Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Violet!


One year ago today, my life changed forever when I held Violet in my arms for the first time. Paprika had named her Pavenzia, and everyone wondered if the name would stick. Ha!

 It's so strange to me to think that this is only her first birthday because she seems like she's always been in our family.

Here she is on the day she was born, totally brand new:


In her daddy's arms at the hospital:


And with her mama, freshly delivered! ;-)


Meeting her sisters for the first time:


It was love at first sight for them, too!


The funny thing is that even though she's a year older now, to me she hasn't changed a bit. She is still the same little soul she was on the day she was born.

I often think about that and wonder when we become "who" we are. Was she different the day before she was born compared to the day she was born? I have to think that little babies in utero are themselves from the moment they are conceived.

It's pretty amazing to look at a fresh baby and know that who she was on that first day of life is who she IS...and that is, just perfect in every way. When I look at her, I see God's perfect creation and it makes me weep for the miracle of life. (Not to get sappy on you or anything - ha!)


I have watched her sleep from the day she was first placed in my arms. Is there anything better to watch than a sleeping baby?


I know people think I'm crazy because I have held her for every nap of her life.  I have never laid her down for a nap when she wasn't being held in my arms or in a baby carrier. I like that the second she wakes up, I'm right there.

It's been the most amazing privilege to watch her grow, and you know...I think the reason I love watching her sleep is because I can. There are three babies I've carried who I don't get to watch the fact that I can watch Violet sleeping is a huge privilege to me. I think I'll still be watching her sleep when she's ten (although eventually she'll probably ask me to stop - ha!)

violet-sleeping 3

Those first few months were so hard - I look back at this photo and I am amazed by everything that has happened since Violet was born.  Mr. M went out-of-town for three months to work on Flight when Violet was just a month old, and I was left to hold down the house with three little ones by myself.  Good Grief!

I am honestly surprised that I survived the first year!  Haha!


But, somehow we made it through and came out the other side...and here we are! One year later. A family with three girls who make us laugh every single day.

After we found out Vivian and Annemarie were girls, all I could think about was our little family of three girls. And while it's not the same, I still love raising three girls. I'm getting to the place where I couldn't imagine things turning out any other way...and that is something I never thought I'd say.


The other day when I went to vote, I saw two Monarch butterflies circling over my head...flying in unison, little tandem flyers. Whenever I see Monarchs, I always think of Vivian and Annemarie. It was like a little nod from them telling me that things are as they should be, and that even though in many ways I'm still NOT okay with what happened, Vivian and Annemarie are always with me.  Always.

I'm not saying that I don't have my moments of deep sadness and missing Vivian and Annemarie, because I definitely do.  But more days than not, I am finding peace. I am finding joy in this life, and what it means to be a mom to my three living children. Having Violet gave me that peace.  Even though I would have done everything I could have to keep Vivian and Annemarie alive, it wasn't my choice.  And so, how can I be anything but grateful for the miracles of these girls?  I am in absolute awe that I get to raise them, and I wonder on a daily basis how could I ever be so lucky.


I worry about writing this because I don't want it to be misconstrued or hurtful to anyone. I am not saying Ginger and Violet replaced Vivian and Annemarie, because no one ever could.

Just today, on the day Violet turns one, I am able to look back and see how far we have come as a family. That every single thing that happened to get to this point in our journey was worth it - that all the pain and heartache was worth it, because I cannot imagine not being able to have had Violet and Ginger. Out of the darkest of scenarios, two miracles happened.


I am reminded every time I look at Violet not to take a single second of her life for granted. It all goes by too fast anyway, and so every joyful day with her, I stand and recognize that she is a miracle.


Happy one year of breath, my sweet baby Violet.   You are everything and everything is you.


Just when the caterpillar thought the world was became a butterfly.     -Anonymous


Devon said...

Nobody would ever think you are replacing Vivian & Annemarie...Out of complete darkness, the Lord can bring good and good is found in your two littlest girls. (I always want to use their *real* names)!

I am glad you are finding peace and joy in the family you have...Raising three little girls is a blessed place to be!

Love you! Happy birthday Violet!

Mimi said...

Happy Birthday Violet!
Beautifully written Erika. I would never think that you were replacing one child, one life, with another...what I read in your writing is that you are finding healing and on the very difficult road that you have travelled, you have reached a place of being at peace. At peace with times of sadness and times of joy.
Congratulations on your beautiful family, they're as lucky to have you as you are to have them.