Ed and I couldn't be prouder of Brian.
Let's face it - the kid has been through a lot. His brother suddenly dies. He has to learn what dying actually means at much too young of an age. He stops seeing Miss Sara on a daily basis - who was at our house every weekday for over a year. (She still is over to visit a lot - but it's definitely a big change!) He finds out he's getting a sister. He starts a new school. He was schlepped to many OB visits and as my belly grew, I got a lot less "fun" during playtime. And now - there's a new baby in the house.
That's an awful lot of changes for a four year old (five this Monday!) - but Brian has handled it all beautifully. He's changed so much - grown up so fast over these last seven and a half months. He has a newfound maturity...has become more independent...
and he has come out of his shell socially. Every so often he says or does something that we would consider slightly "fresh" - but I try not to overanalyze those moments anymore. It's possible these little incidents are completely normal, developmentally. All kids at this age try to assert themselves and "test" out their behavior on their family.
Brian still sleeps in his big brother's bed - and every night after we read a book he still wants me to go through the day that Gavin died. And I'm still very happy to oblige, no matter my mood, as I know that this is what he needs to process his grief. Our goal since Gavin died has been to keep Brian's life happy and as "normal" as we can. I hope when he grows up and understands more about life he will tell us that we did right by him. That's all we would need to hear to die happy.
Last night we documented a milestone in Hope's little life.
Her first bath.
And in many ways, it was a milestone for Ed and me. I'm so glad that we waited to give her her first bath together. We knew it would be a bittersweet moment.
And it was.
Ed was in charge of the camera and captured every second. The initial immersion into the bathtub was shocking and scary for her and she let out a cry...
but it didn't last long.
As soon as I wrapped the wet, heavy receiving blanket around her - a trick I started with Gavin who needed to feel a sense of security and warmth - she transformed into a total Buddha baby.
It was such a joy to bathe her - and to see her reaction to water. In a way the experience was very healing for us. Bathing her with the water - in the same tub that we bathed our boys - cleansed us in a small way of some of the sorrow we've carried.
We miss Gavin so much - but we would both admit that this little baby has brought a healing to our family that nothing else could.
I was most looking forward to washing her hair. There's something so beautiful about washing someone's hair - whether they're a baby or an adult. It's like a loving form of service - a humble act of love.
I remember the first time I washed Gavin's hair...
And last night was Hope's turn and she was just as zen as her brothers.
It was hard to choke back my tears as I wrapped Hope in a fluffy towel and saw how relaxed and happy she was.
She really is such a sweet, sweet baby. (There is a very special story about this big, pink princess towel! You can read about it - and have your faith in corporate america restored - in THIS post.)
All bathed and ready for bed. Hope sleeps in our room, making it easier for me to breastfeed every 2-3 hours. Every time my alarm goes off for a feeding - or she wakes up crying and hungry... every time she requires me to put on my glasses for a poopy diaper change in the wee hours of the morning... every time she needs me... I am grateful.
You won't hear me complain. For I know these moments are merely blips in time. I know these moments are fleeting. And I know all too well that these moments come to an end in one way or another. So I surrender myself to joy and gratitude while honoring my profound pain. And with each little act of duty I perform for my daughter - she bathes me in love in return.