Thursday, March 14, 2013

Five Years...


We've had many park days lately.  I could fill a whole photo album (if I made photo albums) of our trips to the park together.  The pictures are all kinds of ordinary, but I cherish this kind of ordinary.  It reminds me of this beautiful life, and how I could never take it for granted - not one second of it.


Last week (March 5th) was the birthday of Devon's boys.  They would have been five years old.  They died on March 7th and 8th, two and three days after they were born - and so all last week Devon and her boys were especially on my mind.  I thought back to five years ago, and being pregnant with Vivian and Annemarie - and how time and circumstance have changed me and changed the lives of everyone I know.

A lot of days, I feel like rocks in the canyon, with water flowing over me and carving its name into my soul.  It happens slowly - and five years is just a blink.  But these past five years have cut deep:  Vivian, Annemarie, Blake, Ethan, Grandpa, Eric, Steven.  And it spreads out from there - the people I have met, each carrying their own losses too painful to speak.


And in five years, so much joy, as well.  Devon has a little girl now - the same age as Ginger.  And I have my sweet Ginger and my Violet.  I look at these girls and they are miraculous to me.  Miraculous works of the Creator.  I know all babies are - Blake and Ethan and Vivian and Annemarie are also Miraculous works of the Creator.  I know that now even more than I knew it five years ago.


So last Tuesday, like I said, was Blake and Ethan's birthday.  I had been building up to it for a month - thinking about it - wondering what that day would be like - Five Years.  I (silently) built it up in my head that no one should do anything on that day.  Like there would be a National Day of Silence - no Facebooking or driving, etc. 


Paprika's school sent home a flyer that they would be going on a Field Trip to the Police Station on that day, and I was honestly upset.  How could they go on a freaking Field Trip on Blake and Ethan's birthday?!!!  Don't they understand March 5th: National Day of Silence, no Facebooking and no Driving Day?

But that's the thing - they did go on the field trip.  And I guess that's how it has to be.  Paprika and her classmates all lined up like little ducks and walked (waddled?) downtown to the Police Station.  The Mayor's daughter is in Paprika's class.  So, the Mayor took the day off and waddled downtown with the little ducks...and personally took them on a tour of City Hall.  Paprika came home beaming that she got to sit at the Mayor's desk and pound the gavel one time.  She was so full of life, and so very happy.

I'm not sure, but I think Blake and Ethan would have preferred that over a day of silence in their memories.  It was me who wanted to sit still and feel sorry about them not being here - about the pain of that day, and what five years means to a mom missing her children.  Of course, I'm not just talking about Devon now, am I?


God is working on me in big (and small) ways - and the more I look back at my life, the more I see how fortunate I am to have lived through all I have lived through in these 35 short years.  God is using me, and I don't think He's finished with me yet.  At least I hope not!  ;-)


I haven't begun to figure out half the things I want to figure out - and I don't know what grief looks like 10 or 20 or 50 years from now. 

I do know that every day I wake up, I look to my purpose.  Some days, my purpose is creating magical moments with my family - days in the sunshine that I know we'll remember for a lifetime. 

And then some days, my purpose is making sure the kids are well rested, fed, bathed, getting the dishes done, taking care of the laundry, putting food on the table.  It's setting the stage so that the magical moments can happen, too.   Magical moments don't happy to hungry, tired least not around here!.  ;-). 

It's about not sweating the small things - like Baby Violet who only wants what her sisters have - so she wears her 6 1/2 year old sister's jacket everywhere.  We roll up the sleeves and make it work.  I'm finding that life is a lot about improvisation and finding happiness with what is...not what might have been or could be if only.


Life is not at all how I expected it would be - but it is beautiful just the same.


The End.


Not Just A Blonde said...

Beautiful heart wrenching inspiring post full of so much love I'm in tears. You girls are amAzing mamas and ALL your children both here and in Heaven are blessed because of your eternal love. XO

Tina Michelle said...

So sorry for your loss. It is nice to see the beauty in the moment and soak it up. Love the pics. I can see my kids wearing too big jackets and me just rolling with it too!

Amber said...

I too, always think of Devon in the beginning of March. I think of her boys in March the way I think of your girls in July. And I think in a small way (very small) that is a mark they have left on this world. By other mother's who read and absorb the experiences of others and feel like they "know" them in a way that they never did before the invention of the Internet.

And that for all the not so good things that have come out of the Internet, like anything else there are some pretty splendid perks too. This perk being that you can know without thinking that there are a group of mothers out there who will remember Blake and Ethan and Vivian and AnneMarie even if they never "met" them, or you or Devon (who's blog I miss!)

I hope you are well and always look forward to your beautiful and chaotic life with three young girls. It reminds me of my time growing up with my two younger sisters and I know the sisterhood they will always keep. You embrace the mixture of great and not so great so fully, that's inspiring to the rest of us - to be sure.

Mimi said...

Erika, I really don't know what to write, and having read the previous 2 comments, I'm at even more of a loss for words.
Life is so strange, if it weren't for Blake and Ethan, Vivian and Annemarie, you and Devon would not have met. I wouldn't have read your blogs (I miss Devon's blog too!) and so on. You're 2 great mothers, an inspiration. And I enjoy looking at the beautiful pics of your 3 little girls; it brings joy to my heart.
"what five years means to a mom missing her children" (((((hugs)))))

Anna See said...

So beautiful, Erika. Sending you love at the 5 yr mark, and every day. xo

Mayor Diane Joens said...

Erika...somehow your link on my favorites got broken and I thought you had stopped blogging and closed your account for some reason. I was so sad for days, because I have been reading your blog every day for a couple of years..since Ginger was a baby. It is really a highlight every day! A couple of years ago I stumbled onto your blog and became interested mainly because of Annamarie and Vivian. You see, I buried two of my newborns back in 1972 and 1975. Both babies were full-term and died at birth. This experience for a mother does bring such profound sadness and requires a lot of coping skills. It is amazing, as one of the comments here states, that the Internet can provide an interaction or a place to "share" grief. I had no such thing back then, and while my husband farmed and worked all the time, and people didn't really know how to help in those days, I suffered and cried alone. I also had a little boy, Davey, in 1973, who lived to be 12 and then died of a brain aneurysm in 1985. Still miss him so much and wonder what he would be like and how many grandkids I might have had. When you were pregnant for Violet and you used to worry about how things would turn out, I wanted to write to you and assure you. I never did, though, because I totally understood that worry. I really enjoyed this post as it talked about Paprika going to city hall and siting in the mayor's chair, as now I am the mayor of my community. Your concern about your friend Devon and the anniversary of her losing her boys was very touching. What a good friend you are. And, you are the most awesome mother. I admire the beautiful love and concern you have for your children. You are a lucky mom to have them, but they are so blessed to have YOU! Thank you for writing this blog and being an inspiration to me, and I am sure many others.