Well, in 4 days it will be the 2nd anniversary of Shep’s drowning. Entering into summer this 2nd time felt much different than last year, way more fun. Anticipation trumping anxiety. Still as the date creeps up on us, Erron and I admitted to each other that we were wrestling some with fresh emotions from what happened that day. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about what happened, even if it’s just a passing thought, or a quick gut- check at the end of a tough parenting throw-down. But fortunately those terrifying memories rarely haunt like us in 3-D like they used to.
It helps that Shep is doing incredibly well! We are encouraged and amazed continuously as he continues to mature, learning new things and growing into this interesting, thoughtful and super creative boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. We have a few minor reservations about what issues, (if any) Shep will come across in the future, and we’ve discussed logistics of what that might even look like. We are feeling overwhelmingly positive, but recently some of those difficult feelings have been brought to the surface for both of us. A few days ago I had a nightmare that our lives had moved on without Shep, and watching the little guy struggle with a fear of swimming (since we added the clothing factor) has been somewhat of a trigger for me, especially since his little sister is officially a fish.
Erron and I touched base about the poor family at Disney the other night. Obviously, it could of been us. My God, it nearly WAS me, only played out in a different scenario and with a much different ending. After we exchanged a few sentences trying to put ourselves in those parents shoes, having your whole world ripped away from you when you least expected, I quickly ended the conversation, telling Erron, “Babe, having kids is terrifying. Being a parent is just the scariest thing there is to do in a lifetime.” He agreed. Because it is.
Please hear also: It’s the BEST thing. It cracks your heart open in ways you can’t fathom until you become a parent yourself. But giving your heart away like that puts you at great risk. For loss. For heartache. For worry. For realizing in an instant that you cannot always protect your babies from everything life puts in front of them. By the same hand parenting opens up avenues to experience wild joy, humility, pride, and faith in something bigger than yourself.
It’s heaven on Earth, worth all the risk and then some.
Last year we marked June 21 with a giant party. I’m not sure what we are going to do this year. The timing is tricky because it falls in the middle of the week. I’ll think of something. It doesn’t need to be big, I just want us all together, marking that day as a family, making happy memories. June 21st was the day we almost lost what was most dear, but found it returned to us. We will never stop being thankful.