Today is my precious baby girl's 6 month birthday... and it's the first time the 3rd has landed on a Friday. It been a day of mixed emotions where I was on the verge of tears almost all day, and cried only a few times. I smiled when I thought of her... and cried right after. I miss her so much.
Let me start with yesterday - My mom came and took all 3 of the kids for the night! Des came down wearing a brown skirt that she had tied up to look like a scarf around her hips, a green & white striped shirt, a pink vest, a gold belt, and a blue scarf. She put on her leopard print shoes and asked "Mama, do these clash?" I looked at her and said, "that's a funny question honey, considering what you have on...I thought clash was the look you were going for" She wiggled her hips and put her arms out and said "this is my style." God, I love this girl.
I didn't realize how much I needed the break. I spent about an hour and a half cleaning when they left and without them running behind me messing things up, the house looked great and still did today at lunch time!! My friend Mel and I went to the greenhouse and did some plant shopping for Rachel's birthday present; a garden for the entrance of her playground. I also bought a Bleeding Heart plant to put in at our house. The name says it all.
I had been looking for a stone to put in the garden with a saying that fit, but all the greenhouse had was ones for dead pets....except the one I bought which said "planted to celebrate a life well lived". It wasn't what I had in mind, but better than nothing. And her life was short, but definitely well lived...if only through me.
As we were driving home, we saw this small garden shop closing and pulled in (Mel promised me she wouldn't take anything out, but I wasn't convinced until we stopped safely) They were locking the door and opened it when they saw me...we literally pulled up about a foot in front of the front door. I told them what I was looking for and she said all they had was stones for pets. (is there something wrong here?) But she said I could look around....about 2 seconds after walking in, another lady said "how about this one?" I looked and started crying. It says "Those we held in our arms for a while, we hold in our hearts forever". Perfect. I looked some more and found a little stone that had a pink tulip on it and said "live". I decided to buy it for her grave... after all, she is alive. Then as we were checking out, I looked down and saw a ring that had a heart charm on it. I flipped it around and the other side had an "R" on it. My 6 month birthday present :o) I told the cashier about Rachel and she said she had 4 children and only one of them is with her, she had lost the other 3, so she knew how I felt. I think we were meant to walk into that place that evening.
I got up and was actually excited to get out of bed... I felt bad that having the kids gone felt so refreshing. At about 9 am I was wondering if maybe they could stay for another night! :o) But the thing about having 3 kids is that they make everyone tired so I'm lucky I got one night. I had to remind myself that one day not too far away, my kids will be grown up and gone....My house will stay clean when I clean it....I will be able to get up to a quiet house... I will have time for myself...and I will miss it all. My children are a precious gift from God who I am blessed to spend my days with. I won't lie, it doesn't always feel that way - but I've never heard anyone on their death bed say "I wish I would have spent more time at the office" or "I wish I spent less time with the ones I love". It's always the opposite. But it's just a hard job...that I can never clock out of or take a sick day...and a paycheck would be nice!
As Matt was telling me of the next book he planned to read as he was packing to go to work, I responded enviously with "I wish I got a lunch break". Well, today I got my lunch break. The first 5 minutes were enjoyable. I sat down with my delicious leftovers and enjoyed the quiet house and the breeze coming through the window. I started reading the latest article in the paper; my girl made front page again. The title is "40 days, 40 night and 43 minutes." It was an article about the playground being finished. And then I started crying cause I miss Rachel. What I wouldn't give to be inconvenienced by her today...everyday... messing up my cleaning, yelling in the morning before I've had my tea, taking more of my energy and time.
I think I've gotten my perspective on God's gift of children messed up again. *sigh* Today I was reminded why I do what I do. Because it is a gift not a sentence. And the most beautiful gift I've ever been given at that. But maybe we could arrange a break for me like once a month or something, mom? :o)
Okay, totally sidetracked there....
So, I got up and left the house early sporting my "Team Rachel" shirt. I went to buy some good soil for her garden at a local Blue Seal to save time rather than going to Walmart across town. When I went up to pay, the cashier asked "Are you Rachel's mom?" My heart lit up... yes I am... She apparently had seen one of the other articles and when she saw my shirt, she remembered our story. I told her all about the garden, the playground and how cute her hands were (can't leave the important stuff out) This was another birthday present to me.
I went to Studley's Flower shop to get some flowers. My friend Mary from church works there. Her and her husband bought all the daisies we gave out at Rachel's funeral for us and Mary has been making us arrangements that say "Rachel" to fit out weekly budget (which is sometimes just a few dollars) regularly since that day. It was so nice to walk in today and say "I need two bouquets, one for me and one for my girl" and she already knows what I need and what I'm talking about. I told her today was 6 months and she replied "already?". sigh. Sometimes it feels like it came fast but usually it feels like it's been forever. I have officially had fresh flowers in my house every day for 6 months in Rachel's honor. They don't compare to her or remove any of my pain. But it's something I can do for her and so I do.
I went to the church and worked entirely way too hard putting in her garden. Reminded me of my days gardening way too hard with her in my belly.... I planted a few plants in memory of Rose Alix too (my friend Anne's daughter who had anencephaly) Her 2nd birthday is later this month and I planted some "Rosey Return" pink day lillies for her. I also planted a pretty shrub in the middle and of course, some shasta daisies for my girl. They aren't blooming yet, but I post a pic when they do.
|The one we planted in the tiny one under the small one :o)|
I stopped home to change and found some flowers had been delivered on my porch - they were from Mel. This is the good stuff... back at month 1 and even 2 people remembered Rachel's days. Months later, it hurts to feel like I'm the only one still remembering her. I was so thankful for this surprise.
Back when I was 6 months pregnant with Rachel, friends from our small group (bible study) gave me a gift card for a prenatal massage. I never used it cause I was afraid it would put me into early labor and so although I desperately needed it, I needed her to stay with me more. I finally decided to use it today. I found myself having a hard time quieting my mind. I kept thinking about her, how she should be there with me, and why I had picked that day to go - because she wasn't. I told the girl about her and she seemed disinterested. She asked if this was my 2nd and I said 5th. She said "well, you're busy aren't you?" Yeah, but not in the way you mean. So, I was kinda disappointed with that experience, but I came home ready for my kids...
And about 5 minutes after I sat down, in they came. "Hi Mama" Sam says without looking at me, holding a rock (he's obsessed with rocks right now) and Des was still wearing her stylish outfit from yesterday...except now with black boots that Jailyn (her cousin) let her borrow. Isaiah was fast asleep in Nana's car and actually never woke up, he's still in bed now - I guess he had fun!
As I was writing this post, I thought of my baby's grave... out there in the dark, flowers laying on the ground, still just a small rectangle awaiting grass and my heart wanted to jump out of my chest. It's been a while since I've struggled with thinking about the cemetery at night... it used to happen to me every night as I tried to go to sleep... hence the 2 am blog posts and lots of Ambien. These days it might not happen as much, but man when it does, it's as real and painful as that first night when I left her there knowing she was still a holdable cute baby. Earlier that day she was in my arms and now she was in the ground. I struggled all winter long with how cold the ground was and her being in it and today, I worried that it would get too hot down there and that her body would deteriorate quicker with heat. I found myself hoping that the ground would stay cool as if I'll ever see her again this side of heaven. This is not what I had envisioned for my sweet baby when I saw those two pink lines.
She should be sitting up, babbling and starting table food. She's not and the only thing I can do to make myself feel any better is plant things. Sometimes it feels good and other times it feels kinda pathetic....especially when it is so meaningful to me and I tell someone and they look at me like I'm crazy. I wish I had more than this for Rachel and with Rachel. I wish I had her.
I went outside to finish my last goal for the day.... I planted my bleeding heart and came inside to tell you all about it....
6 months later and it's still bleeding.