Birthday 6

My heart is heavy as Nora’s birthday approaches. It’s so hard to imagine what she would be like as a 6-year-old. I last knew her, held her and loved her as a chunky little 2-year-old. Instead of putting together a collection of little girl party favors and wrapping up special presents for her, I am on a beautiful walk by myself here in Georgetown, Texas. We are all down here for the Big Kids’ Spring Break. Gavin & Greta are off having fun with their cousins while I grab a moment of solitude on this gorgeous day. From a seemingly endless winter back home, this WARM, picturesque walk along the San Gabriel River is a gift.

Yet, each step takes me further and further down the path I’ve been on since she left us. The magnitude of the grief has never really gone away. I’ve just adjusted to the massiveness of it. I am somehow strengthened by it whether I want to be or not. I have no choice. It is a part of me.

The perfect imprint of a leaf in an aged slab of concrete catches my eye.

How very like Nora. She too has been gone for many seasons, yet she left such a lasting impression on this world — in ways I never could have imagined. Perhaps it was the softening of our hearts, or her adorable illustration of how important EVERY life is. Or maybe it was just her sweet, sweet disposition, endearing her to everyone who set eyes on her. I love the quote: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Evidence of her love lingers here with me. Maybe I read too much into these things, but I like to think they’re little glimpses of heaven; reminders that each day is a step closer ~

Three ducks suddenly paddle up alongside me, swimming with me as I walk.

Reminiscent of the print of those three ducks featured in the hallway of Children’s Hospital after we held her for the very last time.

and the hearts are such physical reminders of the abundance of love that once was, still is and will always be. Only love remains.

The brief lives of the beautiful, fragrant wildflowers ~

We’re back home in the cold now, but so thankful for the brief respite in the company of our sweet family. Thank you Jill & Chris for a wonderful visit and for all the delicious meals you lavished us with! We arrived home late last night, walking off the plane and up the jetway as the clock rolled over to midnight, April 17, 2018.

Aerial view of Cincinnati

How have all these years passed?! It was incredibly hard waking up this morning, not only because I had gone to bed just 4 hours earlier, but because it was all still so fresh in my mind. The alarm sounded this morning to get the kids up and out of bed, ready for school. Six years ago that same alarm went off to get us off to the hospital in time for my scheduled induction. There were two very intense outcomes before me that morning six years ago. I had no idea which one, but I had to get out of bed anyway, because time never stops for anyone. The strong sense peace was completely unnatural and I marveled at it almost laughingly. After about 10 or so hours of uneventful labor, the sweetest cry that I ever did hear filled the room. She was alive!!! And then she was on my chest gazing up at me with the most lovely blue eyes. We imagine that Nora was saying (in her voice), “Ummm. Scuze me… um… are you my mom n dyad? My names Nora.”

Ohhh for heaven’s sake, I was completely smitten with her!!!!! She got “smashed” with kisses.

There were some very frightening moments immediately after that, but her sweet little body finally figured out this new world she was in. She was stable and we got to bring her home a couple days later. It was the very beginning of two extraordinary years!

Happy birthday, my sweet baby. I hope you are having the grandest of parties in heaven – maybe a bubbly hot tub party with all of your chubby baby friends. I wish I was there to squeeze you in your “babing suit”!

You won’t have to ask because they’ll already know how you like to hear your favorite song sung multiple times. We’ll be down here celebrating you and the day that you fluttered down into this world leaving your mark on all who knew you and read about you. Happy birthday, sweet baby Norns. I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Scenes from today: