Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Last First

I have had this list in my head of all of the firsts that I wanted Max to experience before his open heart surgery. The last first on the list was taking him to the beach at Sanibel. I know that experiencing the beach is not vitally important in the grand scheme of life. I don't know why this list in my head was so important to me. Perhaps these firsts are more important to me because there were many firsts that I never got to do with Isaac. It looked as if this was a first we weren't going to be able to accomplish for Max before his surgery. Then Boston called to say that they were going to need to postpone Max's surgery for a week. This meant that we would all have that week off together, as Max's surgery was originally scheduled during my husband's Spring Break from work. The rescheduling gave us the perfect opportunity to take the children to Sanibel/Captiva Island for a few days and check off that last first from the list.

Living in Florida, we have access to many beaches, but Sanibel and Captiva Islands are really special to me for many reasons. I have been going there since I was a child, and I have so many wonderful memories there growing up, and now as a parent. Probably the biggest reason that it is so special to me is that all of my children have been there, including Isaac the summer before he was born.

I had always dreamed of bringing Isaac back to the beach once he was born, but that was a first that he never got to experience. In some ways, it is hard being back there. I grieve for the son that is no longer physically with us, but I am also so thankful for these moments with our other incredible children.

All of the children really enjoyed their time at the beach. Koah loved chasing observing the birds and finding shells and sea creatures.

Abi loved playing in the sand and looking for shells.

But there was something really special about watching our little boys experiencing the beach for the very first time.

Ryder absolutely loved the sand. Unfortunately, he loved it too much and wanted to sit and eat all of it.

Max loved everything about the beach. He loved the water, the sand, the shells, and walking up and down the beach.

One of our traditions is to always take pictures on the beach. I couldn't help but think back to the pictures we took with Isaac at the beach the summer before he was born. That was the last time that we ever brought him to the beach. I also think back to one of our friends that we met in Boston, a little boy named Ethan. He was one of the most courageous people I have ever met and he had such a love for life. There is a picture of Ethan and his mommy that I absolutely love. It was taken on the very same beach where we took our pictures. But it was the very last time that Ethan was to be at the beach, too, as he is now in heaven with Isaac. I can't keep my mind from wandering and hoping and praying that this won't be both the first and the last time that we have Max at the beach. I really try not to dwell on it. I know that God is in control and I have faith that He will work all things together for good, but at the same time, we enjoy and cherish every moment as if it were the last.

My heart is overwhelmed, and I am so thankful that God chose to trust us with one of his special, special gifts. We will love and cherish every moment that God allows us to spend with our INCREDIBLE son, Max. We love you Max, and we look forward to many more beach trips with you and experiencing many more firsts with you. Our hope is in the very Creator of the universe who knew you and loved you before time began. He has never left you, nor will He ever. 

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, 
all you that hope in the LORD. 
Psalm 31:24


  1. Beautiful Post! Amazing pictures of a lovely family! <3

  2. Beautiful! and now I have *tears* in my eyes. Love the pictures. Max is in my prayers. My mom just put his name on her prayer list. Stephanie, I'm praying for you, too.

  3. BEAUTIFUL!!!! I'm so glad you are blogging. Your writing and photo's are amazing!
    We are praying for you and Max's trip to Boston!!

  4. Very Nice pics of your family
    Thoughts and prays

  5. Steph,love your writing and pics. Such a moving passage. Prayers will be sent for you and Max.