Decorating our tree, Evelyn was amazed with the lights, sparkles, and shiny ornaments. Keeping her from wailing in protest when we put her down is often an exercise in patience as we reduce ourselves to making goofy noises through our ridiculously contorted faces. On this day, however, she was peaceful. Her big blue eyes carefully took in each color presented as we waved every ornament in front of her, complete with a verbal description, to keep her engaged. It took remarkably little effort. She was so sweet, smiling widely at some of the colorful dangly items in front of her, and quietly taking in others. Nothing was sweeter, however, than her admiration for Sophia’s wings. Bought shortly after we lost our first daughter, we have always reserved the most prominent spot on the tree for her feathery memorial. Even though Evelyn cannot speak and cannot understand what we tell her of Sophia, her silent sparkling gaze reflects the significance the wings hold.
As I held back a tear, I realized the stifled cry was no longer about missing Sophia, feeling pity for myself, or wishing things were different. This year, I feel the love Evelyn has for a sister she will never meet. This year, the tears have a glimmer of happiness amidst the pain of a somber rememberance.