Tag Archives: size

Seepage Issues: Grief Uncovered

A few weeks ago I watched “There Will Be Blood” with my husband: fantastic acting; wretchedly depressing plot. The movie orbits around the search for oil. After an earthquake, puddles of oil bubble up from the ground, evidence of a wealth of black gold just beneath the surface.

I have some seepage problems myself. I can’t always predict it. Sometimes the oddest things will shake it loose. I quite literally start leaking – sneaky tears I can’t hold back. It feels like someone has stuck their fist right down my throat. Evidence of a deep reservoir of grief, just beneath the surface.

It happened again today, in the middle of an important meeting. I don’t usually shy away from discussion about my boys, the two babies that I never took home, but more often than not I get choked up about it – even now, years later, when it is a shadow of the devastation I once felt.

I tell myself to suck it up, to quit being such… a girl. As if that’s a bad thing, to feel things so deeply, to show weakness, to have a heart that is no longer shattered, but still broken in places that matter. And when the embarrassment passes and I finally work out what I should have said or will say next time, I remember that this grief is a precious part of who I am.

Not because I’m some masochistic freak who enjoys the pain. I would much rather laugh than cry. I enjoy life and that mopey schmuck Eeyore has always rubbed me the wrong way. But the broken parts of me are the ones that understand life and faith and joy in a deeper way than I did before.

There is a beautiful picture in the Psalms, of God collecting each of our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). Because each one matters. No matter what we are going through, every tear we cry is important to Him.

One of the most helpful moments I had after the stillbirth of our first child, quite ironically, came from a heavily pregnant co-worker. Her husband was alarmed upon getting home to find her sitting on the ground crying her heart out; she could hardly speak to tell him our sad news. It didn’t change a thing knowing this, but I felt a little less alone, because someone shared our grief for that moment in time.

And now, when it is my turn to comfort someone, I don’t always know the right words to say. I don’t feel any less helpless or awkward than anyone else. And I can’t always understand their unique hurt. But I can mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). I can understand how desperate a dark night of the soul can be, and that sometimes it doesn’t FEEL like God is there, even when we KNOW He is. I know that if you press into that grief and fight your way through it, you can come out the other side a better, though somewhat different person.

Because you never completely outrun the grief. It lurks below the surface. And some days it leaks.

So here’s me, supporting the Kleenex industry for 12 years and counting.


Doctors speculated she was a result of undiagnosed gestational diabetes. I called her Buddha Baby. Her dad called her “The Rock.” However you want to say it, our girl was substantial.

Both her sisters were rather scrawny babies, so I look back fondly on all those baby rolls. There’s something about a chubby baby – you just want to squish them (but in a good way). While my back and arms may have protested, we thoroughly enjoyed our large bundle of joy.

I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since we first saw that enormous head (it’s called back labour – so yes, I have every right to complain). A lot has changed: I now have to beg, borrow and steal hugs from her, she’s more likely to try and pick ME up than consent to be carried around, AND she is now on the small end of the growth chart (3rd percentile I believe).

Although she is by far the shortest kid in class, but she’s still BIG in all the best ways. She has a BIG personality, a BIG laugh, and a BIG imagination. Sometimes it seems like our house can barely contain all the drama and emotion (cough – diva – cough), much less such a petite body.

Last month, she found a thick pair of “nerd glasses” and Professor Oogen Shmoogen was born. We were to refer to her as that at all times. When asked, she informed me that her full name was “Oogen Shmoogen the Unknown”, Professor of Awesomeness. I’m a little sad that the professor has faded away, but I know that with this girl, there is always something crazy and hilarious just around the corner.

When C’s name comes up in conversation with other adults (teachers, coaches, friends parents, et cetera…) the reaction is almost universal. A shake of the head, a chuckle and a comment like “what a character” or “she’s so funny”. At her soccer awards ceremony her coach said it well, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

My daughter’s larger than life temperament can be hardship – both to her and to those around her. It can be overwhelming, dealing with all that emotion and determination. But most of the time, she uses her powers for good. And all the time, the world is a better place because she is in it.

So here’s my “advice to a nine year old”:

Be brave – I know you feel shy when you are in a new place or a new situation, but you are a leader and you can choose to act like one. If you focus on how other people are feeling,you will know what to do. Act friendly and confident and before you know it, you’ll feel that way too.

Be generous – You are a collector extraordinaire (read: pack rat), a shopper and a money magnet. Your stuff matters to you, and that is what makes it such a gift that you are able to share with others. You have a great capacity for kindness. Never forget that people are always more important than stuff, always.

Be kind – You have no idea how much power you have to do good. It takes a BIG heart to treat others the way you want to be treated (Luke 6:31). I know you have it in you.

So here’s to my BIG 9 year old – Happy Birthday C!

Every year we write a birthday letter to each of our kids – both memories of the past year, things we appreciate most about them and encouragement to become their best selves. This year C gave me permission to post it on my blog.

In case you are wondering, I don’t use names or recent photos of my kids for privacy reasons. We are trying to adopt from the foster care system, so confidentiality is an issue.

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