* Apologies ahead of time for the stream of consciousness post, just some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head these past few days
November, three years ago and all years prior, has always been my favorite month of the year. Mainly because it is my birthday month...that's right I said birthday month. I've never been one to shy away from the fact that I like my birthday to be a celebration, preferably one that goes on for many days and culminates in some hectic day after Thanksgiving shopping.
More than that though, November is just a great time of year. Cool weather, football (not that I really watch, but the tailgating is fun), Thanksgiving, great food, great family and friends, Christmas right around the corner... and did I mention my birthday?
Of course, two years ago in November my world was turned upside down. We had and lost Rip and I thought well to hell with November.
I remember being on a walk with a friend when I was pregnant with Rip, before things got scary, and saying how I had this weird feeling this baby was going to be like me. How we would have other babies that were a mix of Parke and me (which Gracie totally is) or more like Parke, but this baby just felt connected to me.
And it was true, I had mother's intuition with Rip like nothing I have experienced since. I knew just how to touch him, just how to comfort him...I can't explain it, I just knew things. With Gracie everything is trial and error, I learn her little ways and we get through each milestone together. But we have the rest of our lives to figure one another out. With Rip I had seven days, and I believe God gave me the very necessary ability to provide the comfort he needed in those days.
I read two things after Rip died that brought me some comfort. One I think I wrote about here, that a child who is lost is somehow still with you in ways that a living child cannot be. And (I know, small consolation most of the time) I believe it to be true...whether it be in an 11-11 or feeling his little presence when I need it most, I feel my son with me most of the time. The other was some study that said after you have a baby, you always carry some of his or her DNA in your body. It's a (small) comfort to think that part of Rip is always physically with me as well.
Last night we went to a Halloween bash, Gracie's first. It was great, the girl loves a good holiday celebration and had eaten Lord knows how many cupcakes at school that day (apple doesn't fall far from the tree). The whole day was so fun. There were a few off-handed comments about "wait until you have two (kids)" and things along those lines from people who didn't know us. The thing is, those comments really don't bother me. I just hate that I don't get to show off my other baby too.
I don't know what it is like to have two kids or more that I have to get ready for school in the morning, and I can only imagine how stressful that is...it takes both Parke and me to hold down Miss Priss and wrestle her into an outfit. But I do know what it is like to hold two little people in my heart. I think about both of my children constantly, just like everyone else. I think that is what makes it hard when one isn't there for everyone to see, it's like a huge part of you is hidden away.
This morning I went to see my neurologist, who I now see only every two years for migraines. The last time I saw him was shortly after Rip died when he got the award for "best response ever" when he sat on the floor and cried with me when he heard the news. This time he hesitantly asked how things were going and burst into a HUGE smile when I whipped out Gracie pics. While flipping through the (roughly) 500 pictures I had on my phone he said, " I know the pain won't ever go away, but I am just so glad you have joy in your life again."
And there it is. Nothing will ever take away the pain of losing Rip. But I have JOY in my life again. Yesterday, Halloween, was fun. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Gracie's Birthday, *My Birthday*...they will be fun this year. Even Rip's birthday is a cause for joy. These are joyous occasions. Joyous occasions that I truly thought were a thing of the past two years ago.
While walking to the elevator from the doctor's office this morning, I had a flash of deja vu. I feeling of what I always think of as "God Arms". Just a peaceful feeling I've associated with God kind of hugging you close. I remember the exact feeling leaving that office a little over two years ago, broken and joy stripped but with the smallest stirrings of hope. This morning I felt God's Arms around me, clearly remembering that broken girl and hugging me close.
Stepping out into the cool November air felt wonderful. Oh, November. Welcome back, old friend.