Here is what I wanted to say about that.
I didn’t wait until Aug. 4 to start reading through my old blog. I didn’t wait until then to sneak away to the secret bathroom at work and, per our tradition, give Tot One a really good cry. For old time’s sake, when someone asked, I blamed everything on terrible allergies.
I want to send up a prayer of thanks for lots of things, including the initial, never-to-be-replicated joy I felt running around the house with my first positive pregnancy test, for the look on Seth’s face, for the look on grandma’s face at the hospital … really, for all the looks and experiences wrapped up in a handful of terrifying/electrifying weeks I had with this new person living inside me. And I’d like to send a prayer of thankfulness for the changes made more slowly in my psyche after Tot’s unexpected exit in January. Those changes are still coming, it turns out.
Some people live 10 decades, some people live 10 weeks. Either way, our bodies are vessels full of tricks and hazards and miracles set on a finite timeline. But none that I know has toughened me up and taught me more about parenthood in such a short amount of time than Original Tot, who left for the same reason that everybody else leaves. It was time.
I am sad when I think that if all had gone as I’d planned, Seth and I would be preparing for Tot’s arrival, if it hadn’t happened already. And I am sad when I think about a life that lasted for a blink of an eye, relatively.
During our cousin’s wedding at a Nazarene church this weekend, as the four Teter kids lined up to execute a potentially sinful Conga line, I was reminded that there’s lots more exciting things to experience outside my womb, for instance. And it makes me sad when I think about what “could have been,” and that Tot Original will always be missing from scenes like this.
But when these thoughts creep in, it’s important to note that I’ve accepted by now that it couldn’t have been. It was what it could have been. And I honestly believe that Tot’s 10 weeks were perfectly designed. Packed with purpose. And if God gave that creature a soul, I have no reason to think he would not be pleased with it. Honestly, what kind of trouble can you get into before you’ve grown no bigger than a fig? And, more importantly, I think that God would be well-pleased with how those who loved Tot plowed through the tragedy of losing it.
For the past week, thanks in large part to my brush with the other side, I’ve admittedly dwelt on the whole name thing. For a while, I thought maybe I would name Tot One tomorrow as some sort of act of remembrance. I would absolve myself of all guilt this way, knowing that Tot is not wandering around nameless in the afterlife.
This was in spite of a wise friend, who opened a 10 p.m. emergency phone call with the advice: “Do not name that baby.”
It was a weird suggestion at the time, but one that rattled in the back of my mind along with the words of the psychic. It was advice that prompted a pause in action long enough for me to hit the scriptures, which, as per tradition, relieved me of some unnecessary guilt and exposed some crazy arrogance.
In case you were worried, it appears that God gives us all a new name when we get to heaven.
In fact, in a typical symbolic gesture, God carves this new name on a white stone — the same kind of stone they would hand you in ancient times at the end of a trial if you were found not-guilty.
This is what he tells the Church in Pergamum in Revelations:
17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
This prophecy has roots in Isaiah, where apparently the perks just keep on coming for believers
2 The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.
So if it is needed in the afterlife, then Tot already has a name. And nobody knows about this name except for Tot and God. And that is fine by me.
Special thanks to Mae, for going with your gut on this one. It’s hard to find friends like this.
In my original crushed-soul-induced blog freakout, even then I had a keen awareness that All That Crap They Say is True. That everything happens for a reason, that all things work out for the glory of God and the benefit of those who serve him. Yadda yadda how.
I spoke of the finish line. The part where I’m not mad and bitter. The part where I’m not crying uncontrollably for hours at a time. The part where I can watch the Buckeyes lose a national championship and NOT cry throughout halftime in the bathroom.
The part where I can talk to a pregnant woman, or see one on TV and not hate her. The part where I try this whole motherhood thing again. The part where I feel normal. The part where I am not consumed. The part where a new morning brings his compassions.
I wasn’t there then, but I think I am there now. Or at least well on my way. Praise Jesus for Tot, who really didn’t need to leave the womb to make a difference.
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