Stillbirth; Behind my smile, first day of school…

What a day…. First day of school for these two, first day of many I get to snuggle and enjoy one on one time with my rainbow baby, Zane, AND it is the 5th anniversary of Mac’s passing. Whew, my heart is being tugged in a million different directions.

My precious “littles” are growing up so fast. Hagen is heading to 4th grade and Suzie is starting 1st. What a difference a year makes. They are bigger, brighter and have my whole heart! I don’t know if it would be possible for me to love them more. Z-man stayed awake long enough to watch them get on the bus. He was out two minutes later. My fingers crossed its a sign he will nap better today with a quiet house.

Every year I see my kids off to school. Every year I am fully aware one is missing. We imagine how he would feel watching his brother and sister get on the bus. What would we do during the day waiting for them to come home from school. I’d take that time. I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Brian and I talked just yesterday about how we would have been talking to Mac about how he would be starting school soon. We would have told him he would start next year, the same age Hagen started. We would have walked into meet and greet holding his hand, aware of his fear and excitement. We would have talking to him about how big he is getting and how excited we are he will join his brother and sister next school year.

Every year we watch as Hagen, Suzie and now Zane grows before us. Every year we get excited and are so proud of the kids that they are and the amazing human beings they are becoming. Every year for five years we have wondered what it would have been like to be given the privilege to rush all three to get read in the morning. I morn the chaos having an extra mouth to feed, dress and organize in the morning. I would love the stress of having one more mouth to check after brushing. I am reminded each and every year what a privilege it is to be part of the chaos the start of the school year is. It has taken us time to get to where we are in our grief. We have grown along side our children. It wasn’t always looked at as the privilege it is to have the reminder of what a blessing the chaos is.

Two weeks after his loss Hagen started preschool. TWO WEEKS. I watched as my big boy stepped into the school. I was over joyed, proud and had all the feels a mommy does. I was also broken hearted, filled with anxiety and being pulled in two different directions. One side desperately wanting to watch every second of Hagen and not leave his side… because he was my first and preschool was new to both of us. I think I was more scared than he was. Looking back I see how God worked in our lives allowing Hagen to be the outgoing, fearless young man he is. I needed that at that time, more than I realized. The other side of me pulling me, desperate to retreat into my own space a place where I didn’t chance being asked “how many kids do you have?” I wasn’t ready to answer this question. I didn’t know how. I’m still learning.

That was one hard year. I quickly realized that I had to be strong for my living children, AND find a way to honor and remember my boy in Heaven. It’s been tough, but as the years have gone by I have learned how to cope, how to grieve and how to be okay with being happy and feeling a deep longing for what I will always miss out on. This year we did less tears, but in no way felt his absence less.

This year I smiled at the bus stop, allowing myself a moment completely mindful of my three children here with me. A moment I’ve only earned through growth. After they drove away Brian and I walked home. Walking along we noticed what we believe was our little boy telling us he was with us on this big day, maybe not in the way we would prefer, but with us none the less.

This was the Monarch butterfly that followed us along the walking path that morning. It stayed with us, stopping as we did and allowing me to capture a moment.