Nap time is quiet. Typically, I use the quiet time for my personal time. I can read a magazine, exercise, plan our week’s meals, or let’s be honest, shower or use the bathroom! Today’s nap time was a little different. I got Addalee down for her nap with little to no effort, one benefit of playing until she can barely hold her eyes open! Then I went into my room and surveyed the space. My eyes were drawn to the picture of Arthur and me kissing Caroline’s precious little face that I have on my nightstand. My chest actually hurt with the sorrow of missing her. I broke down. I sobbed. I haven’t allowed myself the time to really let it all flow in quite some time, so I guess I had a backlog to catch up on. Don’t get me wrong, I never stop missing her. But I just usually don’t let myself slow down enough to really concentrate on the hugeness of her absence.
I keep a toy box in our room that has Caroline’s name on it. It was a shower gift. It’s happy and pink and has flowers. Exactly what I think she would like. Instead of being filled with toys, it’s filled with little pieces of memories. I’ve kept things from the pregnancy, little outfits that were never shared, all of her monogrammed bibs, burp cloths, cuddlies, etc. And then there’s her baby book. I started it a couple of weeks before she was born. I never dreamed she wouldn’t be staying to fill up those monthly updates and immunization records. There are also sympathy cards that we received from some truly amazing people. I read them all again today. That might sound strange, but to know that people recognized my sweet one’s life and passing is comforting. To know they were sad with us, cried with us, hurt with us is encouraging.
Caroline’s super special things are actually in a fire safe at our house. They stay in a different place because they’re irreplaceable…the clipping of her hair, her chubby hand prints and footprints, the bracelet she wore, and her ultrasound dvd. I actually watched it once, just to see her heart beating, her “breathing.” Just to remember what it looked like to se her living. I probably will watch it again someday, but I couldn’t do it today.
Nap time is so different than what I envisioned when we originally bought that crib. The baby sleeping in it now isn’t the one that we’d planned on. Things may not be as we planned, but they’re definitely happy (albeit with a decent dollop of sadness). I will forever miss my first baby, my little Caroline. And I will be forever grateful for her little sister, the ray of sunshine that she is.
When Addalee woke up from her nap, she saw my red eyes and looked at me strange for just a second. Then she reached up her chubby little arms for me to pick her up. She smiled, and giggled and cooed…exuding joy. She is like salve to my soul, exactly what I needed.