Seven months – it sure has gone by fast. I miss our baby every day.
December at the cemetery is looking dark and dead. But there is beauty in the sparkling Christmas flowers. Tomorrow I’m adding a Christmas wreath to Gabriel’s grave.
Is it just me or did this Christmas season just explode? Maybe I’ve just missed it in the past, but this year seems to have gone from Thanksgiving, to full Christmas swing in a fast second. Whew, it’s wearing me out.
But before I got stressed out about the craziness of it all, we had a great weekend after Thanksgiving kicking the Christmas season off on the right foot. On Saturday we went on a five hour adventure looking for our Christmas tree. We found a beauty – making it all worth it.
A little about our tradition – I grew up with artificial Christmas trees thanks to a lot of allergies in our house and my childhood asthma. Once Tommy and I got married I knew that I wanted our family to start a tradition of getting a real tree every year. I LOVE this. I love having something so fresh and alive. I love the smell. I love the process of picking it out and bring it home. Man, it’s the best.
We’ve always had pretty small trees, but we have really tall ceilings in this house, and last year our little tree looked pretty sad in this large-ceilinged room. So this year we went bigger. Turns out it looks smaller in the field next to other trees than it does in our living room. We have a big tree. But I LOVE it! It’s magnificent.
Our tree isn’t decorated yet, but I love the look of just the lights on it for a short while. Here’s a little look at it and Jack playing with his nativity set.
Are you a real tree or a fake tree person? Got tree traditions? I want to hear them!
Thanksgiving 2013 was a good different one. As I talked about in my Thanksgiving post, this year was really different. It was hard, but it was a good day. We spent time with family, I helped my mom and sister cook, and we ate a lot of food. Good family day.
Thanksgiving 2012 we were all so joyful. Much to look forward to in 2013. Last Thanksgiving I was pregnant with Gabriel.
We ate a meal cooked by Granny. And we all played ball outside together.
This year had different blessings and many hardships. But we still have joy and we have hope.
Trying to take a Thanksgiving Day nap isn’t so easy with a 2 1/2 year old…
I definitely watched this all happen and just took pictures.
Jack and I snuck away for a bit and had some picture fun.
I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and full of blessings! And good luck out there if you’re a black Friday shopper. Whew, stresses me out. But if you see any good deals on a DSLR, give me a call!
To all of you who love and support me by coming here and reading this little blog, thank you. I am so thankful for you. Without you I would just be a crazy person writing to myself. This time last year I could have never imagined what the next year would be like for this blog. I never thought it would reach as many people as it has. Thank you all for passing my blog along to others, especially those who are hurting, grieving, and losing loved ones. So very thankful for you, dear friends.
Today is my hardest Thanksgiving. I miss our Gabriel. I wish he was here to celebrate his first Thanksgiving. I wish I wasn’t able to help cook as much because I had my hands full with a special needs baby. Tommy and I talked about it and today, we wish our story was different. But even as I say that, deep in my heart I know I love our story and I wouldn’t want to lose all I’ve learned this year and how I’ve grown. But mostly I wouldn’t change a thing if it meant changing anything about our G.
I know I have much to be thankful for. And I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am especially thankful for Jack. What a blessing it is to have this little guy in our lives – he brings so much joy. And I’m so very thankful for Gabriel – he changed our lives and changed us forever.
But the truth is that today is a hard day. And my heart isn’t overflowing with thankfulness. I know I have much to be thankful for, but my lips aren’t quick to speak of it. I am more just “doing it” today – going through the day like a usual Thanksgiving, except that it isn’t usual at all. I miss Gabriel, and all throughout this day I wish he was here. I also see my Granny everywhere around me. It’s hard to have Thanksgiving without her. This year is just different. And I know so many of you know that feeling, of experiencing Thanksgiving without someone so special to you.
Today I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! My prayer for you is that you find a way to be thankful – whether it’s out of an overflowing and thankful heart or whether it’s an act of faith. I spent some time this morning praying for those having a hard day – for so many different reasons. And please know that I am saying prayers of thanksgiving for all of you.
The Holidays – a wonderful time of joy, love, thankfulness, celebrating, family, friends, and food. Also a time of busy schedules, parties, relatives’ houses, car trips, plane rides, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and a lot of doing. With all of this going on it’s hard to find time to take care of ourselves….
Today I’m sharing this post over on the Knoxville Moms Blog. Head over there to read it and see my tips for a healthier holiday season.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Hope your day before is joyful.
It’s 2:16 am and I’m sitting on my couch eating cereal, watching Friends on TV Land, and typing this. I spent the first part of the night asleep in Jack’s bed. He has become pretty aware of things and now gets scared at night in his room. Also albuterol is my best friend and my enemy. He needs his inhaler pretty often in these cold months, so it’s a must before bed but also keeps him up SO LATE.
Jack’s TV obsession Daniel Tiger taught him about shadows and how they aren’t scary if you figure out what they really are. He fully understands the concept when he’s watching the show, however, in real life it seems to be lost on him. So I’m pretty sure it’s just made him aware of shadows which he otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. Tonight he was scared by a shadow from a picture frame. Like buried in his face in me and fell asleep that way scared. I’m not complaining.
But I fell asleep, too. And woke up thinking I’d been there for the whole night based on the number of times I got smacked in the face. Turns out it was only 1:25. So I crawled my way back to my bed and burrowed under the blankets. It’s 27 degrees outside, and my house is perfectly cold. And I laid there trying to get warm and felt increasingly sad on the inside.
My arms have felt heavy lately. They’ve felt so empty. It’s been an often present reminder of what I do not have. And tonight as I snuggled up with my first babe and then laid thinking in my bed, I wanted so badly to be holding my baby tight, wrapping him up warmly on these cold winter nights. I know what I’m missing, and my heart longs for it.
It’s a night like tonight when I get exactly why my precious friend, Kelly, gave me this sweet gift 4 days after we learned that Gabriel would die.
She told me that it was something for me to physically hold on to when my heart hurt and I just needed something to hold in my arms. Someone had given her something similar when her babies died, and it brought comfort. I’ve very much appreciated the gift since that day she gave it to me, but it really wasn’t until tonight that I realized just how special and perfect this gift is. There is something comforting about physically holding tight to something when my arms ache of emptiness.
So tonight as I sit here bundled up, wrapped up in my blankets, drinking hot cider, and holding on tight to my little kangaroo, I am going to offer a heart of thanksgiving – even though it’s really hard and it isn’t coming naturally. And I’m going to allow my heart to be comforted and trust that it will be. And I will be thankful for the warmth that we have here and continue grieving the loss of our precious little G.
Time for another gut-wrenchingly honest post on this November weekend.
After our G died I decided that I wasn’t going to take life for granted. Period. I wasn’t going to waste time, be lazy, take my family for granted, etc. And one area where I particularly took this to heart was with my son I had here. I did not want to take for granted the fact that he was here, I had him to love on every day, and he was in our care.
Jack and our Gabriel dog bear
I knew from that moment on that I would never complain about those aspects of parenting that people often complain about. I wouldn’t complain about a lack of sleep, a sick child, a grumpy kid, a picky eater, diapers, and on and on and on. Because the thing was that Tommy and I would have done anything to have those times with our Gabriel. We would have signed up for a lifetime of all of those hard things if it meant we got to have our Baby G here.
At first it was so hard for me to listen to people complain about being up all night with their babies. It still is, to be honest, but it’s better now. Once you’ve lost a baby, you’d gladly spend your nights up with one just to have him here.
But here’s the thing… I couldn’t keep that up. Once life picked back up again I found myself struggling. Struggling with the desires of my heart versus the realities in this life. I desire my babies – both of them, be here with me. And I long to appreciate every moment I had with Gabriel and I have had and will have with Jack. These things are so true. And the truth is that I am grateful for Jack, even in the harder moments. Even when I have a really sick kid and I’m up all night with him. I’m still so grateful for him. But the reality is that when that happens, I’m tired. So tired. And I found it so difficult to stick to my strong decision to never complain about the downs of mommy hood.
The years are short and the days are long, as they say, and boy is it true. So while I want to maintain my appreciation for life and my deep gratitude for my children, I am having to learn to be okay with saying “Jack is sick, and it is hard, and I am not awesome at handling it.” And I need to accept that I know that I still love him and appreciate him so so much. Pretending that it isn’t hard isn’t the best way to handle it. But rather, I can handle it by accepting my weaknesses and my short comings and knowing that in spite of them I am loved, I love my kids, and I am grateful for every moment – tiny or huge — of this life we have together.
Beautiful flowers my friend, Becca, left on my front porch in the morning on November 5th – six months after our Gabriel passed away.
Beautiful things my sister, Lindsay, left at Gabriel’s grave on Nov 5th.
Sweet picture left by my friend, Amy, on Gabriel’s grave on Nov 5th.
Beautiful bracelet handmade by our pediatrician’s wife and given to me by them.
I’m swimming in beauty over here, reminding me that I am loved, my baby is loved, and helping me celebrate our G every day.
This month is flying by! I still can’t believe it’s November, and it’s already 1/3 of the way through the month.
Yesterday Jack and I got to go to lunch with my Grandfather. We had a special Veteran’s Day lunch with him and then dinner at his house last night.
My favorite Veteran
Last week was a blur. Jack had hand, foot, and mouth disease, and it was rough. Very little sleeping, a lot of crying, and no eating and minimal drinking. He had some dehydration issues, but thankfully we were able to get him to drink just enough until he was feeling better. Now I have hand, foot, and mouth, but it’s not nearly as bad as Jack’s was. Poor boy had blisters all over the place, but his mouth was the worst! So thankful he is so much better!
Three weeks ago Jack was around some irritants to his asthma and had a bad asthma attack. He needed oral steroids to help improve his lungs, and our pediatrician started him on an inhaled maintenance steroid – which we have been talking about doing for awhile and now know we definitely need to do. Hopefully it will help to keep him from having these bad asthma spells. He was having trouble getting oxygen in, and I didn’t even realize how bad it was. I felt terrible. But he is ok, and our pediatrician is fantastic at taking care of him and reassuring me.
Other than the sickness, we are just moving quickly through the fall. Jack is loving preschool, and he and I are both crazy about his teachers! We ran into one of his preschool teachers from last year at Target over the weekend – it was so nice to see her again. We have been so blessed that Jack has had 4 amazing preschool teachers! These women have taught him [and me] so much, encouraged him [and me], and loved on him when we leave him in their care.
I am really enjoying the time I have while he is at preschool. I had decided not to send him this year. When I had thought about it last winter when everyone registers, I thought it would be good for him to be there so I could have some time with our new baby. But after we lost Gabriel, I didn’t think I could send him. And it didn’t feel right, too. I am so thankful for a precious woman who talked to me and encouraged me to take this time. I’m also so thankful for her heart to bless us by sending our toddler to preschool, and so thankful for all of those who helped make it happen. I still can’t believe it, and we feel so undeserving, but are so very thankful for that gift. It has been really nice to have that time and be able to rest, work on some things, and heal. Really thankful for this sweet gift.
That’s about all that’s going on around here. That and that it is freezing today! I’m going to go dig out our winter clothes now. We definitely need them now. Hope your week is off to a nice start!
To all of those who have served and are serving our country – THANK YOU!
So thankful for you and your service. May you be honored today.