Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Life is a pile of good things and bad things"

Last weekend I got a new brother-in-law.

(I'm doing these blogs a week late because of reasons.)

My sister-in-law married someone I've been friends with for... years.

It's all a rather beautiful story of God taking two broken people and very slowly opening their eyes to each other and the plans He had for them to be together. It really is just lovely.

But that's their story to tell, not mine. And they do it SO much better than I could.

The wedding was small and simple. The couple lovely. My anxiety through the roof. I am finding it extremely difficult to be around groups of people without feeling... smothered. Uncomfortable. Judged.

7 months in, and the grief of loosing Bennet is no less than it was the day we found out there was something wrong with him. We've only gotten better at carrying it. On top of that, I lost my grandmother the same day my little boy turned 2. So a lot of grief, a lot of pain, a lot of weight to carry around.

But the thing about pain and grief is, they don't make the happy things any less happy. I am THRILLED that my sister-in-law and friend are happily married. I really truly am.

But all that weight from all that loss makes the actual celebrating WITH people... hard. Especially when you're told "be happy, today is a happy day. Cry about sad things later." Then you just feel like an awful person because the sadness, even if you're trying to hide it, is just oozing out of you, and you feel judged for it.

I am happy. More than happy. But at the same time, I am also sad. Horribly horribly sad. And that doesn't go away just because something GOOD is happening.

Big occasions like holidays, birthdays, weddings, make me miss my baby more keenly than every day. Because he should be part of the celebration. He should have been crawling after his big brother, complaining about missing his nap, begging for milk, snuggling up on my lap, meeting all the long-distance family members. His dark head of beautiful hair a contrast to his big brother's curly blond locks.

The thing that, well, thrilled isn't the right word, but felt extremely special to me, was that my father-in-law mentioned Bennet in his "welcome to the family" speech. To hear my child's name mentioned, in such a public forum, and in such a meaningful way in that he is STILL part of the family this new person was entering, was so so special to me.

Hearing your dead child's name spoken aloud, having them counted, is priceless.

I did not make this.
But thank you to whatever Whovian did. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Years Old!

My little boy turned TWO! I no longer have a baby on my hands, and honestly, haven't for quite a while. He is a full-blown high-energy INSANE and wonderful toddler! I have survived nearly 2 full weeks of super-real toddlerhood! And, tantrums aside, this is one of my favorite ages.

Learning lessons from last year (where I went all-out for the family party we had while pregnant and very very sick), I supremely toned it down this year. Mostly because last year, for Simon's 1st birthday, we announced that he was going to be a big brother. So we weren't sure if we could emotionally handle having people over because it is, this year, anyway, one of "those" days, that might trigger extreme sadness (read: more than the every-day sadness) that Ben isn't here. I don't care about showing my sadness in front of most people, but people are EXHAUSTING. Parties more so.

But Phillip and I decided that, since we'd skipped the family Mother's Day celebration (it being another one of "those" days that just... hurt), we'd invite the family over to kind of say "yeah, we can't handle some things, but we still want to be around you when we can because we still care about you all."

Apparently several of my text invites never went through though, so two of four families never knew we even had a party (I apologised profusely and they're all happy), along with some other... upsets... about us missing Mother's Day... it turned out to be a very very small family party.

We had fun, though, celebrating our crazy kiddo. The weekend before (the day before Mother's Day), we took Simon to Ag Fest, as part of his birthday treat, to look at all the tractors, trucks, and other farm equipment that makes his little boy heart so happy.

Excavators are his FAVORITE

Something I learned from one of my cousins, who throws quite beautiful themed parties from time to time, is that it is best to simplify things. Pick the top few things you really really want to do, and do those. Otherwise, there are so many cool ideas out there to try, it gets VERY overwhelming and you end up only half doing any of the things and have a party that looks half as well put-together.

Thus, my focus for this little party was the table. (And what Simon loves, of course). Simon is, like a lot of children his age, absolutely in LOVE with trucks and tractors. So we made a "Farmer's Market" table for his food, and John Deere colors because, well, it was easy and we had leftover yellow stuff to decorate with. Phillip designed a quick a cool-looking sign to bring it all together. I cleaned out his dump truck VERY thoroughly, and we served sausages in it, and put a small tray in his wooden tractor and had "farm fresh" hard boiled eggs in it, and had plenty of fresh veggies and potato salad on the side. With the John Deere colored cake with it's little tractor on top, I think it all came together nicely. And the two-year-old looked about as impressed as a two-year-old can be with food.

I would probably do just about anything to get that smile to stay on his face.

He got a LOT of books from Grandma, Popop, and Mama
and Daddy.
And insisted on reading each one before going on to
the next gift

Our big gift to him this year was a ride-on tractor my sister convinced us to buy him because he tries to ride everything from soccer balls, to his toy trucks, to the cats (the last one is problematic). And of course he got books. He LOVES books. WE love books. Like my dad said, it's never to early to start your own library. He likes his tractor quite a lot, and didn't want to wait for it to come out of the box and get assembled before he rode it. 
So many ways I can see that my little man has grown so much in one year. He walks, he talks, he launches himself off of every possible surface that is more than one inch above the ground (the higher the better). He has a head full of curly blond hair! And, he cuts up his own food. Quite a big difference from his decapitation of the dragon cake last year