One thing I worried about, even before Gracie was born, was how to share Rip with our other children.
Up to this point, we had not shared much about him with Gracie...not on purpose, but anyone who has ever dealt with a child age 0-2 can attest to the fact that there are not many deep conversations being held, with the child or anybody else for that matter.
Parke and I talk about him, obviously I talk about him all over the World Wide Web, we have pictures of Rip in our house- but I wasn't sure how to introduce him to Gracie.
As I have said a million times, my biggest desire is for Rip's life to be viewed as a good thing, the blessing it is to our family. I didn't want Gracie to associate her big brother with fear or sadness. I wanted her to be an age where she could understand what I was saying at the most basic level, without knowing enough to be afraid, hoping that as she gets older and understands more, Rip will be normal thing in her life.
I've been praying a lot to know when the time was right to tell her about her brother, and praying for the right words to do so.
The other night it just kind of happened. Gracie was on my bed and pulled out my Bible- pictures of Rip fell out on the bed.
I watched as she picked one up and stayed very still, staring at a picture of her brother for what seemed like a very long time.
I felt so many things in that moment- immeasurable loss, memories of everything happening in that picture, thankfulness for these children that takes my breath away.
I sat with a million thoughts racing through my head and tears pricking in my eyes and watched as she picked up one picture after another, studying them very hard.
Eventually, I said,"that's Baby Rip. He is your big brother and lives in Heaven with God. He looks out for you every day."
She repeated me and went back to studying his pictures. Then, with a smile, she stacked the pictures and put them back in the Bible and said "let's do our colors!" (Her new favorite game, naming the colors of everything in the room)
Just like that, it was over. I know we will have many more conversations about Rip in our family, but I was so thankful for that one. It was just a moment, but one I know I will remember for the rest of my life.