Arc of Love on Heaven Day

It’s been raining and the sun has been peeking through the clouds today, a perfect recipe for a rainbow on Anna and Abby’s 4th Heaven Day. We headed out on a walk mid-morning in hopes to see their artistic work fill the sky. I prayed for God to release His glory as a sign for my broken heart.

I prayed and prayed.

Then He answered.

Our rainbow today isn’t the traditional arc of colors that fill the sky, but rather the arc of love that has been cast on us from all of you, our community both near and far.

For the past 4 years you have showed up, unconditionally, and honored our girls by choosing to love. You have walked through the shadows with us, held us and cared for our girls by speaking their names, sharing their love and celebrating their joy.

Thank you for remembering, for honoring Anna and Abby and for filling our hearts with warmth and love.

Thank you for being our rainbow.

rainbow tree on heaven day

PS. This happened this afternoon in Forest Grove ❤

rainbow real on hd

Photo Credit: Samantha McKelvey ❤ 

Thank you girls ❤ I miss you so much!

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.

baby-obama

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.

Harry

Today I’m thinking about the dance party that is happening in Heaven. Our friend Harry is 8 today and he’s celebrating with my girls. My dear friend Caroline, Harry’s mom, is spending the day with her family spreading love at Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital in honor of her little boy. There is so much love to spread in his honor.

Caroline was one of the first people I connected with when I came to Oregon so long ago. I loved going into her 2nd grade classroom at Gales Creek Elementary School and watching her teach. She was always so calm and loving. I knew right then that I had a lot to learn from this amazing woman.

Through the years we would connect at school, through email when I moved back to Ohio and even once on a high ropes course. Her daughter, Lucie, is someone I would seek out when I was teaching, wanting to steal a hug from her to get me through my day. She is very wise beyond her years and so delightful.

After Harry went to Heaven, Caroline and I started meeting for coffee on Friday mornings. At first I wasn’t sure what to say or do; how do you comfort someone that means so much to you after they have lost a child? I realized that being there in that space with her was all I needed to do. We talked, shared stories, we laughed, we cried and we created a bond that God had a deeper plan for.

I would leave our meetings with such a deep love for my friend whose heart was breaking from missing her little boy so much. I would pick Anna up from school after our coffee date and would hold her a little tighter, give her more kisses and hug her over and over again. I was doing this for Caroline because she could not love on her baby anymore. I never wanted to feel that pain and I was so sad that my friend had to.

The night my girls went to Heaven I asked someone to call Caroline and ask if she could come be with me. My girls were now with Harry and I didn’t know what to do. She came, hugged me and loved on me in a way no one else that night knew how to. She had a deeper understanding of what was to come and knew I just needed someone to be by my side.

When I’m sad I can look at her and she gets it. When I’m struggling I can call and she understands. God’s plan is so much bigger than anyone knows and my friendship with Caroline, started so many years ago, was part of that plan. I love that God knew we would need each other and that our kids would all be playing in Heaven together celebrating Harry’s 8th birthday, riding unicorns and sliding down rainbows.

Today, on Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating Harry! Happy Birthday sweet boy, you are so loved and so missed!

Harry bowling at Anna's 4th birthday party.

Harry bowling at Anna’s 4th birthday party.

Love Note

Just when I thought there were no more love notes to find from Anna I find this tucked in some unused construction paper.

Love note made by Miss Anna

Love note made by Miss Anna

My heart is full of love.

Love

DSC_0193

Artwork by Anna Oct. 2013

We have lots of love in our house and in our lives so of course we love Valentine’s Day. I would spend the 13 days leading up to it giving little love notes to Anna and Abigail, making heart-shaped cookies and sandwiches for their lunches and planning what we were going to spread love on the big day. I loved watching my girls create notes for their friends, Abigail loved to bake heart-shaped cookies and Anna loved to decorate them. We did these sorts of thing throughout the year but during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day we created a tradition to really focus on love we have for one another.DSC_0263

Last year I started putting little heart love notes in their rooms early in the morning before they woke up. Abigail’s were placed on the mirror in her bathroom, or on her dresser where her favorite bracelet’s were placed; I knew she would be putting them on in the morning before school. Anna’s were in her closet to be found when she was getting dressed or on the floor just as she stepped down for the first time each morning. I loved making these little notes and I loved that both girls would come downstairs with a smile and a hug knowing just how much their Mama loved them.

These notes are still displayed in their rooms by my girls. Anna’s placed in the various picture frames around her room and Abigail’s hanging on her magnetic board. I love that they were so special to them they displayed them.DSC_0199 DSC_0189

I too have lots of little love notes displayed by my girls. Abigail used to leave me sticky notes expressing her love and Anna, at least a couple of times a week, would make sure to tuck a note into my bed to be found once she was in dreamland.

I love that these little gestures are still very much a part of our decor and I can’t imagine that ever changing. I can go into any room in our house and find a note left by my girls, always making my heart fill with joy for the love we all share.

Yesterday, February 1st, I would have snuck upstairs while the girls were sleeping and placed my notes in their spots. Instead I walked to the place they went to Heaven, tucked my note on their tree and told them how much I love them. I know they can feel the love in my heart, I know they know I love them to the moon and back and now to Heaven and back.

DSC_0191 DSC_0190

Tiva

 This is Red, a horse at the barn where Anna went riding. I love this picture so much.


This is Red, a horse at the barn where Anna rides. I love this picture.

When I went this morning to let the dog out I found a sheet of window snowman stickers sitting on my front porch with a note attached.

Here are some happy snowmen for your windows or mirrors.

Love your Secret Santa

I smiled. What a happy way to start my day. I knew exactly where I was going to put them…Anna’s room. Her bedroom windows look out over Main Street so anyone walking by will be able to see them. I immediately headed up stairs and turned on the light. Oh how I miss my girl. I walked in and looked around, saying hi to her dolls and stuffed animals like I always do. I’m sure they are so lonely without having her to play with them daily. I sat down on her bed and took a deep breath. It’s really hard to imagine her never being in that space again. Every inch of it screams Anna’s room.

I looked down next to her bed and a book, which has been sitting there since the beginning of October, jumped out at me: Horses, a book she bought with her own allowance. She would look through it nightly and day-dream of having a horse of her own someday. She would tell me that she wanted a horse just like Tiva, or better yet, maybe we could buy Tiva?

Anna started riding Tiva over the summer and did so weekly up until Oct. 17.  During her last lesson we talked about a future of riding English and jumping, both she was really excited about. I absolutely loved to watch her ride. She was such a strong little girl and was able to move Tiva wherever she wanted him to go. He was so gentle with her and for that I am grateful.

She loved that horse so much. I remember during her last lesson, while her instructor was setting up some obstacles and Anna was waiting for her to be done, she laid forward wrapping her arms around his giant neck. Tiva could have put his head down and Anna would have gone rolling off the front of him, but he didn’t. He held his head up and allowed her to love on him in a way that melted this Mama’s heart. I love remembering that exact moment and the feeling I had. I was a proud Mama and my heart was filled with so much joy. Anna was so happy.

My girl loved that horse and I think he loved her too. I’m so glad she had those experiences.

So, whoever left the stickers on our front porch this morning I thank you. Your kind gesture triggered a chain of events that reminded me of a moment that I had not thought about since the day it happened. I’m sure there was a greater hand in it all but I am grateful for the gesture of love that you gave. The stickers are in Anna’s window and my heart is full of joy for a little girl that loved a really big horse.

DSC_0215 DSC_0217 DSC_0216 DSC_0214 DSC_0019 DSC_0017 DSC_0013 DSC_0209 DSC_0011