Your Little Red Wagon

Dear Noa,

I’ve had you on my mind a lot lately.  In the winter I can see your house from the interstate as I drive into work every day.  I try to catch a glimpse of you through the barren trees that allow me to have a split second view.  But all I ever get to see  is your little red wagon out front and I wonder about you.  By now you’re 2 1/2 years old.  Its so hard to believe its been 2 1/2 years since we picked you up from the hospital that Thursday afternoon.  You were so tiny, but that quickly changed.  You loved to eat.  I imagine you still do.  I remember wondering if you would ever smile, it seemed like forever before you actually did.  Now the still shot memory I have of you in my head is of that toothless smile you gave to me that last night we had with you.  I remember feeling that sick to my stomach feeling that night at dinner.  You looked at her and then you would look at me and you would smile.  You had no clue that the next day you would leave us.  I had to leave the table.  I walked back to the bathroom, and stood in the stall and wept.  I knew it was coming, though I prayed it wouldn’t.

I remember hearing the judge the next day say that you would need to go live with your grandmother.  My ears began to ring, I thought I would pass out right there in the court room.  I wanted so bad to be angry at someone.  They told us to have you at the DCS office at 3 pm, ironically, the same time they told us to pick you up from the hospital, nine months earlier.  I called home to tell your “mom” the decision.  I’ll never forget her cry of pain, and then that of your sisters’.  We wanted to run away with you.  Refuse to show up.  We knew we couldn’t.  We got your things together and took you to the office.  I’ll never forget sitting in that room waiting on your grandmother to show up.  “Mom” started singing the song she had taught you, “Behold, Behold, I stand at the door and knock knock knock.”  You did the motions with your hands.  It was all we could do to keep from falling apart.  Still, you laughed and smiled.  The rest is a painful blur.

We grieved after you left.  It know it sounds weird, but we did.  How do you grieve for someone who isn’t dead?  But for us it was like a death.  There was no funeral, no memorial service.  Life went on as usual.  It had to.  Nobody would understand.  They’d say we were too attached.  We had you for nine months.  She was with you every waking moment, you never left her sight, how could we not be attached?  Then as suddenly as you came into our lives, you were gone.  Forever. 

Now all I see is your little red wagon, through the trees.  I almost dread seeing Spring come because the leaves will grow back, and your house will be hidden again, and I won’t see that little red wagon until next winter.  Will it still be there?

Do you remember us Noa, even just a little?  Do you feel our prayers when we call out your name as we bless our kids every Friday night at family dinner?  Will your life be affected at all by the short time you lived with us?  Questions like these and many more run through my head as I drive past your house every day.  You’re literally a mile away from us maybe two, but it might as well be a million miles instead of one or two.  What we would give to hug you one more time,  to pull you in that little red wagon, to see you smile, to hear your laugh.  We miss you so much. 

But you know what?  We’d do it all over again.  It was only nine months, but you touched our hearts, our lives forever.  And tomorrow, when I drive by your house again, and see your little red wagon sitting out front, I’ll thank God for the time we had with you.  I’ll whisper my same little prayer for you, that you would grow to know Him, even if you ever know us.  That you will become a mighty man of valor, and that we, in some small way, had a part in your story.  And I will thank God that there truly are No Accidents.

All our Love,

“Dad” & “Mom”

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