Well I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve last written, not because I don’t have a million things to write about, but more because I have to be in a certain frame of mind or emotional state to really express my feelings or experiences. I have to be inspired at the moment and have a quiet, uninterrupted place to sit down and really think about how I want to put what I’m feeling into words. Let’s just say, with a new baby, the holidays, sicknesses, etc., I haven’t had many of those moments lately. In some ways it’s a good thing because it means I’m keeping busy, but in others, not so good because it means things are piling up that I want to write about. I will say that I write the best blogs ever in my head while lying awake in the middle of the night! Unfortunately, I never have the energy to actually get up and write them and then by morning life starts again and the moment is over. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to really work on keeping up with my blog. For some ridiculous reason, I actually thought there would come a point when I wouldn’t have anything left to say. Who knows, maybe that is the case, but it’s definitely not yet…even after two and half years.
I had an experience today that caught me completely off guard and gave me a profound and somewhat scary realization. So I’ll start with that. Unfortunately that means I’m going to have to back track a little for my subsequent blogs, which I don’t like to do because the experience has already passed and the feelings aren’t as strong, but hopefully my New Year’s resolution will help me avoid that in the future.
Now, after that nice long introduction let tell you about today. In the LDS church when children turn three they enter a program called Primary. There is a junior primary for children ages 3-8 and senior primary for children ages 9-12. The children start their new classes at the beginning of each year. Also, once or twice a year the whole primary gets up in front of the congregation where they sing and give little talks and read scriptures. The singing part is the best…especially on Mother’s Day!
I remember having a really hard time the first day that Hailey was supposed to move up to Primary. She would have been with Lexi in junior primary for a couple years. Lexi LOVES being a big sister and couldn’t wait to have Hailey with her. (Although, I think it affected me way more than her.) Then came the first time they all got up and sang, which happened to be on Mother’s Day. What should have been a sweet, joyous experience was exactly the opposite for me. To say it was borderline excruciating would probably be an understatement. I had to stay because Lexi was up there and I needed to be there for her, but I think I had tears pouring down my cheeks the entire time as I watched what would have been Hailey’s class waving at their moms so proud and excited as they sang away. My heart just ached.
Well today was Ava’s first day of Primary. I was really excited for her, until I dropped her off. I walked out of the room and then peeked in the window to see her sitting right up front with her little class of 3-year olds. Then, all of a sudden, it literally hit me like a ton of bricks. I started having flashbacks of what should have been Hailey’s first day. I felt my stomach turn and my eyes start to burn with tears. Quickly, I made my way to the bathroom, stood in a stall, and kept telling myself to pull it together. After a few minutes, I walked out to find Sean standing there. I think he could sense my pain because he immediately offered to take me home and come back and get the kids later.
On the way home I was telling him how surprised I was at the unexpected emotions that came flooding up. As I watched my sweet little Ava sitting there I went from seeing the back of her head, to the back of Hailey’s head, to the back of her head, and so on…if that makes any sense. For some reason the past few months have been particularly hard for me. I feel like my grief is all fresh and new again, especially during the holidays. This Christmas was much harder than last Christmas. (That’s a whole other blog I’m going to write.) Anyways, that’s when my big, profound realization hit me. Ava is now Hailey’s age. Everything she is doing and experiencing is a reminder to me of what I’ve missed out on with Hailey...Christmas lights, Santa, Christmas morning, preschool, primary, the first time she gets up and sings at church, and so on.
I wasn’t prepared for this new found trial in my grief. I thought that as time went on it would continually get easier, so I was completely unprepared for how hard its been the last few months. It’s very rare that I cry in front of people, but there have been many times I’ve had to shove the pain way down deep lately so I wouldn’t break down. I couldn’t figure out why it was all so fresh again, until today.
So now I’m stuck with trying to figure out this whole new phase I’m going through and may possibly go through for a long time because from this point forward everything that Ava does and every milestone she marks will be one more I’ve missed with Hailey. My biggest concern is figuring out how to avoid allowing my sadness for Hailey to overcome my joy for Ava. I need to find a way to enjoy all those exciting things Ava will experience just as fully as if Hailey were still here. I love my children so much and the last thing I would ever want is to feel like I slighted one of them out of an amazing experience because I allowed my grief to take over. Not to mention, I know Hailey would hate that too. I guess that means I’m going to be spending a lot more time on my knees praying for strength.