So, I changed the calendar from February to March in the living room last night. I said, “Look, Hayes! It’s March, now.” She sang, “Ooooo! Guess who has a birthday in Maaaarch?” I sang back, “Your cousin Mariaaaaaa.” She replied, “And who eeeeeeelse?” I looked at the calendar and said, “Well, I don’t know who else. Who do you know with a birthday in March?” She sang, “My sister Raqueeeeeeel.”
My breath go caught in my throat and I’m pretty sure my heart stopped beating. I had remembered but didn’t think she would remember. Our darling Raquel will turn 5 on March 13th. She won’t be here with us and we won’t be with her. There won’t be balloons and cake and a crazy 5 year-old birthday party. Instead, we’ll think about how we talked about moving heaven and earth to keep her in our lives. How we tried to rationalize moving to the Dominican Republic in order to be able to afford the healthcare she needed and the help we would need to maintain our home. We’ll remember the happy laughter of the girls jumping on the bed together and then we’ll have the sharp pains enter our minds of the tantrums that ended in having to physically restrain her so she wouldn’t physically attack herself.
Yesterday, I attended a meeting for a trip I’m taking this summer to Uganda. The man leading the trip was so familiar. I knew I had met him and talked to him before and his wife’s name even came to mind but I could not for the life of me remember where we had met. After the class he said, “Remember me?” I told him that I knew I knew him but I could not place him. I had met his wife on Facebook as she was looking to take some yard sale things off of our hands for their own adoption fundraiser. We were working with the same adoption agency. It flooded back. It seemed like a decade had passed since that first meeting. Instead, it has been less than a year.
A lot has changed in a year. Most things that happened before we left the country are a blur. People, faces, events are all like they occurred in someone else’s life and I’m watching the movie reel. But, here we are. Spring is upon us and the season will soon change from winter to spring. The dead trees will spring to life. Butterflies will begin to appear reminding me of the changes that have to happen in order for new purpose to unfold. Flowers will push through the ground that has been covered with snow and is now a breeding ground for new life. There will be a sense of freedom in the air as children approach the end of the school year and parents will feel less claustrophobic after having been forced into such a rigid schedule for so long. Vacations will be planned, excitement will permeate the days of fewer responsibilities.
The season is changing in the earth and in our lives. We’ll never forget our Raquel. We will always wonder if there was anything we should have done differently. But, as the season changes, we begin to press on and seek the hand of God to guide us and the path that He has created especially for us to walk. I hope the new season brings with it for you a new hope, as well.