If the heaviness of grief is a tangible, physical phenomenon, so also is joy. Just when you think your heart is full, when it can’t hold any more, you’re blessed with moments that feel as if that ticker might just explode.
On our summer trip to the National Parks, I was lagging a bit and finding it harder and harder to get up each morning. Even though my cycle was late, I was sure it was nothing, but Matt insisted we see, and grabbed a pregnancy test from a nearby Walmart. I took it without fanfare while he brought the kids down for breakfast in the hotel lobby, and found myself shocked and crying alone in the bathroom, texting him a picture of the results.
After nearly 5 years of trying and 3 miscarriages, we were pregnant again, and following a cautiously optimistic first trimester, we finally told the kids. Levi set his heart on a brother. We once told him my dad though the baby was a girl, and in an immediate flash of panic, he declared, “Well he needs to shut his mouth, cause he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” (Levi is our kind, easy going soul, and this uncharacteristic comment tipped us off to some pretty serious desperation; but we were still so touched when we took the kids out to dinner to tell them it was a boy, and he cried tears of joy at the announcement.)
The pregnancy was my hardest yet. I spent the rest of that summer mostly on my bed. By the time the worst of the sickness had passed, I developed tendonitis in my right knee that never left, despite weeks and weeks of rest and ice and exercises from countless sessions of physical therapy. (The instant that baby was born, the knee was fine.) When the last trimester came, some of the sickness came with it, and when it was time to labor, I faced my longest, hardest birth.
But when my midwife, my Aunt Robin, placed that tiny baby on my chest, I wasn’t sure my heart woudn’t explode. We had waited so long for this perfect little creature, and here he was- healthy and whole.
Hearts may not break, and they may not burst, but oh, how they swell with love over and over and over as we go.
Welcome, Miles Benjamin Martin. Our hearts are fuller than full.