Up until about an hour after Hailey was born, Sean and I had no idea that our little baby girl was about to rock our world. The fact that she was 8 weeks premature didn't even begin to prepare us for what was about to occur in our lives.
Right before I began to write this post I watched the slideshow of photos I put up on the top of my blog. Tears came spilling down my cheeks as I watched the pictures of her first few days and months of life and the unbelievably miraculous transformation that took place over those 3 years she lived on this Earth.
If you watch the slide show, you'll notice that even at her worst times, Hailey ALWAYS had a smile on her face. That little girl absolutely LOVED life and refused to ever let any of her struggles and trials get her down for even one moment. She taught me more about life in her 3 short years here than I think I had learned combined before she was born. And even though she's no longer physically here with me, I continue to learn from her everyday.
I KNOW that our loved ones are just as much alive after they have left this Earthly world as they were when they were physically here. I once explained it to Lexi by telling her that her family members on the East Coast are just as much alive as she is right now, even though she isn't looking at them or talking to them. They're just busy living life on the other side of the country. I truly believe that for Hailey as well. She's just busy living her life in Heaven right now. Of course the big difference is that we can call or visit our other family members here when we miss them and hear back from them personally, which unfortunately we can't do with Hailey. If someone could invent telephones or Skype in Heaven that would be very much appreciated! However, for now I know she visits us, interacts with us, hears us and watches over us, etc. (Not in a creepy kind of way, but through the little signs she sends...a dime after my blog about missing her, a Lay's potato chip truck or yellow jeep driving by when I'm having a rough day, and so on.)
Let me give you a couple examples from her birthday. For some weird reason I thought I was going to be totally fine that day. I guess since this is her third birthday in Heaven, I assumed I was maybe getting used to it. Of course, I was wrong.
I anticipated that day all month. What kind of birthday would she have wanted? What friends would she have invited? What kinds of presents would she have asked for? What would she have looked like? And then...what was I going to do to celebrate her life? How was I going to make her birthday a happy day for myself and my children? How was I going to make sure that everyone else remembered it was her birthday?
The night before I ended up getting a horrible headache, probably close to a migraine. I went to bed super early because the pain was so intense. The following morning I woke up and it was still there and I remember wondering how I was going to get through the day. I'm still not sure if I was wondering that because of my raging headache or because it was Hailey's birthday and I wasn't going to get to celebrate it with her.
I finally got out of bed, but struggled all morning. I couldn't believe how difficult it was and how emotional I felt. It definitely caught me off guard. I just wanted to be alone and think and be sad and cry, but having three other young children at home (who were so excited to celebrate their sister's birthday) made my grief a little more difficult to deal with. In some ways the kids make it easier because I don't have time to wallow in my misery, but on the same token the kids make it difficult because I don't have time to wallow in my misery.
I have to say I was pretty grumpy and snappy all morning. We decided to take Hailey some balloons, flowers and a huge bag of Lay's potato chips and have a picnic lunch at her place. As we were driving there I could feel that pit in my stomach churning with emotion and my eyes welling up with tears as I was feeling so sorry for myself. I finally started praying that I wouldn't break down in front of the kids because they were so excited. As I looked up, there on the other side of the road a huge Lay's truck drove right by. My mouth turned upwards into a huge smile, tears rolled down my cheeks, and I knew right then that Hailey was with us. She knew of my deep pain and her sisters' innocent excitement and was able to pull me out it for their sake. I knew that she was aware of me and the last thing I wanted was for her to see her mother sad on what would have been her 6th birthday. I felt like she was telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself because she never felt sorry for herself even one minute...especially now. Almost immediately I snapped out of it and the day started looking up.
When we were getting ready to leave her place after lunch I was folding up Joey's stroller and out plopped two dimes right at my feet. Once again I was smiling.
Later that day, the girls and I made cupcakes and they had a great time decorating them all. We invited some friends and neighbors that were really close to Hailey to have dinner with us back at her place. It turned out to be an absolutely "beau'ful day," as Hailey would have said.
On our way home, as I drove by a gas station, right there in the parking lot were two Lay's trucks parked side-by-side. It was such a wonderful way to end a "beau'ful day," in Hailey's honor!
So, as I mentioned above, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that Hailey still lives and is aware of her family and friends. I know she watches out for those she knows and loves and for those her family knows and loves. I've heard so many stories from family and friends of times they felt Hailey was there watching over them. I love her so much and although I can't physically interact with her, I know our spirits interact often.
Some pictures from Hailey's 3rd Birthday
(The last birthday she celebrated before she passed away.)
Our Family Picture
She LOVED her Lay's!
Some pics from Haileys "6th" Birthday
Our Family Picture
(No, those glasses are not real!)