We expected to celebrated February 20th, but not in this way. We expected our daughter Julia to be born on February 20. 2010. Instead, we lost her before she was born. We never got to meet her, hold her, hug her, or kiss her. We were devastated by the loss, just as we were when we lost three prior babies.
Continuing life after the miscarriages has been difficult. We experienced great sorrow over losing the children. However, life goes on. We cannot allow our grief to paralyze us from living life and doing what God wants. On the other hand, continuing to live life makes it seem like we have forgotten these unborn children. The challenge is figuring out how to live an abundant life that God provides without forgetting these children.
To meet this challenge we created our own holiday, Family Day, which is celebrated every February 20th. It is a day to remember the four children we never held, to celebrate the brief life they had with us, and to look forward to seeing them in heaven. We also celebrate the four children God has allowed us to raise, along with the three foster children He placed with us. We try to make the day special for our children, although it differs every year. This year, the kids did not have school because it is President's Day. My wife made a special breakfast of a baked French toast with cream cheese. She also did a special photo project with the kids. We ate a favorite meal of pulled pork sandwiches. I gave small gifts to everyone, after all this is a celebration. Alyson made special cupcakes that look like baby ducks - seriously, they looked like baby ducks. After dessert, Matthew played the piano and played a song that he wrote about missing Julia. In Matthew's words, "This is a fun day."
Family Day helps us remember the lives of these four children. This way, we do not forget about them. But, it also helps us to celebrate our children without being stuck in despair.