When I was a kid, my mom’s constant soundtrack was the local Christian radio station. One of the daily segments was from a well-known radio broadcaster named Paul Harvey, and he hosted a program called “The Rest of the Story.” He’d share interesting stories and little known facts, and the story would usually end with how these small things played a vital role in a the life of a famous person or an important part of history. “And now you know the rest of the story,” he’d say to end the program, and even if I barely understood the real life connection or knew who the famous person was, I really felt I did know the rest of the story. The seemingly insignificant details of our day, the smile at a stranger, the coffee that was paid for by the person ahead of you in the Starbucks drive-thru, the quick “how are you?” text that you sent without thinking; all of these can add up to huge, life-changing revelations. It’s the rest of the story that we don’t yet know.
When I was young, I think the biggest thing I took away from this radio newscast was this: it isn’t over until it’s over. We have no way of knowing how the decisions of today affect the decisions of tomorrow. Not for us; not for our kids.
I see lots of friends hurting. I read articles about the hate in our country and around our world. I see my five year old assert his independence in ways that make me want to pull my hair out.
Speaking now to the five year old specifically: we are in a rough phase. Perhaps it’s the transition to back-to-school. Perhaps it’s growing pains. Perhaps he’s a jerk. Anyway, I find myself collapsing into bed as soon as he falls asleep, half-crying, half-hair pulling, and totally spent. I wonder if this is our new normal. I wonder if this season will ever change.
It’s not the first time I’ve wondered this.
I’ve written about our pregnancy loss before, but I’ve rarely seen it as the stepping stone to another part of my life. I remember collapsing into bed, half-crying, half-numb, and wondering if this season would ever change. And now, here I am, over three years later. I’m watching the boy I carried after that loss. He is eating an apple and requesting I sing “doggy window.” He’s not wearing pants because we’re potty training, and he’s dancing around the table and stopping to give me a hug every time he passes my chair. While I’m not trying to suggest the pain of miscarriage simply vanishes with the birth of a healthy child, I can honestly say Jonah is the rest of that story. Without the loss of the other baby I carried, Jonah wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be who I am. I see, now, how that part of the story had to happen to get to the rest of it.
I know this phase with Boone will end. Probably in time for a fresh new phase with my sweet, sweet Jonah to start. I know this is normal — painful, but normal. I know, mamas, that if you’re in the thick of it, it feels impossible. It feels heavy and hard, and you’re just white-knuckle surviving until the storm blows over. But remember: we don’t know the rest of the story yet. The stories of our children are just beginning, and if you remember anything about your middle school English classes, you know a story needs conflict.
Keep reading. The story isn’t over.