I don’t remember where I read it and I don’t remember why. But somewhere in my scanning of some random article, a mom was talking about her children – of which she bore three. What caught my attention was how she listed the names and ages of her kids. “Alex – 22, Molly – 24, Andrew – forever 18.”
Reading Andrew’s listing stirred up in me a Makenzie moment. I paused. Knowing what she meant and wondering the details of the back-story. I wondered how he died and if he led a full life.
Today, ‘forever 18’ strikes me especially hard. My Makenzie’s birthday. She would have been 22 but is ‘forever 18’. She would have been in college, maybe had a boyfriend and maybe would have come home to celebrate with us. Lot’s of maybe’s, silenced by reality. She doesn’t have any more birthday’s. She is ‘forever 18.’
What I wouldn’t give to bake her a cake today. What I wouldn’t do to see her play along with my old joke of putting re-lighting candles on it. (She would always pretend to be surprised that the candles wouldn’t blow out – but she knew). What I wouldn’t give to hug her bear-like, kiss her forehead and whisper “Happy Birthday, Kenz” only to hear back “Thanks daddy. I love you.”
Today as I sit in the quiet of my writing room, look up to see her pictured face and finger a bobby-pin found underneath my coffee mug, I am simply grateful that the “forever” in her “forever 18” is spent at the side of God. He knows what He’s doing. He has granted her a “forever” that is filled with joy. He has given her a life that is above any she experienced while with me. He has graced her with a fullness that I too will know. My Makenzie’s “forever” is with her Savior Jesus and I cannot be more grateful.
Happy Birthday, button-nose. Forever-18.