(Photos by the ever-talented and amazing Carly Marie Dudley - a true angel walking on Earth, who I get the honor of calling my friend. Find her work here, here, and here)
The first strange thing about yesterday is that it rained. In Southern California, in July, that doesn't happen. We had made plans to go to the beach at sunset and throw flowers off the end of the pier in honor of Vivian, Annemarie, Steven, and Kambry.
Originally we were going to let off balloons, but then I kept thinking about the poor birds and sea life, and littering...and so flowers seemed like a good compromise. ;-) But then it started drizzling, and that drizzling turned to rain. And I felt like the sky was crying, but it was alright. It seemed appropriate somehow.
When Paprika woke up in the morning, the first thing she said was that she didn't know how to get two slices of chocolate cake up to Heaven. "What are we going to do? Get a balloon. Or an airplane?" So sweet.
We had a busy day planned, which was pretty much on purpose. Paprika had a double swim lesson, which means she had a private lesson first and then right after that, she had a group swim lesson with three other kids.
Paprika got to her lesson, and the teachers were all in the pool while the kids waited on the bleachers for the lessons to start. The teachers called Paprika into the pool by herself. Then, they asked me if they could take some pictures of Paprika for the upcoming brochure with their new underwater camera. It was just really special that they wanted her. She is so happy at the pool, and everyone there loves her. It's a place where she just fits. On a day when I didn't really want to smile, that made me smile so big. It's the little things.
Then, after a quick trip home for a shower, we headed out to Paprika's first piano lesson. Ginger met a little girl at the studio and was having a ball playing with her in the waiting room while Paprika worked with her teacher. Violet was along for the ride - happy to hang out in the Ergo and check out the world around her.
I snapped this photo with my cellphone (through the studio's window):
Then, we stopped at the little park for an hour for the girls to play some more. It started to rain again, so we headed home before the clouds broke open.
At just about the time that Vivian and Annemarie were born (4:56 pm and 5:14 pm), it started to really rain! I knew at that point that there wouldn't be a beach trip at sunset...but that's okay. I ended up taking Violet for a walk in the rain (big umbrella) late last night, and that brought its own peace.
“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.”
― Vivian Greene
I know things do get easier every year. The things that would have been crippling four years ago are not as acutely painful today. Yesterday, for example, at Paprika's piano studio there were identical twin four year old girls who looked JUST like mini-Paprikas (with the little knot dresses and all).
Four years ago seeing identical twin girls the same age as my girls slayed me. I think I will always notice twin girls, and I will always think about Vivian and Annemarie when I see them. But, hopefully, as the years go on that pain I have will turn more to gratitude...for the fact that I had them at all, for the impact they've had on our lives, and for the wisdom that has come from losing them. That is my hope, anyway.
Happy Birthday to my sweet second and third born daughters. I'll like you forever, I'll love you for always. As long as I'm living, my babies you'll be.