It seems so long ago and yet I can't believe it's been 4 years. I hate that it's been 4 years.
I didn't want to just let the day go by. So last night I put an invite out there on facebook to see if anyone wanted to meet up with us to play at Rachel's Playground.
A few people met us there and we spent over 4 hours playing on Rachel's Ark. It was really sunny, but kind of chilly... but the kids were happy as could be (minus Sam's *constant* crying over *everything*). That is the most time we have spent there since we built it almost 3 years ago.
My mom came and brought pizzas and salad and friends helped me rake her garden and helped with the kids while I was raking. And Matt came up when he got out of work and helped us move the HUGE pile of leaves we took off of her garden into the woods. It looks pretty there and you can see the green sprouting now.
It was exactly what my heart needed.
In the early days, I remember feeling so torn with her playground. Everyone expected it to make me feel happy and full of joy to see other kids playing on it, But in my heavy grief, I didn't see anything but people trampling on something that I poured my entire heart into. Something that was only there because my baby was dead. And many of them didn't even know who she was. Some days it felt like a huge headstone to me.
Obviously I knew it was meant to be played on and obviously I knew some kids wouldn't treat it right. And obviously there wasn't a guarantee that all parents would tell their kids why the playground was there and help Rachel be remembered... But I seriously couldn't handle it. So I pretty much never went out there after church on Sundays because it became a source of great pain and frustration for my heart. I would only go when I could be alone there with my kids or when I was organizing some kind of clean up or maintenance day.
Looking back, I can see that I missed out on some of the joy that could have come with watching other kids enjoy it. But in those days, I did the best I could do with what I had and some times my best just wasn't good enough. Some days my best made no sense. Some days it left me judged and looked at as ungrateful or negative. But I really wasn't. It just hurt and I tried to bend with the wind as much as I could... but some days were really windy.....
Today was just so good for my heart. I felt so carefree the entire time I was there - close to her and doing something special to remember her on this big day in my history - while being able to relax and enjoy fellowship with my friends and the kids playing and having fun.
And tonight after dinner, I went out to get the kids some Easter stuff and I picked up flowers for Rachel and as I was checking out, another cashier walked behind me and said "Hi Rachel's Mama!" with a big smile... and I'm thinking my smile got pretty big too.
That's me. Rachel's Mama - been her Mama for 4 years now. I didn't know she was a girl 4 years ago, but on this day in 2010, that was the first time I whispered to her how much I loved her... and I've done it every day since. And I will for the rest of my life on earth... and when we meet again in heaven.
|The kids on top of Rachel's slide|
|at the bottom.. Isaiah was holding Ezra's "Team Rachel" blanket to represent Rachel in this.|
|I spent 10 minutes trying to get my kids to give me a decent picture, which I never really got after taking a bunch of pictures. They were at the bottom and when I finally gave up, we looked up and my friend Mel's kids were at the top sitting in a perfect row, waiting their turn to slide. Here they are showing my kids up - LOL So cute!!!|
|Pizza with Nana!|
|E was pretty excited about the pizza|