Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to School Blues

I'm really one of the lucky ones, if there is such a thing. The chaos of getting my 8 year old ready for school and fall activities is almost enough to make me forget how much additional chaos this family is missing. Almost...
Tomorrow is the first day of school. I'll make my sidewalk chalk art declaring it's my oldest's first day of 3rd grade and I'll take pictures as she boards the big bus. I'm looking forward to her smiles and first day excitement. But a part of me will feel crushed. Crushed because I should have helped pack 3 backpacks tonight. I should have sidewalk chalk art taking up an even bigger portion of our driveway tomorrow morning. I should be sending Tyler & Ethan to Kindergarten tomorrow. I can only imagine what we're missing - I would panic that I would run out of sidewalk chalk before I fully spelled out "kindergarten" plus A's "3rd grade" lettering. I would worry a little about them getting off the bus and to their classroom, since it would be their first day at the "big school." I would tell A ten times to make sure she walks them to their classroom and makes sure they get on the right bus to go to daycare after school. She would roll her eyes, and I would know that despite the sarcasm, she worried about them as much as I did. She's a mother hen that way.
But tomorrow morning, it will be just my oldest boarding that bus. And our rainbow looking on at her big sister of course, asking when it will be her turn. Too soon, Ladybug...too soon. I will smile with tears in my eyes and wave to her as the bus drives off, and then we'll all get on with our day. The moment will be short. The anticipation of it always bigger than the moment itself. The worst of the hurt only lasting for a short while now. Until the next milestone...
I pray that Tyler & Ethan will watch over their classmates this school year and always. Running beside them, laughing at their jokes, sharing in their excitement. Most of those kids don't know that there should be two dishwater blonde twin boys in their circle of friends this year, but even though they don't know Tyler & Ethan, I hope they feel them. Feel their spirit, feel their love, and feel their protection. Just like I do.


Friday, April 1, 2016

5 Years

It's the milestones that get you. The first year is expectedly the worst - the first Christmas they miss, the first family vacation, their first birthday. Each one of those days is bittersweet. Heartbreaking for all they're missing, yet bittersweet when you remember all that they had, even if it was only for a short time. One would think that each year that goes by, you miss them a little less. Not true. You never stop missing those you love. Every year, you add to your mental list all the things that they missed. This year marks 5 years. Five years since Tyler & Ethan were born. And died. Five years since we held them. Five years since we said hello and good-bye, all within a couple of hours. When I think about everything they've missed in those 5 years, it is so sad. They never got to go to school, meet their baby sister, be held by their big sister, learned to ride a bike, play fetch with the dog, go to Disney. On one hand, five years doesn't seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but on the other, there is so much that happens in five years. So many experiences they have missed.

But have they really missed them? That's the question I keep asking myself, even though I know the answer. They haven't really missed a thing. I believe in angels, and I believe my boys have walked beside us every day for the last 5 years. They knew their baby sister before I did. I still believe that between Tyler, Ethan and our friend Monica, they brought our rainbow baby to us safely. It is so hard to look at her and think that if Tyler & Ethan had lived, Lexie would have never been born. Not that I would ever trade one for the other; it's just human nature to want it all but know it never would have happened. Lexie was talking about her friend Madison the other day. Madison doesn't have any brothers or sisters, and Lexie was asking "Where is Madison's sister?" I said Madison doesn't have brothers or sisters. Lexie says "Oh, only I have brothers and sisters?" I said yes. You have two brothers in Heaven and your sister. She's big into asking "why" lately, so I was bracing myself for it. It never came. She just said "oh" and moved on. It was so interesting to me that this child who is curious about everything and asks me "why" twenty times a day, did not bat an eyelash at the fact that she has two brothers in Heaven. She's only 3, so we've never had a big explanation about death and Heaven. But it's like she knew. Because she did. She probably knows her brothers in a way that I will never understand, and that is so beautiful.

So no, they haven't missed a thing. They see us every day. They see the good things we are doing in their memory, and the amazing birthday party we throw every year for them to benefit March of Dimes. And they are proud. And happy. And they love each and every one of you for keeping their memory alive. And so do I.

Happy 5th Birthday, Tyler & Ethan.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

So Much to Say

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I posted last. Life is crazy. Beautiful, but crazy.

I'll start where I left off last time. April Fool's. I had asked everyone to celebrate Tyler & Ethan's birthday by having a little fun and playing an April Fool's prank. I even encouraged T & E to prank me if they could. Well, they did. I always take off work on April 1. I stay home and work on their scrapbook and visit the cemetery by myself before we go as a family later. So when I returned to work the next day, I was surprised to see two random carabiner clips hanging in my cubicle. Weird, right? I don't use carabiners and I don't think we even sell them where I work! I traced it back to our cubicle-neighborhood prankster...who I am friends with but not Facebook friends with and I'm pretty positive he has never read my blog. I have to imagine that a couple little angels were using him as a vehicle for their prank on mom. I'm sure he has no idea how his simple act brought tears to my eyes and made me so happy, but maybe I'll tell him someday.

Fast forward to September. The first day of school this year was so hard. I drew Addison her "First Day of Second Grace" sidewalk chalk art for her annual picture, and of course Lexie had to get in on the photo opp too. It was such a hard thing to do this year though because I should have been drawing "First Day of 4K" for Tyler & Ethan too. I should have been taking their picture getting on the little 4K bus with their friends at daycare. I should have had tears that my babies were going off to school. And instead, I had tears that they were not. I work from home sometimes and sit at the kitchen table where I can see out the window while I work. It hurts my heart every time the little 4K bus drives past picking up and dropping off what would have been Tyler & Ethan's classmates. Every single time, it still hurts.

And now fast forward to March. We're knee-deep in planning this year's March of Dimes Fundraiser, which is scheduled for April 2. I always do it around Tyler & Ethan's birthday because it fills the void of not being able to plan a birthday party for them. This fundraiser IS their birthday party. And it's always amazing. I was getting my pizza order together last night, going through spreadsheets from prior years, and stopped to look at the folder I was in. I have a folder on my laptop called "Tyler&Ethan". It was created April 2, 2011, the day after they died. For the first year, it only housed things like the readings our uncles did at the funeral, the poem I wrote for their funeral leaftlet, their photos from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and other sad reminders of their passing. Today, that folder is blooming with happiness. We are preparing for our 5th March of Dimes Fundraiser, and all the planning documents live in my Tyler&Ethan folder. Flyers, newspaper ads, donation lists, thank you note lists. This event has transformed a very sad place into one filled with hope and strength. Looking in that folder shows me how far we've come. We've come out of the ashes of a tragedy and turned it into a legacy for the boys that walk beside us in spirit. And for that, I am proud. I am thankful. I am blessed.

One more thing before I go. I KNOW in the very depts. of my soul that Tyler & Ethan are with me. Right beside me sometimes even. I received a donation from our silent auction from Megan at Bridge Creek Cottage (find her on Etsy - her wreaths are great). The kids had Pandora on, and when I opened up the box from Megan, "my song" for the boys came on. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. I had so many silent tears - thankful tears, happy tears, sad tears and tears of joy knowing that it was the boys' way of saying they see what we do. They see what we ALL do and they are proud of us.

Here's my song. I know it's weird that this is from Twilight, but the words speak to me. I imagine myself reuniting with Tyler & Ethan in Heaven and saying to them "I have died every day waiting for you...I have loved you for a thousand years; I'll love you for a thousand more."

Thank you for reading and following Tyler & Ethan's legacy. I invite you all to attend our March of Dimes Fundraiser April 2 in Barneveld! See for details!!

Much love,