She was that excited but slightly nervous freshman who moved in across the hall. Blonde hair, super cute, bright eyed, and hilarious, from day one. There weren't many of us on our wing yet. Just the freshmen, the RA, and the orientation staff, and probably some athletes, but they were always gone. Within days everyone knew who she was. Alison, Ali, whatever you called her, you couldn't help but love her.
Ya know the people who like, TRY to not like other people? I'm certain they were unsuccessful in her case. She'd be the type that you want to not like though. All the guys love her, all the girls want to be her. yeah, that one. She was so super sweet that you couldn't help but wonder if it was real. but all signs pointed to yes. every day.
She was the one that, if you were seen with her at breakfast, praise and worship, class, hanging out, whatever, it actually meant that you were probably not seen at all. Because everyone was entranced by her. She had a sparkle (no bachelor reference intended. PLEASE do not picture Tierra.) and she didn't abuse it. She was just loved. by all.
last year she had a baby, and you could just tell that with parents like that, she'd have it too. whatever "it" was. Quinn Noel. the sweetest looking, big huge bright-eyed baby you'd ever seen. I remember messaging Alison to say "I didn't even know she was BORN!!!!" She was only maybe a few weeks old, but in facebook land, that's forever to not know somebody's business. But of course, Ali wasn't thinking about bragging to the world and posting pictures and baby announcements all over her page, because she knew there were people aching for babies in their arms like she had been. And she knew the sting of seeing all the joyfilled pictures from the hospital and didn't want to add salt to anybody else's wound. see? she's that kind of person.
so when you find out that your worst nightmare has happened to HER, it breaks your heart. It causes you to write facebook statuses that say "hug your kids extra tight tonight" and cry for days because it's all you can think about. people all around the country crying for their friend, even if, like me, they hadn't seen her in almost ten years.
her pinkadink gift was never sent. we had talked about what she wanted, and I was so excited to see this sweet thing in her pinkadink get-up. but after I found out what happened, I just couldn't send it. it would be too cruel.
The doctors call it SIDS because her little 4 month body seemed absolutely perfect. You can read the little post on the side of their blog if you want to read her short account of what happened. whatever it was, whatever you call it, it just seems so wrong. so terribly horribly wrong.
Today Quinn would be one. Alison is supposed to be hanging up her first birthday decor, after finally having decided on a theme. She's supposed to be picking up the smash cake, and trying to figure out which spot has the best lighting for the pictures. I remember Lillian's first birthday so clearly. She didn't have decor or a smash cake or a theme, but she had a party (it was in the olden days before pinterest and ridiculously awesome one year old birthday parties). I remember who was there, the cute little clothes she got, the way she did NOT want to touch that cake. I remember it all, even though it seems like a lifetime ago. And Alison is supposed to be making those memories today.
but instead we have "Celebrate Quinncidence Day." Tim and Alison have invited everyone to do random acts of kindness today, March 12, in honor of Quinn's birthday. it's a way for them to see their daughter's life continue, and even bring "life" to others on a day where they just MIGHT rather stay in bed and cry.
I read about it a week ago, and have been wondering for 7 days what on earth could be my way of honoring this incredible family and the journey they've been on. I've though about the whole starbucks thing, and paying for someone else's "something." I've thought about donating books to the children's hospital or including an extra pinkadink something in any orders placed today.
but nothing felt quite right. it still didn't make it seem okay that I have three kids under my roof and she has none. and that's when it hit me. My Celebrate Quinncidence Day wasn't going to be random at all. it wasn't going to be random people, and it wasn't going to be random acts. it was going to be here. in this house. with my kids. and it was going to be very intentional. no lucky somebody. no coincidences here. but QUINNcidences, yes.
It started with little notes in the kids' lunches today, just letting them know how thankful I am to be their mama. and for the rest of the day, my goal is to say YES instead of maybe later. yes to playing barbies. yes to playing ponies. yes to making bracelets (again). yes to snuggling up with you for naptime. yes to playing the wii with you, and you get to pick the game. yes to reading a book to you. yes to reading ANOTHER book to you. because you're mine. and I have you here.
it won't cost any money. it won't use any unnecessary gas. (the two things that I have to consider with every decision these days.)
it will take my time. it will mean playing Barbies and My Little Ponies for way way way longer than you ever thought possible (did those already. wow.). it will mean NO PHONE CHECKING while I do it. me. 100% of me. doing what THEY want to do.
and it will mean the world to them.
Sweet little Quinn, may your life live on in this house through intentional QUINNcidences. not just on this day, but every day. I'll do it for your mama, and all the mamas who have empty arms. because no matter how tired I am, how overwhelmed I feel, how many bazillion things I "should" be doing, I have three little bodies that I get to hold, and three little hearts that I get to mold.
*if you want to read the incredible testimony of how God is working in the lives of Quinn's parents, here's the link. you'll need quite a few minutes and quite a few tissues to get through it, but you'll be glad you did. http://ohmydearone.blogspot.com/