Des & Isaiah had their first day at summer camp today. I know I've said it before, but Tri-City Christian Academy is an amazing school filled with amazing people. I go there and I feel like I'm surrounded by family. They have been so supportive to us this year and Des doesn't even go there, we homeschool - we just use their extra-curricular classes. They aren't getting any money from us... they just love us and love Christ and it shows in their actions. They might not be the prettiest school around on the outside, but they're the prettiest on the inside.
So anyway, my point is that my kids have been invited to go there two days a week as a gift this year. This is a blessing beyond words. This would never be an option for us financially, but we all really need it right now. The funny part is that I had a hard time leaving Isaiah today... he was nervous and they were going on a field trip (his first!) to play mini-golf (a first too!) and as much as the kid drives me wild trying to keep up with him, I love him to pieces. I'm also not used to my kids having their "firsts" without me...except Rachel...so that is kind of hard for me.
I had a long list of want-to-do's for today and none of them got done, but I did take an afternoon nap while Sam napped. Spending alone time with him has been sweet too. I feel so blessed today, even though in my heart, I still hurt.
Today is a strangely difficult day for me... It's not an anniversary, a birthday or a Friday...
It's my 19th Wednesday with our new son. When someone asks me how far along I am and I hear the words "19 weeks" come out of my mouth, I can't help but remember the thousands of times I have said "At my 19 week ultrasound" in the past 10 months.
"We found out at my 19 week ultrasound that our daughter had anencephaly".
And so as I sit here with a baby who is now 19 week old in my womb, I can't help but relive the first few days of after we found out Rachel was not going to live. I've just recently started to feel him moving daily and with each little kick, I think about my dancing girl who never let me forget she was there. I was so thankful that by the time I got the news about her, I already could feel her liveliness inside me....something to make me smile... something to help me get to know her personality... something to remind me why I was doing what I was doing. She was amazing.
I'm sure this little guy will be too. But getting the two experiences to mesh has been a struggle for me. I'm trying to slowly work my way towards preparation for this baby. I've started doing some stuff to get the house ready. Turning his bedroom back into a nursery means taking out Rachel's stuff. And I refused to do it until I had a proper place to put it. I couldn't just throw her stuff in a box and she has too much of it to fit in the other memory boxes alone. (she has two beautiful boxes that people made for her)
On Saturday, my mom gave me a beautiful hope chest that was Alice's. (if you don't know who Alice is, read about Rachel's name above) I'm nervous to put her stuff in it cause right now, her clothes still hold a bit of her scent, which sadly really just smells like a hospital and A&D ointment, but the chest is cedar and it won't take long for her clothes to take on that smell. Still, it's something that I feel good putting her things into... and so I'm preparing myself to do it.
On the way to get the hope chest, I stopped to get Sam some diapers and the Walgreens brand was on sale, plus I had a coupon, so I bought them instead of Huggies (which I never do, but discovered they actually work better for my skinny boy right now) but I had 2 coupons and the shelves were cleared off, except for one size 4 (Sam's size) and a size Newborn. I debated for a few minutes if I was ready to buy my first item for baby boy... and decided to do it. I got home and opened them up to show the kids how small they are (ok, I used the kids as an excuse to look myself) and what do you know...
Every time I feel like I'm going to die trying to move forward, God reminds me that she isn't in my past, she's in my future. That's hard to wrap my mind around cause as a mama, all I want to do is hold her. And there are many days when "you'll see her again" does NOTHING to make me feel better. I don't want to see her later, I want to see her now. But that's because I'm a human and my mind and heart have a hard time understanding eternity. You know what would be worse than this? Worse than this would be one of my living children deciding NOT to follow God and knowing that I won't spend eternity with them. That would be worse than having a dead baby in heaven any day.
So in a way, I feel like Rachel's new Hope chest represents my heart... a beautiful space just for her, filled with memories of her. She might not be there, and sometimes looking there might make me sad, but the name of the space is still HOPE.