I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A whole new world. Continuing the dance of joy and grief...

First morning of Kindergarten!

Another year without preparing Zac for school with his brother.
Resting with an angel...

The window...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." - Jeremiah 29:11

So many of us are so familiar with this verse.  
It is a staple.  
It carries us through many times of questions and doubts, giving hope to the weary.

KINDERGARTEN!!!!  A whole new chapter, a whole new world!  A new school.  New friends and teacher.  New surroundings.  New life lessons and time to grow.
My 2lb wonder is now in Kindergarten three full days a week.

And this momma's heart is just NOT ready.  
Not ready to let go of the little hand that so often grabs mine for assurance and safety.  Now it is me that wants to grab HIS little hand for assurance and to feel those little fingers in my hand.

I know every parent surely goes through these emotions.  These new waters and a whole new world of territory unexplored up to this point.  
And for the experienced parent with multiple children going through school, this may make you nod your head as you remember back to your own experience(s).

The first of lasts.  

The difference for me as a parent with an only child (not by choice) is that these moments TRULY ARE first of lasts.

This summer so much really hit home to me. 

July 6th came and went.  My due date with Faith.  Also the birth dates of two of my nephews (cousins, not brothers).  This year Faith would have turned 1.  This year I "should be" chasing after a little one year old while I drop her big brother off at school.  She "should be" blowing kisses to her big brother as we leave him at school.

This is also yet another year of preparing one of my sons for school...knowing that Zac will never carry a back pack that I've prepared for him.  I won't be ushering both of my boys in to their class together.  I won't be watching them stand side by side in the security of the other while they face a whole new world.  I won't be hearing the events of the day from both of their perspectives.
And again, I will be asked the infamous question by families who we are new to: "so, do you have any other children?"

I hadn't been to the cemetery for a few months, so I decided to go have a visit while laying by Zac's head stone.  Ya, the picture may seem depressing to some...but to me...that was my resting place where I could look up to the sky and just talk with my boy.  With all my babes.  Where I could just be at peace and just soak up all that this year will bring for Evan, and for all that I need to focus on.
I smiled as I laid by my boy's resting place.  And just loved on him.

As I type this I am anxiously awaiting for the next  6 minutes to pass until I can go pick Evan up from school!!  
Today was his first FULL day.  He even stayed for lunch as they had a special hot lunch for the school (though I DID go and hang out with him during that!).
And how eerily odd it is to walk in to my quiet house.  

Change...I don't always deal well with it!

I have to share about a special experience I DID have on one of Evan's first half days at school.  Last week he had two half days as the teacher likes to ease them in to the year.
The very first morning I dropped Evan off...I struggled.  
I came home to my quiet house and opened up my windows and my patio door.  NOW, I've ALWAYS opened my patio door wide for the past 4 years and for the first time ever...a tiny little bird flew right IN TO MY HOUSE!!
And the part that broke me down was that this tiny bird flew DIRECTLY to the window that holds special memory items for Zac.  Now, my house has MANY windows.  That bird could have flown to ANY of them.  But for some reason it chose that very special window.

I quickly said a prayer asking God to help me catch this tiny thing without causing it any harm.  Then I went through my main floor and shut all the doors, then I put Nash in his kennel.
I grabbed one of Evan's soft blankets, climbed on to my couch and very slowly started to move the pictures from the window sill.  
I was able to lay the blanket over the bird while it fluttered in to my hands and went to my patio, opened the blanket and away the bird flew.

The moment I walked back in to my house I burst in to tears.

The irony!  
This tiny fragile bird flies to that very special place where my tiny fragile son is remembered.

I know that bird wasn't the spirit of Zac or anything like that.  But the whole think made me think about how we had to gently and lovingly say good bye to Zac in while he "flew home" to heaven from my arms.
We had to love that fragile failing body enough to let him stop hurting.
We had to let him fly.
I had friends share that they believed God used this moment, and this bird to speak to me.  To let me know that Zac is free.  

Being that this all happened Evan's first day of Kindergarten, it also made me realize that I had to let go of that tiny hand that has trusted me.  I had to watched him march in to his class, and then I had to turn and leave him.  Entrusting him to his teacher and the school.  
I can't do everything for him.  
I have to let him grow and flourish as he should.

I have to let him fly as well.

Don't get me wrong...I'm kicking and screaming the whole way!  To have my buddy at school three days where I'm used to our care free days together...oh my.  This is NO easy task.

So many first of lasts.  So many new experience.  So much for both Evan and I to learn!  
We couldn't be more proud of our boy!  
And I know without a doubt that he will flourish and grow and expand all around.  

Well, during tying this I went to pick Evan up from school.  He had a great day and proudly announced to me "I can do EVERYTHING by myself!"
I know my sweet boy...it's just that I still want to help with some things! ;)

Each new phase of life is scary yet exciting.  
It is always wrapped in joy and in sorrow.  
It always will.

Just because my joy is evident and present, it does not mean that my heart is "all better", and that I don't agonize every single day about the "what should have been" moments.

Of course I have great pride in Evan and who is becoming.  
But don't kid yourself...my joy and pride does not mean that I don't miss Zac and each of our babies every single day.  
I am trying.  I am learning how to carry those emotions and feelings inside of me.  

Grief is one of those "darned if you don't, darned if you do" type situations.
If you laugh and smile people assume you are dealing well and moving on and getting on with life without your loved one.
If you show pain and shed tears or just have a tough day you feel like others are thinking "why isn't she just moving on and being grateful for what and who she has".

Grief has no 12 step program.  OK...so, technically I know steps are out there in dealing with grief.  But come on...everyone has to take their own steps.
Grief is grief.  Time may pass.  Smiles and laughter may become more seen than the tears.  But never mistake that grief is a permanent and tender part of a persons life.  Those of us dealing with loss have to relearn so many parts of life and ourselves.
Walk with someone who is grieving.  Don't try to "fix" things and slam them with the standard bible verses or cliche pick-me-ups.  Rather, just sit in silence and listen.  Speak their loved ones name.  Be patient with them.  Just love us.  Love us unconditionally and remember that our grief doesn't just end weeks after a funeral.  Remember that our lives have changed drastically and life isn't moving on as usual.  We are sorting through the mess of it all.  Just be present and patient.
In my case, remember that every time I look at Evan...I see the place where his twin brother is missing.  It doesn't mean my heart isn't full of pride, gratitude and love for Evan.  It just means that it holds equally the emotion of pain and sorrow and missing Zac.

This new chapter of Evan in Kindergarten is so bitter-sweet for me.
I am working to make it the BEST experience for both of us.
And since it is both our first and last experiences with Kindergarten...I want to make it memorable.  Special.  Exciting.  Cherished.

I want Evan to grow socially, academically, personally, physically.  I want him to have a good experience with a solid foundation of enjoying the experience (and reality) of many years of school.

I pray daily for his protection.  For his understanding.  For his independence.  For the friendships that will be created.  For his character.  For his HEALTH (my oh my...how a preemie mom never stops worrying about this one).  

I am excited to see how he will grow.  How we will BOTH grow!
This is not just a time for change for Evan, but for me as well.

Who am I now?!!  
Who am I to become through these new years of school?!
What is my new role to look like?!

Many changes for both of us!  

I think this is such a cool verse for kids and young people.  Especially with a new school year starting.
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."  - 1 Timothy 4:12

Well, on that note, I should get on to making supper.  Evan is off to gymnastics tonight.  I do believe he is going to sleep well tonight!!  Thank goodness tomorrow is a no-school day for him!  

Here's to a new year, and all that God has in store for us!!