Finally! I have all the Christmas decorations up and the house feels warm and twinkly. We have two Christmas trees this year and I wrapped the banister in lights and gold garland. I keep intending to serve a normal weeknight dinner in the dining room just so we can enjoy the decor and take advantage of the loveliness of the season before its gone, but time seems to keep slipping away from me.
Having a little baby has limited my grand holiday plans somewhat. I often express to my husband that there are just not enough hours in the day. But the reality is I need to adjust the demands I put on myself. Colton can't help it if he is teething poor little guy. And I'd rather have my baby in my arms than anywhere else. If only I had a house keeper all my problems would be solved. At least most of them anyway...
I love the holiday season. I always have. But since Aubrey and Ellie died the holidays have not been the same. Each year improves a bit though. This year I am so excited to celebrate Colton's first Christmas. It is nice to have a first Christmas with a new baby.
I hung Aubrey and Ellie's stockings from the mantle next to Dustin's. I look at them bittersweetly as I do most of their things, wondering and remembering. Colt doesn't have a stocking yet. He will get his on Christmas Eve. That is the tradition in our family, my mother makes the most beautiful stockings and she gives them to her grandchildren on their first Christmas Eve. Aubrey and Ellie never got to have a first Christmas but my mom graciously made them stockings anyway. I hang them every year because I can't imagine not including them. Their stockings have a place on the mantle just as they have a place in my heart.
It is hard not to be sad though. I have two stockings but I don't have two little girls. It doesn't feel right at all but I suppose it never will.
My grief still ebbs and flows and lately I've been more down than usual. I have myself to blame in part because I have slacked big time on my daily exercise. Regular exercise, even just a walk with the stroller, is the best antidepressant I know of and it makes an unmistakable difference in my ability to cope. It reminds me that healing is a very tangible process and requires consistent effort. That is probably the best advice I can offer anyone reading this struggling with grief. Healing doesn't just happen, it is a conscious choice the requires hard work and consistency. I wish it was easier but it isn't.
Something else has been bothering me though...
Colton is four months old.
What does that have to do with anything you wonder? Well, nothing and everything.
Colton is my joy. He is sweet, smiley and chubby. He has his first tooth about to pop through and he is one inch away from learning to roll over. He is perfect.
When Aubrey and Ellie were in the hospital the doctors told us that if they lived we probably wouldn't be able to see just how badly their brains were damaged until they were about four months old. At that time we would begin to see Cerebral Palsy setting in and to what severity. I can't look at Colton at four months of age without wondering about my girls at four months of age.
Colt is so healthy. He reaches out for things and constantly puts his hands in his mouth. He grabs my hair and my shirt collar. He makes eye contact. He laughs and coos. He kicks his feet and bounces like a madman in his jumperoo. He does all the things a perfectly developing baby should do. But I know my girls wouldn't have. And that makes me sad.
It probably seems ridiculous to wonder about or feel pain over something that never was nor will be. I'm not sure why I even think about it to be honest. But I do and it bothers me.
Any advice out there for me? What should I do with these feelings? I get so sad knowing my girls got so sick. Sometimes it hurts me even more than the pain of their deaths. Am I normal? Do any of you struggle like me?