Boaz turned three last Saturday. He is the sweetest little boy - always happy and good natured, with a huge big tender heart. He has brought our entire family so much joy in his short life so far.
The day before his birthday, as we usually do, we went to put flowers on his twin brother's grave site in memory of their birthday. This is the only time every year we go there. Afterward, we always go peach picking at a local u-pick orchard that has been a family favorite of ours for many years. They also have a playground, train, petting zoo, and many other wonderful activities that give an upbeat ending to the outing. I am hoping it is the right amount of keeping the memory alive rather than making it seem like a taboo subject, without forcing him to think about something he might never feel strongly about.
This was the first year that Boaz grasped the concept of having had a twin brother, death, and heaven. He is starting to ask questions but is usually very upbeat as he does so.
I let him pick the flowers and three balloons. A lady at the store thought he was so cute she bought him another one and wished him Happy Birthday :)
Boaz got more somber once we got to the cemetery, but he was thrilled to discover that there is a little teddy bear on the headstone. He really likes bears these days since hearing the book "The Bears on Hemlock Mountain" about a dozen or more times. He likes to call us 'Mother Bear' and 'Father Bear' often, which is our cue to refer to him only as 'Little Bear'. It's very cute.
He kept saying, "I feel so bad for Jachin. I feel so bad for Jachin." I told him Heaven was a far better place, and that Jachin was much happier to be there watching over him. I am comforted to know Boaz thinks life in our family is so much fun that he doesn't want his brother missing out on it.
Maybe you have wondered what it is like to only have one surviving twin. I can only speak to my own experience. The closest thing I can compare it to is what I imagine it would be like to lose one eye. I can still see with one eye, it is not near as bad as losing both eyes, not even half as bad - but I am always, always aware that I only have one left. I am thankful the boys are identical so I never have to wonder what Jachin would have looked like at any given age. Most of all, I am thankful not only for the promise of Heaven and one day seeing them both side by side, alive and well, but also for the peace of God in this life. I have seen other moms in twin loss groups online, and have had to leave them because it was too sad to see them struggle so. It is easy to guess which of the grieving moms know the Saviour, and which ones don't. Those who don't are consumed more and more by their grief and the eternal question, "Why?" I am plagued by neither. I have my precious Boaz, and the knowledge that this life will pass in the blink of an eye and we shall meet again.
Boaz had fun releasing the balloons and 'sending them to heaven for Jachin.' In all, it was a happy and memorable morning.
The next day was Boaz' actual birthday. He slept in, and was still a little too tired for pictures when he first got up.
Pretty soon, he was his chipper self and ready to open presents. I took a picture of him with each sibling and the gift they gave him. He is a very loved little boy!
For breakfast, Boaz had asked for birthday cake, and even though I had balked at the thought I of course obliged. You can find the recipe here.
The little kids had fun playing with the tent that was one of his gifts from us parents.
This past week, we have been blessed with incredibly beautiful, cool, and even rainy weather that is unheard of in our area this time of year. The kids have had many hours of playing outdoors in their tent pretending to be anything from Indians to Egyptian pharaohs.
The next birthday is Chloe's first birthday less than a week away, next Thursday. She is accompanying us parents on a trip to Maine for a soulwinning marathon that Friday. Miriam is coming along for an extra set of helping hands, and because with a family our size, we like to single out one or two each time to bring on out-of-town trips. The kids are hurrying up to finish their school books early (I once again offered a $5 bonus for each week they finish up earlier than planned) so we are just about to move on to summer with its relaxed schedule, extra activities, and ice cream. I am so thankful for God's countless blessings in our lives.