October is one of my favorite months. I even love the way the name October rolls off the tongue into the autumn air and is then whisked away by the curt breeze along with the swirling leaves. October holds tons of birthdays for my family, including my mom, Rob, Seth, my dad, Rob's brother Ryan, our nieces Emmaly and JoAnna, and our nephew Nathaniel.
October has held her share of broken heartedness as well.
On Sunday, one of my friends passed away after a long, difficult battle with cancer. She was only 55. Yesterday was her funeral. She was a faithful believer, and I'm so thankful that she is no longer suffering. Still, we miss her.
October is also the anniversary of the deaths of my best friend and sister-in-law, Erica and her daughter, my niece, MiKayla. Eleven years ago on October 4th, God allowed a horrific car accident to take them to Himself, leaving my brother, age 18, a widower and single father to 10-month-old Ralphie. I once thought that the pain of that day would never dull, but I have to be honest...it has. God hasn't taken it away completely, nor would I want Him to. Pain helps you to remember, and I never want to forget.
What He has done is poured heaps of comfort and joy onto our hearts, renewed His promises and hope and given us great things to look forward to. Like when I get to the place God has prepared for me, after I've seen Jesus with my own eyes and touched him--I hope I'm allowed to touch him--then I have the biggest hugs and brightest smiles stored up inside me for Erica and Mikayla. We'll have a lot of catching up to do! And God brought to my brother and newphew new hope and new love and family through my sister-in-law. He is a good God.
For the longest time, October 4th was a day I loathed. Especially the first few years. I would find a newspaper article or magazine that was published before the accident, like October 1st, and think, "When this came out, Erica and Mikayla were alive." It was a long road of healing.
And then God, in His perfect wisdom and comfort, saw to it that Seth was born on October 4th, totally redeeming that day for me. Take one look at him, and you see one thing: JOY. It bubbles out of him relentlessly. Even when he is being contentious, God fills me to brimming with joy because of this child. So on his birthday every year, I don't think about what I'm missing; I think about, with great joy and gratitude, all that God has lavished on us.
Some joyful Seth stories:
***We reminded all our children yesterday that they must be very quiet at the funeral. Upon entering the building a mortician greeted us solemnly, and Seth put his finger to his lips at the man and scolded, "SHHHHHH!"
***This week Seth had to have a ECKO to monitor a heart murmur recently detected, which required him to lie still for 45 LONG minutes. The radiologist put on a movie for him and then leaned over him to adjust the electrodes attached to his chest. He stuck out a little foot and tapped her in the booty and told her, "Move!" as she was blocking the television. I was mortified. I corrected him, "No, Seth, if someone's in your way, you say, 'Excuse me, please.'" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "She already move," and went back to his movie.
***Like many toddlers, Seth points with his middle finger. recently he pointed at me with his middle finger and said, "My magic finger! Take that!" And then he waved it at me like a magic wand. (Why a magic finger? Your guess is as good as mine.") We were of course at the grocery store surrounded by parents who wonder about my personal integrity.
And this year, Seth turned 3!!! Three is so big! And boy, does Seth think he's big stuff! We had a very full day on his birthday with Lily's speech therapy and then AWANA, but I planned fun for him throughout the day, and I think he enjoyed it. It's very hard for us to have big birthday parties for our kids, because we live so far away from family and many of our friends. But I love the memories that we are creating within our family unit as well. (And hey, with this many children, every day is a party!)
Here are some images celebrating Seth: