On the eve of your five month birthday, I got a tattoo. An olive branch. 3 olives and 9 leaves, for your birthday. March 9, 2021.
* Olive trees are mentioned many times in Scripture, often as a metaphor for God's relationship with his people. (In Hosea 14, there's a passage about returning to the LORD in repentance, and it says "His splendor will be like an olive tree.. they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine.. your fruitfulness comes from Me.")
* Olive trees have extensive root systems, which means that they often stand alone. Love that even though these trees are solitary, they are deeply rooted and stand strong.
* These trees thrive even in rocky soil. If that isn't a metaphor for life.
* These trees reach their peak much later in life, and often continue to produce fruit for hundreds of years. Love the reminder that maturity takes time, but that I can continue to bear fruit all the days of my life.
* These trees, even when trimmed or even after they die and are cut back, spring forth new shoots. Death isn't the end for them, just like it isn't for me in Christ.
* Even when the fruit of these trees are pressed, they create something that was often referred to as "beaten oil" and it was of the highest quality. Beautiful, richly flavored things come even after being hard pressed.
* The oil from olive trees is often used to anoint or give sacrifice — it's a symbol of blessing, honor, and atonement.
* Olive oil, in the past, was used to light household lamps — the very thing that came once the fruit was picked and crushed became the thing that gave new light.
* An olive branch was a sign to Noah that the water had receeded from the earth.
Last month was the first time I heard your name out of context in public. “Come on Noah. Noey. Noey! Let’s go.” A mom calling for her toddler as I sobbed alone in a corner. Yesterday, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. “Kids?”, she asked. I am still navigating an answer to that question. I know you live eternally now but it doesn’t make the physical ache of this mama heart hurt any less. People I haven’t seen in awhile, who know your story, don’t ask me about you. Even people I do see frequently, who know your story, don’t ask me about you. When will people understand that you are a quite physically a part of me, a part of our family, and use your name in normal conversation? Relationships are weird. Loss is weird. Guess I just expected more. I guess I just wanted more.
More bedtime stories.
More deep belly laughs.
More good morning kisses.
More seconds, hours, minutes, years.