Dear Beautiful Girl - Girl of Cardigan

Dear Beautiful Girl-

You can’t seem to stay asleep tonight.  Since seven, your Daddo and I have been taking turns plucking your restless body out of your crib and walking, shushing, swinging, loving, wash, rinse, repeating you back to sleep.  Even now, two hours after you are usually solidly gone to wherever it is you dream about, I’m watching you squirm and toss and turn on the tiny monitor screen, watching you find and reject and apologize to your teddy bear, wondering how long to wait before I swoop in to walk and shush and love.

You are miraculous.

It’s the easiest thing to forget and the easiest to remember, the miracle you are.  I swing wildly from one extreme to the other in the seconds of our dark midnight meetings, our long teething days, those afternoons when you will not cannot may not be put down.  There has been nothing ever better than you if you do not sleep surely I will die.  You are the best of all anythings I am leaving you with the neighbors and going for margaritas.  Your smile has every star in it and yes, yes, you just peed on me for the love of all that is holy your head smells like heaven and your fingers are the most impossibly perfect ouch please I have precious little hair left to begin with.

This year, for all of its wonder and its repetition and the blessed impossible perfect trial that is lovable you, this year I feel loss like I haven’t before.  Perhaps birthing you opened a hole somewhere deep in me, some reservoir where other people’s pain was kept and stored and properly segregated, and sent all of those tears crashing about into fingers and ankles and hearts and eyes.  My joy is abundant, but the mourning is acute – the empty arms and empty cradles, the hollowed bellies of grieving mothers, the hollowed eyes of love torn waste wounded friends – I carry the echoes of lives that could have been in ways I never held them before.

You are miraculous, and there will always be miracles also that should have been.  She should have his fingers reflexively coiling around tired thumbs, she should be listening to the first of her laughs, she should be celebrating an easier trimester to come.  They should be here, simply, and they are not.

Beautiful girl, it’s okay to acknowledge that things are not as they should be.  Your great God is aware of the darkness, the relentless ending of this place.  There does not need to be a reason or a purpose or a greater depth in loss – it can be, simply, loss.  It can be, simply, pain.  There is no reason, no plan to justify your hands here reaching for puppy paws and new toys and things that shine while other hands are left empty.

You are miraculous.

We will celebrate, you and I, the miracle that you are.  We will reach and you will grow and we will count ourselves always in each moment lucky but never separate.  We honor them by celebrating you.  We remember them in your milestones.  We speak their names in quiet places.  We walk the long and weary paces of friendship bearing loss.

They are miraculous, these tiny lives lost.  Abbreviated wonders, every bit the wonder that you are.

Things are not as they should be, but my God wastes nothing.  We will carry hope.  We will cry out for kingdom come.  We will anticipate reunion.

We will return always to gratitude in the dark midnights meetings, the long teething days, the afternoons of relentless carrying.  I will carry you as long and as far and as well as I am able, tiny beautiful girl.  Because there cannot be joy without pain.  Because the light does not fear the darkness.  Because nothing will be wasted.  Because where can I go from Your presence, my God, when even the darkness is as light to You.  

When we awake, we are still with You.

Things are not as they should be.

But you, you are miraculous.


photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography.
  • Jeannie August 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    In tears… Your words speak my heart. Thank you. Emma has been a game changer for my work these days. I find her eyes in theirs so much more. More profound joy and deeper mourning. This might be my favorite post of yours, ever. Love you.

    • karyn August 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      I wish that you could cry without me crying with you, even via blog comment. But that is not a thing. What a gift you are, beautiful friend, with the impossible necessary hard so so so good work that you do. Kiss that sweet Emma for me.

  • Francis August 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I remember sitting in the hospital holding Eleanor and knowing that I understood something new that before was a mystery. Walking with friends through long adoptions, losses of precious babies, infertility…it’s a new understanding now.
    Thank you for your words Karyn. This piece is a favorite of mine;)!

    • karyn August 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      “now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened.” love you.

  • Janice Christman August 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    again, you peel back the layers and make us feel the heat of a heart throbbing…..thank you!

    • karyn August 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you, Janice, for always making me feel heard and supported!