But what could induce such a feat on such an ordinary day? Watching Daddy cut the lawn! :) The screen was open and the mower was really loud - but she didn't even flinch. Kurt said she was grinning from ear-to-ear when he would go by. She did fall down once - and bump her head on the loveseat - but recovered quickly the next time Kurt went by. Our baby is growing up! Praise God...
*I actually typed this post back in April - but felt I could actually post it today.
I visited Autumn's grave today for the first time since we had Peyton. It wasn't a planned trip. I had dropped Kurt off at my Aunty's house to help finish her garage, and had Peyton asleep in the back seat. I didn't have to go home the way that took me by the graveyard... but it was kinda like I was pulled.
I actually had to get out of the car and open the gate of the cemetery because the wind had blown it shut... and even after I drove up beside the area she's buried I shut off the car and just sat there staring at her headstone. It was so surreal. So strange to have one baby girl snuggled in her car seat on this blustery day, and another deep within the earth only feet from where I sit.
The hard part is not knowing what to feel.
Should I cry? Is it strange that I'm almost numb? Unsure of how to act... whether I should even get out of the car? My emotions at the graveyard are almost entirely attached to the day we buried her.
It was so horribly, brutally cold. The sky was bright blue, and it felt like snow was coming.
The wind was howling so strongly I could barely hear Murray read from scripture or my dad and Kurt pray. My body ached, the tears felt like they were freezing as they ran down my face. I remember looking at her casket wondering how it was that the child that had moved in me only a week before was about to be buried.
I remember my dad placing his arm around me and squeezing tight as Kurt helped his brother and both of mine lower her into the grave. I remember watching our parents toss pink roses into the grave. I remember wrapping my arms around myself - around my stomach - and wishing with all my might that it was all just a horrible dream as I stood - alone - in front of the hole with tears running down my face and a lump in my chest. I remember the man who had been hired by the town to dig the grave and fill it in telling me how sorry he was for our loss, and then shake his head muttering something about the hole being "so small". He was kind of a rough-looking character... but there was genuine sadness and compassion written all over his face. My mom thanked him, and then she guided me over to where Kurt waited for me. I remember first taking his hand, and then needing to grip his arm tightly as we walked back to our truck where Oscar waited - expectantly - in the drivers seat. In hindsight, it was a God-given moment of humor.
Life since then has seemed dazzlingly fast - other days it has been achingly slow. I can appreciate now - on this side of having a living child - what I missed in those months that followed her death. Sometimes at night I actually just sit beside Peyton as she sleeps and watch in amazement as her chest rises and falls with deep, even breaths. She is perfect - but she is not my firstborn.
So I did eventually get out of the car and kneel beside Autumn's grave. I remembered that day a year-and-a-half ago where the world felt as though it was collapsing around me. The only words I said were, "I miss you, sweetie." And then I just sat there for a while.
When I did finally get back into the car I spent some time talking to the Lord. Thanking Him for holding me though the darkest days my life has yet to see... praising Him for continuing to be my anchor in the continuing grief that can well up with surprising strength at times. But mostly, I thanked him for His compassion in giving me another child to love.
It is true that because of losing Autumn I have become a changed woman. Although I am no where near where I want to be, He has grown me. Gentled me. Humbled me. Given me compassion that I was incapable of feeling before for other hurting people. As a woman who is striving to be more like Jesus I understand that these things are true and lasting and give glory to the One who saved me. I miss my baby every single day. But the knowledge of Jesus as a friend who heals a broken heart... how could I even place a value on that? Strange as it seems, I am more secure in His love than I ever was before.
I know that one day, Peyton is going to ask about a baby in a photograph that she will think is her - and I will have to explain that she had a sibling who died. My heart's deepest prayer is that one day, I will get to share with my precious baby of grace just how much the Lord used her big sister to make me the mommy I am today. I pray that she would grow to love Him, too.
I'm feeling nostalgic for the old university days. As long as it's just pictures and not clinical and classes... A sampling - for old times sake. :) Lisa and Dale - pre-Peter Rabbit. :) Camille and Steven - not yet engaged... Arghhh! Ruthie's bridal shower where we all had to bring undies that reflected our "personalities". I announced my pregnancy with Autumn this evening. Notice Judy's violent streak... ;) Me, Ruthie and Crys after Roz's wedding... Alisa's bridal shower... 1st NEPS Christmas party at Crystals... this feels like a LOOOONGGGG time ago. We were all so glad to have survived 1st term exams. :) Roz's wedding... Crystal's wedding... (me with my Autumn preggo-bump) Daniel and Alisa... I've always thought this was a great picture of Derek. :) Alisa, Lisa and me - the day after grad at our last "in-school" NEPS Christmas party. Crystal, Anna, Miche and Roz... Lunch at Louie's... 4th year. Margaritta Mondays at Earls! :-D On the bus EARLY in the morning for a nursing confrence in Regina. Ugh... Remember when I choked and my eyes got all blood-shot? Yikes... glad that didn't stick around. But it was pretty funny to see people try to not notice them. :) See? This picture proves I'm NOT vain. (now to publish it before I change my mind)
*sigh* I miss you, my NEPS-girls! We're all spread out now - but I really do value all your friendships with my whole heart. :)
The van thermostat read +24 when I took Peyton for her immunizations this afternoon. So it was nice and warm to spend some time in our sun porch that Kurt got all cleaned up and de-winterized a few days ago. She was even wearing shorts! (I took her sweater off shortly after these pictures were taken.)
She's such a little ham... totally showing off for her Daddy who just wanted a nice smiling picture of the two of us. The top is the closet we got - but the rest are fun to look at.
She does this thing where she waves her arms around like a crazy person and kinda shrieks or fake-laughs. It's hilarious - and no one gets it quite as much or with such fervor as Kurt. I love watching them together. :)
Anyway, she took her needles like a trooper - stopped crying pretty much right away and just wanted to eat the bell the nurse rang to get her attention. :) She's just over the 50th percentile for height and still in the 75th for weight coming in at 18 lbs, 1 oz.
1) Seeing her smile with recognition when I go in to get her up from naps. 2) Her little hands and feet. 3) The absurd pride I take in her chubbiness. 4) Praying for her. 5) Watching as she (shock of shocks) starts to display a sin nature. It proves to me that my job is going to be long-term. :)6) Nursing her. 7) The way she watches me over her dad's shoulder as he leaves the room carrying her. 8) Playing peek-a-boo. 9) Learning to think beyond my immediate wants and needs to consider what is best for her (wait a lot of years for this one to start taking affect...)10) The way she "sings" to me while holding my face and giving kisses. 11) Playing dress-up with her. I never did dolls - but this more than makes up for lost time. 12) Those giggles! 13) Seeing her and thinking about all that has brought us to this point: amazed that she's growing up so quickly but so, so thankful.
Uhhummm... 13 is kinda an odd number to end with, I know. But if I keep going I'm going to get both over-indulgent and redundant. :)
- One year ago today we took possession of this house. I was very nauseous as we began the process of renovation. Glad that's over...
- Peyton started sleeping in her own room last Monday. It was both less challenging and less traumatic than I thought. I didn't wake up until she cried at 4:30. Kurt said that he got up and checked her at 3:30... but the rest of the week has been incedentless. (is that a word? Whatever.)
- Now that she's in there - she makes little squawks until I come in. She has figured out to watch the door while she squawks. It's pretty cute to see her face light up as if to say, "I knew it would work!"
- She's in 9-12 month sleepers. Oy!
- The whole "working one day a week" thing is going pretty well. It's great to have my mom and grandma so close by for short shifts. I actually have come home at noon on a couple of days to nurse Peyton.
- My treadmill broke. :( (And no, it wasn't me arranging a convenient accident like some mafia boss...)
- Our taxes are done (right under the wire)! And we actually get something back this year. Something to the tune of "I just might get my new fridge and freezer sooner than I had hoped".
- The lawn is starting to turn green! :-D
- Every once in a while, Peyton will be playing and then all of a sudden she'll burst into tears. I think she bites her own hand with her new choppers. Those little suckers are sharp. Don't ask how I've found this out - but the original discovery involved me yelling, "Oooowww-chhhhhhhh!"
- Kurt has started getting ready to start with seeding again: so between the two of us we're holding down 4 jobs - and only one is mine. We're having a little bit of trouble getting quality time together that doesn't involve Kurt falling asleep during the last 10 minutes of Lost. (Seriously. I don't know how he does it.) Anyway, I'm hoping this season of busyness is short. :)
- Okay - high-pitched yells coming from the other room - must run! :)