Five years ago today my dad passed away.
One year ago today I found out I was pregnant with June.
November 19 was such a sad day for me. And now it is such a happy day, too.
My dad used to love to look up at the nighttime sky. I remember summer nights in the backyard looking through the telescope, listening to him describe what was going on up there.
"That one is Venus," he'd say. "You can tell a planet because it doesn't sparkle like a star does."
"Can you find Orion's belt?"
"Here, look in this telescope, Bopper. You can see Saturn's rings."
One thing that surprised me about the early weeks with June is that I didn't hate the middle of the night feedings as much as I thought I would. There is something almost magical about being up in the middle of the night when no one else bothers to stay awake. We bonded while the rest of the world slept. Just June and me. No one else to distract us.
There is one night especially that sticks out in my mind. Greg and I had just moved into our new home. About 3 am, June cried in the bassinet beside me. I sat up in bed and held my baby and stared out the window directly in front of me. Outside there were no cars humming down the road, no sounds, no lights. Greg snored softly beside me.
The stars were terrifically bright. It was one of those nights where the sky is so black and the stars are so bright that it is almost as if the stars are showing off for you- begging you to pause for a minute and admire their sparkle.
I nestled my baby close to me and admired those stars, and in that moment I felt the overwhelming presence of my dad. He was there in the stars. Saying hi. He was telling me that he could see me there feeding my baby and that he was proud of me and that he loved watching me be a mom to his grand daughter.
Just me and June and my dad.
Sometimes I think about November 19 and everything that happened five years ago- the absolute and enormous loss that I felt that day. I couldn't imagine anything so great being taken from me. And then I think about that same day a year ago- how I can't imagine anything so great being given to me. I marvel at God and the way He is in the details of our lives. How such a day of loss could turn into such a day of gain. How sorrow transforms to happiness. How family dies and family is born.
How there is no permanent loss.
How family never stops growing.