The week our little Emilie was taken from us had been a busy week. As Christmas was fast approaching, our family, like most families, had a jammed packed schedule filled with running here and there. Even though it is a crazy time, Christmas is full of traditions, smells and sounds that every year I look forward to. This year, for the first time, our girls were going to be in a true blue authentic Christmas pageant. When I first heard the announcement at church that they were looking for children to participate, I was thrilled to share the news to my three little girls. Emilie, who wasn’t much for “playing pretend”, loved the idea that she would be able to pick the character she would be portraying. Our first rehearsal was filled with Christmas hymns being yelled, yes yelled, by this group of sweet primary children. Emilie sang with confidence, loud and every bit off key. Madeline sang quietly, trying so hard to get all the words down. Samantha, who didn’t know all the words to “Angels We have Heard on High” would only participle in singing during the infectious chorus of “Gloooooooooooooooria!”
When it came time to pick the character they wanted to be for the pageant, I was not at all surprised that Emilie and Madeline picked the “oh so beautiful” angel costume. However, I was a bit surprised when my three year old Samantha didn’t follow the lead of her older sisters and instead opted to be to a sheep. But I knew it was a perfect fit as I watched Samantha immediately and awkwardly walk on all fours around the gymnasium bleating at the top of her lungs.
Because of Hurricane Sandy, many of the practices for the pageant had been cancelled. As the day of the pageant drew closer, extra rehearsals were added. On Wednesday, Robbie took the girls to the church for an extra practice and I stayed home and cleaned a much neglected house. While I was cleaning the floors I got a picture message from Robbie of Emilie in her angel costume. I was struck by her attitude in the picture. Even though she would swear that she “hated to pretend”, on any occasion that she did dress up, she always would transform into a new Emilie with just her facial expression. I smiled knowing exactly what was going on in that head of hers as she embodied the role of an angel that night. She was in fact a poised, regal and above all other things….fancy angel. How fitting for the girl whose motto in life was “I love being fancy!”
I cherished this memory, because in that moment I was so grateful I had this connection with Emilie. I understood her. I feel so blessed to have that connection with her so strongly even now. However, the angel I see now is not this poised character I saw Emilie pretending to be that day, but the same loving and caring person I had been blessed to receive from a loving Heavenly Father. I feel her often. I feel her influence even now. I see her still watching out for her sisters. I still see her comfort them even from the other side. She is still part of our family and will be forever. Forever, our family of five.