Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dragging Feet

Have you ever wanted to keep dragging your feet so that you don't have to face something?  Did you normally find that once you did, you had relief?  Perhaps because it wasn't as bad as you had anticipated, or maybe just to have that particular thing behind you lifted weight off your shoulders?

That's how it has typically worked in my life.  I think back to school when I'd have a book report or speech due...I would dread that like the plague, and then feel like I had a new lease on life when it was behind me.  In "adult life," I have had several dreaded things that I've come through.  I have tried to handle them with dignity and grace.  I always thought that I'd be able to.  Being a planner, I figured that I had prepared so that I could handle most any situation that could arise with dignity and grace.  That dignity and that grace went out the window when Caroline died.  My daughter died.  I couldn't muster any dignity, and I lost all my grace.  The only way I have survived to this point is by the sheer grace of God.  I actually feel kind of like I'm running on borrowed strength, under someone else's power.  I feel fairly weak, fragile, broken.

I was blessed to be able to experience so much good since we lost Caroline.  We experienced so many good things in our dark days following her death; little miracles to a crushed family.  Then we got a great big candle in the darkness, our Addalee.  She is such a blessing to this broken mama.  I know that Caroline helped me to love Addie with a love that I didn't have before.  I am incredibly thankful for this.  Caroline brought so many beautiful things into my life, through her life and her death.  She still brings a smile to my face (and a tear to my eye) each day.

Now back to the foot dragging I was talking about earlier.  October is so close.  October.  It used to be one of my favorite months, and autumn one of my favorite seasons.  Now, I'm dreading it.  I'm ignoring it, well, as much as you can ignore the inevitable.  You see, autumn is a wonderful season.  The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are beautiful, there are football games, hay rides, ghost stories, bon fires, trick-or-treating, and in our family, it's birthday season.  My husband, mom, and I all have birthdays in October.  We didn't feel like it was a happy coincidence that Caroline was going to be an October baby too.  Just another person to celebrate!  However, now October holds something I dread.  Each year, will be another year further from her.  Each year I will celebrate how much I love her, how much she changed me, how much I miss her.  Each year I will reflect on where she "should be" this time around, what milestones we're missing with her.  This is hard to face.  I don't want to face it.  I want Octobers not to roll around.  I want an October-less year.  I know this can't happen, and that really, I don't want it to.  I don't want to take the easy way out, Caroline deserves more than that from me, as does Addalee.  But it's so hard to stand up tall, take a deep breath, and just walk into this when all I want to do is cry and cover up my head.

So as I stand here, nearing the end of September, and looking over the edge of October, I'm scared.  I'm scared, but I'm still moving forward.  That's what I have to keep doing...one foot in front of the other.  Not each step is pretty, but I keep taking them.

Having this girl here makes it seem a bit easier

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Anniversaries and Keeping Time

It seems like so much of our lives is spent keeping track of dates and times.  We're always counting down until our next appointment, marking off days until our big vacation, a loved one's birthday or retirement, a holiday.  After we lost Caroline, my first countdowns were those first few days after the funeral.  Each day, when 7:27 pm would pass, I'd tick another one off.  Then, I counted down until my 6 week checkup visit.  I had so many questions that I needed to have answered, and it felt like those weeks wouldn't go fast enough.  Then, I graduated to counting months.  And while I was counting "Caroline's months," I was blessed to be able to count Addalee's weeks.

Now, Caroline's little sister is here, and we're counting hours between feedings.  A welcomed countdown, so different than our past experience.  But, we're still counting Caroline's months.  And we're getting very close to Caroline's first birthday in Heaven.  I honestly don't even know what to do with myself.  The method I've chosen to deal with thinking of Caroline's first birthday has been to kind of ignore it up to this point.  It was kind of like I never really expected to get there...does that make sense?  So, we're so close to October that I can smell Autumn in the air.  And I'm terrified.  I don't have any idea what I should do.  I want to honor my sweet girl, my first daughter.  I want others to be able to honor her too.  I'm not sure if I should have a "birthday party," or what.  Basically, I'm clueless.  I don't know what I'm expecting to find from sharing this with all of you, or if I'm just spilling my guts.  Actually, I'm just spilling my guts.  I don't really know how to talk about this to the real world.  I have tons of people around me who support me and love me, but I'm just so stinking weepy when I talk about Caroline's birthday.  I'm missing her so badly these days and I don't want to always be Debby Downer.  I've heard a term that couldn't fit me better - I'm a "happy sad mama."  I'm so happy to have Addalee here, and I'm over the moon for her, but part of my heart is in Heaven with Caroline.

So again, I don't know what to do for Caroline's angelversary.  I want to do something special because I love her so much.  I think that a lot of my problem is that nothing seems good enough.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another New Normal

We're trying to settle into our new new normal.  I have to admit, bringing home a baby after everything we have gone through still doesn't seem real sometimes.  I wish that I could say that it's been all sunshine and daisies since our little Addalee got here, but the honest truth is that it's been an emotional roller coaster just like these last 10 - 11 months have been, as well.  I debated on whether or not to even share these emotions with the rest of the world, but decided that I wanted to just be honest.  I want to say that Addie girl is wonderful and beautiful and I'm incredibly thankful for her.

I know that some of my emotions have come from the pregnancy hormone changes, but I also know that some of them have come from holding a baby for the first time since holding little Caroline.  Some of the emotions rushed in when I walked into the girls' room with little Addalee in my arms...knowing that I should have already brought a little girl home into that room, but that little girl is painfully absent.  Then there is the sadness attached to knowing that some people have forgotten our beautiful girl, our first baby, our Caroline...people have moved on, the world has continued to function, and now that we have Addalee here, they think that we've moved on too, that the sadness of losing Caroline is erased, that our family is complete.  We should be a family of 4, but are only 3...yet we are 3.

We DO have a little girl living here with us, and I can't believe how amazing she is.  Our family is settling in to having a "little bitty" here, not that it is taking a whole lot from them!  Basically everyone just wants to come hold her, stare at her, smell her beautiful baby smell.  Did I mention that she's amazing!?

There is one member of the family who has had some trouble adjusting....
Fur brother, Wally has been trying to figure out this whole baby thing.  Sometimes, I'm not convinced that he's a big fan...but he's warming up!

And, I just wanted to share a mad baby and a happy baby picture of our Addie Beth...for no other reason than I think they're cute! :)