Sunday, March 2, 2014

Quinn's 2nd Birthday

We turned the calendar to March yesterday and it's amazing how much weight was in that page we flipped. I knew this would never be easy, but I thought I might be in a different place this year. But it feels just as unfair as it always has. I think of how our life would be different with a two year old running around our house. I try to picture what Quinn would look like and it's all so heartbreaking. I have tried to write a blog all week about Quinn's Birthday and words escape me. I just want to avoid thinking about it, because it hurts too much. But just as I said last year, Quinn's birthday is not about me. It is about Quinn and what she was to me. She deserves more. I have this little light and I would be keeping it to myself. I have said time and time again that I just want my daughter to be known. I just want her life to affect others and if I stay in bed on the day she was born, her life and what she was to me stays in bed for the day and she deserves more than that.

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: 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.


  1. Tim and Ali: Thank you for sharing Quinn with us. I participated in Quinncidence last year and will again this year. What a beautiful way to remember her. I will be praying for God's strength and peace for you guys throughout this week. Michele Davis

  2. You are in my prayers! Lori Friesner

  3. You are both consistently in my prayers. Thank you for deciding to celebrate Quinncidence day again this year. So many people will be blessed by the memory of your sweet Quinn. Love, Jennifer Schild and family

  4. My daughter almost died at 3 months. It was the darkest month of my entire being. I thought about you and your family then. I thought; how can someone be SO strong? How could someone possibly want to do anything with their lives after such a tragedy? Kaymbria is 5 months now and doing much better, but I still wonder. I don't think I would have the courage or the strength... I admire you two. Your story and how well you are doing helped SO much during my family's trying times. I guess I really don't know where I'm trying to go with all of this, but thank you. For being that little glimmer of hope when I thought I was going to have nothing left to live for..

  5. What a beautiful and perfect song. I have a sweet little memory of Quinn to share. It was always so refreshing to spend time with you and TIm & Quinn in those first few weeks and months of being parents: long nights, new noises around the house, learning what it means to be selfless, realizing your body isn't really your own...and having another couple to talk to about it all. You made one of your exquisite meals and had your table all decorated with candles and matching place mats. Quinn was lying in her chair by the table and Beck was sleeping in the swing downstairs and I thought, "What a sweet, content, old soul this Quinn is." She was such a little observer. I haven't known many newborns that can focus and have a wise little presence about them. That reminds me a lot of you, Ali. You're so wise and observant and the best story teller (because you're always looking at all the details around you). I bet she would've been a great story teller...with her bright eyes and wise soul. I love that memory. As I think of more this week - I'll send them to you.

  6. Tim and Ali-My prayers reach to the heavens for you each day. I go to church with Dean and Tina and family and am so blessed to participate in the 2nd year of Celebrate Quinncidence Day. Working at the medical clinic today, it's been great fun to randomly hand out chocolate (to adults) and fruit snacks to kids! There are also packages ready to ship out to friends at COTP in Haiti, as well as supplies for the babies there. To read a little more about why today is so special to me, I wrote a little bit about it on my blog at May God remind you today that HE is with you always and sees your pain and wants to wrap you in His PEACE that passes all understanding. Love in Christ-Kari Broadway