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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Gift

So today I ran by my new school to see what room I'm going to be in. I'm going to be doing intervention (working w/ kids who need a little extra help) so I'm not going to have a homeroom. I wanted to see the room to get an idea of what I needed to do in it.

A little background -- When Catie turned 3, she went to preschool through the school system for 1/2 a year. I knew the teacher (had taught with her and taught her son) and I knew the physical and occupational therapists she would be working with. I knew she was in good hands. So, for that time, she went to preschool at the school I'm going to be teaching at.

So... today I go to see my room... Would you believe that out of all the rooms in that school, I am in the room that Catie was in for 3 year old preschool??????? It took my breath away, but there is something strangely comforting about it. It is the only room in the whole county that I could have ended up in that she had spent time in... So, though I know there will be tears on the first day of school because I won't be walking her down to her kindergarten classroom... I'll be in the only room in the school she's spent time in... What are the odds of that?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Visit

The cemetary is not a place we visit frequently, we know it's not where Catie really is. Sure, her body is there, but we know she is living full and free and full of joy in Heaven. It is a place I like to go on occasion though... usually it's just a quick visit, a drop in. I'm so glad that we had Catie's picture engraved on her stone.. it's nice to know that folks can see her instead of just a name and some dates. We were headed out to the beach to meet friends on Monday and were passing not far from the cemetary, so Iz and I stopped by. I pulled her from her car seat and set her in the grass. She followed me to Catie's spot, just off the road. I bent down and began dusting the dirt from her stone. I swear, every time I do that, I have this thought... "Here I am at my daughter's grave, brushing the dirt from her stone. I had another daughter and she died." It's strange how the loss can be so present in our lives, but still so unreal at the same time. So I'm brushing the stone and Iz walks over and I point to the stone. "Catie," I say. She reaches down with her tiny, pudgy hand and gently brushes the engraving, she brushes her sister's face. Then, in her sweet toddler way, she begins to blow kisses towards her sister's picture. My heart stopped with the sweetness and the unfairness of the moment. The sweetness that Izzy knows that Catie is someone special in our family and the utter, complete unfairness that she never met her... A tender moment between sisters as best Iz can do given our circumstances. Oh how I pray that we raise her and this sweet babe in my belly to know Catie... to know her as she was, not grown bigger than life because she's gone... to know her and to love her without being morbid or overdoing it. It's a balance I've worried about since Catie died... I want them to know her and love her as best they can without meeting her, but I never want them to feel overshadowed by her. I pray we find the right balance.

Iz is our wild woman for sure, but she definitely has a tender heart. It's strange to think how the loss of someone she never met will shape some aspects of her life. I've been watching Army Wives this season. I LOVE the show!! I have been enjoying watching how the characters in the show have dealt with grief (a couple on the show lost their daughter at the begin of the season). There was an interesting quote on the show recently. The husband and wife were talking... talking about all that had changed with the loss of their daughter. And the wife said, "Honey, Amanda's death changed our lives forever. I'm trying really hard not to let it shape our future too." Her husband responded, "I know, but I'm afraid it already has." I have to admit I'm a bit more with the husband on that one. I don't see how Catie's death can have no affect on our future. Something as small as tossing a pebble in the lake sends out ripples... the waves that are caused by the death of a child are more like those that come from a hurricane. They do change what happens to our future. But, I can appreciate what the wife was saying. You've got to find the balance... it's going to shape your future, but you've got to claim some of that future too. You've got to accept yourself as you are now... forever changed because of a vast hole left in your home... and you've got to find a way to embrace life again. Some days it's easier than others. Izzy has definitely made it easier.

I was talking with a dear friend today and we were talking about "Catie stuff." I told her that I didn't expect to be "over" it at this point, but that I was surprised at how very present it all still is. In talking with others who have lost children, I'm more convinced that it's something that takes a lifetime to process. I do think you learn to live with it... we already are learning and have come a long way... but I think you continue to process for all your life. That's ok, because we'll love her all our lives... so I guess it's only fitting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And We're Back

We have been enjoying the summer! We've been to the lake and to the beach... soaking up some sun and water and going through lots of sunscreen -- you gotta love the spray stuff. Iz has enjoyed the water and spending time w/ folks she loves. She's definitely easier at the beach than at the lake... at the lake the water gets deep so quick that you really have to stay right on top of her. At the beach, we usually go out at low tide -- Tybee's south end is sooooo great for little ones at low tide. There are great tide pools and the adults stay cool in the water while the kids run around and splash and, as Izzy loves to do, cover themselves in sand.

Some pics to share...

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Checking out a book w/ Uncle Chad (he and Aunt Tati are expecting their first baby in November, a boy, we can't wait!!)

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Giving loving to Natalie (who just turned 1!!)

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If you only knew how many pictures we had to take to get this one!!

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And check this out -- they're both still!!

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Hanging out at the lake

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Check out that wild hair

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With Sara Beth -- and escaping from the picture

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We were going for a cute pic in their matching pjs -- Sara Beth finally just held her head towards the camera b/c Iz kept escaping!!

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Happy Girl!!!

The other reason I haven't posted much lately is b/c of some computer issues. My keyboard was going a little nuts, kept typing numbers instead of letters. So when Tre' brought his laptop home, I would catch up on e-mails, but no time for blogging. And... I kept falling asleep at night before I had time to call Dell to see what the deal was. So today, I decided to call Dell while Iz was napping. The nice man at Dell said, "have you tried pressing the number lock key on your laptop?" Oh my gosh!!!!! It seems that at some point, about 3 weeks ago, Iz hit the number lock key... and so, I haven't been able to type on my computer for THREE WEEKS b/c I didn't hit the number lock key!!!!! :) Can you believe that? Too funny! Oh well... you gotta laugh!!! It was easy to fix and we're back in business now!!