This morning I was in the dining room. I was packing up silent auction items to take to the post office to ship to the winners! Brian came in and asked, "Can I help you do anything, Mommy?"
"I think I'm ok, Brian," I replied. "I'm just about finished packing up these boxes."
"Ok!" he said and off he went.
It was quiet for a while so I peeked around the corner and smiled as I saw him sitting with Hope, who was playing under her baby gym. Several minutes later... he was still there. She hadn't been crying... and I didn't ask him to go to her. He was sitting there on his own... rubbing her head gently, showing her her toys and talking to her softly.
"Hi Hopi. I love you, Hopi Doo. You like this toy? Look, Hopi - this one's cute! Do you like your doll? Mommy and I picked that one out for you."
I walked over and sat down to play with them and Brian looked up at me.
"Oh, hi Mommy. I was just cheering her up. But I'm a little done now. Can you take over?"
I love watching them together. Brian just adores his little sister...
...and the feeling is mutual.
Case in point: I was trying to get her picture in this new outfit a friend sent for her, and this was the only one I could get of her looking my way!
All the other photos were her watching Brian or looking for him! Believe me, this is a wonderful problem to have.
Today was a big day for me. A lot of people are shocked at how "strong" I am about certain things... how I'm able to handle situations surrounding Gavin's death that really should level me. Trust me, sometimes I'm shocked myself. But there has been one thing that HAS really wrecked me over this past year. And until today, the idea of it left me frozen with grief.
I conquered my Mount Everest today.
I went to Barnes and Noble.
Barnes and Noble has an awesome store nearby. I love their kids section - they have books and trains and legos and toys. This Barnes and Noble was the scene of my very last "love bomb" day with Gavin and Brian... just days before Gavin died.
We were there for hours looking at books, reading and playing with toys. We are HUGE book lovers in this family so this was a really fun day. I spent too much money on books and toys... and I'm so glad I did. One thing I bought for Gavin was a light up Octopus that illuminates stars on the ceiling. Every night when I turn it on for Brian, I remember that day.
I have passed by that bookstore many times this year - and felt like I couldn't breathe. I dreaded ever having to go there again. This is not like me - and I don't enjoy feeling like something has that kind of control over me. So when a flyer came home in Brian's backpack that his pre-school was hosting a book fair there today - I was frozen... and then determined. I knew I had to conquer this.
After school we headed over to the store. I had packed a lunch and we ate in the cafe. Before all of his friends got there, we had time to read a few Star Wars books.
They had the author, Eli Kowalski, there with his dog named Kushka. He writes adorable books about his dog and how she loves to wear different hats. He met with the kids and let them pet Kushka and then read his book to them.
After the presentation was over, Brian, Hope and I headed over to the toys. I watched him build Legos while I let myself go deep in thought.
Grief is such a funny thing. I can't explain why I felt more dread over going back to a bookstore than I did over choosing an urn. But it is what it is and it's not worth questioning or over-analyzing.
The last time we were there, Brian wanted to choose a book for Gavin.
And today, he wanted to choose a book for Hope.
He walked right back to that same section with a purpose. A man on a mission. And he pulled out this book with a blue butterfly right smack in the middle of the cover.
Today I climbed a mountain. And I got an unexpected and exhilarating view from the top.