Yesterday, I got a message from a woman at church - Kristen - about having Sebastian sing a song with another child for the Christmas play. That got my mind thinking and rolling around what has happened in his life in the last 17 months. I decided I should write it down because even though some of it is very painful, some of it is very much filled with hope. I guess really this post starts when Sebastian was just in my belly and had a few months until he was born. We had gone for an ultrasound and found out he was a boy! Timmy and Savannah were both with us. Savannah sat on the ground in true 5 year old behavior and cried because this new baby was not only a boy, but he was due on her birthday! The horrors of it all! Timmy, on the other hand, leaped into the air did one of those ALRIGHT moments of "I am having a brother!" Two completely different reactions. Time passed and we welcomed Mr. Sebastian into our world. His momma was still somewhat of a mess from losing her best friend a year earlier. As much as I love Sebastian and we chose to have him because of my hurting heart - there were days I thought this tiny baby was getting short changed because his momma was a bit frazzled at best. He did have an awesome big brother(and an equally wonderful big sister) that helped out when he was home. At one point, I even left my little 2 year old Sebastian with his brother and dad for 6 days while I took Savannah to Williamsburg. Everyone thought I should have worried about leaving my baby with my 17 year old... in truth I was a bit more worried about the days my husband had him all day! After all, Timmy had been home with Sebastian since the day he was born. He knew all his quirks and all of his routine. My husband, on the flip side of the coin, had been at work most days. Time flew by as it often does and Timmy was soon leaving for the Army. Sebastian was not quite 4 when he left. I remember telling Timmy over and over that if he joined the service - the kids wouldn't know him. I told him how I was so extremely close to my oldest sister, but when she married and moved away when I was 12 - our closeness fell away. I was worried about it and if you know me at all - that means I obsessed about it. Then there was my oldest son, wise and kind. He wrote letters and sent pictures and text messages and he called. Oh yes, he called. He would talk to me and he would talk to Sebastian. Not as much as I would have liked in hindsight, but that is a different post. Don't ask me about my lack of using SKYPE - I literally and I do mean literally have a mini panic attack when I see it on the screen because I am so sad for not using it more. Time will heal that as it does other things. Anyway, I am getting off track. My point is that Timmy stayed connected to his siblings. He let them know they were important to him and that they loved him. When Timmy died, Sebastian had the unfortunate event of not getting told in a gentle manner. He was in the van when I pulled into the driveway that day. He saw me, my mom and my sister completely lose it as we saw the two soldiers standing there. He saw me beat on my steering wheel and scream. He was just 5 years old and he did not deserve that. Savannah was not at home. I was able to take her aside and hold her and tell her. Sebastian spent time away from me that day and I remember at some point telling my friend April that she needed to bring him home right now. I guess in my haze it hit me that HE needed me. When she brought him home - he went to his room and he began kicking his wall as hard as he could. Then he fell into my arms and he cried. Not his usual "I am being a pain in the butt kid" cry, but the kind that was he had just lost his big brother cry. For weeks, he would kick that wall. For the next year, he had meltdown after meltdown. I mean crumbling in to what I call snotty fits - where the tears are rolling and the snot is flying. Not pretty and sometimes frustrating. Enough to make me insane at some times. I just wanted to sit at the park with my friends and heal a bit, but my Sebastian was crying over everything. We tried lots of things and lots of people had "advice". Tim and I talked about it over and over. All at once it hit me. I was crying everyday. Sure, most days, I did it quietly, but not always. Some days I cried so hard and there was nothing that was going to make it stop. I was 38 years old and I was crying and having snotty fits. I just had the sense to go sit on my closet floor to do it. Why on earth would I expect my 5 or 6 year old child to do better? When I realized that - it changed how I dealt with it. I knew I couldn't allow him to just get angry and throw fits, but I also knew that it had some reason to be there. His anger came from pain in his heart and that is real. I thought about how I sat alone in my closet and cried until I felt better. I began sitting him alone when he had a meltdown. If we were at the park - I would open all the van doors and sit him in the van. Pretty soon, he actually knew the drill and sometimes would tell me he just needed to be by himself for a bit. I am happy to say that today we are not having nearly as many trials with him. There are some people that helped along the way and that brings me back to the very beginning of this story. Last winter as I was walking through Walmart, I saw our youth pastor, Oakley and his wife, Kristen. Now, they don't know this, but they will now if they ever read this. I actually saw them and I walked through the clothes aisle to avoid them. WHY would I do that, you might be wondering? Well, because Tim and I had taken Sebastian out of church for that time. Too many meltdowns at church was very trying on both Sebastian and me. So, I didn't want to come face to face with them. Then it happened. Kristen called over to me, "Sebastian's mom... Sebastian's mom." I stopped and turned. She came over and very sweetly told me how much they missed Sebastian at church. I explained the above. I worried she would think I was a bad mom taking my kid out of church and all. She didn't act that way at all. She was very kind and continued to be kind each Sunday when I did NOT bring Sebastian back to church. A couple of months passed. We decided it was time to give it a try again. I would love to end the story with something like Sebastian never had another meltdown again at church, but that would be a fairy tale ending. He had and continues to have some good days and some bad days. Not nearly as many bad days anymore. People like Kristen, and Anne Marie another great woman that helps at the church and Margie head of the children's department were patient with him. And there are others inside and outside of church that love him broken and all. They didn't expect him to be all fixed and perfect. They understood that his heart was broken into a lot of little pieces and it was going to take a lot of time to try to fit the pieces back into place. When I got that message asking him to have a specific part in the Christmas play, it was just fitting one more of the pieces in place. It is just a tiny verse that he gets to sing, but the fact that they love him enough to know that this may be a challenge and that they are willing to take it. That says something. I know his heart won't hurt as bad forever and I am glad of that. At the same time, I will always be sad that as his heart heals - it means he will miss his brother less. It is bittersweet. With the pain comes little pieces of joy when you least expect them.