Avery Kate

Avery Kate was a healthy ten week old baby girl who went to sleep for a nap and woke up in Heaven. We miss her every second of every day. SIDS became a reality in our family and we will never forget our beautiful baby girl.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

That Time of Year

Most people associate fall with beautiful weather, pumpkin spice everything, changing colors, and complete happiness. Even though I might enjoy a PSL from Starbucks every now and then, for me, this time of year brings so much anxiety and sadness. From Halloween up until Avery Kate's Angel-versary (tomorrow) I remember and re-live every single moment that I had with her. I remember the outfits she wore, what she smelled like, the way she looked at me, the noises she made, and the list goes on. Last night was especially hard because I remember the details of that LSU vs Alabama football game just those few nights before she passed away. Four years later and I can still remember dressing her that morning, taking her picture, going out to eat for breakfast with Brandon and our girls..... I remember Hallie's pancake, I remember the waitress oohing and ahhing over Avery Kate. I remember the house that we went to for the "big game." I remember where I set her car seat down outside since we watched the game on a big screen. I remember eating what seems like 20 helpings of grilled green beans! I also remember changing her into her jammies before we left that night....very, very vividly. So last night was extra difficult being that our friends were all gathering once again to watch the "big game." I honestly don't think I watched more than 10 minutes of the game. It wasn't necessarily the best game to watch, but it just helped to keep my mind busy inside talking with the ladies. As it got closer to the time for us to leave, the lump in my throat got bigger and bigger. I always imagine what it would be like to have her here with us playing with all the kids, but last night was just extra hard. And I knew it was going to be that way. I've had anxiety about that night all week. But I made it and Hallie and Aubrey had a blast playing all night with their friends.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason these few days are the hardest for me is because I keep trying to replay those days over and over in my mind to see if there was something I missed. Was there a sign that I didn't see? Maybe if I would have done something differently that night. I know we can't change the past, but it's so hard to have no answers. I'm normally pretty accepting of this, but not this week. This season just brings out all of my emotions.
We took our Christmas card pictures last week... yep; during my emotional bliss! I'm always looking for ways to include Avery Kate without being gaudy or tacky and I am soooooo very pleased with the way they turned out. My absolute favorite is the one of my THREE girls. Wow! It feels so good to write that. I have a picture of my three girls. Amazing! I put Avery Kate's picture inside of the word JOY. This will help to remind us of the joy this little girl brought to us during her short stay on Earth. I absolutely love it! It also helps to have a great friend as a photographer. She knows how to capture my thoughts without me even explaining them to her.(I added my two favorites below.)
Tomorrow brings to an end another entire year that we have spent without Avery Kate. Four years. Four years without that beautiful baby girl in our lives. We will always wonder what she would have been, what she would have looked like, what trouble these girls of mine would be getting into together, and I could just go on forever. Even though I wonder a lot, I can tell you what I imagine.... I imagine a little girl who looks somewhat like Aubrey, but with darker hair. Her smile lights up every room. She and Hallie play very well together, but she and Aubrey butt heads. I daydream about the three of them playing together all the time. And oddly enough, Hallie does the same thing! Every now and then, she will come in and tell me how life is not fair! Avery Kate should be playing Candyland with them right now! And I completely agree with that little girl. She is so smart and so in-tuned with her sister. I'm so grateful that she still thinks about her so often, but on the other hand, I worry about her. It hurts my heart to know the pain she bears at such a young age. Children are supposed to be out playing with their friends and having fun! I hate that Hallie worries about death, Heaven, angels, etc. But we don't get to choose our lives, and I know our parents wouldn't choose this life for us either. We accept it, and make the best of every day.
Life isn't fair, we know this. But we aren't the ones writing this story. I believe our Avery Kate chapter is just getting started. I don't believe that her chapter was ever closed. She makes a difference in every day of my life and I know she is continuing to touch others as well. One day, we will see our beautiful baby girl again, but until we meet again..... I will continue to imagine and daydream who she would have been and what our lives would have been with Avery Kate still here on Earth. Happy 4th Angel-versary to my sweet Avery Kate! Our lives are forever changed and you will always be in our hearts.
The girls wore their feather shirts today in remembrance of their angel sister in Heaven. I pray that Avery Kate sends little white feathers to all those who are in trouble and need guidance this week. I also pray that she will send those little feathers to anyone who is needing a special little wink to know that Heaven is for real, and that we have some pretty amazing support coming from above.
Avery Kate Soileau September 1, 2011 - November 9, 2011.

Friday, August 21, 2015

This is Just the Beginning

It's been almost an entire year since my last post. I've sat down at the computer numerous times and tried to put my thoughts into words but it just never worked. It was a super busy and crazy year to say the least! My first and best friend in the whole world got married as well as two of my brothers.... yes TWO of them! Brandon's sister had her first baby whom I am so lucky to call my godchild. And in the midst of all the wedding fun we took the girls on a surprise trip to Disney World. It was a year to remember!
Aubrey has grown up so much and she just reminds me of Hallie when she was that age. Not at all her behavior because in that department those girls are NIGHT AND DAY! I mean more like the questions that Aubrey asks me and the comments that she makes. And that makes me miss Avery Kate. Aubrey is the age that Hallie was when she was Avery Kate's big sister. My heart breaks all over again seeing Aubrey's mind work and remembering that, yes, Hallie absolutely knew her little sister and she knows that she is gone forever. I guess I tried to convince myself that Hallie was so young she won't remember much of the heartache; only the happy stories that we will share. Wrong. That little girl remembers everything. The other night I could hear her crying her little heart out in her bed. I went in there and she was asking me how old Avery Kate was. I used a friend's little girl as an example since they would be the same age. Hallie lost it! She screamed, "She can walk!? She can talk? And we don't get to see it??" Well of course I feel the same way. My little girl is growing up and I am missing it. I feel like I've come so far, yet I have so much more ahead of me.
I do think it's so neat to watch Hallie teach Aubrey about Avery Kate. She tells her she's in Heaven, but I know Aubrey thinks that means she is on the wall in our bedroom. Aubrey wears some of Avery Kate's bows or bracelets and I always tell her that her sister gave them to her. She just smiles.
I cleaned out the playroom one day and threw out a bunch of old stuffed animals. Well I found a pink bear and a white bear that I knew came from a plant or flower arrangement from Avery Kate's funeral. Hallie quickly snatched them up and gave the white one to Aubrey and kept the pink one for herself. They both call their bears Avery Kate, which I have to admit is kind of creepy at first, but then again it's so sweet that they both choose to sleep with "their sister" every single night. It just warms my heart and I guess it also makes me smile to hear her name used so often in our home.
I realize this post may be all over the place but the real reason I am finally able to sit down and write is because this has been by far the toughest week I've had in a while. Avery Kate's birthday is September 1. For all you teachers and former teachers out there, you know I was already struggling with the decision about when she would start school the minute I found out my due date with her. Would I start her in pre-K at age 3 and let her turn 4 a few weeks into the school year? That would mean she would graduate at 17 instead of 18. She's a girl so sports wouldn't be a factor in holding her back. I'm telling you, these thoughts had already consumed me just while I was pregnant. Well this is the year I thought I would be"dreading" although I never knew just how much I would be actually dreading it and never imagined it would be for the fact that I don't get to make that decision for her anymore. I don't get to decide if she can start pre-k this week or if I would wait and start her next year. She won't start school this year, next year, or ever. And all of this heart ache and upset just made me realize: honey this is just the beginning. This week I watched as all of my friends sent their babies off to pre-k. Gosh I never truly realized how many friends I have with children her age. It took me seeing all the names on those pre-k class lists to realize just how many friends she would have had in her grade. Some of these friends we knew as babies and they "knew" Avery Kate as well, and others we have met within the past few years. I just scrolled through all these pictures people had posted of their pre-k kids on facebook and tried to imagine my little Avery Kate starting school, wearing her tiny little uniform, holding her "My 1st Day of Pre-K" sign, running in her classroom to meet her little friends, and the list goes on. My heart physically hurts. And that's just this week. What about when they all make their first communion? What about when they all start high school? What about when they all graduate? What about when they all get married? What about when they all have children of their own? It's absolutely just the beginning. I knew this day would come, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be. I'm having such a hard time imagining what she would even look like. How long would her hair be? Would she look more like Hallie or Aubrey, or have a look of her own? I have so many questions and what ifs flowing through my brain right now that I can barely keep my thoughts straight. And again.... this is only the beginning.
September 1 will be here in a little over a week. I asked Hallie and Aubrey what they would like to do for Avery Kate's birthday. Aubrey immediately shouted out that she wanted candy and cake...shocker! But Hallie.....She just has such an old soul... she says, "Well mom, who are her friends? We can invite them all over and let them play and eat birthday cake." Sweet girl! What a great idea she had, but clearly I cannot handle anything like that, especially with the week I've had. So we all decided to send her some birthday balloons. Simple and sweet. Then Hallie asked me, "Which cloud is Heaven?" It's like she wants to know exactly where we are sending these balloons. She doesn't go a day without asking about Avery Kate or drawing pictures of her at school. She's been bringing me feathers every time she is outside playing. She always asks, "Is this from a bird or did Avery Kate send this to me?" Of course her sister sends all of them! I love my little girls! I just wish I had them all here with me. I know I have to settle for an angel, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
Well, I have to admit I feel much better after writing this, but I still know in my heart...it's just the beginning.