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.