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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A 2nd Kid Thing?

Sometimes I think that about the unique position that Tre' and I find ourselves in as parents. We have friends who are in the same boat and sometimes I wonder if they experience things the same way we do. We've had the experience of having an "only" child twice. I use the word "only" loosely as we are the parents of 2 kiddos (thus far), but we've had each of them alone and without a sibling present. Now, I know, that's obvious. But it's funny sometimes because I wonder if our experiences or feelings are a "2nd kid" thing or a "because we lost Catie" thing. For example, when Izzy was first born, the poor kid must have been called Catie at least half a dozen times a day. I cringed each time I did it because I was so conscious of letting her be her own person, not replacing Catie... (not that either of our kids could ever take the place of the other, but you get what I'm saying). I reminded myself of being called Nikki and John (my brother and sister) or even Murphy or Greta (our 2 dogs -- sorry Mom and Dad) as a kid and worked to reassure myself that this was a "2nd kid" thing, not a "we just lost Catie" thing. There are many times throughout the day that something Izzy does reminds us of Catie. I sometimes stop and wonder, "2nd kid" thing? Whatever the cause, those moments give us pause, a heart squeeze, and usually a smile.

Some of those moments from this afternoon...
*We had Izzy's pictures done a couple of weeks ago. They are up on our photographers website today and as I glanced at them for the first time, my heart almost skipped a beat. There Iz sat in the very same we had Catie's first pictures done in dress (completely didn't realize I had done that until I saw the pictures). Confused my brain for a second! =)

*While Izzy was in the tub tonight, I decided to tackle the basket of tub toys that hangs on our bathroom wall. It's hardly been touched since last fall before Catie got her G-tube. It's one of those things that I just hadn't tackled yet. Well, Iz is old enough to enjoy some bathtime fun, so I tossed a few toys in and started sifting through memories. As Izzy played with a bathtime book that Catie loved, and chewed on the nesting cups that Catie used in the tub for nearly 4 years, I sorted dried up bath paint and cracked tub crayons. It reminded me of how much Catie loved it when I would color w/ her while she was in the tub, of how she liked good-smelling stuff (especially foam), and how her favorite bath toy EVER was just an empty bottle of body wash and the top that went on it... There were lots of memories there, and that's hard... But there are lots of memories yet to be made, and that's good.

*As I pulled the shower curtain closed I heard the familiar bump of the cup that I have used to rinse my girls heads (let's face it, I can't say rinse their hair =) !!) for over 4 years. I hadn't noticed that particular noise with Iz until tonight and it was one of those weird things that sends you spinning back to another time.

Sometimes I hesitate to write here how much we think about Catie. I don't want to give the impression that we're not enjoying Izzy and soaking up every bit of her. We are... Again, we're just in a somewhat unique spot as Mom and Dad. Holding tight to one (even though, truth be told, the process of letting go begins the day they're born) and continuing to learn to let go of the other (while holding tightly to the memories). Plus, it gives me a record... a record of my memory of both girls and of our progress in the grieving process. Plus, it's cheaper than therapy!


amy said...

thanks for sharing these with us my friend. Your honesty is so encouraging

Sandy said...

Just wanted to comment. I have followed Catie's story on Caringbridge for a couple of years now. I think I might have posted a couple of times there. Catie has been an inspiration to me to enjoy life and don't sweat the small stuff. She and my oldest son share a birthday, although my son is going to be 7 this year. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that calling Izzy Catie is common. I have 3 children and can not seem to keep them straight. I think it is the fate of the ever busy Mom. Keep the are an inspiration to us all!!
Love in Christ,
Sandy Gay
Edison, GA

TednLisa said...

Great to see the new blog. I've been reading Catie's page for a little bit now, and I love your writing and stories. I found it again on John Michaels page a long while back when he first started his page, but a few friends had been following Catie's story before that and asking for prayer in our small group. Thanks for still sharing. I'm really glad you kept up with posting. My family is still praying for yours from time to time.

Mixed Up Me said...

Izzy will never replace Catie, but I think it's great that she does thigs that remind you of Catie . . .she probably always will afterall they are sisters!! :) You are such a wonderful Mommy and I love reading about your Catie memories and about the new memories you are making with Izzy.

Can we see Izzy's new pictures? I bet they are absolutely gorgeous.
I hope you have a great day.

atkelly said...

Jenny, there is no right or wrong when it comes to grieving, you do what you have to do. I followed Catie's Caringbridge site for a long time, she was amazing and timeless and so are you! Hugs.

Mary said...

What a gift you are giving to Izzy by writing of your thoughts, feelings and questions here. When she is older and wonders about things, she won't have to solely rely on her parents' memories...or her own....she'll have this awesome blog as well as Caringbridge journal entries to help her understand how truly amazing her momma is!! Thanks for always, it inspires me!

Mary in Illinois

Melissa said...

Jenny, wanted you to know that I still go to Catie's caringbridge page and look at those beautiful pics but come here to see how you guys are doing. We're keeping you as close now as always. Still remembering the times I called the hospital before Christmas and Catie answered the phone. I miss that sweet voice. Still think of Catie each time I stop in at Cracker Barrel to pick up my Burts Bees & Yankee Candles. How much Catie loved Cracker Barrel- -even though I could get Burts Bees at Target, I'd rather go there and think of Catie Marie. Wanted you to know that we still remember, and that we miss your sweet girl.


Kim said...

You have such a wonderful way of expressing your grief, your feelings of loss, your joyous moments, your feelings about Miss Izz, well, everything! Thanks for sharing and for being my friend!

I know you know I miss Catie. It is still so hard for me to think of her as gone to be with Jesus. Since I live so far away I can "deny" it for a while but then I come here and read about the "cup noise" in the tub and I soooooo come back to your reality. I'm not for ONE single second trying to say that IN ANY way miss her as you do. I just want you to know that she was important to lots of people. I'm just one among MANY!

You are prayed for by so many. You, Tre' and Izzy.

Bless you!
Love, Kim