Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 years

I remember so clearly this night 5 years ago. We spent the very last full day of Andrew's life by his side at the hospital. Austin held him for the first time. Sometime that night, we left the hospital and went to Dillard's to buy something nice to wear for his baptism. I kept thinking, "How am I gonna do this?" How does a person go to sleep and wake up the next morning knowing the world is going to stop spinning the way it should? We had to wake up, brush our teeth, wash our faces, eat breakfast, and go to a hospital to baptize and unplug our son from the machines keeping him alive. We weren't sure what would happen next. Would he struggle to live? Would he hang on for minutes, hours...days? We only knew that we were making the decision to let him go and we were braced for whatever came next. Thankfully, he stayed long enough to let us hold him and love him and know his baby body free of wires while he breathed in and out. He lay still in my arms, warm and wrapped up, when his heart finally stopped. I'll never ever forget the doctor's face when she checked his heart one final time and found it still. Our little baby had moved on and we were left holding his body. Left to pick ourselves up and make a life out of the shambles we found around us. My life both stopped and began in that conference room. I died that day with my Andrew. His life and death changed me so deeply. The innocence, the blind hope, the assurance I'd always had died that day. I became brand new with his death. So many things have come from those 13 days 5 years ago. I have new compassion and empathy for situations and people who I never even saw before. I have new friendships with people I consider family now that birthed from those 13 days. My heart is hurting tonight just as it was December 18, 2009. But tonight, I am stronger, more fully aware of how crazy lucky I am to have two little babes tucked in tight in their rooms, more in love with my husband, and so incredibly proud of who we are today. We are unbroken. We survived. We chose light instead of dark, faith instead of hopelessness, fierceness instead of weakness. We protected each other and loved each other and forgave each other every day of these last five years. We made two more beautiful babies and are so immensely thankful for their lives. I look at our family pictures and I see five where everyone else sees four. We, to the world, are four. But, you, sweet Andrew, are always always there. You are knitted into my skin and I'll never be without you. My first sweet boy, you live in my heart, your name is always on my tongue. I wish I could call it out for the world to hear in a different way, one not tinged with grief and loss and missing. Our story is not what it should have been, but it is our story and I'll walk it in whatever way I can. I love you, angel boy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Birthday Season

My babies birthday parties have come and gone. Susie turned one on September 24. We celebrated her with a sweet little hot air balloon party. She was picture perfect...smiling sweetly, ferociously attacking her cake, squealing at presents. She's such a peach and she makes my world so much softer and sweeter. A few short weeks later, Thomas turned three. We had our first "kid" party with several of his friends. He had been excited for months about his "bulldozer party" and he was not disappointed. He and his friends played in the dirt, decorated hats and toolboxes, and tore down kid approved party food. I'm totally exhausted from planning parties. I'm glad these two are behind me. But (man, there is always that "but" when you've lost a child) I'd give ANYTHING to be planning my third party for a boy turning five. FIVE. How big is that? I can't even wrap my head around that I should have a child so old. He'll always be two weeks old in my head...forever frozen in that conference room five Decembers ago. I'm thankful that my living children have birthdays close to his. I have a fresh picture in my head of how thankful I am to have Thomas and Susie when Andrew's birthday rolls around. I like that he's included in the birthday season and not left off somewhere by himself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I'm so happy staying home with these babies that it's borderline obnoxious. I was made for this. My kids are thriving...the best parts of them are bubbling to the surface and I love being there to see every new discovery. I've been home for about 6 weeks and we're settling in so nicely. We've got a pretty good routine down. I do feel a little isolated and I think we need to make some stay at home momma and kid friends. Hopefully, once school is totally back in session, we'll find a few groups to involve ourselves in. It's really hard to break into a new social group. By nature, I have a tendency to stay within my comfort zone but, for the sake of the kids, I know I need to branch out.

We had a meeting today to begin Thomas' transition out of the early intervention speech program. He's a totally different child than he was when we first began the program last winter. We met with the director of the program today who hasn't seen us since last December. The last time she saw us was quite possibly the worst moment in my parenting live children history. Thomas had had his eval to determine his immediate needs. He was pretty grouchy and noncompliant during the eval and ended it with tears and wails all down the hallway of the office. He was so out of control that day. The director, who had to help me forcibly put him in his carseat, counseled me as I cried and cried in the parking lot. She knows all about Andrew and finally told me that Thomas needed more discipline and a little less love. She knew that my grief was totally stopping me from really parenting Thomas in the way that was best for him. I heard the voice I needed to hear that day and our parenting techniques have totally changed. When Thomas walked cheerfully and obediently into her office today, the look on her face was priceless. I couldn't be prouder of the smart, vocal, happy boy that lives in my house. He is still headstrong and willful, but he's respectful and full of life.

My sweet Susie is becoming more and more of a toddler every day. I feel like she was a little baby for such a short time. Maybe it is because she is our last, or maybe it is because we are so much busier now than we were with Thomas, but her life is flying by! She is so so close to walking and has taken several steps. She still doesn't trust her legs so there is a fair amount of falling and shrieking. Oh, the shrieking! She has most definitely discovered her voice and she loves to use it! She says mama and dada and waves and says byebye. She loves her brother and wants everything that is his. The fights have been epic these days, but sister is persistent and brother is mostly gentle. The planning has begun for her first birthday. I've gotta get busy sewing and crafting. I love to party plan and little sister's party may be over the top.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Momma 365

I started a new life today. Yesterday was my last day of work for a year...staying home full time with Thomas and Suzanne. I feel so happy yet so sad to leave my work behind. Luckily, I am fortunate to co-own LuLu's with my lovely sister (who is taking on a huge task of mostly running the store alone for a year) and I can pop in and out when I need a little retail therapy. I'll still go to market and will help with inventory stuff, but I won't really have any daily responsibilities. What a fantastic setup, huh?! I'm hoping to sort of chronicle the year here with our daily doings...I want my kids, who will mostly not remember this year, to have some sort of record of this time. I'm so thankful for and terrified of this venture. I hope to learn to trust myself as a parent; that I am in fact the best person for them to be with all of the time. Today was lovely, we started it off with a visit from Lulu and Mimi, who came up to surprise me at the LuLu's surprise going away party. I straightened up a bit while Susie napped, and then we all headed off to the park. We swung "super high" and played until everyone was crazy sweaty. Then we met Aunt Corinne at The Blind Pig for lunch. Super nice time. Back home to nap. Thomas is having tons of issues with sleeping. To be blunt, he's taking his pull up or underwear off and peeing everywhere in the hopes that I will let him get up. Wrong kiddo...all that earns you is a soggy sleep. I guess persistence and a little tough love will nip it in the bud. Either that or he'll start sleeping in the yard. I'm not above either. So, here's to the next year. I'm so incredibly excited.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Right this moment

Just a little while ago, I was sitting on the couch feeding Suzanne and watching Thomas build train tracks all over the living room floor. He loves his new hand-me-down train set...the best free toy we've ever gotten. I love to watch his brain to see the light come on when he figures something out. He babbles and laughs and learns and I couldn't be happier to watch him. I watched him, snuggled her and thought of how very lucky I am. Just a very short time ago, I ached to be a mother. My Andrew came along and gave me everything I ever wanted. I'll never forget the feel of my heart lurching the moment I saw that long awaited positive pregnancy test. I remember calling Corinne in a hot panic, needing to hear someone's voice to confirm that I wasn't dreaming. And then he was gone and the ache was back, stronger and more fierce than I could ever have imagined. Along came Thomas, and, not long after, Susie. My heart is so full even in the darkest corners where grief will always live. Having living children magnifies the enormity of our loss, but I still feel lucky tonight. I feel grateful that I have kissed three precious heads of babies that will always be mine. How many people ever get that matter how brief one of those heads was in my hands.