Four years ago today, a baby girl was born. Her mother is my husband’s niece, but we had no idea she was even pregnant. Her birthday itself was insignificant to us. I only recall it as the Monday before Thanksgiving and we were expecting a houseful of people. It was sort of an “orphans” holiday per se. Lots of people who were far away from their biological families would be joining us. But, I considered them as much my family as any blood relative.
Through a series of magnificent events, within 24 hours, the aforementioned baby was in our care and we spent Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family who would become a significant part of her life even though she may never know it. Just like us, those people welcomed her into their lives….cared for her and loved her in the same way that they did us and our 9 year old son. It was a beautiful picture of a family being knit together, not necessarily by blood, but by love.
While Madelyne is no longer living with us, she is forever in our hearts. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her and miss her. Time and distance has dulled the pain of letting her go, but the love in our hearts is still strong.
And as for the people who came alongside us during that time…..it’s hard to express my gratitude in words. It’s been said that you find out who your friends are in times of trial. Sometimes that means that people you thought might be there for you aren’t. In this case, we experienced the opposite. The outpouring of love and support still humbles me.
This Thanksgiving was different. We spent it with people who, 4 years ago, I never could have imagined knowing, but who have become dear friends. But, I found myself missing those people from that 2008 Thanksgiving more than usual. I remembered the food that they brought to my house that day. I remember the conversations vividly. I remember people passing the baby around, giving her the love she so deserved and that I believe continues to live in her and sustain her. It certainly lives in and sustains us.
Happy Birthday, Miss Baby. You didn’t just change our lives….you changed the lives of countless others in so many ways. You belong to a whole community of people who you may never know, but who are knit together by the shared experience of loving you.