Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bathed in Love...

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 Brian's.
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.


  1. One has to realize that we, I think, wonder what we have done that our kids will need therapy for! :) It still fills me with such joy that Gavin really gave Hope to you!

  2. Kate ~ you make me cry every day when I read your blog. Happy is not enough to express how you make me feel. I know you hear it all the time, but you are truly inspiring and such a beautiful example of a woman, wife, mother, daughter and sister. Thank you so much for continuing to open your life to us, strangers. Look forward to tomorrow with you. Tina

  3. Brian seems to be doing quite well considering all he has been through. he knows he is loved. thank you for sharing with us!!

  4. She resembles BOTH boys, so perfectly. What a beauty. Such a grateful family. Calm & Content well deserved. Amazing.

  5. What a beautiful post about love. Pure love for your ridiculously handsome, smiling, adorable and mature Brian. Pure love for this precious little girl who is named and who is Hope. Pure love for the big brother Gavin who is so involved in your lives - still and always. Even with all you have been through, it is amazing to see how blessed you are, and how you are able to realize and find a way to enjoy these blessings.

  6. This is beautiful! And, Hope is perfectly beautiful. I thank God for her!!!

  7. Absolutely beautiful! You have a way with words.

    Blue Bell, Pa.

  8. Thank you Kate! Especially for the sharing of the goodness exhibited by "Land's End"!
    You are an amazing individual.
    Joanne Doyle Kuzborski from Avon, MA

  9. Such a beautiful post and a precious moment. I love the pics of all three having their first bath. I look forward to reading your posts everyday and I always tear up. You are an amazing mom, just amazing. Love from the winter wonderland of Alberta.

  10. YES. So beautiful. Bathing someone vulnerable is such a gorgeous act of service. Pure nurturing.

    Most of corporate America is still pretty horrible, but I'm glad there are exceptions :)

  11. You folks are awesome, i will tell you. I follow alot of stories of children and their parents who have had some really difficult times, but never have I felt as I do when reading your posts or seeing the photo's that you share with all of us. From Gavin and to Brian's story. from you to Gavin and Brian, your husband to Gavin and Brian and now Hope, Gavin, Brian, and such astounding parents parents, you all have given the gift of what love is supposed to look like. I feel that everytime i read. I have cried and felt some awesome feelings here and I so thank you all. I love getting home of a day after babysitting my 5 yr. old grandson and reading about all the little ones and their parents that I follow. You all make my day. God bless and keep you. Much loves from ohio <3

  12. Brian is a sweet, kind and loving little boy who is making his way through hard times, because he has kind and loving parents there for him and guiding him even though they have been trying to find their own way through the grief. I thank God, too, for baby Hope and the miracle of her timing. May she continue to help with your healing as she brings more joy into your lives. Thank-you for sharing the beautiful photos of your precious babies having their hair washed for the first peaceful. I just see love, pure love, when I read your posts.

  13. Kate, she's so beautiful and Brian is such a resiliant and strong little guy. This was very touching to read...Every word was covered with love and gratitude and gave me a sense of gratitude for my own children and moments of healing..Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Gorgeous photo of Brian
    I love the beautiful smile

  15. Hope is such a little poppet and Brian is a lovely little boy. Both are a credit to you and Ed, as was Gavin. I love the story of how you got the towels, don't know how I managed to miss that one when you wrote it as I am an avid reader of your blog. Give Brian and Hope an extra hug from me please :)

  16. Those were beautiful words. I need to keep this in mind always. It is all too easy to forget how quickly the first months fly by and how soon they will no longer need us so much. And there is no greater repayment of the work and time put in than the warm and peaceful snuggles of a tiny babe in arms.

  17. I think we all can agree that everyone is proud of Brian! Hope is absolutely gorgeous, and so cute!

  18. This just made me sigh. Sigh with contentedness for you, Ed and Brian. THanks for sharing.

  19. Beautiful boy, beautiful baby. What an inspiring family you are. Hope is perfect - so happy you have her.

  20. Your babies are just so beautiful! She looks so much like her brothers as babies. What a joy to see these pictures!

  21. You are such a wonderful mother, Kate. Your children are beautiful.

  22. The healing hand of Hope. As far as Brian goes? The adjectives have all been used...he is simply a love. jenny page

  23. I've missed some journals lately and went back to read this one. So glad I did. I needed to read this today. Needed to put things back into perspective. I have an almost 3 year old and a 2 month old. Some days are rough and I do complain. But after reading this it reminded (though I already knew) that these rough days, rough moments won't last forever. You're a wonderful mother and your strength is inspiring. And your children are beautiful!


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