Monday, March 28, 2011

Hannah Mae is 11 months old. I remember this time last year so clearly. It seems like yesterday. Except that it's been a loooooong day and a lot has happened in it. Our baby has grown into a babbling, crawling, squealing (with delight and frustration), dancing girl. She's into everything and hardly stops moving these days. We listened to a Prairie Home Companion last weekend and discovered the most amazing band (The Civil Wars) and we all danced around the living room. By all of us, I mean all of us! Hannah is really into bouncing around, dancing like a fool. She is hilarious. Of course, we enjoy dancing like fools too, so I guess she's in good company.

This is Hannah Mae bouncing and dancing like a little baby fool. 

The ugly truth is that lately I've been struggling with jealousy. I wish there were no empty chairs at our table.
Though our life is full and lovely and wonderful, there are missing ones who are missed every day. Every dance through the living room, every empty place setting at the table, every moment that takes my breath away with joy stings. The bittersweetness of this life is probably only apparent to us though. I try not to let my face show the pain in my heart anymore. Before Hannah Mae was born, I wore my emotions, my grief on my sleeve. It was etched in the lines on my forehead, in the circles under my eyes. I couldn't help it.

Now that we have Hannah Mae in our arms, I feel like I have to hide the pain that is in most every breath I take. Moving from 'home' has made these feelings even more tangible. Most people here don't know about Owen, or chipmunk and sunshine. They don't see us as grieving parents. We are just a couple of young parents with a baby. When I meet new people and the conversation is steered towards parenting, I do talk about Owen and our babies. I talk about them as any parent would mention their children. They are a part of me. It is as simple as that.

But really, there is nothing simple about this life. It is complicated and beautiful and messy, and it is right now and not yet. There is a constant tension in my heart. Living here, enjoying my home, loving each day with my husband and daughter, but longing for the redemption of all things, longing for the new heavens and the new earth, longing for the day when there will no more hurt or grief, no separation.
It is spring with an unexpected snowfall on a budding tree.
Right now and not yet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring is here again

I've never had a Spring like this before and I have a lot of things I could say about it, but the words will have to wait for another day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A letter to my daughter

Dear Hannah Mae,

In just a few short weeks, we will be celebrating your 1st birthday! Your first year in our arms has been a whirlwind of joy and wonderment. I know every parent says this, but I can hardly believe how fast you are growing up!

I have to be honest and tell you that one year ago, in my last weeks of pregnancy I was miserable. And terrified. I had so much fear and anxiety that you would not be born alive and healthy. But you were! Four weeks and four days early, 4 lbs 6 oz. and all beauty and perfection.
I was in labor for a few hours when it was discovered that you had turned sideways! In a flash, I was wheeled down the hallway to have a c-section. Those last few moments of being pregnant were scary, but there was nothing like the joy of hearing your first cries. You were born crying early in the afternoon of April 27, 2010. But you already knew that.

Some things you may not know…

The sweet innocence and vulnerability that oozed from every inch of your little body didn't captivate me, they paralyzed me. I was terrified of loving you the way my heart ached to love you. Most nights, I would struggle to fall asleep only to wake up in a panic wondering where you were and if you were okay. It is strange to say this, but I found myself longing to be pregnant with you again. My heart felt raw and vulnerable, like it was walking around on the outside of my body with nothing to keep it safe. 

Just two and a half years before your joyous birth, your big brother was born silently into our arms. Our hearts have not forgotten the pain of his death.

But here you were… finally in our arms and I was still terrified of losing you. Dear sweet Hannah Mae, it pains me to reveal the darkness of those early days. I struggled to keep my heart open to you. Almost every moment during that time, the fears crept in to steal and destroy our joy in having you in our arms.

They almost won.

And still, sometimes in the deep of the night when you’re sleeping so peacefully in your room, my mind wanders to the dark places and I’m afraid of the worst happening again.

But God has revealed a deeper understanding of His love to us through this struggle. My heart is open. I love you with my whole heart. If there’s one thing I can pass onto you it is to love now, Hannah Mae. Love now, deeply and with your whole heart. Your Father in Heaven has given us the freedom, the courage and the ability to love fully because we have His love. His full, undivided and perfect love.
It is through His example of perfect love that we can love. He’s not waiting until Glory to love us; He’s not waiting on anything. He just loves us- right here, right now.

There is so much freedom in the Gospel, baby girl. I pray that you cling to the Truth when the fears and doubts creep in. Don't look to me as an example- I am hardly worthy. Jesus has given us a perfect example of perfect love and I can only point to Him. When the fears and the dark of night feel overwhelming, come and sit with me and I'll whisper in your ear what He whispers to me...
Don't be afraid, sweet Hannah Mae. Love now.

Loving you deeply and with my whole heart,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This will be my last post

Just kidding!  ; )

I do have some blogging news, but it doesn't involve not blogging anymore. I will continue to blog here as long as I feel led, and I can't imagine not having something to say about the grief of losing my babies.

I've started a new blog over on Wordpress. And can I just say that after blogging for two years on Blogger it has been an adjustment to learn the ins and outs of Wordpress. I still have a lot to learn, but I have one post up so I guess that's a start.

If you want, you're welcome to read more ramblings, random musings and all kinds of stuff over at my new blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Some random thoughts for Wednesday

While talking to someone I just met last week, he made a comment about how he thought we had another kid. Chris responded, 'We have a little boy who passed away a few years ago.'
The guy, clearly not thinking before speaking, said, 'Oh, but I thought you had two kids...'
I miss my little boy.

I was sick all last week. Again. I'm very thankful for apple cider vinegar (with the 'Mother') and neighbors with cold medicine.

Saturday morning (finally!) brought with it renewed energy. I felt so much better that I sort of felt like I could conquer the world. Do you ever get post-sickness euphoria? I wonder if when we get to Heaven, we'll have post-brokenness euphoria.

Won't it be amazing to be healed from sin and brokenness? I don't think we truly grasp how much it affects everything. In fact, I don't think we grasp what it means to be fully human because we have only lived as humans who are broken physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to be human as God intended it. As much as I can't wrap my brain around how wonderful it will be, I am so excited nonetheless.

Apparently, you can cry and yawn at the same time. I learned this little tidbit this morning as Hannah fought her morning nap. Sleep has been going so so much better for all of us though. I'm almost embarrassed to say how well it's been going. But I'm still very thankful.

So, next month, Hannah will be one year old. ONE YEAR OLD??!!!!!?
Can someone please tell me where the last 10 months have gone? Seriously. I shouldn't be so surprised- time has flown by lately. This month will mark four years since I became pregnant with Owen. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
I miss my little boy.