend and her husband. Laura’s words describing what it was like to see her baby lying there dead. The hysteria that Cameron arrived home from work to (he’s an ob/gyn so actually in the medical field) as EMS was trying to revive Truman, saying that things didn’t look good for him. And they knew in that instant that all they could do was fall to their knees and pray. Their baby was dead and they begged God’s mercy. And that is what hit me hard, the image of them, the raw truth in that moment. In the days that followed Laura was able to share what happened beautifully and continued to trust God for Truman’s life. She spoke the truth when she said “there are no coincidences.” But the greatest truth of all, that no matter the outcome, God is good.
There’s a little prayer that I’ve prayed for years that goes something like this, “Oh Jesus of meek and humble heart, make my heart like unto Thine.” Sometimes I find myself so focused on myself and this illusion that I am in control that I wonder if my prayers will ever be answered. But they are when I am least expecting it. And that humbling of heart that I ask for, it doesn’t come in easy doses when it comes. It comes in the face of tragedy turned triumph at the hands of God. This week humbled me nearly to silence. Joining my friends in prayer from afar, begging God to heal and restore their son, their son who was dead but is now alive and making a miraculous recovery. Oh my, there is humility in that and just writing these words makes my heart race with it.
And so with all this heavy on my heart in a good way, we celebrated Silas’ first birthday on Friday last week. And while I was acutely aware of the gift that he is to our family on a level I am not sure I have experienced before, the celebration was completely typical. I stayed up well past midnight the night before working on his birthday crown before giving up and going to bed. I finished it during Si’s nap on his birthday a few minutes before our company arrived. The girls “helped” Silas open his gifts and then “helped” him play with them. It was a good birthday. It was a thankful birthday.
(Silas received a little messenger bag that I am hoping he will learn to fill with little things he picks up…sticks, stones, whatever. He also received this punch and drop toy that he absolutely loves and figured out how to use right away. Awesome first birthday gift for sure. )
p.s. Since a birthday dress would have been a silly choice for Silas, I made him birthday pants! They are the quick change trousers from Handmade Beginnings (laughing at myself because I totally spelled that trowsers the first go…funny because I am working on ou vs. ow with one of my kids right now. To think, I won a spelling bee once upon a time.) I made them from leftover fabric from Keats’ pajama pants and a little dress I made Beatrix a year or so ago.
p.p.s. I have to thank my friend who brought her gang over to make Silas’ birthday extra special. She even did all the hard stuff like cutting up watermelon (I hate cutting watermelon) and making sure that all the children received plates with even quantities of fruit and whipped cream! Thank you Lisa!