April 16th, 2013, we buried our daughter, Harlynn. I remember at the close of the graveside service, the sun peeked through those gray clouds and I thought to myself, "If only she could see it..." Of course the light she sees is far more brilliant than the sun. The love she experiences is far more than even I could give her. But oh, how I wish she were here to see the sun. To receive my sloppy kisses.
Sixteen months ago, April 16th, my husband and I laid our daughter to rest. Though I type those words and understand the length of time that has passed since that day, since that moment, my mind cannot comprehend that reality. That truth is so foreign to me. How is this my life? How is this our story? How are babies still dying?
Friday, August 15th, Little Man celebrated 16 weeks of life outside my incubating belly. Sixteen weeks ago, I laid eyes on his scrunched-up face, and fell absolutely in love. I heard him scream for the first time and, believe it or not, it was sweet music to my ears. I didn't realize he would be a screamer going forth, but I love him just the same. Our life took on battles against wayward pee streams, sleepless feeding cycles, and explosive "movements". He is so close to giggling, he smiles so largely when he's tickled or cooed at, and he has teased us several times by sleeping through the night now and again. Again, as I understand the length of time that has passed since the day he was born, I cannot fathom how it has already been 16 weeks. How is my baby boy nearly four months old?
We went to the park for a picnic tonight, since the weather was perfect. We tend to picnic at the park that is right nearby the cemetery Harlynn rests in. In a way it's like having the entire family together, though there will always be one missing. I held Little Man in front of me, deliberately placing his feet on the grass. I wanted him to be sure to experience the great outdoors, of course. I looked down at his feet in the grass, and momentarily became overwhelmed. The simultaneous feeling of joy and sorrow you've heard me speak of before flooded over me. Last year, Michelle posted a link to a Pink song on my Facebook timeline. "Beam Me Up". In the opening lyrics, it says, "Blades of grass on tiny bare feet." I looked down, and saw Little Man's tiny bare feet among the blades of grass. I thought how adorable it was, and how his sister would have done the same. While I was adoring Little Man's feet and reveling in his experience outside, Little Miss was making the rounds on the playground equipment. Brent was on vigilant-daddy-duty, making sure she wasn't going to do anything to hurt herself on the playground. We had a delicious, indulgent dinner. It was a beautiful, near-perfect, family outing.
This past Sunday marked 16 months since I delivered Harlynn. Tomorrow, the 16th, marks 16 months since her last day above ground. Today marked 16 weeks since Little Man stole our hearts with his safe arrival. This is our bittersweet 16. I know there will be more bittersweet moments to come. While my heart still, always, aches for losing our child, I thank God this little charmer is here with us. These 16 weeks have gone by far too quickly, and it's hard to understand how in such a short span of time, we've become so smitten with this little guy. Even if he does scream. At all hours.
I love you, Little Man. You're the best little brother your sisters could have asked for. You're your Daddy's and my favorite little buddy. Thank you for enduring (and dare I say, enjoying) Mommy's sloppy kisses.