Yesterday was the 8th Birthday of my sweet niece, Jaidyn.  How in the world is she already 8? 

“JJ” as all the cousins call her, was the first little one of my four siblings that grew up in our house.  The baby was having a baby!  We had older siblings that had children in Waco, but we were young ourselves when it happened. We became Aunts and Uncles before we were even 15 years old.  Jaidyn was extra special.  Not only because she was the first, but because she was the light in so much darkness in 2010.  I will never forget the call from my dad that my grandfather, “Daddy Bob” had died.  I remember throwing the phone across the room with an intensity and anger that my husband had never seen in me before.  Following with uncontrollable sobbing and hyperventilation.  I couldn’t breathe.  My hero was gone and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  The man that carried a peace about him that no one else to this day has ever had.  My sweet Daddy Bob had been changing a light bulb on the front porch of their Houston home and had fallen off the ladder and died instantly.  Heartbreak.  I believe that we always thought my Granny would be the first of the two to go.  She had been battling health issues for years and my Daddy Bob was always clean on his health bills.  How in the world did this happen?  The days and weeks that followed were that of extreme sadness and exhaustion.  My grandmother no longer had the love of her life and the man that took care of her every need.  She was in shock and heartbroken along with the rest of us.  I went to stay with her and then my step mom did also, but she just wasn’t the same after he died.  Her will to live wasn’t there as it was before.  She was transported to San Antonio via ambulance to be admitted into a rehab facility and was closer to all of us.  It was good to have her physically near us, but she was never the same.  She was able to make my sisters baby shower and was excited for this sweet little Blessing to come earth side.  A week before my sister was to give birth to Jaidyn, Granny made her way up to heaven into the loving arms of her precious husband.  Sadness again filled the family as we had officially lost the heads of our family within months of each other.  

The day of Jaidyn’s birth was a happy one.  The entire family was there and waiting as the birth had been a scheduled c-section.  Even though the recent grief, we were all ready to meet this little miracle that God had given my sister.  There were a few things they wanted to look at on her once she was born and it took what seemed like forever for her mama to hold her for the first time.  And for all of us to finally meet her.  She was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever laid my eyes on.  A tiny little thing at 5.3oz and just perfection. I will never forget that my uncle Eddie refused to leave until he got to see her and hold her.  He absolutely loved children.  He was so excited to have a baby in the family finally!  Once he held her he told our Nana & Papa that they could go home.  Uncle Eddie had special needs and was truly a gift from God. He wasn’t supposed to live past 3 and with my Nana’s strong will and Eddie’s determination he beat all the odds!  Leaving the hospital we were all so excited and happy.  My other siblings and our spouses all went to our parents house to celebrate the arrival of this precious baby girl who had changed our family.  Then the call came… My Nana.  Hysterical.  She had gone upstairs and found my uncle Eddie unresponsive.  Heart Attack.  He was gone.  On one of the happiest days in a very long time, it was also the darkest. On the day Jaidyn was born, Eddie died.  An extreme roller coaster of emotions that were almost too much to bear for all of us.  

Every year on her Birthday I think back to the months that preceded and followed Jaidyn’s birth.  I remember my Grandparents, my uncle and thank God for the Blessing that is my niece.  It is a reminder to me that even during the darkest of times, there is light.  Even if you have to struggle to find the light, it is always there.  It may not be in the form of a beautiful baby girl, but God will show up.  He always does.  2010 was one of the hardest years of my life to date, but I don’t wish that it never happened.  I keep thinking of the sermon that I heard at church last week on the book of Judges.  God sometimes has to weaken us before He uses us.  (Judges 7:1-7)  At the ripe age of 29 I had seen more death happen than I had ever experienced before.  I learned how short life is and also what a great God we have.  Even when the days seem hard, you feel like that you can’t seem to get out of “the yuck” as I call it.. look up.  Look to Him and know that once you fully rely on God, the peace that comes is indescribable. 

“Consider is pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  (James 1:2-3)

Blessings,

Tk