Happy Birthday Lenya


I’ve always thought she had the coolest birthday. September 8, 2007. When you just use numbers it becomes 9-8-7. How rad is that? I don’t know anyone whose date of birth is a countdown. It was always so easy to remember when filling out forms or booking airplane tickets. 9-8-7. I told her once that no matter how many kids we had or how challenging it became to remember all the different date of births I would never be able to forget hers.

Today is 9-8-13. That means Lenya would turn six years old today, if she were still in our space and time. I don’t know how old she is in heaven, or how old she will appear to be when I get there. I have heard some suggest that since Jesus went to Heaven at 33 we will all be that age. If thats true then since I am 31 Lenya would be older than me! She would get a kick out of that. Of course, we have no way of knowing.

What I do know is that I miss her so much today. My reservoir of tears which ran dry several months ago is once again full and flowing. Waves of sorrow have been hitting me in the weeks leading up to this day when I instinctively would feel the need to begin purchasing gifts for her, help Jennie with party planning or consult the birthday girl as to what the menu for her breakfast in bed was going to be.

It is such a difficult and clumsy thing to face this day without the guest of honor here. I want to tell her happy birthday. To wake her up with the whole family singing loudly in her bedroom and watching her sleepy little face beam to see everyone in on it as we march around her room with a plate of her favorite breakfast foods topped with birthday candles. I want to ooh and aah as she comes downstairs dressed to the nines in her birthday outfit. To celebrate her all day long, speaking words to honor and bless her at every turn. Watching her open presents and envelopes with checks from relatives far away. To listen to her laugh and play with her friends at her party, taking pictures of all the fun.

I love being a dad. I love being Lenya’s dad. As hard as it is to be separated from her today, it gives me great comfort to remember that Jesus is in me and she is with Him. She is experiencing fullness of joy and pleasures evermore in His presence, and I am filled with the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead — so there is a connection. She is in heavenly places, but I am seated there. I think that means my name is sitting on a space at the table. I can’t wait to join her. I have a backlog of hugs and snuggles I fully intend to deliver and I’m counting down the days. Until then, Happy Birthday Lenya!

The first time I ever held Lenya, six years ago today.

photo 1
Celebrating her fifth birthday.