We did it. I didn’t realize how much I was concerned about this point until today. We are over the threshold and I feel like things are all going to get easier from here. It seems counter-intuitive to think that things are going to get *better* as the kids get older, so I will explain.
Molly is two months old. Today. Alex died two days shy of his two month birthday. Molly is officially older than Alex was when he died. To hit this milestone makes me realize how much I had been waiting for this.
Rationally, I wasn’t worried that something would happen to Molly. I knew that could expect her to celebrate birthdays and other events just as we have for Benjamin. You never know though… We had no reason to expect something to happen to Alex, and it did.
Realizing that Molly is older than Alex opens up a whole new world for us. We are hitting a whole new world of “firsts” that we haven’t experienced in quite some time. We had Alex just one year ago. Just one year ago there was nursing and swaddling and cuddling and bathing… We have done these things with Molly, and while they are unique in their own right, they are also very recent. We are now going to be getting into things that we haven’t done since Benjamin, and that feels special and new again.
Living with Molly hasn’t been a deja vu of Alex. I don’t see Alex when I look at her, I don’t compare her to Alex as we go through life. However… all the things we have done to this point have been pretty familiar. Not that they’re any less special… they’re just pretty fresh in my memory. As we start to encounter the milestones that mark the life of a three month old, a six month old, etc., that’s when life with Molly will really *feel* different from life with Alex.
I’m not sure if that makes sense. All I can say is that I’m more than relieved. I’m excited. Excited to think about all the wonderful things on our horizon. Excited to think about having two beautiful children to hug and celebrate on my birthday. Excited to think about coordinating Halloween costumes this Fall. Excited to see another stocking hung by the chimney with care this Christmas.
I wasn’t living with dread this past few months, but it feels like I can breathe a little easier now. When I hold Molly in my arms, I can feel my heart and mind let go just a little bit more. I can let her into my life with less concern… she’ll still be with us in the morning.
I have a new perspective on things. It’s been evolving since Alex died and I feel like I’m finally “here.” I can continue to plan our lives, and really try to make the best of things. I will always do that. The thing that’s different is that I’m not going to dwell on all the things that won’t happen according to plan. If I have a list of 10 things I want to do, and only 7 get completed, I’m going to celebrate the 7, not focus on the 3.
It has been a hard transition, but I’ve found that there is so much more joy and happiness in life when you enjoy the things you have, without mourning the things you don’t. It’s not apathy. It’s non-attachment. (I just learned this term…) I’m not emphasizing the “ifs,” “shoulds,” or “woulds.” I am whole-heartedly appreciating the blessings in this moment.
There is still a lot in store for us, and I know our story isn’t done. I don’t know what the next few years will bring us, but I feel better prepared… in my heart and my mind. Watching Molly reach milestones Alex didn’t brings a new level of joy that I didn’t fully expect.
It’s like there has been a cloud over our lives. We still see sunshine and rainbows, but the sun hasn’t shone as brightly as we were used to, and the days haven’t been as warm as we were accustomed to. As more time passes, the clouds get further and further away. The sunlight that shines on us is from the same sun, but it feels brighter because there’s less gray in the sky. I feel like I can experience happiness and joy on another level again. Our world is coming back to technicolor, and I *like* living in HD.
The everyday chores and work that come with raising two children fill me with a resounding joy and a deeper satisfaction than I have ever known before. There is nothing more fulfilling than going to church and giving thanks with your arms full of kids. True contentment for me is driving home from something fun, with both kids asleep in the backseat. I love that my car is full of car seats again. I love the peaceful quiet of watching them sleep in the rear-view mirror, hearing their tired snoring in the background. I enjoy washing bottles, changing diapers and doing laundry. All those tasks that were arduous before Alex died bring pure unadulterated joy.
The prospect of going back to work is fun, juggling a career and mommy-hood. So different from going back to work, fresh off burying Alex. Returning to work will be a homecoming, not a continued journey into sadness.
I promised God that if I was given the gift of motherhood again, I wouldn’t squander it with complaints. Watching Molly turn two months old, brings that promise home, and I continue to give thanks.
Benjamin asked where Baby Alex was when we were sitting in church this morning. It’s been weeks since he mentioned Alex, and I’m not sure why Alex was top of mind today. Maybe Alex whispered in Benjamin’s heart because Alex is celebrating her two month birthday too. I’m so happy she’s here, and yet still so sad that he’s gone.
I have three beautiful children and the fact that I’ve never seen them all together brings a unique sort of sadness I can’t clearly articulate. There are pictures with Alex and pictures with Molly. Just never a picture with Alex and Molly. That sucks. There’s such a range of emotions that come with this- all three kids co-exist only in my heart. But, instead of focusing on the distance, I consciously choose to embrace the knowledge that I *have* three children. While I don’t fully understand, God thinks that’s enough. And that’s good enough for me.