Mostly I try to write uplifting stories. I’m an optimist by nature and prefer to laugh and smile rather than grumble and frown. Not that I’m ALWAYS happy. Or laughing. That’s just what I prefer. Thinking back on my childhood I see how easy I had it. My parents both worked hard to give us a good life and they succeeded. I had no idea that money was tight for most of those years. I never had my heart broken by a boy, was in the top of my class, and was involved in many after school activities. Sure, I had my fair share of teenage drama, but for the most part, life was easy. I was loved and protected and safe.

Occasionally, I remember catching glimpses of the pain and suffering in the world. I specifically remember seeing a news story about the Tiananmen Square massacre. When I was in high school, the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed. We lived only an hour southwest of OKC and the rest of the day at school we watched the news coverage. A few years later the local drug sellers in my small rural town had it out with the drug sellers in the next town. But even with all of these horrors, I still felt safe. These events happened to other people, not me.

Time marched on, as it tends to do. I went to college, met and married my husband, and moved to Dallas full of hope and excitement. Then 9/11 rocked my safe little world. That day when planes were falling out of the sky and nobody knew what was going on or when it would stop was the day I finally grew up. My boss had told us all to go home, so I sat in our little apartment watching our world change. Dallas was on high alert and I was all alone, helpless to do anything but cry and pray it would all go back to normal again. Once you’ve seen reality, the innocence of childhood feels like a beautiful dream.

In the weeks and months following I kept dwelling on what would have happened if I had died that day. Not that I was ever in any real danger, but at the time anything was possible. The conclusion of my musings was that although I was a good person, I wouldn’t have left anything of any value. I had no legacy; nothing beautiful to give the world. That’s when the idea of starting a family grew in my heart and became such a powerful force that I finally brought it up to my husband. He wasn’t so convinced that we were ready to be parents yet, but it didn’t take much to talk him into it. And before long I was pregnant.

Of course we shared our good news with everyone. I felt good and my first OB appointment confirmed that everything was going according to plan. Then a few weeks later when I got home from work, I started to bleed. It was light at first and my doctor advised that I rest over the weekend. But, even with all of our precautions, the following Monday morning, I miscarried.

Well-meaning people told me that it was God’s will and that it is not unusual to lose a baby. That may all be true, but it sure didn’t make the pain any less. I was ready to give up because trying again and enduring more pain was too much. Surprisingly, though, my husband persisted.

My next pregnancy I treated with some distance. Reluctantly, we told our closest family, keeping my pregnancy quiet for the most part until I began to show. I hardly dared to hope that everything would turn out well. And then, he was born, all 8 pounds, 14 ounces perfectly healthy. His full head of red hair and lusty cries won the hearts of all the nurses. And mine. All the tears, pain, and fears vanished as I held him. After the sorrow comes joy.