Life is busy, and with all of it's busyness, I have not had a chance to do one of my most favorite things... write.
I have a few extra moments this morning so I wanted to jump on here and share some things with you that are going on in our lives. There has been a lot!
We have been super busy around the Ross household. Last week, we did a complete living room/dining room renovation.
We've painted, pulled up carpet, put down hard wood flooring and new molding. It looks so beautiful and I can't wait to decorate now. I have to say though, doing a project like that with 3 kiddo's including a 3 month old baby was a lot of work, and one of the main reasons I didn't get to blog last week. =) I was glad we got it done though, it looks so beautiful.
A few other things happened last week too.
We got Madeline's stone.
We do not have it engraved yet, that's the next step; but I'm glad that at least she has a stone now. I don't think there is anything harder as a parent than having to come up with words to put on your child's headstone, but we want it to be perfect. Her stone is a pale mauve heart. It's really perfect for her and the story behind "this" stone is so sweet.
I remember after Maddie Grace passed thinking, we have to get her a headstone. I remember being so lost in grief at that point, I didn't know which way was up. Yet, our sweet friends Mark and Cassandra came to us. Cassandra told me that her father had contacted her and asked if we were in need of a headstone. With all the hospital bills/emergency room bills, we had not yet had a chance to even think about getting one. He said he had one and it was ours if we wanted it. Cassandra sent me a picture of the stone, and I knew right away, it was perfect for Maddie Grace. It was such a blessing and I knew that the Lord used them to give us that stone. It was another one of God's blessings and "hugs" that He gave just to us. I'm very grateful.
I'll be glad to get it engraved and I will post pictures once it's set in her place. I think it will be good to have it over there, so everyone can read the name of our sweet daughter who changed our lives forever. She is so missed.
Also, last week Maddie Grace's tree bloomed! Her pink Dogwood that we planted last spring is in full bloom and it's absolutely beautiful! Last year it only had one pink flower, but this year it's full of beautiful pink flowers. Every time I see it out the kitchen window, I can't help but smile. I'm so glad we planted this tree in her memory. I know it won't bloom for long, but I'm really enjoying watching it while it's here. It seems like there are always some birdie's nearby too, which is so sweet.
We are going to take a family photo out there today. A few sweet friends of mine gave me the idea. I think it will be a sweet way to include Maddie in our photographs each spring. A little bit of pink added to my otherwise masculine brood. =)
Speaking of boys...
The boys are wonderful! Noah is on spring break this week so we have had a full week of fun! We've gone to the Y, gone swimming, to dinner, played outside, gone to the zoo and much more.
I've loved having all three of my boys home all week. We have truly made some wonderful memories.
Jonah loved his first time at the zoo and I loved sharing that "first" experience with him. I loved watching his sweet smiles and grins as I pushed him all around. I don't think there is anything more beautiful than watching the wonder in a baby's eyes. Just precious. Here's a picture I snapped of him.
And them? So blessed.
We have also enjoyed spending some time with my sweet nephew. He's been staying with us this week as well. He is such a great example to my little guys and truly a joy to have around.
I took all four of them to the store this week (yes I know I 'm crazy :) but I wanted them to pick out all of their favorite foods and snacks. After all, it is spring break.
If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times that day... Oh wow, four boys...
Part of me wanted to say in a sarcastic way, "Hey, you can count." =)
But the nice side of me said this... "Yep, we have four this week. Three of them are mine and one is my nephew." followed by Maddie's story...
I wondered if I would ever get to the place where I won't tell her story. I wondered if I would always share with them that I too, have a little girl. She was beautiful. She had the darkest fullest head of hair I'd ever seen. The most beautiful round chubby cheeks. She had the sweetest dimpled chin. She was my daughter. She is my daughter. Oh how I miss her.
Sometimes I find myself staring at families who have two older boys and a little girl, just thinking, "wow, that's how it would have been."
No, "oh wow, you have ALL boys?" comments.
No, "Awe, you need a little girl."
No sadness when I walk by the baby girl department or see pink and turquoise dresses.
But it's in those moments I just pull my sweet Jonah Asher a little closer and watch my beautiful healthy boys and think, I am blessed. I truly am blessed. In sadness and in pain. In missing and in wanting. I'm still blessed.
Later that day, I received a phone call. One of my sweetest friends was calling to check on me and see how the boys were doing.
I shared my heart with her about missing Maddie and told her how "everything" reminds me of her so much. I told her that I'd gotten stronger over the last 15 months but that occasionally the hard days still come when they do, I just want to cry. I knew she would understand, because she too knows this pain.
She told me this.... "It's been 8 years for me since Belle went to Heaven and I've gotten stronger through the years, but every now and then I'll have a day where something will remind me of her. On those days it's hard. But, I try to instead of thinking how she's not here, remember that she was. She was here. She was a part of our family. And one day we will all be in Heaven together again. So when something reminds me of her it makes me happy. I try not to be sad that she isn't here anymore, but be grateful that she was."
I love my sweet friend Kelsey and her wisdom and advice she's shared with me.
She was here. Maddie Grace was here.
The pink sunsets, the sweet little birds, the colors pink and turquoise. The word Grace, dark haired baby girls, tutu's, The hymn's "There's something about that name", "His eye is on the sparrow" and her pink Dogwood tree.... All of them are reminders to me. She was here.
Maddie Grace was here.
It was like all of the sudden a weight was lifted for me.
I like that idea. I like looking at everything that reminds me of her and instead of being sad that "She isn't, being thankful that "she was."
Later that afternoon, Jonah fell asleep on my chest. I was rocking him and listening to the boys play and giggle upstairs. Then all of the sudden a little birdie started chirping in the tree right outside my window. I felt like all four of them were with me. It was such a sweet calming moment that the Lord gave me. I closed my eyes and listened to that sweet birdie sing. I wondered how beautiful Maddie Grace must be in Heaven. I'll never forget that moment holding Jonah, listening to my boys and that little Maddie birdie. It was so precious.
So many things will always remind me of her and I have a feeling, I will continue to talk of her all of my days. That's just who I am.
I am a mom proud of my daughter. I will always say her name. I love her.
She has changed my life forever.
Maddie Grace was here.
May we always be thankful for the moments we have had, instead of wishing for the ones we haven't.
God is good. Always.