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.