People have asked me if I have any stories to tell about Quinn and it is such a hard question because she was 4 1/2 months old. She wasn't moving around on her own, she wasn't talking, her life consisted mostly of eating, sleeping, and observing the world around her. So I only have a handful of specific memories or stories about Quinn and they are some of my greatest treasures. But one in particular is my favorite. Quinn was 9 days old and she had only been home a few days. I had just fed her in the early morning hours and was rocking her back to sleep. She was a little fussy. So I started singing to her. My dad was up with me and watching tenderly as I sat with my daughter singing her a lullaby. I started singing "Smile" by Nat King Cole. I have no idea why that is what I sang to her but I just kept thinking I want her to know that she might feel like crying, but I just want to see her smile, so I began singing...
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile...
A few lines into the song, the most amazing thing started happening. Quinn started humming along with me. Now, obviously it wasn't to the tune, it was just the same note. But when I stopped singing, she stopped humming and when I started back up she started back up. I looked over at my dad and his eyes were glassed over and he said, "That is amazing, she's trying to sing with you!" I sang the song 3 times and she sang with me 2 times. The third time my dad had found the camera and tried to record it, but it's like she knew she was being recorded and fell asleep the 3rd time through. We never did get it on camera, but I won't forget it never the less. I have probably thought about that memory 250 times since she died. And analyzed every angle of it and I wonder if she wasn't singing it to me. If she knew I would need the words of that song in the coming months. But it has also spoken to me lately with her birthday. It will be my anthem of getting through that day and I will imagine Quinn singing me through it.
I have prayed about it and we have debated over whether we would do our "Celebrate Quinncidence" a second year and we felt that it really carried us through a really tough day. But I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention our ultimate source of strength that will really carry us through, Jesus Christ. This was the verse I read yesterday in my quiet time that is my theme verses for the day:
"Share your food with the hungry and bring poor, homeless people into your own homes.
When you see someone who has no clothes, give him yours, and don't refuse to help your own relatives.
Then your light will shine like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your God will walk before you, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
Then you will call out, and the LORD will answer.
You will cry out and he will say, 'Here I am'." (Isaiah 58:6-9)
We have decided to do Celebrate Quinncidence again this year. Using the money we would have spent on presents, cake, and decorations for Quinn on others who need it through random acts of kindness. Your acts don't have to be big, you could write a nice note to someone who you appreciate, pay for someone's gas, coffee, or groceries, leave a big tip for a waiter, leave quarters on a vending machine or car wash, put flowers on someone's car, bring donuts to work, etc. I am opening this up my school, Washington High School, as well and will kick it off at the end of the week there, We were so blessed by the friends, family, and strangers who joined us in celebrating Quinn's birthday last year and we would be honored to have you join us in blessing the lives of others on Wednesday March 12th. Here is the link to the post last year: Celebrate Quinncidence . Sioux Falls Education Association has offered to make a Facebook page where people could post their pictures and acts they did: https://www.facebook.com/quinncidencemarch12. Thank you SFEA. For those of you not on Facebook, post your acts in the comments below and I will take a few of these pictures and do a blog post with them on Thursday March 13th. And please keep us in your prayers for an abundance of grace this next week and a sense of peace in a time that feels so unfair. Thank you everyone in advance.