Tears streamed down my face as I soaked up the chocolate milk.
“Are you gonna yell, Mommy?” My son stood beside me still holding the milk container. “I’m sorry I didn’t wait.” I dropped the cloth and pulled my son close. Wonderful smells of grilled cheese and dirt lingered in his hair and I inhaled deeply. My arms were acutely aware of the pressure of his body and I squeezed him just a minute longer as my mind traveled back to a time not long ago.
Sobs had shattered the stillness as Chad lifted the tiny blue casket onto his shoulder, a casket full of dreams now shattered and broken. Sara was behind him clutching the baby blue blanket she had finished just a couple of weeks before.
Sara’s face had glowed as she showed me that blanket. It was her first attempt at knitting, and the first project actually finished. In the corner bags had sat all ready to go, the little one, of course, overflowing with tiny diapers, booties, and sleepers. My arm hairs had stood on end with the excitement.
“I see hair! Push, Honey, he’s almost here!” With renewed vigor at the thought of holding her son, Sara gave those final pushes. The silence that followed should have alarmed us but everything had gone so smoothly. The nurse wiped Ethan off and placed him in Sara’s arms. Tears filled her eyes as she gazed at him.
“Welcome, little man. I’m your Mamma.” Tears filled my eyes as I remembered saying those very same words.
During the next eight hours Ethan had all the normal baby things. He had his first bath, his first dirty diaper, and at least two outfit changes to make both Grandmas’ happy. The cameras were full of pictures with one batch already on its way to be developed. We forgot all about the oxygen tubes until the doctor came in with those words.
“It doesn’t look good.” That’s when the real nightmare began. Ethan had a rare birth defect and the choices were few. He wouldn’t survive without surgery and even then his best option was life in a vegetative state.
When the most difficult choice had been made, whole and at peace, Ethan flew to Jesus just two days after filling our arms. It’s amazing to me how such a short life has had such a lasting impact.
“No, Honey, Mommy’s not going to yell.” I take the milk carton from my son and hand him another rag.
“Then why are your eyes watering?” A painful smile adds to my wet face.
“Because Auntie Sara would give anything to be cleaning up Ethan’s chocolate milk right now.”
I know my son didn’t understand the words, but I finally did. My eyes had painfully been opened to the incredible blessing of spilled milk.
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