Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Cards

The last time I sent out Christmas cards it was Christmas 2009. In some sick way I really enjoyed this process. Picking out the perfect card, the perfect picture and the PERFECT pen for writing out each address by hand. Yes, I know I could easily print labels, but there is something about a hand written card. We have all gotten to a place where everything comes printed, but at Christmas time I loved taking the time to personalize each card. I also took the time to write a specific note to each family. No generic Christmas letter from us (not that I have a problem with that I just really appreciate the personalization). I would sit at the table and spend hours on my cards probably sending out just under 200. I know 200 is a lot, but when you combine both our families plus our friends it really adds up!  Brian would tease me for being such a geek and getting into it the way I did.

When we were pregnant with Addison just before Christmas 2010, I decided to wait until she was born to send out our cards. I wanted to add in her birth announcement (to save on postage). I had each envelope addressed, the cards picked, ordered and stuffed. The only thing missing was that first picture of our baby girl to add into the envelope.

See all ready to go...ugh


Quite the stack of wasted cards :(

To this day I wish I would have sent them prior to her being born because I wish people had them. After she died it didn't seem appropriate to send them and yet I couldn't throw them away...what do you do with 200ish Christmas cards?!?! Yes, I STILL have them.

Our cards said "Expecting a wonderful Christmas" yeah that was the understatement of the millennium. Ugh.

Last year we had survived the first year without Addison and were halfway through our pregnancy with Mason. We were certainly not going to announce anything on our cards and I wanted nothing to do with Christmas and the merriment of it all. So again there were no cards sent.

This year we do have our beautiful boy and we have found some merriment here and there. I am still not ready to embrace Christmas for everything it is, but this year I will send out a card. I just ordered them today (nothing like waiting until last minute). So with any luck you might get one before Christmas....along with a very late birth announcement for Mason.

We decided against a tree this year (don't worry Mason will get the experience with my parent's tree). This card is me trying, it's my attempt at trying Christmas again. Maybe next year there will be a tree. This is all I have in me this year. So Merry Christmas or something :)

Our Christmas 2012 Card

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Escape

I wrote before how we had panned to "run away" for Addison's second birthday. Not to run away from her, but in hopes that we would escape our daily lives and the routine that comes along with that. The routine that crumbled me last year. You see it's the routine that we live that made it so easy to re-live every.single.moment of that day that ended our happy little life. I didn't want Brian going to work like normal and for me to watch the clock watching each hour go by and remembering what I was doing in those moments two years ago. So we planned our great escape to California and I panicked about that too because that's what I do. No plan would have been right for me, but since I am a worrier I wasted no time worrying about this trip.

I worried about the flight, I worried about Mason on the flight, I worried about visiting Brian's family, I worried about packing, but mostly I worried about how I would deal with my emotions without the privacy of my own home.

Things for the most part went very well and our distraction trip was pretty successful. Visiting Brian's family was nice. His brother, sister-in-law and nephews were great to us and loved them some Mason. Then we went to my friend's house who are actually more like family and had a wonderful time with them. The sun wasn't what it normally is in CA, but the weather change definitely tricked my body into thinking it wasn't December.

I think the trip was good for us and helped to not be home going through all the motions. There were parts I wish could have been different, but that is with everything.

Brian's family was wonderful to us, but they do not talk about Addison like at all. That was really hard for me. The nephews (12 and 13) wear their Addi bracelets, but it was clear to me that they don't get it. They were confused by Mason's "Little Brother" bib. Yes, boys he is STILL a little brother. it's not their fault, I know that in their house Addison isn't important. I hate it, but it is what it is. They were all over Mason, which I am thankful that he is loved so much, but it still hurts that it's not Addi and Mason.

Going to my friend's house was completely different. They love both our children equally and it's so apparent. Christmas presents for both of them and lots of talking and sharing. We don't have to talk about Addi the whole time, but it just never feels like there is an elephant in the room. That's what I needed.

The 4th was hard for me. Waking up that morning my first thought was that at that very moment 2 years ago my baby was dead and I didn't know it yet. That was not a great way to start out the day. I managed to enjoy the day with my friends, but I couldn't quite shake the feelings of that day two years before.

We flew home on the 5th. Not the greatest idea, but I wanted to be home with my family to do a little celebrating of my girl. I had been fighting a cold the whole trip, but was in denial about it until that day. It was clear I was sick from the moment I woke up.

We were lucky to get an extra seat on the way home so we had the whole isle to ourselves. Mason did pretty well, but barely slept at all. I was thankful both flights were under 3 hours.

Once we landed we drove to the TEARS Angel of Hope to see Addi's name since it is right next to the airport. Then we drove home to unpack. That was the end for me. I thought I was good to go, but after I took my temperature and saw 100.1 I knew there would be no party.

It was really hard for me to agree to rescheduling. I felt so bad and guilty that I couldn't even do a half ass something! She gets nothing and here I was too sick for the bare minimum. It's three days later and I still haven't decorated her headstone or celebrated her the way she deserves. As soon as M wakes up from his nap we will go to the cemetery and take care of the decorations and hopefully tomorrow we can celebrate with the family.

Brian did run to the store to get cupcakes so we could at least do SOMETHING for our girl. The only thing that made me feel just a little okay was knowing if she had lived her party would have been on the weekend that sorta makes it okay, but not really.

I feel like spending her birthday in bed feeling terrible was a little fitting because it really sucks not to have her and sometimes I can't believe I don't spend ALL my time in bed with the covers over my head.

Part of me is glad I didn't spend the entire week crying my brains out and the other part of me is disappointed I didn't get more crying out. I know the tears are there, I just fooled them for a little while...that may really come back and bite me later. Grief sucks. I just miss my girl and there isn't anything that will ever change that.

Thank you to everyone who called, sent a text message, emailed and Instagramed us for Addison's birthday. I especially treasure the pictures, cards in the mailbox and the thoughtful messages. Nothing helps me deal with Addi's birthday like you guys do. Lots of love to all of you!
Happy 2nd Birthday Addison and Andrew <3

Mason says Mmmmmm frosting! Happy Birthday sissy!
The TEARS Angel of Hope Monument

My girl

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Happy second birthday baby girl. We miss you SO much.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

He's gone

This morning when Mason woke up Brian pulled him in bed with us so I could nurse him. The three of us were snuggled together when my phone rang. The second I looked at it and saw my dad on the caller ID I knew it wasn't good news. All I remember asking was "how's grandpa" and my dad answering with "he's gone". He passed late last night, but it was December 1st.  Fucking December.

Let me rewind. In October my Grandpa had a stroke. He was in the hospital and rehab facility for almost a month. He was not able to speak easily and had to be fed with a tube. Just before Thanksgiving he passed his swallow test enough to eat some of the same blended food Mason could eat. I blended food in my magic bullet for Mason and then did the same for Grandpa. Although even Mason could eat more than Grandpa could.

Grandpa sat at the head of the table my little round bald man and at the other end of the table was my other little round bald man. We joked about our two cuties on each end of the table. As much as I hate the holidays now I really tried to soak in every second of Mason's first Thanksgiving along with knowing this was my very last Thanksgiving with all four of my grandparents. I'm so thankful to have had one holiday for Mason with all his great-grandparents. And even more glad I was able to soak it in.

On Thursday before we left Grandpa hadn't gotten out of bed all day. I climbed into bed with him and he held my hand and face. I told him how much I loved him and that we were leaving on our trip, but we would be home on Addison's birthday to have root beer floats. When I told him we were leaving he started to cry and was wiping away tears. He was able to tell me that he loved me too. I brought Mason in to kiss him and then came back one last time because I just had that feeling that I needed to. I had a few things I wanted to say and I knew I needed to say them.

We were practically nose to nose when I told him what a great grandpa he was and how proud I was of the man he was for our family. I told him how much I appreciated all his hard work and how he kept our family together. I told him how lucky I felt to have his example for my dad and my husband and that I knew Mason would be a good man from the lessons he passed down. I reminded him that I would be back on Wednesday and again made him promise to wait for me. And then I told him if he just couldn't wait for me that it would be okay as long as he went to be with Addison. I told him she would be so lucky to have him and that he'd better go find her and wait with her until I get there. I kissed his sweet wrinkly face and his gentle hands. He softly wiped his tears away I think he knew this was the last time he would see me. I think I knew too, but was just hoping I was wrong.

It just really figures that this would happen THIS week and that I would be gone. My family is so close and we are always together. The fact that I will literally never see my grandpa again (as he will be cremated before I get home) is very sad to me.

It's so different to lose a grandparent because all those cliche things are true like "he's at peace now" "he had a good life" etc. none of those things are true when you lose a baby and are only "comforting" with the loss of someone who lived such a good/full life.

I will miss him always, but I AM comforted by my memories and most of all I am comforted by the fact that my little girl has such a wonderful Grandpa to meet. It makes me cry happy tears to think of her sitting on his lap and softly touching his face. He was one of the few to hold her on earth and how sweet it would be to see the two of them snuggled up the way I know they must be. Our family tradition is to have root beer floats for birthdays and Grandpa Conway is the original ice cream scooper of the family. To think that he will be serving Addi her very first root beer float on her second birthday seems only fitting. I love you Grandpa, I love you Addi. Until we meet again, I send you all my love xxxooo.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1st

Here we are in December, again. We knew it was coming and now here we are. In preparation for the second birthday that won't be we decided to get out of town. We each took the week off and knew staying at home with this much time together would not be good for either of us. In a moment of weakness I agreed to run away to CA. As soon as I agreed Brian bought tickets so there was no turning back (he knows me too well). My anxiety about leaving home, taking Mason on a plane and just the anticipation of Addi's second birthday was really getting to me. The tears started on Wednesday a week ahead of schedule. I couldn't concentrate at work Wednesday or Thursday.

We left for CA on Friday and I have to say so far so good. The plane ride was mostly easy. I spent a significant amount of time holding Mason back where the flight attendants work, but that really worked out well. The only casualty of the flight was Brian's pants. He held Mason for the landing and wouldn't you know that Mason would choose that moment to blow out his diaper! It was actually kind of perfect because I couldn't stop laughing about Brian's poop filled lap and it lightened my mood by 100%. Everyone was so nice about helping us. The changing area in the plane was actually better than I thought and Mason loved the mirror!  Brian on the other hand did not find it as win some you lose some!

So far things have been good. It's been nice visiting Brian's brother and his family. It feels different to be in CA with warmer weather (even though its been rainy) the weather seems to be tricking my mind just a bit into thinking it's not really December.

I'm not sure what the coming days will feel like, but I've decided I will feel what I need when I need.

I really can't believe my little girl should be turning two in just a few days. I really can't believe that the two years ago she was alive in me. I really can't believe we are here 2 years later without her. I really can't believe it.

When I stop and really think about it I just get so angry that this is really my life. I hate that she is not here. I hate seeing little girls...I hate that I hate seeing little girls.

It's hard to believe we have been hurting for so long. It's even more hard to believe that we are only two years down with a life time to go. Okay that's all I have for now. I wish I could articulate better, but writing here does not come as easily as it once did. December you bitch. Here we go, ready or not.