Saturday night I did something I haven't done in a very long time. I re-read the post from the day we lost Harlynn. That post is so hard for me to read. I still wish it were a dream. I still hope I can wake up and she never died. We could have saved her, if only we had known. How could I not have known? How could no one have known? I read the post. I cried. I went to sleep that night with an intense ache in my heart for missing my daughter.
Sunday morning I woke up with a different kind of ache. A plugged duct. *sigh* Sometimes a mommy can't catch a break. I debated whether or not I should even go to church. I didn't feel very churchy. I was still reflecting on what I had read the night before - a total recap of the worst night of our lives - and didn't think this physical nuisance in addition to my emotional fragility warranted me getting out of bed.
Then I smelled pancakes. It made me hungry, and I needed to get up to eat something. It turns out I didn't smell pancakes at all. Brent had made himself an omelette, but there were no fresh pancakes. Dangit. I made myself a favorite Trim Healthy Mama smoothie and begrudgingly started to get ready for church. I felt something within me that somehow gave me a sense it would all be worth the effort.
For the first Sunday morning in...ever...we were all showered, fed, dressed, and ready to go with plenty of time to spare, and without a single argument. I looked around at us and asked, "Can every Sunday morning be like this?" We were parked and sitting in a pew seven minutes early instead of late. This in itself was a huge accomplishment. I took Little Man out of his car seat and fed him, and he fell asleep in my arms. Someone asked how it was going. I jokingly made a comment about not getting enough sleep. They jokingly replied (us) "newer parents need to pay your dues!" I've paid my dues, I thought. Oh how I've paid. It pained my heart, but at the same time - for the first time - I didn't feel like they were an idiot for having said that. I extended a little grace, and it went a long way. My heart wasn't discouraged. Little Man contentedly sighed. Eventually I handed him to Brent to hold so I could write a prayer request to hand in. The songs made me choke up, but I powered through and sang every word. I even lifted my hand for one - something I haven't done since we lost Harlynn. In over a year, I haven't felt compelled to outwardly express any form of worship. This Sunday was different.
The sermon was powerful and encouraging. I was so glad to have heard it. I was so glad to be a part of our church and church family. The message was so poignant and so well-delivered, I found myself closing my eyes and just reveling in the presence of the Lord. He was with us in His house. It was worth it. To get up, get out of bed, and go - it was worth it.
Afterwards, we went and got our new-found-traditional after-church lunch and headed home. Sundays after church we eat Taco Bell. I know, it's completely anti-Trim-Healthy-Mama. It's so nostalgic for me, though. Not only did we eat Taco Bell all. the. time. growing up, but it was special on Sundays. Most Sundays after church, we would end up with a group of fellow church-goers at a Taco Bell in the Madonna Plaza in San Luis Obispo. Either our "adopted" older brother would treat us to lunch, my friend Mary would treat me, or a whole host of other people would join us and I would eat my bean burrito and cinnamon twists. To have Taco Bell after church on Sundays takes me back to a little blast from the past. And I love me some cinnamon twists.
After lunch, every last one of us laid down for a nap. Oh glorious nap! I was awakened after about twenty minutes, however. Someone was squeaking in his sleep and needed to be snuggled. After taking him out of his bassinet and snuggling close, I couldn't get back to sleep. At first I was frustrated, but then, one look upon his little face, and I went from frustrated to grateful. What a sweetie. In my arms. Squeaking away in his little baby snores. Harlynn, your baby brother sure is a cutie. Eventually, Little Miss came down from her room and joined us as well. She snuggled with her daddy. Each of us had a snuggle buddy, and it made the afternoon all the more cozy.
|My Nap Time Buddy|
We've been behind the ball a bit in getting Little Man's room painted. After nap and suddenly finding myself with a burst of motivation and the appropriate supplies, I went into his room and began taping so we could get started painting. Brent came in and lovingly told me I was doing it wrong, and why. Ugh that man. Drives me bonkers sometimes. I started taping around the window instead, when he came in again and asked if he could put the crib together. I've told Brent before, sometimes when I'm doing something, it bugs the tar out of me when he comes in and starts doing the thing I'm already doing, or does something right next to me, when there's a bazillion other things that need done. I told him I was fine with it, but I wouldn't be staying in the room. He was fine with my departure.
Wait, Val, didn't you title this "The Perfect Sunday"? Now you're telling us how you guys had a bout of intense fellowship..what gives?
Yes! Thank you for catching that, subconscious-voice-text. You see, nothing is perfect. Nor will it be. The fact that my Sunday was so wonderful, then had a dose of normalcy right in the middle of it, makes it all the more wonderful. The normal in my life is what makes it perfect. I have to enjoy more than just the extraordinary. Finding joy is more a challenge to me than it once was, so when I take note of the little things, it all seems so imperfectly perfect.
We had a super long Skype session with my parents. I snuggled Little Man until he was all snuggled out. Brent brought Little Miss upstairs like this because he was folding laundry, and she liked the warmth of the fresh-from-the-dryer items:
It was just a good day. It was good, because God is good. It was good because even in the midst of the exceptional, there were so many doses of normal. Good normal. New normal.
Today, Monday, my heart still aches for little Harlynn. I drove to the cemetery to spend time with her by myself tonight. I watched the Robins chase insects. I watched the wind blow the pinwheels at other graves. I saw the groundskeepers chopped down three trees, right near the infant section. I saw a stone in the ground instead of my baby girl.
It still doesn't make sense to me, how a baby can die in this day and age. How it could have happened to us. How it did happen to us. Despite the fact there will always be a piece of my heart missing, that void periodically fills with gratitude and peace that we knew her at all. That we were chosen to love her every second of her 37 week life. That her being with us spurred us on to be with others who walk the same dark road of perinatal loss. Her life was so much bigger than her little six pound 12 ounce frame.
It was the perfect Sunday. I had to tell her so. It was so imperfectly perfect.