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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bunk Beds in Heaven

I never want to forget the conversation I had with Ann Catherine this morning. So I'm writing it down (or typing it, as the case may be).

It was coming a terrible storm at our house, complete with claps of thunder that made my girls come running to my room in fear. Finally I told Ann Catherine what my mother always told me growing up.

"Thunder just means God's moving his furniture," I relayed to her.

After each clap of thunder, she repeated what I had told her until we finally agreed that apparently God had gotten A LOT of new furniture recently.

"Mommy, what if God is moving his bunk beds?" Then her voice began to rise. "What if he and Melissa share a bunk bed?? What if He sleeps on top and she sleeps on bottom?? How cool is that?" she asked, grinning from ear to ear.

I love how a child's mind works. I love the images that Ann Catherine conjures up of Melissa in Heaven. I love that, in her mind, she and God have these fabulous bunk beds. And more than that, I love that she shares those thoughts with me.

Now if God would just stop moving those bunk beds.... :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

So Blessed to Have Him

Chris has had to endure things that most fathers his age can't imagine.

Tragedy will do that to you. Losing a child will especially do that to you.

While I was on bedrest with Melissa and Ann Catherine, he came by to see me every morning before work and after work. He would stay with me until it was time to go home and go to bed. On the weekends, we would sleep on the hard sofa in my room. I know it was exhausting for him, but he never complained.

When our girls were born 14 weeks early, he rode in the elevator with them to the NICU as the neonatalogist explained the grim situation. He was holding Melissa when they took me to the NICU to see her for the first time. He loved her so much.

When she died, I told him there was no way I could go the funeral home and make arrangements. I told him to let my parents do it, because I knew he was hurting too. He looked me in the eye and said, "Amy, I'm her daddy. She would expect me to take care of her." So he did. He and my dad went to the funeral home - on our fifth anniversary, no less - and he signed our daughter's death certificate and made arrangements for her service.

I couldn't do it, but he did.

He visited Ann Catherine every day in the NICU. He would go each day before work and then again at lunch (if he could) and in the evenings. He have video of him at her bedside when she was just a few days old. She was so sick she couldn't even open her eyes. You can hear Chris on video telling her over and over again, "It's okay, Ann Catherine. Daddy's here."

And he was.

Those reasons alone would make me love him until the day I die. But luckily for us, it's not the end of the story.

He was there when Lily Baker entered the world. Finally for us, a delivery with a happy ending. He was by my side telling me she was perfect. And healthy. He gave her her first bath in the hospital. He was there every step of the way.

It's the little things when you're a parent. Despite his busy schedule, he never missed one of Ann Catherine's t-ball games this spring. He threw balls to her in the backyard, showing her how to properly hold a bat and use her glove. He goes in their rooms at night, armed with a flashlight to prove there's nothing there to scare them. He passed on his first love of hockey to two little girls who would rather go to the rink than anywhere else.

He has changed as many diapers and given as many baths as I have. He has kissed boo boos, chased away imaginary bad guys and danced in the living room with princesses.

He's everything a Daddy should be and I'm so glad he belongs to us :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to You/Anniversary to Me!

Chris and I celebrated eleven years of marriage recently.

With 20 five and six-year-olds!!

AC's birthday party was on our anniversary. And this year, she wanted a swim party. I booked it at an indoor facility just in case it rained. Instead, it was 96 and sunny! Oh well, if I hadn't, we would have had a monsoon :) That's just the way it works.

Chris and I got to celebrate our anniversary the next night. Luckily for us, my parents watched the girls so we could go have dinner. Alone. It was wonderful.

We don't mind sharing our anniversary, though. Ann Catherine was SO worth it :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

How in the World is she Six??!

I do not know what is wrong with me, but I am so behind on my blogging!!

I still have pictures of LB playing soccer from March and AC playing t-ball in April and May that I haven't posted. It's bugging me because this will be their scrap book one day. And the Disney trip in April?! I break out in hives at the thought of recapping that one. I AM SO BEHIND!!

Those of you who blog: you know how when you get behind, it just starts weighing you down??

That's how I feel.

So allow me to try and quickly update these last few whirlwind weeks: in a matter of 7 days we had the girls' first recital, AC's birthday and AC's birthday party.

Crazy just ain't the word for it!

Before I get to all the birthday fun, I want to thank you all for lifting us up in prayer on Ann Catherine's birthday. I certainly felt it. God allowed us to have a beautiful day with our daughters. We celebrated Ann Catherine's life AND Melissa's. It was a great day.

The night before, I sat down in the living room to wrap Ann Catherine presents. Everyone was asleep but me and the house was quiet. As I began to wrap those presents, the emotions surrounding Melissa's death rushed over me like a raging tide.

I cried. And I cried. And I cried. It was pretty painful, but I needed it. I look back now and believe God allowed me to "get it out" that night so I wouldn't break down on Ann Catherine's birthday. He's pretty awesome like that.

AC's birthday was great. Six-years-old, how did that happen?! Her trampoline was her main gift, with a few smaller ones sprinkled in. Chris' parents were in town and we enjoyed a great day. The girls and I met Chris for lunch and then I took AC to pick out balloons to send to Melissa. This is the first year I've allowed her to choose them. She chose three and Lily Baker chose three. When Chris got home we sent them to her. In the five years we have done this, it's never rained. Not just that, but we've had cloudless blue skies. Each year, we've been able to watch those balloons sail upwards until they are completely out of site.

Again, God is just awesome like that. He cares enough about a grieving mommy and daddy to give us blue skies on the day that we send our balloons to our daughter. I am just overwhelmed by it all!

I took the girls to get a manicure and pedicure. AC and I have done this on her birthday since she was four. This year, she wanted LB to come with us. LB was so excited! They had a great time!! We capped off the evening with dinner at AC's favorite restaurant.

So as you can see, June 1st was a beautiful day. We had an incredible day with Ann Catherine and Lily Baker, and we felt Melissa's spirit every moment of the day. I am so grateful for that.

Coming up next, I'll recap AC's birthday party and our recent trip to the beach. And at some point, I'll meander all the way back to March to prove that LB DID play soccer! At what point does the statute of limitations run out on blog posts??!