See, I had always wanted to be that mom who drove to the big city (in my case, Milwaukee) in search of the perfect prom dress for my baby girl. We'd shop and eat and laugh and shop some more. We'd make a big deal over getting her hair and nails done and I'd take no less than 117 photos the day/night of the infamous prom.
I'd stay up ridiculously late reading and not watching the television just waiting for my baby girl (who was growing up way too fast) to come home, fall onto the couch with a huge smile and announce that she had just experienced the best time of her life ever.
Jadrian had little interest in prom. She had even less interest in sharing that experience with her mother. And so, in a way, everything fell on Avery.
And then she was gone. Just like that.
One minute I'm picking up KFC to bring to Matt at a job site, the next my daughter is dead. What a cliché evening: everything can change in the blink of an eye.
I remember sobbing, choking out the words she'll never go to prom. Of all the things Avery will never get to do: get a drivers license, experience a first kiss, fly in an airplane, go to Disneyworld, graduate college, have a baby - prom was the thing that just about put me under.
She would never get to go to prom.
I fell even further into myself.
She would never go to prom.
How could that ever make sense? Avery was supposed to go to prom! That was the way it was supposed to be!
And then I remembered.
Because of course God knew this would be my thing.
Of course God knew how important this was to my heart. He knows me better than anyone.
And of course God would have provided for me. God doesn't want to cause me pain. He wants to hold me tight. He wants to help me through. He wants to provide love and hope and grace for me. And He'd do whatever He could to make that happen.
He'd even hold a prom.
Back in 2009, four years before Avery's passing - Avery came to me and said she wanted to host a prom.
She had it all planned out. We would clean out the basement and put up lights and have the prom down there. We would have food to snack on and drinks in case people got thirsty.
Matt would be the DJ. He could borrow Avery's pink CD player and pick out songs that everyone could dance to. All the kids would dance in their pretty dresses and fancy clothes.
And she handed me a list of kids to invite. Girls and boys. Friends from different towns, cousins, classmates and neighbors - it didn't matter to her that they didn't know each other. See, she explained, "they would become friends after meeting at the prom."
I don't know why I said yes. It certainly wasn't like me. I've always been way too insecure with where I live: low income with ratty furniture. I always felt other parents would judge me and my financial failures.
I don't know why I said yes. Normally I'd feel so awkward allowing Avery invite boys. I'd worry about what their parents would think about a woman who was trying to force kids into situations that were well beyond their emotional ages.
And yet, I said yes. Of course I said yes. I mean, this was a super cool idea! And Avery came to me with everything planned out. What she would wear, who she would invite, where it would be held, what they would eat. How could I ever say no?
And God knew that.
He knew I wouldn't say no.
Because He knew all I wanted was to see my baby girl go to prom.
God is good always.
He was preparing my heart long before I realized He was. He has never abandoned me. Not for a single second. And, while I wish with every sliver of my shattered Mama Heart that my baby girl was back in my arms, so I could hold her, kiss her, hug her, I cannot deny that God provided what He knew was something very important to me. It may not have been exactly what I imagined, but I did get to see my baby girl go to prom.
God is so very, very good.
** Thank you to each and every parent who allowed their child to attend Avery's Pretty Pink Prom Party. Little did you know then how incredibly important to my healing that day would be.
"Death seems to take so much. We bury not just a body but the wedding that never happened, the golden years we never knew. We bury dreams. But in heaven these dreams will come true. God has promised a "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21 ASV). 'All things' includes all relationships." - Max Lucado, You'll Get Through This