This week, we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday in style, holding a “Pippa’s Palisade Party” at the picturesque state park near Garretson on Tuesday night. Her actual birthday is today, though the 28th worked better schedulewise. There were 15 of us (all family) to celebrate at the cliff-side picnic locale, which overlooks an alley of granite pinnacles rising from Split Rock Creek.
My gift for Pippa was a yellow duck stuffed animal that can be used as a puppet. I think she liked it a lot! All in all, it was a great celebration.
The quintessential moment for me was watching Pippa smile and smirk as everyone sang her happy birthday while we handed her first birthday cake (which she soon destroyed). She seemed comfortable being in the limelight, like she comprehended the gathering was in her honor.
As I think about Pippa, I’ll always remember the summer of 2015—her first summer. She was supposed to be born on July 12, but that’s not what happened. At the time, Elizabeth and I were concerned with her birth being too close with July 3, which is the date we lost our son, Elliott, in 2014. How would the intermingling of such joy and pain play out? We anticipated that July 3 would be a difficult day.
Yet then Pippa surprised us by coming on June 30. We were overwhelmed with the joy we soon felt for her. When Elliott’s anniversary came a few days later, we were still awash in this joy, so much so that July 3 didn’t quite feel as dismal as we thought it would. We still thought of our Elliott, Pippa’s big brother, and wished for a different circumstance where we could all to be together. Yet the pain didn’t feel quite as acute, which I think is what the Lord had in mind.
It is so like him to take one of our darkest circumstances and cover it with joy. I thought of the verse, Isaiah 55:12. “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…”
Every year, we will experience the joy of the Lord through our daughter Pippa on June 30 before the coming of July 3. This joy will go ahead and cover of us and set the tone for what is ahead. And as I’ve thought of it, I believe this will be our experience from now on. We will grieve for Elliott, but now from the position of restored joy.
He has made things new for us through our little Pippa. Thank you Lord.
In other news, today I also finished my 6th round of chemo. Amazingly, I am still feeling pretty good. If you saw me, you probably wouldn’t think I am sick, because I certainly don’t look like it. I certainly do deal with a fair amount of fatigue, but over all the side effects have been manageable and I am thankful. Even in light of the new drug Cabozantinib, the only side effect thus far has been a little bit of extra fatigue. We call the drug “Cabo” for short. It can be anything like the Mexican beach party destination. The side effects can be very nasty though I thank God I haven’t had any yet.