"Enjoy every sandwich."
(Written on Sunday, August 11th)
Someone suggested that I talk to to the baby to allow myself to better connect with her. Knowing that this is the only small amount of time that I will most likely have with her, I was open to the idea. Today was my first attempt.
I began making my lunch and thought I'd tell her how to make the perfect ham sandwich.
"Soft bread. Mommy really likes her sandwiches on soft bread."
"A thin layer of mayonnaise on both sides of the bread. Its important to spread it all the way to the edges."
I felt silly. Was anyone watching me because it sure felt like it? No one was at home other than Cash and he was asleep. I just felt like a big dork talking to myself but I still continued on...
"I am putting on a piece of American cheese, the real kind. Daddy likes the fake stuff but Mommy likes the real stuff. I tear it down the middle and put a piece on each side so that when I cut it, each side gets its on piece of cheese."
"OK, now I'm opening the package of ham and putting one slice on the bread. Some people like a lot of meat and cheese on their sandwich but Mommy likes just one of each."
I started feeling better, more brave so I kept on talking to her.
"Now I'm putting one slice of bread on top of the other and I'm going to cut the sandwich in half because I think all sandwiches taste better when they're cut. If I were going to make a sandwich for you, this is the way I would do it too. But, I don't cut the crusts because I think they're good for you."
I paused as I cut it and then said, "And that's how your Mommy makes a ham sandwich and you'll get to taste it now."
A funny thing happened. I realized that when I finished I was talking out loud as if she were really there and I knew she was there and she heard me. I felt her inside of me and began to cry. I cried for all of the times I've dreaded making my kids' lunches. I cried for all of the ham sandwiches that I'll never get to make for my girl. And, mainly, I cried because I wished I'd been talking to her much longer because I know she hears me.
I know the greater likelihood is that I only have a few short months and weeks with her before I have to say goodbye. I've never understood women who lost babies and talked about them as if they were a part of the family or had special commemorative pieces of jewelry made to honor them but, now I understand. I understand every single bit of it. It is so painful to know I have to let go soon but I know she'll be in a place where there will be no pain and with a God who will care for her even better than her own parents ever could. But, for now, while I have the gift of carrying her, I will continue to teach her about the small things I do know and hope for more time.
(Continued on October 20th)
At church we are working on a series called "Be Present." In recent weeks I am trying to give myself grace in my ability to be present. I know I'm trying to be as present as I can given the circumstances surrounding us.
For me, being present not only means remaining engaged in the here and now versus my mind focused on the future but, in recording all of the special moments taking place in our family. I do this through my blog and the past few months I have not been able to be as present here as I would like. I hope to be better about making time for this so I won't forget the times that continued to give me hope and happiness during this challenging time in our life....
1) Driveway chalk drawings
peppered with baby shots that still break my heart a little even though years of practice shows me they will be fine after some small Band-Aids and a short few minutes.
2) Her new found love of soccer
and the friends that come with it.
3) Their love for our furry family member
(We made schultutes, a German back-to-school tradition, for our friends first day of Kindergarten since we knew they were a bit apprehensive.)5) How her outfits and sense of carrying out the everyday never ceases to make me smile.
6) Going on four years with our traditional weekly play date, being amazed at how much they grow
and amid all the petty fights over sharing, the amount of love they have for each other.
7) Celebrating the birthday of Kathleen--the sitter who is more like family and helps make our house a home.
("Surprising" her as she walked into the kitchen although they kept asking me in front of her and loudly all day, "Mommy, when are we going to do the birthday surprise?!?!")8) Any time I see her in one of my childhood outfits
10) Their expressions11) The annual Fall haircut that always make me cry but transforms him into this handsome grown boy that I can't help but smile about.
12) The every day treasures that we often forget like shoes on the wrong feet,
big headbands that she'll soon outgrown,
the way he sucks from his swirly straw,
his ability to crawl onto anything and enjoy whatever view it gives him,
and the friends our back yard invites.
13) Their pre-school morning dances
14) How they strategically plan how they will feed the deer in our yardwith hour long stakeouts, careful peering,
quiet creeping, warm smiles, fresh water
and promises of "don't worry, we won't hurt you",
"please wait" and ends with
"Ok, bye bye deer!"
15) And when they're this little.
Being present in the small moments makes life more meaningful and gives us hope for more tomorrows.
And speaking of hope, I can't end this post without talking about our biggest piece of Hope yet. At nineteen weeks doctors told me she wouldn't live for two more weeks and she's still giving us hope for many more tomorrows at 32 1/2 weeks strong.
"Hope never abandons you;
you abandon it."