I had a plan for Gavin's 7th birthday. It was clear to me - and simple, really. I was going to send Brian off to school, stay in my pajamas all day and mope. And cry. Cheesecake eating was optional - but likely.
But one day, while watching Hope thoroughly enjoying her bath... splashing and laughing and smiling...
...I was reminded of another little water baby of mine. I knew what I had to do - and I knew my original plan wasn't going to cut it.
One of the last fun trips we took with Gavin was to the Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey. He shocked us on that day. It was crowded and chaotic, but he insisted on walking. As Ed pushed the empty stroller, Gavin held my hands and walked almost the entire way through the aquarium. It was incredible - and we'll never forget that day.
On Sunday, I told Brian that he wouldn't be going to school the next day... that I was taking him to the Aquarium with Hope so we could celebrate Gavin's special day. He was so excited!
It accomplished a few things. It got me out of the house and out of my head. It celebrated Gavin around water, which was one of his favorite things. And Brian and I had fun reminiscing about Gavin as we walked around. I found myself smiling...even laughing. A much better plan, indeed.
Here are some fun pictures of our special day...
"Mommy! Get a picture of me showing Hope the penguins. They are so adorable!!"
I convinced Brian to come out of his shell. *wink*
I'm not going to lie, the day was not without some hippo sized healing tears as we remembered sweet Gavin...
...but at the end of the day, Brian declared that it was the "Best Gavin Day Ever!"
It was fitting that a birthday without Gavin was followed by a day celebrating Hope.
Our little girl is ten months today!
Ten months in and I still have - "wait, what? I have a daughter?" moments. She truly is the joy of our lives. Hope is sweet, easygoing, sleeps well, eats well and is such a happy little girl. Even better? Brian adores her more than we ever could have predicted. He's protective of her, loves to play with her and gets excited when she does something new.
Gavin, Brian and now Hope all have collections of Angel Dear lovies. Brian slept with a bunch of them in his crib at all times...and he still has the same ones in his bed. Hope is attached to hers, as well. One of her favorite things to do in her room is to reach her arm into her crib and pull them out.
"I GOT IT!!!"
I'm still using the massage technique before introducing her to foods. I've added Orzo Pasta, soft crackers with peanut butter, mandarin oranges, cantaloupe and today she had lentils for the first time. They were a hit!
The last several days have been a roller coaster, emotionally. Wanting to turn my back on everything and retreat into my own grief. Forcing myself to leave the house and finding myself having...fun. And then spending today staring at our beautiful little girl who, just ten months ago, was dropped from Heaven.
I love getting to know this beautifully mysterious child. She proved to us ten months ago that grief can lead you to hope even when you don't think it's possible.
If you're wondering what is going on with this blog - am I quitting, am I not? - I made a decision. I really struggled with this, but in the end - I couldn't quit writing entirely. It's too important to me, personally. And I love keeping this record of my children's lives so they can look back at it one day - perhaps with their own little ones. But, it will definitely be different. I'm not going to pressure myself to write because I "should" or "have to" - ever. I may write every day for a week - and then I may not write for two weeks! Thank you for dealing with my ambivalence... and, as always, for caring about our family.