The Numbers Game

How many of you struggle at times when someone asks how many children you have? I have to confess that after five years, I still have times when I am not quite sure what to say. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have four daughters! But the other day when we were leaving California Adventure on the shuttle full of people, and one of the fellow dance moms asked "So you have three daughters?" I panicked and said, "Yes." Darn! I had been doing so much better honoring our Riley Elizabeth by acknowledging her life; her existence.

Initially after losing our precious Riley Elizabeth, I would say we only had three daughters out of shame and embarrassment. But each time that happened I experienced horrible guilt. So when my cousin came for a visit, she helped me work on my new "script." Do I say I "have" four daughters, I've "had" four daughters, I have three daughters here and one in Heaven?

It may seem silly to have to come up with a script, but when I was in the moment and caught off guard, I would fumble over my words. It also seemed like the script I came up with did not fit every situation. Hence the shuttle situation. Do I mention my daughter in Heaven here in front of 30 strangers? But once again, I felt guilty.

Each time I slip up and do not acknowledge my fourth daughter, I tell myself I will never do that again. But I have to be honest with myself and admit that it may happen again, I have come a long way from where I started. It is becoming a part of my "new normal." What I know for sure is that Riley Elizabeth did exist, there is purpose in her life, and I will see her again in Heaven.