Monday, January 20, 2014

Choosing to Embrace Joy, Peace and Happiness

The day that felt like it would never arrive, is tomorrow. Tomorrow our rainbow, Avery's sister, will make her grand debut. Surprisingly, I am rather calm. At least for now. I've spent the last 9 months working towards finding a balance between my grief and my joy. For so long, I felt guilty for being excited about Harper's arrival. I felt if I was excited for her, I was somehow turning my back on Avery.  Knowing I would have to balance parenting my two daughters in completely different ways was a hard concept to comprehend. How does that work?

You see, when you lose a child, life stops. It seems like happiness will never be part of life again. And honestly, you don't want happiness. Slowly, you find a way to smile and laugh without guilt. You realize it's not that you aren't still hurting and the pain is completely gone but that you must still live. Slowly but surely, you get back into a routine without feeling like you're moving on without them. Eventually, you find a way to incorporate them into your every day life while functioning. You find a way to a new normal and you work with all of your strength to hold it together (most days).  

But all of that quickly changes when you add a new baby into the mix.  Your mind doesn't know what to do with this change to what you've just accepted and your life. It's one thing figuring out how to live life again, it's a whole other thing to try wrapping your head around parenting a child in Heaven and a child on earth without guilt. Slowly, over the last 9 months, I've changed the way I think. Instead of worrying myself over letting Avery down, I'm embracing the joy and the gift we are being given. 

It's not an easy thing to do. Everyday I have to consciously choose to block out the doubt, the pain, the fear and the worry and let in the hope, the joy and the peace God is giving me again. I have to redirect my thoughts when the panic and 'what ifs' start in on me. If I let them start, they will consume me. They tear me apart.  I will lose my footing and fall face first. I know we are very blessed to have the chance to be parents here on earth again but I have to consciously make the choice to embrace and focus on just that. 

I know I'm not guaranteed anything with Harper. She could leave us just as quickly as Avery but if that's where I focus my energy, I lose out on the here and now. Today, tomorrow and everyday moving forward that God allows Harper to stay with us is a day I want to be completely present. I want to embrace each happy moment and not let the doubt and fear and worry and what ifs rob me of what I have in front of me. I want to live in the now. 

This will be a hard road. It will be much easier said than done. I know I will have many tearful breakdowns and many worry filled sleepless nights. My hope is that God will continue to fill me with peace so I can enjoy what is in front of me. And I've accepted that it doesn't mean I'm negating Avery and what she brought to me. It doesn't mean we are leaving her behind. Rather, we are all choosing to move forward as a family of four. Keeping her and all of the light and love she brought into our lives with us each and every day. 

It still breaks my heart that I won't see her and Harper grow and play together. I'm scared Harper will look just like her yet afraid they won't look anything alike. I will be an overprotective mom. Her first year will be full of over the top precautions. I don't know how I'll ever let her leave my arms. I don't know how I'll leave her when it comes time to go back to work. I don't know how I will sleep. But I do know I will make a conscious effort every day to appreciate every moment I have with her. 

Please pray for us tomorrow as Harper enters this world. As much as I am calm now, I really have no idea where my head will be tomorrow. 

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11