Monday, May 5, 2014

So, how many kids do you have?

     I HATE said question. I don't hate much. (my dad always said, 'hate is a strong word.')
It's so awkward. Most of the time I base my answer on the audience, Am I with my kids? Will I ever see this person again? Do I want to share why I just said I have 3 kids, but only have two with me? Do I want to feel the pity looks right now or be known right of the bat as the 'mom who lost her baby to SIDS'? etc...

Today I was sitting in nursery feeding Evan when a lady asked if he was my first. I said, 'No, I have a 4 year old too.' Then she said, 'oh that's nice spacing between your kids' and I wanted to cry. 'Um, no it sucks. I hate it. I should have a two year old running around with my 4 year old and both of them playing with attacking my 8 month old!' But I didn't. I just sat there. It was an innocent comment on her part. But it made me start to think and process what I want my children to hear me say, not what strangers think, feel or say. While I'm sure there will be times when my answer may be different, I sat there thinking about Evan. I want him to know his big brother as best as we can show him. I want to do my best to keep Ella's memories and love for him alive, am I helping that by taking the quiet and seemingly easy road and not even mentioning him? I want Nate to be talked about with ease in our family. I want my children to hear me talk about him, for them to take ownership of the fact that they have a brother, Nathaniel Henry Wiebe. He may not be here on earth with us anymore, but he was here with us for 8 short months and changed us forever.
I also hate the awkward, 'oh, I'm so sorry', followed by, 'I had a miscarriage' or I lost a grandparent...' While I would be lying if I said that there wont be times when our loss has and will continue to connect us to a select few that have endured a very similar loss. Generally speaking it will just be awkward and not fun. Seriously, who wants to be the kill joy every time they meet someone new and get asked the age old question?
But I guess, I have come to that point in dealing with this loss where I am processing how I answer this question a bit more.
I can only rely on the strength of God and His sovereign grace to make it through this simple question. I can also trust that He will guide my answer in a way that is life giving and positive for all my children and the legacy that Nate has left in our lives.

Now for most of you who thankfully have not had to live through a loss like this I'll offer some practical advice. Just about 100% of the time you will have had no idea that you just stepped into that minefield... but once you have instead of offering your own tragic but not the same story...  replies that have meant the most to me are ones where less pity is shared, but... ok... I sat and thought about this for quite a while and I don't have a very good answer for you. Each person is different. I do generally love to talk about Nate and what he was like and his personality and the things he did... But honestly I don't currently have a good answer.

It also is blares in my face the fact that many of us have stories of hurt so much deeper than we care to admit and many simple questions don't have simple answers.

So from here on out (which also means, I think most of the time... ) I will be strong and confident in my answer of how many children I have. 3, I have 3! I will also be graceful in remembering to love on those asking, because I know I have been the innocent 'questioner' before.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Ephesians 4:32