This is the post that I published last week. At the time, I called it, "Some thoughts on step parenting." And then I took it down because it just didn't feel right. Thing is, a lot of the post wasn't about step parenting in particular. A whole chunk of it was about Shannon and loss and the kids. And how, in a way, it's all coming full circle as Parker nears the age Lindsey was when she lost her Mom. It was a special post to me, and one that I didn't want to throw away simply because some of it didn't sit right with me. So, here's the rest of it, edited down.
Parker's less than a year away from where Lindsey was when Shannon got sick. He's one year away from where Lindsey was when she died. I have always been able to rattle off the ages of the kids pretty quickly. (In fact, Steve's usually looking to me all dumbfounded when someone asks how old they are. I think Moms are just better at that.) Their current ages, and the ages they were when she passed away. It's an integral part of the story, and strangers who hear the story inevitably ask, "How old were they??"
Two. Lindsey was two. I've always known it but been, I don't know, detached from it? Or not quite as aware of a two-year old as I am now. What they're like, how often they cry or laugh, need their diaper changed, need their Mom. Of course, Parker's not two yet. But, I can imagine, a little bit, what he'll be like this July. How little he'll still be (to me, anyway), how often he'll need to be fed, picked up, kissed, how he may still want me to rock him to sleep at naptime, how I'll know, better than Steve, how to scramble an egg for him just right (Steve took issue with this: "Parker loves my scrambled eggs!"), or what his favorite foods are. The idea of me not being around? Well, it's unthinkable.
Just this morning, Steve and I were sitting eating hash browns and eggs and, like it had just occurred to me, I said, "He's not that far from where Lindsey was when Shannon died." Steve said, "I think of it nearly every time I change his diaper."
I have been told that Shannon was utterly content and peaceful, right through her last days. I have to attribute this peace to none other than God himself, because I don't know how someone can be that way knowing that there is a huge possibility they'll be leaving behind what they hold most dear. Steve has said it was remarkable. I imagine that it was.
I'm afraid it's too easy, eight years later, to forget the loss they suffered. To remind yourself of their past, their pain... I don't do it enough. It's something that undoubtedly marked them, particularly the two older boys, forever. I cannot begin to fathom the ways. How will we ever really know?