I was dreading my Mom's birthday on June 28th. This is my fourth one without her, and I usually cry on and off all day. But this year was different, thanks to you.
We had a busy morning getting our house ready for inspection. Yes, six weeks before your baby brother arrives, we're in Escrow. We haven't found another house we like, so we probably will not move. Thankfully, that is written into the contract.
We dashed out of the house as the home inspector was poking around the exterior and our potential buyers sat in their car out front. Daddy took you to swim as he's been doing all week, and I went to HOAG for fetal monitoring. At monitoring, I posted this picture of my Mom along with the caption Happy Birthday to my sweet Mama. The world and our lives would be a lot better with her in them. I was focused on the void she left, and as I usually do on her birthday, feeling a bit sorry for both of us because we don't have her here on this earth.
You can see in this picture just how much she loved children. Looking at the love in her expression, I imagined just how much
she would love you loves you from above. Right about the time I started to get sad, it was time for the next appointment.
You and your Dad met me for an ultrasound, the first you've been to. You were in such a cute, chatty mood and so clearly bonded with Dad that I couldn't feel sad. Instead, I started to be filled with gratitude for having both of you in my life. You had a blast in the waiting room, and then we were called back to the room.
The lights were dim, and you asked why. When Daddy gave you an answer, you asked why again and I couldn't help but smile. As images of your baby brother were up on the screen, your Daddy pointed out baby's face, legs, even hair on his head.
The fact that I'm pregnant at all right now still feels like such miracle, and the assuring sound of his heartbeat and news that he's 6 pounds, 3 ounces swept over me. Looking over at you and your Dad, I just felt so blessed to be on this journey with you both; to give him a son and to make you a big sister. To welcome another life. Daddy made us both laugh several times (as well as the sonogram technician) and I applauded myself for picking out the very best Daddy that my children could have. It is because Mom loved me so much that I was discerning and waited until I found the very best husband. She made sure I was loved, knew my value and didn't settle, just like I hope to do for you. I thank God that I have him in my life. I briefly imagined what Mom's birthday would be like had I not met him, and it made me shudder.
When we got home, it was time for nap and I laid down next to you until you fell asleep, as I always do. Then, I set about preparing a garden tea party for us, to honor your Nana. I brought out your bear that she made for you before we knew she was sick and well before I was pregnant with you. I used her lace, and a tea set that her good friend Jeri bought for you when you were born, saying "If Paula were alive, she would buy this for her." Jeri is your Aunti Andrea's Mom.
I was afraid if I had some down time I would start to cry, but this activity kept me busy, and then you were up. We cuddled for a bit on the couch with Bonnie and Clyde, and then I told you it was time to get ready for the tea party. Excitedly, you put on your dress. When you walked out into the backyard and saw the table set up in front of your playhouse and next to our garden, you said It's gorgeous for the first time, something my Mom would say. You set about re-arranging your friends and adding in some new ones, before sitting down and quite skilfully pouring us both several cups of cold mint tea.
As we sat there, I told you about Nana and that she loved tea parties. I love tea parties too! you responded. I explained that she is now up in heaven, watching down and protecting you. From wolves? you asked. Yes, from wolves and anything else that's bad I said. I sat back and watched your imagination at work, as you talked to Beast and Belle, poured them cups of tea and instructed me: You be A, I'll be Mommy, okay? Your Daddy was still napping, and I expected the sadness to come, but it never did. Instead, I could not stop smiling. I felt a contented peace wash over me that is hard to explain. Even when the "It's not fair" voice had me imagine Mom being there with us both and all the fun things we would do together this summer were she still around, the gratitude still remained and was stronger.
We let the chickens roam, and you had such a blast running back and forth from your swingset toward me with the widest smile I've ever seen. Lost in my thoughts as you played, I realized that this is the love that Mom had for me. I never fully realized how much I was loved by her until I had you. It's a powerful, all-consuming love that just cannot be described. The realization that I made her feel this way and gave her bucolic days just like these...just like you, in turn, are giving to me made my heart swell.
Instead of asking Why did God have to take her from me? I sat in our backyard just feeling so blessed and thankful. Because He had to call her home, how amazing is it that first He made sure that I had your Daddy and you to love and be loved by? Remember, I was six weeks pregnant with you when she took her last breath, and in those days, months and years that followed, you were absolutely my sunshine, as you still are, and always will be for her.
But the sunshine that you provide me with only grows brighter as I see your personality develop and have actual conversations with you. When I can make you laugh, and laugh in response to things that you do. I never thought I could love you more than I did on the day you were born, and yet I do. And now your brother is coming too, and we have countless days like this one stretching before us, together as a family.
Your Daddy woke up from his nap and we sat out in the backyard watching you, beaming. Whether we move or stay here, it doesn't really matter to me. I am happy either way, whatever life decides to throw our way because we have our family.
I always want, and ask for signs that there is something after this world. From Mom, from God, from anyone that will give them to me. Sometimes, I ask for them without even realizing that I did. Sitting there in our backyard yesterday, I asked without realizing, and I didn't get a clear sign like I wanted. But reflecting and sitting here at the computer now, I realize that I most certainly did. I'm not sure that God or my Mom could give me a clearer sign, or a more contented and thankful peace in my heart.