As I've said before, I had dreamed about Paxton before he was even conceived. When we did not even think Kara could ever carry a baby, I dreamed of seeing and loving him. Loving him so much it was like no love I’d ever known. When I awoke I “knew” he was real. He was not a child I’d just had a dream about – I knew he was going to "be"--in fact, already was. My love for him was real and I knew absolutely that he was real.
I felt he’d been sent to me by God in that dream and he would be sent to me in real life too. And because of that I had complete faith in that message and felt secure in loving him with complete abandon.
Up to then, I was very guarded about how much I allowed myself to let go and love someone else’s child. I’d been torn apart in the past loving children that had been snatched away from me leaving me devastated and broken. Not once but three times. I vowed I would never allow myself to completely fall in love with a child that belonged to someone else like that again. But because of that dream and only because of that dream I felt safe to love him freely and give my heart over to him. I felt he was sent to us and I felt that was my promise that he would be safe to love without fear that he would be taken away from me. Then on August 23rd that promise was broken in the worst imaginable way as he was most certainly taken from me in the cruelest and most permanent way.
I felt betrayed and devastated on so many levels.
At first I was angry and confused railing at God that it would have been better to have never had him at all than to have loved that deeply and lost him so cruelly.
But I was wrong.
I would rather have had him and known that love for even that short amount of time than to have missed that love or to have missed one minute with him.
And the strangest thing is that it was my love flowing to him and not necessarily his to me that was so powerful and profound. It was no secret he loved his Mama and his Daddy much more than he did me. He loved me but he’d throw me over in a minute for either of them. Unlike my first granddaughter – she preferred me over anyone. She cried for me, clung to me and never wanted to go home when she was his age. He was never like that. When either of his parents were present he would not let me so much as hold him – so afraid, he was that they would slip off and leave him behind. He enjoyed himself and had a great time once they were 10 minutes gone but he always cried for them and had the choice been his --he never would have stayed.
If I could know and love a child that had not even been conceived; then I can love that same child after he has left this world. if he existed before he was ever born then it would also be true that he exists still today. I loved him before he was born. I loved him while he was here. And I love him now. I feel it when I see his pictures. I feel it when I watch his videos. I didn’t "used" to love him. I still love him. I will always love him.
I think we tend to believe it is receiving love that makes us happy. But what loving him taught me was that you can be deliriously happy in the love that you have for others because it truly never mattered to me whether he loved me or not. My joy was in loving him.
Like we are with our own children, you love them even when they are angry, belligerent, or in trouble and you love them whether they love you back or not.
As I thought about that I realized the bigger picture as it relates to God’s love for us too. He loves us unconditionally but like our own children we really don’t think about it or appreciate it in the beginning. It is only when we choose to love Him back that we really experience the true meaning and magnitude of God’s love. It is only when we give love that we truly begin to experience the true joy of love.