This weekend marked 100 days that we've been without Avery Kate. Imagine being without someone you love for 100 days. Imagine growing something inside of you from the size of a little sesame seed, feeling every movement and kick, feeling every hiccup. Imagine watching those first breaths in the real world, watching those first looks into your eyes, hearing that first cry, that first laugh. Imagine melting at a first smile. Imagine spending every moment with someone and then never seeing them again. Imagine never holding those little hands again, never hearing those cries, those laughs, those hiccups. Imagine never being able to look into those eyes again.
I don't have to imagine any of this, I'm living it. I've spent 100 days and 100 nights without the little baby that I created, grew, and brought into this world. I've also spent 100 days and nights without a piece of my heart that I know I will never get back. People say, "Time heals all wounds." Well not these wounds. It is getting harder and harder each day. My arms continue to ache for my baby girl. I pulled out her "Threads of Love" from the hospital. I smelled her outfit and immediately felt her with me. It's so sad to see it cut down the middle, it's like it brings my mind back to that day when I saw her lying on the table. I looked at her little wisp of hair and at her footprint. She was just so perfect, and I guess that's why God had to take her. Some days it is comforting knowing that she is in Heaven, but other days, not so much. It doesn't make me miss her any less.
We went to the Lake Charles Mardi Gras parade on Sunday. Hallie rode in it with Mrs. Christy and we all went to watch her. That entire morning I just felt so sad and upset and I thought it was maybe because another holiday was approaching that Avery Kate would not be a part of. As we drove down Ryan Street and passed in front of Mr. Gatti's I suddenly realized why I was upset. When I took Hallie and Avery Kate to the McNeese Homecoming Parade, that's where we stood. I held Avery Kate in my arms and helped Hallie get beads and candy. Well that explains the big lump in my throat. We had such a good time at that parade and I knew if Avery Kate were there, she'd be enjoying the beautiful weather and the parade too. But she wasn't there. My family and I stood there watching the parade and waiting to see Hallie on her float. We all felt so "naked." It was so strange to stand there with no kids. It's like when you forget to wear your wedding ring, you keep feeling for it all day, but it's not there. But then Hallie finally came rolling down the street. She was absolutely adorable. She was so happy! Just smiling and throwing her beads. It definitely made my day! That's what keeps me going. Every time I'm upset or sad, it's Hallie to the rescue! She can turn my smile upside down any day, any time. I love that little girl!
We also took Hallie to spend the night at Lauberge since we were all off for the Mardi Gras holiday. She had so much fun that she thought it was her birthday! We ate supper there, played in the arcade, got ice cream, and best of all, jumped on the bed! She had a blast. Her little voice and expressions made me remember what it was like to actually have fun again. We can really learn a lot from children. They don't judge, hold grudges, and can always have fun no matter where they are.
On another note, with this new baby on the way, I've had so many mixed emotions. Happiness, guilt, nervousness, anxiety, fear, excitement. I am just so happy that God has answered my prayers, and so quickly at that! But now the reality is hitting me. I will have to clean out Avery Kate's room. I will have to take the clothes from her hamper and wash them, I will have to take her clothes out of her closet, I will have to put away all of her blankets and towels. How will I do that? Brandon doesn't want to reuse her swing because it is just too hard for him. But what do I do with it? I don't want to reuse her car seat because it still smells like her. I go in there and sniff it from time to time and it brings me comfort. What do I do with that? I guess I will figure it all out with time. After all, I do have all the way until October to decide these things. I think part of my anxiety is just the unknown. But you know, even though we plan everything out, we still don't actually know what life will bring. Only the Man upstairs knows that, and he still never gave me a copy of his plan! I guess He truly knows best and I need to trust in Him. He has never let me down and I don't think he plans to either. I know these 100 days are so small compared to the eternity we will spend in Heaven. It's just hard to wrap my head around that though. I now embrace the 100 days that have passed and welcome the next 100 days to come. I know they will bring happiness and joy.