This morning, Collen and I were up and going earlier than usual. I'm ashamed to say that I do stay in the bed until he "get's up" for the day ("get's up" meaning...finishes his 2nd morning nap. Hey...the kid's naps last anywhere from 1-3 hours; I'm taking advantage now!). Usually, we're up anywhere between 9 and 10:30. This morning, though, we had to meet up with Jeremy so I could take him some shorts he had forgotten. I had to meet him by a specific time, so I thought to myself, "Do I just put Collen in the carseat in his pajamas and drive there unshowered, hair pulled up, in my pajamas?" OR "Do I feed Collen now, get a shower, fix my hair, put makeup on, put on normal clothes, and run some errands while we're out?" Considering the fact that I have been sick these past few days, I was impressed that I was able to pull it together and opt for running errands. Collen was such a trooper. Here is a rundown of what we did:
1. Met up with Daddy (the highlight of our day)
2. Drove back to Greenville
3. Went to the Pottery to look for a freestanding pantry (gosh, those things are hard to find!) Didn't walk away empty-handed; bought some fall flowers for Ayden's spot, bought a beautiful (and very reasonably priced) lantern and wreath for our dining table), and a candle for the lantern (which turned out to be too big!)
4. Went to the memorial park to visit Ayden's spot. Had to feed Collen there; it was very peaceful and quiet just sitting in the car...me and Collen...such a calming essence about that place.
5. Went out to Ayden's spot to switch out his arrangement. It was surreal to be there with Collen. The last time I visited, I was pregnant, and the thought of Collen actually being here with us was still unreal. I took him out of the stroller so he could sit with me by Ayden's spot, and I talked to him about his big brother. He sat and looked at me, listening, and looking at the flowers. It was a sweet, but very sad, moment.
6. We went to Lowes to look, yet again, for freestanding pantry...couldn't find one. But did find a curtain for our bathroom and 2 mum baskets.
7. Went home to find Aunt Megan waiting for us. It was time for Collen to eat again, so he ate and we watched (but didn't finish) Beauty and the Beast.
Now, I get to the topic of this post....
I had headed outside at Lowes to look at their mum selection. It took all I had not to buy the HUGE mum basket. It was absolutely gorgeous, but I was not about to spend $20 on flowers that are sure to die once they came home with me. I finally settled on 2 smaller baskets for our front steps. As I was going through the checkout, the lady behind the counter came around to ooh and aahh over Collen. She asked the usual questions and made the usual comments, "How old is he?" "He is beautiful!" Then, she said, "Makes you want to have another doesn't it?" I laughed. 2 babies/births/pregnancies in 2 years has been taxing on my body. I'm only 27, but I feel like I'm 60. I answered, "Not anytime soon, but someday." She then asked the not-so-common question - "Do you have any other children?" When I was pregnant, I was used to answering, "Is this your first?" Now, I'm faced with, "Is this your only?" So, I went with my heart and said, "We did, but our first passed away when he was four months old." Most people leave it at that, embarassed that they asked and received a complicated answer. This woman, though, went on to ask, "What happened?" So, I gave her our most simple answer, "He went to sleep and didn't wake up. We don't know what happened."
Then, Grace stepped in....
She looked at me and said, "That happened to my first, too. My daughter was 9 months old."
In that instant, we were no longer strangers.
I looked at her and said, "So you understand."
She said, "Yes. You probably never let him out of your sight, do you?" "And you won't let anyone else keep him."
She got it. She knew the fear and anxiety that I was/am feeling every moment of every day. She knew all of the questions that enter my mind. She knew what it meant to feel pain and joy at the same time.
We talked a little bit more. The conversation lasted all of 4 minutes, but in 4 minutes, I made a connection with someone I had never met before, and I left feeling less alone in my grief. As I was leaving, she reached over and touched my hand and said, "I will keep you in my prayers."
God placed her in my path today. I left Ayden's spot struggling with having two children but only one here in my arms. I left feeling alone in this because our situation is not the norm. Meeting this lady at Lowes made me feel less alone and a lot more hopeful. She had gone on to have two more daughters, and although life has moved forward, I could see that she still aches for her first child and hurts over her loss. Her first daughter is still very much with her; she isn't forgotten.
I walked away wanting to turn around and ask this woman if she wanted to go have coffee sometime. I didn't want her to think I was crazy. But....I just might seek her out again.
You never know when God is going to step in....