Monday, June 23, 2014

Just a Moment

One thing I worried about, even before Gracie was born, was how to share Rip with our other children.

Up to this point, we had not shared much about him with Gracie...not on purpose, but anyone who has ever dealt with a child age 0-2 can attest to the fact that there are not many deep conversations being held, with the child or anybody else for that matter.

Parke and I talk about him, obviously I talk about him all over the World Wide Web, we have pictures of Rip in our house- but I wasn't sure how to introduce him to Gracie.

As I have said a million times, my biggest desire is for Rip's life to be viewed as a good thing, the blessing it is to our family. I didn't want Gracie to associate her big brother with fear or sadness. I wanted her to be an age where she could understand what I was saying at the most basic level, without knowing enough to be afraid, hoping that as she gets older and understands more, Rip will be normal thing in her life.

I've been praying a lot to know when the time was right to tell her about her brother, and praying for the right words to do so.

The other night it just kind of happened. Gracie was on my bed and pulled out my Bible- pictures of Rip fell out on the bed.

I watched as she picked one up and stayed very still, staring at a picture of her brother for what seemed like a very long time.

I felt so many things in that moment- immeasurable loss, memories of everything happening in that picture, thankfulness for these children that takes my breath away.

I sat with a million thoughts racing through my head and tears pricking in my eyes and watched as she picked up one picture after another, studying them very hard.

Eventually, I said,"that's Baby Rip. He is your big brother and lives in Heaven with God. He looks out for you every day."

She repeated me and went back to studying his pictures. Then, with a smile, she stacked the pictures and put them back in the Bible and said "let's do our colors!" (Her new favorite game, naming the colors of everything in the room)

Just like that, it was over. I know we will have many more conversations about Rip in our family, but I was so thankful for that one. It was just a moment, but one I know I will remember for the rest of my life.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

At the end of the day

At the end of the day
Lord, I pray,
For a life that's good

There was a brief moment this morning when she sat still in my lap

I closed my eyes and felt how smooth her skin and hair were against my cheek

I smelled her toddler smell, a mix of peanut butter and lavender scented baby wash with a little bit of something that is just her

I watched her chubby hand absentmindedly stroke my arm

I felt her sink in just a little bit deeper, and I knew she felt safe

Even with her own opinions getting stronger every day, in that moment it was not at all hard to imagine that she was once part of me

Her breath matching mine, there are still times when she feels like an extension of my body

Today we will have 450 tantrums

We will argue over what shoes she will wear, what clothes she will wear, and the seemingly never-ending issue of the potty

I will wait on her to move painfully slowly to the car when we have fine minutes to be somewhere

I am sure, at some point, I will count the minutes until this little dictator falls asleep

But when the day is done, this is the moment I will remember

At the end of the day,
Lord, I pray,
For a life that's good

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

No News is Good News

I have the tendency to stop writing when things are good- which is a shame, because someday my kids might read this and think "Good Lord Woman, get a grip"...but basically writing is my therapy when things get overwhelming and need to get all the stress and fear out of my system in a "healthy" way (this of course, is in addition to eating chocolate and drinking wine).

So...I am 30 weeks (almost 31) pregnant and haven't written in a while....which is great news! It means that "Baby Sam", as he is known at our house, is doing great.

Because no pregnancy would be complete in our family without some drama, there was concern up until 28 weeks that there may have been a placenta issue. So help me, if I never hear the word placenta again it may be too soon. I went in for the ultrasound and they were able to tell me they could see absolutely nothing of concern. I made them say it several times. It was a really good day. We ate french fries in celebration.

Sam is currently in the 41st percentile, which has Parke all in a tizzy trying to get him bigger by making me eat way more than is advisable. I keep trying to tell him my eating a ton is not going to affect the baby overall, but honestly I'm not arguing that hard. TCBY four nights a week? Yes, please.

So far no swelling, I was BAD right before I had Gracie, so I am hoping to continue the trend of no man hands. Still wearing wedding rings which is also a first for me this late in the game. I am much bigger than I was with either of the other two, at least in the stomach. I tried to take a picture in the bathroom mirror the other day and I could not get my whole belly to fit. My stomach muscles are all- "Pffff, third time around, we surrender". We have two full months left. You may just find me submerged in water like a manatee come July.

For now, Gracie is thrilled about "her Baby Sam", while having absolutely no idea how this is going to turn her little life upside down. Of course I worry about that some, but I see siblings running around chasing each other on the beach and I am so excited for her to have that. I would be lying if I didn't admit to thinking about "what could have been" in those moments, but I am also very excited about what will be. Gracie alternately kisses my belly and gives it a good smack, which I think will probably be about what we can expect when Sam arrives.

I've had a lot of peace during this pregnancy. Even when they were telling me there could be issues, I just didn't feel the stress and fear I always have before. People will believe what they want to believe, but I feel Rip's presence in that peace. I don't know that I could ever feel peace without something in my bones continually telling me that he is okay.

So my babies are good. We are good. No news is very good news.