They Will Fall

The leaves on Anna and Abby’s Tree are still pretty green. In the next couple of weeks, maybe even days, they will turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.

Then they will fall.

They will all fall and another year will start.

Fall is a mix of emotions because there are so many reminders of the exact moment my heart was broken and it is filled with so many beautiful memories of our favorite season together. Each morning when I open the curtains, and I see the leaves changing, I can either focus on that one moment or I can choose to focus on the millions of other moments that fill my heart with love and joy.

Some days, it’s hard not to be consumed by the brokenness I feel and fight everyday.

Most days, I choose the path that brings light to my memories and my girls.

Today, we decided to celebrate so we went out hunting for special leaves to add to our collection.

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I think these leaves were sent from Heaven and Alice agrees.

 

Crossroads

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Two weeks ago I sat here staring at a blank post, wanting desperately for the time I needed to write. I didn’t want to think about how long my little one would be napping or whether I should be checking things off my to do list. What I wanted more than anything was to connect with my grief and longing in the way I used to. I wanted to sit and wait for the words to come without trying to force the words out because I was pressed for time. My heart felt extremely overwhelmed.

Since the girls went to Heaven I have used this space as a way to connect with our memories as a family, share my heart through my grief and also share how, even in the deepest of suffering, my faith in God has allowed me to have joy. Through this space I have connected with so many people who have broken hearts just like mine, and I have always felt that sharing our story of love, hope and faith is something I should do for the rest of my days. God gives me peace each morning and I feel compelled to share that peace with others.

In the past couple of months I have also been feeling a nudge to share more of myself and my journey as a mom of a little one. Again, I have struggled finding the time to write and figure out how to merge both my present and my past together in words.

Two weeks ago as I sat staring at a blank post I came to a crossroads: do I stop writing in this space and ask God for peace in that decision or ask God to show me what I need to do to continue to write and share our journey, which now includes life with a little one?

I sat and prayed.

Later that same day, not expecting an answer so quickly, I saw a post by a friend of mine. She is a managing editor of a blog that is looking for new contributors.  Portland Moms Blog is a space to foster and support the community by connecting Portland-area moms to information and parenting perspectives unique to the city and region. Basically it is a collection of moms writing about mothering from their own unique and diverse perspectives, all living in the Portland metro area.

I sent a message to my friend asking if she felt it was something I could do. Her response was, “OMG, you SHOULD!!!”

Later that night the fear and anxiety of not being a good enough writer started to take space in my thoughts. I started to question how I would have time as a scheduled contributor when I didn’t have time to write on my own time for my own blog. I started to doubt and let that fear of the unknown make my decision for me.

Then it hit me. This wasn’t my decision at all. I had asked God for guidance and He was giving it to me. I just needed to trust that the door He was opening and be obedient. That is when the peace came and I thought about the mom that is out there suffering in the same way that I suffer. The mom, like me, that couldn’t relate to a mom’s blog because “those moms” still had all their babies. It became so clear to me that our story of grief is not the only story of grief in this area and that in writing in this new space I can give grieving moms a voice.

In trusting Him I know that I will also be able to find the time, find the words and share my story in a way that honors, not only my mothering, but the many other woman that mother through a broken heart as well.

Today I am honored to say that I am now a contributor to the Portland Moms Blog. I have no idea where this new venture will lead me but I do know that it is an answer to prayer.

Last Sunday there was a gathering of the contributors and leadership team of PMB. As I sat amongst these woman I couldn’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to not only meet them but also share stories of mothering with them <3.

Anna’s President

Anna was two years old when President Obama took office. I remember sitting watching the inauguration with her thinking that she would grow up with Obama as her president. I was pleased with this fact because I knew he was good man, good father and was someone who was going to run our country with integrity.  I also was proud to know that with my vote, along with many others in our country, the first African-American president was elected.

I’m sure, like many, I was emotional watching his very first speech that day and found myself chanting, “yes we can” and dancing around the room with Anna. I knew in my heart that positive change was on the horizon for our country and it felt so good.

A couple of months later, after spending a day with her dad, Anna returned home with a new baby under her arm. Her granny had found it for her and Anna was smitten with her new addition. We sat that afternoon talking about her little one and, as I did with all of her dolls, I asked her what her baby’s name was.

She looked at me with proud mama eyes and then shouted, “Baby Obama.”

I smiled, gave little Baby Obama a kiss on the forehead and welcomed him into our family.

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Anna and Baby Obama

 

I have an unsettling feeling in my gut this week. You know, the one you get when something really good is about to end. I’m not going claim that I know everything about politics or that every decision President Obama made while in office was perfect, he wouldn’t even claim that.  What I will say is, as a mother, I am proud that Barack Obama was my daughter’s president, a man who did lead our country with integrity.  This statement holds a lot a weight in my heart because he is the only president she ever knew.

On Friday night I think I may hold onto Baby Obama and his Aunt Alice for a while and daydream about the day Anna and I danced around our family room singing “yes we can.”  So mI will also continue to believe in the power of love and hold onto the hope that President Obama talked so eloquently about last week during his last speech to our nation.

President Obama was not only Anna’s president but he was mine and he and his wife will forever be role models for me as a parent and as an American.

I’m praying for our country and it’s leadership.

Pumpkins and Wheelbarrows

I used to look at the calendar every October and figure out which weekends were ours and which weekends the kids were away. I would then take the weekends we were all together and look at what was already on the calendar. There was usually one day in one of our weekends that was totally open ~ that day was our pumpkin patch day.

The day before the girls went to Heaven, Oct. 19th, pumpkin patch written in the calendar. The memories from that weekend and that day are still very vivid in my mind and I am so grateful for that.

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We have not been back to the pumpkin patch since… until today.

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The ache in my heart was constant while we trudged through the mud and showed little Alice what a pumpkin patch looks like. Tom and I shared stories and so many beautiful memories that were triggered while there ~ to be honest, I’m not sure if we would have ever gone back to a pumpkin patch.  Alice loved our stories and was very content and happy until we took her out of the wagon.

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We promptly put her back ~  we had all day  ❤

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Can’t Handle It Alone

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

I woke up this morning and turned on the news…the first thing I heard from the newscasters was that today is the first day of Fall. I yelled to Tom and told him, his response was, “that sucks.”

“I know.”

~

I see them at the playground, Anna running around the play structure with her best friend and Abigail sitting on the picnic table with her friends. The air is starting to change, the leaves are starting to turn yellow and both girls are wearing things that keep them warm instead of tank tops and shorts.

The smell in the air is that of Fall, our favorite season. Abigail asks about Halloween decorations and whether or not we can really do it up this year and making it super scary. Anna sits at the table drawing pumpkins, hearts and houses ~one picture she entitled “Dream House.”

I find caramel sauce at the grocery store and buy it without hesitation. Apples and caramel are a favorite snack during this time of year. I look at the calendar and mark the weekends we can go to the pumpkin patch, weekends when our family is whole and all sleeping under the same roof. We pray that on those weekends there is good weather.

With the leaves changing colors our street changes shape. There is a rainbow made from the different colors hanging off the limbs that creates a canopy as your drive to our house, we can drive either direction.  Abigail is on the front porch trying to hang the giant spider, one of her favorite decorations. Anna begs to go see the even bigger spider on her teachers house, “you know the one that is eating the person and is on the way to Tami’s house.”

A crock pot meal is cooking and as we enter the house all of our mouths start to water. The house is cozy and we are blessed.

Fall is here and my heart hurts. These memories along with so many others from the Fall of 2013 are my most vivid and are sometimes the memories that hurt the most. I feel like it was just yesterday that Anna ran into the room to show us she could read a page all by herself in her favorite book. She was so excited, we were so excited for her. I long to hear her read the entire book, which I know she would be able to do by now.

Yesterday I sat in the landing, the room between Anna and Abigail’s bedrooms, with my eyes closed just remembering and re-living these moments over and over again. Tears, lots of tears came because when I open my eyes the reality of my life is always the same ~ they’re gone and what I have is only memories of a beautiful Fall day, crisp air, apples with caramel and girls excited about what they will be that year at Halloween, Anna a witch in a purple and black striped stockings and Abigail a zombie bunny.

We are preparing our hearts the best we know how but our favorite season is also our most difficult season and, like everything else, it will come and bring with it so many memories, both beautiful and hard.

I’ve been told often, and I have told others many times in the past, that God only gives us what we can handle. I always thought that was a comforting statement thinking that only the strong can endure great pain or loss.

I know now that this is not a true statement because I can’t handle this ~ no one can handle this or be expected to. I am not strong at all and for that reason I have to rely completely on God to lift me from my chair as I sit and cry, because I don’t see how this gets better. He wants me to rely on my faith in Him and my unconditional love for my girls to help me live this life. He wants me to lean on Him and when I do He holds me ~ He always holds me and reassures me of His love for me and for my family.

When I can’t bear the season that is upon us He reminds me that I have survived 702 days because I have relied on His love, His joy and His grace. I need Him because I can’t handle it alone, no one can.

I close my eyes and He brings me to a moment where my memories are the most vivid and He reassures me that even in the midst of my deep suffering there is joy. He shows me joy in these smiles that I will never forget and will always have!

Fall 2013

 

Bored

These past couple of weeks I’ve used two words a lot that I used to tell the girls I didn’t want to hear in the summer time.

I’m bored.

If I heard them say it I always had a quick comeback, “bored, great…let me find you something to do.” That was always followed by an eye roll.

I have plenty to do, plenty to keep me busy – I probably should start working on some house projects before the little one comes ~ but I’m bored.

My boredom comes from the fact that all of those things are not what I want to be doing, what I want to be doing is playing with my girls, taking them to the park, hosting playdates and listening to them laugh with their friends, having lemonade stands and homemade popsicles, going to see matinees to get out of the heat or movies on the lawn at McMenamins with friends, going to every fountain in Portland so we can rate which one we like best and going on early morning trips to the zoo before everyone else arrives;  the list goes on and on.

I shared this with someone the other day and they, trying to make me feel better which is appreciated, said, “don’t worry you will have plenty of that soon with your new addition.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this person said because I don’t think that I can express in words why that will not cure my boredom. Even with a new life in our house the presence of Anna and Abigail will always be missed ~ nothing or no one will ever fill that void.  I know the person was only trying to comfort me and I do really appreciate that ~ it just got me thinking.

I worry at times that sitting at the park with our little one will be hard, maybe too hard at times. I often wonder how I will parent Anna and Abigail’s little brother or sister with my broken heart.

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