Dear Teddy, Love, Mommy
Teddy strolling through Worlds of Fun.
You have lived through a lot already at such a young age. And the beauty is that all of this living is just a part of your life. It’s your normal. Heaven is a real place to you in your two year old mind. You often hear mommy talking about Simon and Thomas to other adults. You have regularly said, “Simon and Thomas died and they are in Heaven with Jesus now.” Who knows that that means to you, but I am thankful you utter those words and remind me of that truth.
After Simon died, I never had a moment of feeling like I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t want to miss this life with you. You are a constant visual reminder of God’s faithfulness. You have allowed me to mourn in front of you – and my tears often encourage you to ask, “mommy, are you sad because of Simon?” Recently, I responded and explained to you my tears were of joy because of Simon and Thomas and Jesus’ promise of redemption. I said to you, “You know how much mommy loves you? Well, I am crying because Jesus loves you waaaaaay more than mommy and daddy could ever love you – and he loves me that much too.” What a responsibility to be entrusted with – daddy and I are responsible for teaching you about Christ. That is a gift. I hope someday you will get to read our words through this blog and learn of God’s faithfulness to us, and also our faithfulness to Him.
Teddy, you teach me so much. It’s easy for me to make myself think I should be the perfect parent after losing two of your siblings. Raising you is a constant reminder of how broken I am. Every time my mind wanders to the thought of “why did you do that Teddy?” and my disappointment in your behavior settles in, I am quickly reminded this is exactly the way God feels about me when I daily disappoint Him. I think, “Why did you do that, Teddy, I just said no!” And God says the same thing to me, “Why did you do that, Amy, I said no.” However, we both know that we are forgiven. God’s grace means that he already forgives us before we ever made the mistake. And I try to offer this sort of grace to you too, Teddy – while still having boundaries and consequences through discipline.
I know I cannot be a perfect parent, that I will mess up and I am thankful I am able to pray nightly over you and ask God to forgive any trespasses against you that I have made that day. I am thankful other moms have taught me how pointing out my mistakes to you and asking for your forgiveness is so important. You sweetly forgive me when I ask for forgiveness for raising my voice or my lack of patience.
You lovingly continue Simon’s legacy in so many ways. My favorite might be when you see the letter “s” and say “there’s an 's' for Simon!” You say your brothers’ names on a daily basis which help keep their sweet spirit in our home. You pray for our entire family nightly and kiss your brothers’ “house” where their ashes remain. You pick up a tiny picture of Simon that is next to your bed and kiss it and say, “ohhhh, you're so cute!” This is just your "normal" and I am so thankful that God has provided you not only with the shocking reality of death, but also with the promise of the New Heavens and Earth that you are slowly learning about in our home. You occasionally confuse Simon with new baby and this too brings a smile to my face. But my ultimate favorite is when you look at photos of Simon and ask if they are you. You don’t even see Simon’s cleft lip! Oh, for all of us to have a child’s vision for life! I love that when you hear a newborn cry, you say, “Be!” which is what you called Simon. I love that there are about thirty songs you hear that you call “Be songs." Sometimes when we are rocking or praying together, you ask if we can drop some trucks off in heaven for Simon and Thomas. We accomplish this by telling a “Little Lion” story. Little Lion is a pseudo Teddy (daddy has talked about him in a previous post). Little Lion hops in his car and knocks on the door to heaven and asks to drop off the trucks for the boys. You always add to the story that Little Lion saw Simon and Thomas playing on the floor. What a vivid picture you paint for your mommy. Thank you, Teddy!
As we near the time of meeting new baby #4, I find myself wanting to soak you in even more. I think that all mommies expecting another baby might do this with their first born too, as life will never just be the two of them again. You remind me we are not running a race to the birth of new baby, and that this time period while we wait for new baby is our life together. I am doing my best not to wish this time away. Especially since when new baby comes, you’ll turn three shortly after.
Teddy, you are a sweet little gift of goodness. I like to say that I love you 100% of the time and like you 85% of the time – I think you would agree that this feeling is mutual. You are the best little sidekick I could ever ask for.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a mommy, Teddy. Thank you for slowing our lives down by asking for one more kiss, one more hug, and one more song. Your stalling tactics right now are amazing and I try my hardest to enjoy them as I know they will fade away as you grow up. My love for you is unconditional, even if you choose to be a prodigal someday, I’ll be waiting. And I'll come running with open arms. Mommy will continue to let you down and disappoint over the years but know God’s love is truly constant and never fails (Psalm 136).
I love you, Teddy. Forever and forever, amen!
Teddy at 10 days old.
Bus ride through KC on a hot summer day.
Gracious Father – I had no idea how much healing Teddy would bring during this time of mourning. But You did. Thank you for giving us the gift of Teddy’s life to help carry us through this season of loss - without even knowing it, Teddy has held us up and encouraged us on. Thank you for Teddy’s perfect health; for his smooth and innocent pregnancy and for his current healthy preschooler body. Thank you for his sweet and happy yet serious and cautious demeanor. Thank you for reminding me daily that his strong will is an attribute that might help him lead others to You and potentially make better life decisions. Thank you for giving us a tangible reason for getting out of bed daily and working hard, even during sadness. Thank you for graciously releasing me from Satan's stronghold of the fear of losing Teddy too. You daily allow us to give Teddy back to you, trusting you know best with his life. Thank you for the constant reminder that two little blue eyes are watching how we respond to life – and that our actions are teaching him how to respond. We are reminded daily this life is fleeting because of Simon and Thomas’ lives and now raise Teddy with a heavenly perspective, knowing each breath a gift.
Not the most amazing footage, but here is Teddy looking at our family's baby photos. Printed a few to take with us to the hospital to compare to baby #4.
Teddy looking at our family's baby photos from Adam and Amy Balentine on Vimeo.