most of you who read this web-log know that my oldest son, jake, is an identical twin whose brother died at birth.
while I was pregnant with them we were told that although they were identical, one was slightly larger than the other. this was something to watch, we were told, as "identical" means "the same," therefore it was curious and slightly concerning that they were not exactly the same.
we had played around with names a little bit, and my favorites were jake and andrew. however, with news of the discrepancy in size, I gave my babies-in-utero nicknames: the larger ( by an ounce or so ) became Hoss, and the smaller, Little Joe. and any sociological historian could probably deduce from that small bit of information approximately how old I am. I loved Bonanza growing up, and always, I mean always, had a crush on Little Joe.
when Hoss was born and Little Joe died, we realized that we could give Hoss a name and let him grow into it, but that Little Joe would always be Little Joe to us. thus Hoss became Jake, and Little Joe was baptised Joseph, so that we could always call him Little Joe.
all of this is just to preface the sharing of what one of my beautiful daughters wrote, that she pinned up on her board in her room and I read while changing sheets yesterday. her gracious words and deep connection to the brother she's never met have always been a part of her, and I see this as a little gift from God to me. she's written many notes, drawn pictures, and spoken of Little Joe for years and years, and this is just one of the latest, that touched me in a beautiful way.
"Dear Little Joe,
I miss you. I love you. I'm your sister. I can only imagine what you'd be like if you were here beside me as my brother. My big brother, who's turning 18 next year and will graduate high school alongside Jakie. But your in a better place now, a place God chose for you. I just wish I could see your face. But I have an idea from Jake. I love you. I miss you. Sleep tight Little Joe, we will always love you--we will never forget you."
what gifts our children are, especially when they reveal their hearts to us. I will work on remembering that my job is to make it safe enough for them to do so.