Tiny

Austin was tiny. The kind of tiny you can’t really comprehend unless you’ve felt it. 2 pounds 11 ounces is just words until you realize that this teddy bear, that is no taller than the willow tree figurine it sits next to, was almost the same size as him. Most of the time I forget how small he was, because at the time he was my only baby, I didn’t think about it much until I had Chantry. We are told constantly about our tiny little girl, born at 6 pounds 15 ounces. She’s in the second percentile and everyones always asking about her weight or how old she is since she’s so advanced, but so tiny.
She seemed like a giant to me. Even now as she sleeps (finally) I am in awe of the fact that that she is tall enough to pull anything off the coffee table she wants to. she stands and laughs and when she wants to get somewhere really fast she crawls like the wind.

I miss him every single day, and Chantry still seems like a dream most days. It’s a dance really, going around the missing and the dreaming and the what ifs and the “just keep living”.

Maybe it’s all becoming too redundant to you, three years since I began writing here, and I don’t have any new memories to share about him, because the memories with him ended in May, 2015. But writing makes me feel like he’s still a part of this, because he’s a part of my every day. I hope sometimes he’s a part of yours.

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The Third February

https://lilyofthevalleyyy.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/2/

It’s been three years since I posted our first update on Austin. Three full years since all the doctors agreed he wouldn’t survive. Most days I still don’t believe it, and today I broke down. I can say it’s because I have a headache, and I injured my knee skiing this week, but all that just adds to this huge burden of forgetting.

I wanted to share some of the memories from today because I remember it now, but I can’t promise I’ll remember it next year.

On February 12th, 2015. Thomas went to work, but my mom had flown in and had set up shop in this beautiful little condo overlooking the San Clemente Pier. I invited my two best friends over, Leighanne and Kali. Leighanne was 34 weeks pregnant with my godson, Parish Lee, and we sat on the couch and laughed and talked about when Parish would come. Little did we know he would be earthside in a little less than 24 hours. Kali now has a 2 year old little girl that is such a dream.

I was craving a pizza and texting my Big, Emily. I also did not want to move from that couch. So from 2,000 miles away, Emily ordered us a pizza to be delivered. It’s still one of those things that make me cry.

The sunset that night was perfect. Thomas, Mom and I went to dinner at the pier and walked to the end to watch it. It was one of those days I remember fondly, but I have to be honest, I don’t remember writing this blog post. I don’t remember how I strung the words together, or told the world my son was dying. I don’t know how I was calm enough to speak this truth. I just know it had to be God. And a peace without understanding.

Austin was our miracle. I still believe it.

Just a Chapter

In my dreams, your story is still being written. There are chapters left blank in a book of thousands of pages. A book that contains your life story. In some other world, we heard your first laugh, danced when you took your first steps, watched as you became a big brother, how you took the responsibility seriously. We saw you grow from toddler to boy to teenager to adult. Your dad stood with you on your wedding day, and I cried tears of joy with you as you saw your bride for the first time. There should be a book. A book of life, of you. Instead I sit here without you. Trying to find a way to make one simple chapter of my life, mean to the world what it meant to me. I’m trying to make your life my life now. But that’s harder than I thought it would be. You know, I asked God to end my story when he ended yours. He didn’t oblige. Maybe that seems morbid to most, but I know that’s just something a mother prays when her baby dies. And I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be raising your little sister. I’m glad to love her in the same way I love you. But there will always be a part of my heart that beats on begrudgingly, knowing as long as it continues, you are a world away.

But most of me will go on living. I’ll work on finding the joy in it all. But I’ll always try to make the world remember a little boy that was here for only 37 weeks and 76 minutes. I will try to live for you, Austin. And I’ll write the book for both of us.

2017

I’ve been trying to write something for four days on 2017. I’ve tried to find words to encapsulate what this year has been and I just can’t seem to find anything good enough.

So instead I’ll share a few pictures and hope they help to inspire the right captions.

I started this year just 20 weeks pregnant. At this point we were sure she was healthy, but we weren’t quite sure if she was a SHE yet! How quickly we grew together

I was so determined to appreciate my pregnancy. We stayed super active and dog parks were a weekly stop! Remind me to start this again when it isn’t -2 outside.

This shoot was so fun! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, but I’m thankful for the photos that will forever remind us of these moments.

That moment of complete peace when she was placed on my chest and I heard her cry for the first time. The magic lasted for weeks. She was healthy and lovely. I fell in love in seconds. These moments have shaped this year. I’m sure it will shape me even more in the years to come.

I could choose a million photos from this shoot. She was so very tiny and I was so new to this, I only knew that she was everything I had ever dreamed of. I couldn’t believe she was right here.

Forever a favorite. We were so tired, but it didn’t matter at all.

I took this on Austin’s birthday. These are some of the only pictures she’ll ever get with her big brother, I want her to know he’s always going to be watching out for her.

So so glad we got to see Ruth and Rush before they left the country! So thankful for these memories!

The Best Days.

Rock climbing and breastfeeding go together real well.

Solar Eclipse 2017

Meeting cousins and Uncles and Aunts

Visiting new beautiful places

She’s probably going to be a rockstar snowboarder.

Washington will probably be a yearly trip now. It has absolutely won my heart and seeing these cousins is just the best!!

We actually cut down our own Christmas tree and it’s the prettiest tree I’ve ever had

We ended the year with Christmas in Birmingham and New Years in Texas.

It was a year that will forever be shrouded in joy! I can only imagine the laughter and love that is waiting in 2018.

Bring it on!

Six Months

Chantry is six months old today. It feels like a major milestone. It feels like we’ve made it. When she was first born, I didn’t sleep for three days, not sure how I would ever sleep again when she was here, breathing beside me. I stared at her for hours, not wanting to blink and miss a moment of her life. Part of me was terrified it was all a dream, or that something awful would happen and she’d disappear. Half of me expected anything and everything to go wrong. So every moment as she slept, I watched. I listened.

Now six whole months has passed since that first night watching her. She’s grown so much and I’m in awe of how quickly it’s all passed by. She is as enchanting now as she was that night. I’m still in awe of her presence. As I lay here and watch her sleep, I can’t write how grateful I am for her. For the chance to be her mom. She is such a gift. One I hope I never take for granted.

The Best Of Friends

I watch your best friends play a lot.

Parish loves to dance, and hates costumes. He watches through the window every. Single. Tuesday. Until the garbage truck rolls up. His smile hasn’t changed in two years other than the addition of teeth. I haven’t seen him in person in over a year, but I’ve watched him grow from afar. I’m still so in love with that little godson of mine.

Everly grows daily and I know she’s a lot younger than you, but I still imagine you would’ve loved her. She’s so funny I died laughing every day she was here visiting us. She adores your little sister and I’m sure she would’ve felt the very same about you. She’s pure happiness packed in to the cutest little girl.

Your three older cousins remind me of you.

Noah placed a note in my lap at your memorial service telling me how very sorry he was. I think he could’ve been your role model and Superman. I’m constantly in awe of what a brilliant big brother he is. I know he would’ve claimed you as his own.

Zoë probably would’ve wanted to carry you everywhere. Take you right up to school and show you to her whole class. You would’ve fit right in as her other littlest cousin. The one that didn’t live with them.

I think Tucker would’ve loved to have you be the littlest, just so he could be not the littlest anymore. He would touch your head and giggle about how soft it was. He would love you so much. I’m sure of it.

Out of all of your best friends, I’m sure the one to miss you most, the one that will feel the ghost of you as she grows, is Chantry. I wish you were here to help her learn to crawl. To laugh when she laughs and cry when she cries. I wish you could be here to grow with her. To hate each other and love each other and be crazy wild kids together. I wish you could learn together. Learn about new worlds and the magic that lives here. I wish you could read her bible stories and your favorite books. I wish you were here.

I will watch your best friends grow, my love. And I will see you in every step they take.

Capture Your Grief – Day 12

A day to shine

Shining gets harder the older I get. I live in the now most days, The now of an almost 5 month old who doesn’t sleep much and a mom who’s lucky to wash her hair once a week. I think I’ll never be the “shiny new” Again. The shiny I was the day I moved to college. Or the day I got married. I think there’s a layer of grief that makes shininess seem less important. Less needed. It’s okay that I’ll never be shiny new again. I have this dirt on me because I loved and I lived.

Who wants to be shiny new when you can show the love you’ve felt and the life you’ve lived right here on the surface?