I have a good friend that over the years has always told me that my kids are cute; my response has almost always been,"Cuteness will only get you so far!" especially, when they were being cute, but it wasn't necessarily a good thing!!! I titled this post this way because I am getting ready to tell you how cute Knox was and at least at first it might sound a tad shallow.
I think most people think their kids are the cutest so I guess I am not really claiming anything much differently, but Knox was captivating. I am not sure exactly what it was. He probably looked like a pretty ordinary kid but their was something about him that turned heads wherever we went. If he wasn't in my arms, or holding my hand, he was often right ahead of me. He'd walk that way or run if he was allowed just a little ahead and then turn and flash a grin at me while checking to see if I was still right there. Where the girls practiced softball, there was a drive through the park where there wasn't really a road but the coaches would drive their cars with the equipment to the field. He loved to run down that road, stop and look back to see if I was coming, and then break into giggles when I came running after him.
Maybe it was his clear blue eyes coupled with his shock of blonde hair that had never been cut that made him especially cute. When it was humid outside, his hair would curl just around the edges. He didn't say much in words; I don't really remember any more just what words he did say though I am sure he said some. I know he hadn't said "I love you" yet but his hugs and kisses said it for him. I remember Anne Michal saying after he died that she missed his hugs because they were the best hugs ever and if you were ever feeling sad, he always made you feel better.
He was always a bright spot, always a joy. It wasn't just Anne Michal that felt that way. He had a way of parting all dark clouds and let the sunshine come flooding in. It isn't exaggeration to say that at least once almost every day and probably more many days, I literally thanked God for giving him to us. I remember a friend once telling me after one of her sons were born that they had to adapt to him being a part of their family; he still felt like a newcomer. Knox seemed as though he had always been. He fit in seamlessly and was adored by everyone. He fit...just right.
It wasn't necessarily easy the day in and day out life with 5 kids, the last 3 three and under. It was hectic, and busy teaching the oldest 2 school(and starting with Emma) and getting them to their few activities with the little people in tow. There were always naps and baths and meals. The house was a wreck and cheerios were always on the floor. (For some reason, all the kids all the way down to Jack, loved to feed him cheerios and they'd pour enough on his high chair for an army) I'd be lying if I didn't say that some days it got to me. Truthfully, though, most days it didn't matter. A glimpse of the group of them playing together and loving on each other made it all dull background noise.
Someone made a comment to Jon not long ago that they didn't get it at first(but understand better now). They didn't get how we couldn't get past it. And I didn't "get" the comment. I asked what he meant. I thought we had done pretty well. We continued to function day in and day out. I didn't have PTSD; hadn't been committed to a mental institute(I am being serious for the most part!). We hadn't lost our faith and could proclaim the goodness of God. Perhaps though I understand what he meant; I remember being in the hospital with him when we realized that we were headed to taking him off life-support and giving myself a pep-talk like I often did when I had to do something I didn't want to do. I told myself, "You can do this. You can live without him. You didn't use to have him. You have lived without him before, and you can do it again." I was giving myself a peptalk because I knew it was going to be hard and was trying to convince myself it was doable.
However, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to go back home, let alone live there. To walk in and see all his things; it was like constantly having the wind knocked out of me. You can't just get used to have an integral part of your life, a dear love, a joy, and even a work suddenly disappear. It would be like saying you could suddenly lose an arm and just bounce right back. The ache, the loneliness while still surrounded by people, the silence even amidst the noisy voices of children was all pretty maddening.
Now, most of those things have faded to the background. It has been 7 years. He'd be 8 1/2 on the 27th and we'd be making half birthday cupcakes, a traditional that left us with him. The pain is more in the not knowing than what was though sometimes my arms still ache even though I know he'd be too big to tote around! I can even still feel him in my arms and smell his slobbery, little boy self. I watch Jack and Creed with the huge difference in their height take off down the street one after the other headed to "the pit" to explore and wonder what the 8 yr old Knox would look like between them. After all, they older four have grown and matured and we've added two more to the mix. What would that dynamic be like if he were still here? I imagine he'd love dirt, bugs, bones, and grossness every bit as much as the other boys despite the "prettiness" I remember. What would be his bent? Academics? Sports? What sort of kid would he be? Would he still be a mama's boy that could melt my heart with the flash of a grin? Probably ;-) I look at his pictures and he is so familiar, yet a stranger. He looks so young and unfinished; yet, his life is done and as Jon referred to in communion this morning, his sorrow is over and his joy complete, fulfilled. His pilgrim days are done.
Haste thee on from grace to glory,Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.Heaven’s eternal days before thee,God’s own hand shall guide us there.Soon shall close thy earthly mission,Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,Hope shall change to glad fruition,Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.