“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” -John 16:21 (ESV)
I write this message on the eve of Halloween while I sit my parents’ house in Franklin, Tennessee. To celebrate the holiday, we had a Harry Potter party with my two nephews who are now actively attending the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In other words, they played fictional games from The Goblet of Fire book and movie, which was probably more fun than the online formats of public Chrome school or Zoom University. Annabelle, as an infant, is obviously too young to know the significance of the holiday, however with all her small giggles, she seemed to enjoy time with the family, especially with CeeCee and G-Daddy (grandparent nicknames).
My wife, Lisa, left Knoxville to come to Franklin a few days early, and while I plugged away at graduate class projects and conference paper deadlines, I obsessively missed my daughter, Annabelle. It was probably the strongest feeling of missing my family since her birth. In fact, it felt extremely lonely without the background noises of Annabelle’s cries or Lisa banging pots and pans in the kitchen. The lack of presence with things that sometimes drive us crazy makes us realize we would be crazy without those very same things in our lives.
I truly love my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Annabelle. I spent several moments smelling Annabelle’s clothes to savor her scent, so she was missed a little bit less. Like the sound of crashing waves and the savory smell of sea ocean waters, that childlike baby scent of laundry freshness and clean soap is heavenly. Now I understand why some people save the clothes of loved ones who pass away. The aroma of a sweet smell remains the most potent sign of a memory for cherishing a loved one.
Annabelle smells so good in my arms, and when I cannot be with her in presence, the smell of her clothes and baby blankets helps me feel just a little bit closer, knowing she will be home soon.
The laughter and grins of our children changes us forever, and when those sounds and sights disappear, they are surely missed by the parent who hears them in powerful dreams and memories, knowing they will one day return, hopefully sooner rather than later.
*By the way, Annabelle was a Baby Yoda for Halloween. Please see the pictures below.
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