Dipping Sauce

boots in leaves

As far as I can remember, Fall has always been my favorite time of year.

The air starts to chill, school starts and routines change, everything is pumpkin flavored, sweaters, scarves and boots are pulled from the depths of the closet and the leaves turn the most vibrant of colors and start to fall.

Today, after an appointment, I found myself walking down the sidewalk of a neighboring town taking in the smells of this season. For a moment, I got lost in all the things I love about Fall. I looked down at the sidewalk and noticed some yellow leaves adorning my path.

The pain I carry with me got sharper.

As with every day of this past year, I get to choose how I move through each new season absent of my girls and this season is no different.

Of course it is hard – every day is hard without them.

This year, I look at the falling leaves in a different light and the Fall air sometimes takes my breath away. As each night comes quicker than the day before, I find that I often want to be in my house, with the curtains drawn, so I don’t have to witness the transition.

The girls’ tree, which has always stood tall outside my window, is now a symbol of these changing seasons. Its leaves are changing and they will soon be on the ground.

My girls loved Fall and I have many memories and, thankfully, pictures of them enjoying the season to its fullest.

Anna would ask if it’s time to buy caramel dipping sauce to dip her apples. She would always beg to have one spoonful first without the apples and then some for dipping.

Abigail would get excited about new school supplies and would work into a good homework routine. We were really learning a lot about each other as we negotiated how that routine should look.

Anna wanting to cuddle up, with a blanket wrapped around both of us, to watch Curious George’s Christmas Show because Fall means it’s that time of year.

Abigail wondering if we would let her go to the football game with her friends. We decided to go with her to check it out first and once there, she stayed in the stands with us the whole time – I guess our company wasn’t so bad after all.

Both of the girls excited to eat my homemade chili and Tom’s homemade cornbread for dinner. Abigail would pull out all of the onions from her bowl and Anna would always need to be told no more cornbread until she ate more of her chili. I think they both enjoyed the cornbread best.

Halloween decorations would be pulled out, costumes would be planned so I could start sewing and a pumpkin patch date would be determined so that we didn’t leave it to the last-minute.

Every bit of Fall brings a smile to my face when I think about how much fun this season had in store for our family.

As I anticipate the fall of “those leaves” I know God’s grace and my memories of my girls during this beautiful time of year will help get me through the heartache. God has gotten me through 330 days without my girls and I have faith that He will continue to hold me up, give me the strength I need and show me His amazing love for how ever long I have until I’m with my girls again.

Today I chose to look through countless Fall photos and remember our love for this season.  Tonight I’m making chili and tomorrow I’m buying carmel sauce.

apples

One Minute Mama

I was running late but I knew that she was in good hands. Anna was having a sleepover with her friend and I was really anxious to pick her up. I remember feeling nervous about how I would feel when I finally arrived at the house.

I was greeted at the door and told that the girls were playing in a downstairs playroom. Again, I remember feeling really anxious about seeing her.

I stood in the doorway and watched as she sat on the floor playing by herself.

I whispered, “Anna.”

She looked up at me with her big smile and put one finger out in front of her body saying without words, “one moment mama.”

I smiled knowing she was content and then I woke up.

Anna playing

 

Happiness Journal

ridgefield_NWR_great_blue_heron_flying_over_field_07-03-07_med

Today as I drove to Anna’s school my heart was extremely heavy knowing that my visits were going to be different. Kids were going to be mixed up in different classes, the second grade teachers never had Anna in their classroom and there was no longer a cubby with her name on it.

I was almost there when I saw it take flight, a big blue heron came out of the field on my left and soared in front of my car to get to the field on my right. It was so close that I could see its eyes, its beautiful grey blue feathers and its two long gangly legs hanging, ready for the it’s landing.

I’m not sure what prompted his change of location but it was perfect timing as I was able to witness his gracefulness in the air.

For those few seconds, as I witnessed this beautiful bird in flight, my heart was happy and full of love.

As I pulled into the school I took a deep breath and knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be today.

Hugging Anna’s friends!

 

 

His Smile

I spent some time in Anna’s room today, as I do most days.

naughty

I could hear him pushing his nose up against the gate desperate to get in.

I could hear the gate hit the floor ~ success.

As he trotted into her room he scooped down and grabbed her favorite stuffed animal which was lying on the floor.

He climbed up onto her bed and flashed me a big smile as if to say, “finally, I’m back in my favorite spot with my favorite toy.”

There’s something about him wanting to be in their space that is so comforting. There’s something about his smile that warms my heart, even when he’s been exceptionally naughty.

As I sat watching him try to chew the nose off Anna’s favorite stuffed animal I could almost hear the nightly back and forth from my girls.

“He slept on your bed last night, tonight is my turn.”

“No, he left half way through the night so I get another turn.”

“ABIGAIL, that’s not fair.”

“ANNA, yes it is.”

“MOM, she’s not letting me have my turn.”

“I can’t believe you’re telling on me.”

smile linus

And Linus would be smiling at all the love.

Beautifully Simple

I’m having a hard time finding words to express my feelings. My heart hurts and as the air gets cooler and leaves start to change my sorrow gets deeper.

Last year on Sept. 8th at this time I would have just picked Anna up from school. On the way home she would tell me all about her day and I would tell her about mine. She would ask me what we were having for dinner.

When we arrived home Abigail would be doing her homework, she would greet us and then would ask if she could go hang out with her friend down the street. I would tell she could once her homework was completed and she did her reading.

She would complain about having homework, get it all done and then head to her friend’s house.

Anna would run upstairs, grab her babies and start playing. As I prepared dinner she would bring “her children” down to the cafe and have an after school snack. I would pretend to be a waitress telling her that she needed to leave a big tip. She would leave the cafe and would stay close by taking her “little ones” to the “library.” She would sit in the big red chair holding her babies and would sound out words from the books I usually read to her.

I would smile.

Tom would come home, kiss his wife and after quickly changing his clothes he and Anna would walk down to let Abigail know it was time for dinner. They would all come home, wash-up and we would sit around the dining room table.

Holding hands, Tom would pray giving thanks for our blessed life.

We would eat.

Anna would try to escape her seat numerous times by “forgetting” something in the kitchen or having an urgent need to use the restroom.

Abigail, without asking for permission, would take her cooked carrots, onions and mushrooms and place them on Tom’s plate. Tom would take them graciously. I would tell her she should ask before touching someone else’s plate.

Tom would ask how everyone’s day went. We would go around the table sharing.

Anna would make weird noises and start laughing uncontrollable. I would tell her to mind her manners without cracking a smile ~ I was very skilled at controlling my laughter when trying to teach table manners.

Tom’s foot would touch mine, we would make eye contact and smile at each other.

Blessed.

When finished the girls would ask to be excused.

We would excuse them and ask them what they wanted to do after the dishes were done. When the weather was nice it was always the park or a long walk around the neighborhood with Sampson. They would clear their dishes, put them in the dishwasher and then head outside to play in the fairy garden while they waited for us.

Tom and I would sit, chat about our day for a few minutes and boil water.

With a cup of tea in hand and Sampson by our side we would head outside for the evening.

It was all so beautifully simple.

walk

Just for the sake of keeping it real ~ sometimes the girls fought, sometimes dinner was burnt and sometimes it was raining and we were stuck inside.

Either way, my heart did not hurt and our life was beautifully simple.