I have this nagging worry lately. I fear that poor Hope is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to this journal. I can picture her as a grown up reading and reading all about Gavin and then Brian and then Gavin and Brian together - as I chronicled every day of their lives. Then I can see her eagerly reading to get to her part. The part where a week will go by without a single update. Oh boy. I better start putting money aside for her therapy. Ha!
In all seriousness - I have had little time to write and I'm so far behind on updating. I can't believe this - but we have another sick person in the house. Ed has the flu. This has, without a doubt, been the sickest winter in our history. We had plans to head up to Lexington, Massachusetts for a few days this week to tour the area and work with a realtor (just in CASE we end up moving with Ed's company - nothing is decided yet) - but we had to cancel that. We had also planned to go to New Hampshire after that so we could meet my niece, Emily's, brand new baby, William!! I am officially a "Great Aunt!" So I'm quite crushed that we won't be making that trip. We'll reschedule for another time. Hopefully this illness will stay with Ed and not spread around to the rest of us. I really can't take another round of this.
Things have been busy and fun and the days are fast and filled with all kinds of new tricks and fun adventures. Here are some highlights...
Hope loves to perform and can now do "So Big"... clap... give high fives!... and make fish faces!!
The relationship between Brian and Hope has taken a turn... for the even BETTER! Every day when Brian bounds off the bus, he can't wait to play with his sister.
He wants to teach her how to dance...
...they play with her toys and now they place chase around the house! Hope is running now and she loves to try to catch Brian. They run around the house laughing and laughing and laughing. It's the best sound in the world.
Last week we had a small snowfall and Brian was so anxious to get out there and play. It was so, bitter cold that day and I felt bad telling him I couldn't go out with him. I thought it was too cold for Hope. But Daddy saved the day when he came home from work and took Brian out in the dark!
They had the best time.
Hope's love affair with books continues. Her two favorite books are a book about Apples (and she can say "Apple" now!) and Gavin's musical "Itsy Bitsy Spider" book.
That's another sound that is music to my ears. Gavin used to play with that book all day long.
This past weekend, Brian and I made "Christmas cookies" together! Before you get too impressed, I bought these "ready to make" Thumbprint cookies from my friend, Claire's, business - HomeCooked in Paoli, PA. They are delicious... don't create a mess... make Brian feel like a rock star baker... and did I mention they're delicious? Brian gets very into the baking - even donning an apron he made in pre-school last year before he got started.
After pushing in the middles to create a little 'bowl' with a measuring spoon, he filled them with jelly. He was very careful and precise - I was quite impressed!
I am hoping that we have a future baker in the house. Mommy loves her desserts! (When someone else makes them. Let's be honest.) Through no fault of Brian's - who never touched the oven during this process - the smoke alarm went on while baking. Because that's what happens every dang time I attempt to cook or bake. I wish I was joking! It never happens to Ed!! Conspiracy theories are swirling in my head... ha!
Last Sunday we went to the Church where I grew up... was baptized... got married... had our children baptized... and where we had Gavin's funeral. We were invited to help our favorite priest (who married, baptized our kids and said Gavin's funeral mass) celebrate his 90th birthday! What a great event it was. Brian and Hope got all dressed up for the occasion. As you can see, Hope is thrilled...
After mass, the celebration was held in the gym/cafeteria of my old grade school! Brian was filled with questions. Was this your classroom? Which table was yours in the cafeteria? Did you sit on this actual toilet in this actual bathroom when you were little? He wanted to know everything. I wish I remembered - this was 50 years ago! (give or take - ha!) As we were sitting at our table, which had china and crystal and delicious food - Brian leaned over to me holding his water goblet and said, "Mommy, this is soooo fancy. Do you think they'll have a piñata later?" I nearly spit out my own water! When I told Father Kelly what Brian had said, he laughed and told me that there wouldn't be a piñata but he did have a big surprise coming at the end. And boy, did he! He had Mummers! (If you don't know what Mummers are, it's a Philadelphia thing. Fancy costumes with lots of sequins, banjos and other instruments, songs and strutting. Lots of strutting. You usually see Mummers in our annual New Year's Day parade in Philadelphia.)
It's hard for me to believe how quickly Hope has grown. She's a little girl! She's wearing dresses and tights and shoes and hairbows - and running!
Her hair is growing quickly and is still brown. Her eyes are so unique - they're green and grey and have other flecks of color in them - they're beautiful. Ed thinks they'll probably turn brown, but I'm not convinced!
For the last week (probably more) she's been waking up 2-3 times a night. Both of her eye teeth are coming in. One is now out and the other one is emerging. I've been a walking zombie as I've been getting very little sleep, but that's okay. I've tried all kinds of remedies to no avail and even got a brand new baltic amber necklace for her (just in case the other one lost effectiveness) so hopefully that will help. This is very different than our boys. Especially Brian! He never complained about a thing and I often discovered that he had teeth without even realizing they were coming in at all! Poor Hope has been having a tough time of it, though, and we've done a lot of middle of the night bonding in her chair.
During the day she keeps me so, so busy. This little girl is rarely still! That's another difference between her and Brian. You could put Brian down in front of a toy - come back in five minutes (kidding) and he'd look up and be like, "Oh, hey." With Hope, you can't look away for five seconds! If you do she's gone in a flash... rearranging the tupperware, fishing in the toilet, playing the piano...
Climbing the bookshelf...
Climbing the stairs!
Doing her hair...
Or trying on people's shoes!
She is such a fun little girl and I honestly love every moment that I spend getting to know her. She laughs a lot, hugs a lot, protests a lot and just makes all of us so, very happy.
Brian was at the doctor yesterday for his annual physical and he passed with flying colors. We love both of our doctors - Dr. Forman and Dr. Kienzle from Pediatric Associates of Paoli. Dr. Kienzle did his physical and, as always, he had us laughing. I've been torturing both of them since Gavin was an infant - taking photos of each of them with the kids. I love that I have these photos (especially Gavin's) throughout the years. Every time I bring out my camera, Dr. Kienzle says "I don't do this for anyone but you, you know." I'm pretty sure that's because I'm the only goofball that does this! Ha!
The nurses are wonderful there, too, and they're always so nice to my children. Brian loved that she explained everything she was doing from listening to his heart...
...to taking his blood pressure...
...to checking for color blindness.
So far Brian's eyesight is perfect and we hope and pray it stays that way! He has Mr. and Mrs. McGoo for parents so we hope he doesn't get our bad eyes!
He weighed in at 45 pounds and almost 3 feet, 9 inches tall.
Brian is also changing - a lot!
He's more inquisitive and wants to know what we're talking about when he listens to Ed and I have conversations... how things work... why things happen. When I picked him up early from school to head to the doctor for his physical, we had a little time to spare before the appointment. The two of us sat in the car in the parking lot, which just happens to be in view of the hospital where Gavin has his first seizure and cardiac arrest before he died. Brian wanted to talk about that day and asked me to tell him what happened again - a story I've repeated to him several times. And then... the question I've been waiting for:
"How did Gavin get to Heaven?"
He was satisfied (for now) with this answer and didn't push for more information...
"Well, when Gavin died I bet he was surrounded by lots of people. Angels and Jesus and all the people we love that are in Heaven already - like Pop and Darcy and Daddy's Mom and Dad and Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop. I'm sure he wasn't scared at all. I like to think our bodies are like suitcases. You know when we go on vacation and we pack all of our important things that we want to bring with us in our suitcases? (he nodded) And then when we get home we unpack our suitcases of all of our important things and then we don't need the suitcase anymore? (he nodded again) Well, our bodies are just like that! All the important things are on the inside - our feelings and thoughts and our soul - all the things that make us who we are. All the important parts of you - and me - and Gavin - and everyone - they're all on the inside. So when Gavin died, all those important parts that made him special - his soul and his thoughts and his feelings and his love for us - that is the part that went to Heaven! (Brian smiled and said "ohhh!") He didn't need his "suitcase" anymore! And because his thoughts and soul and love for us went to Heaven - that's how we can be SURE that he can still communicate with us from there. We know that he still loves us and thinks of us and is waiting for us to join him one day."
Brian's only response (for now) was this...
"It's still really sad that Gavin died. But that's really nice."
One day he will ask what happened to Gavin's "suitcase" - when he's ready.
And hopefully I'll be ready, too.