August 25, 2011

My Dearest Ayden,

Facing today may not have seemed difficult for me on the outside looking in, but I fought back tears all day. I couldn't fight the tears, though, when I told my first group of students about you. I had looked at my watch and realized that it was only minutes from being 2 years, officially. They were touched by your story, and I was relieved to share you with was a way for me to be with you today. I talked about you throughout the day, and I remembered our wonderful times together. Of course, it's difficult to face today without thinking about what happened, but I was able to focus more on our future....together. Each day that passes is a day closer to you....what comfort I find in that!!

It was so hard to go back to work today. I was missing my boys. I wanted you in my arms, and I wanted your little brother in them as well. I wish so much that I could see the two of you together. I feel robbed of so many things. I feel heartache and joy at one time, and I find myself balancing grief and happiness a lot these days. To say I miss you doesn't even touch the longing I feel for you each day. I still watch families and wonder.....what could have been? I still ache when I see a little boy the age you should be. I watch them play and giggle and being such boys....and I just miss you. I miss the future we could have had together here, but I find hope through imaging the future we will have for eternity. I constantly ask Jesus to return quickly....tomorrow would be great.

I love you more than ever. The love and adoration I have for you continues to grow with each passing day. I am so, so proud of first born. I will forever acknowledge you. You made me who I am. You showed me the absolute bliss that motherhood is and the completion that exists between mother and child. I know that while you were here (and even now) I loved you recklessly....with every ounce of my being. Losing you didn't change that. I love you and you brother in that same holding back, loving you both fully and deeply. It is the most amazing thing I will ever experience.

This day will never be easy. So many people were thinking of and remembering you today. Prayers were lifted for our family. You might have heard some talk of it up there...maybe? You are so's awesome. God has touched so many lives through you, and we are so, so proud of you for that. We are probably the proudest parents a kid could ask for!

Wait for us....we will see you soon. We'll be the ones racing to get to you!

Love always,

2 years...

2 years ago, tonight, I kissed him goodnight for the last time.

2 years ago, tomorrow, we had to say goodbye.

Missing my Ayden so, so much.

Tomorrow is another August 25th. Another first day with students while I'm away from my child. Another reminder of the tragedy we lived through and continue to live each day. A reminder of the big brother who should be here.

Hard to believe it's been 2 years. It feels like I've lived an eternity without him already.

He's ONE!! Happy Birthday Collen!!

Today, Collen is a year old!!! It was surreal to wake up and see my little baby boy...and realize he's been with us for an entire year! In any other instance, a year wouldn't seem like such a long time, but it has flown by so quickly! We've learned so much about Collen over the past year. He has taught us selflessness, how to play again, the importance of laughter, and the genuine love that only a child can share with his parents....and vice versa. He is such a delight, and we consider him to be a blessing and a miracle! God brought Collen into our lives at the perfect time - a time when we needed him the most, and he has brought light, laughter, and joy back into our hearts and our lives.

I'll update tomorrow with his 12 month "Collen-isms." Until then, enjoy some pictures from his birthday party (we went with a sock monkey theme!!) and his birthday!! He had a wonderful party and did brilliantly the entire time! He loved his cake (which was by far the healthiest birthday cake I've ever seen! Score for mommy!!), and he seemed to truly enjoy the friends and family who were they to celebrate such a special occasion!

The party was held at our church in the youth meeting area - "The Loft." It was the perfect place for a birthday party!

Eating lunch

And now...the cake!

"Mmmmmm!!! Mom and dad have been holding out on me!"

Opening gifts. He was more interested in playing with the other kids who were playing with his gifts. ;)

Happy Birthday!!

Shortly after being woken up by mommy...snapping pictures and exclaiming, "Happy Birthday!!!"

Mommy's boy...

Day One: We survived.

Today was the dreaded day - the day Collen and I would be separated for an entire work day.

Leading up to today, I did all that I could to ignore the fact that it was around the corner. Last week, I had some half days where I had to attend orientation, so we used that as an opportunity to get Collen used to his babysitter. Overall, he did well, but there was definitely some crying when he got dropped off and some resistance on his part. Going into today, I had a terrible feeling that it was going to just blow up....and I would have to walk away and hope that he did okay after I left. Thankfully, his babysitter is super, super patient with him and understands that this is a big transition after staying home with mommy for a year. Plus...he is hitting the height of separation anxiety - one day he'll be okay, the next....I can't be further than 2 feet from him without him losing it. I realize it's part of the age (and I'm so, so, so thankful to reach this age with him. I'll take the clinginess and getting up several times a night any least I have my baby.) so I'm trying to be very patient with him and get him through this phase.

Last night, I was a nervous wreck. I was making spaghetti for some friends of ours, and I was standing there crying as I was stirring the sauce ( was a sight). Luckily, I was alone for this, so no one had to witness my near breakdown. I told Jeremy that more than anything, it's fear. I'm reliving 2 years the day. We started back on the 17th. Ayden was put in day care. We had to face the transition. We had gotten adjusted and feeling good about it all......and then, the 25th. He was gone. It is more than traumatic, and I have no idea how I'm not on medication right now to calm my nerves. I'm so terrified of losing Collen. It is my ultimate fear, and I know that my heart couldn't take it again. However, my rational side keeps saying, "There's no point in living in fear. God's plan is in place, and you...His child...has to accept that He is in control." (that's hard to swallow sometimes...)

So, this morning, we tried to do everything as normal as possible. Luckily, I didn't HAVE to be at work until 8:30 (when school starts back officially, it's a bit earlier), so we took our time getting up. Jeremy and I both got up and got ready before Collen woke up. By 7:15, he was still asleep, so I had to wake him up to get him ready, give him his milk, and let him wake up a little bit. I got him to the babysitter's house by 8, and since I had some time, I stuck around for a few minutes to make sure he was comfortable. Well, we walked in....and I could tell that he immediately felt at ease. He was looking for the dog and pointing out things he remembered from last week. As soon as he hit the floor, he was crawling around, playing, looking for the dog. I was shocked. I waited until the right moment to leave - he was at the back door pointing outside for the dog, so I said "bye bye", he waved, and I know he saw me walk out - and he didn't shed one tear.

But, I did. :( I was so relieved and so thankful that he jumped right in and did so well. But my heart just hurts. I miss Ayden so much, especially on days like today when I'm remembering dropping him off and not knowing that I had so little time left. Remembering his face as I said goodbye for the last time (I can still see it so, so clearly). I keep telling God, "I can't do it again. I just can't. I won't survive it." So, I took a lot of deep breaths, and just kept moving.

Once I got to school, it was nonstop for the rest of the day. Middle school is going to be a HUGE transition for me. I'm used to the freedom of high school, and now I'm going into lining up my students, designating locker visits, taking them to lunch, etc. Wow!! Such a different world! I already love my TEAM and the grade level colleagues for the 8th grade, though, so I have a very positive outlook for this year. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm excited about something new. I do, however, miss my AG family terribly. I miss my friends, and I miss my kids. My heart is always with my AG family.

So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your prayers. All day, I've just kept repeating, "PRAYER WORKS!!" God showed us so much grace today and brought me so much peace. What a mighty God we serve!! He bring comfort, healing, and peace in the moment when we need them the most. I pray for an even better day tomorrow.

Sometimes it just doesn't seem real...

As time continues to push us forward, our memories with Ayden remain in the past. That has been one of the cruelest parts of this loss....the fog that time brings...the memories becoming more like a dream than a reality. I find myself looking at pictures of Ayden and thinking, "He was really here. We really experienced that. We lived through tragedy. He's mine....and I held him, kissed him, love him so much." I know it's true; I have the vivid, clear if it was yesterday....but some days, he just seems so far away. And I hate that.

Nearly 2 years later, I still want my baby back. Although I've grown to accept this life as a life that I must live without my child, it doesn't mean I don't think about him, ache for him, weep for him...oh no...I think I cry harder now than the first year without him. I long to know the child who was taken from me too hear his voice just one more see those bright, blue eyes..and that smile that he smiled just for me.

One day, I'll hold him in my lap forever....and I hope we can have conversations like this one again: (some people have trouble seeing this one for some reason. If you can't...I'm so sorry...)


It's here.....the hardest month of the year. But, now, also one of the happiest months of the year. I spend the month of August going from dread to joy, sadness to elation, devastation to excitement.

It's enough to throw your emotional and mental state completely out of wack.

Here's what this August holds for me:

1. The 2nd anniversary of Ayden's passing away

2. Facing August 25th - another 1st day of school, another day like "that" day...leaving my baby while I go to work...reliving every second of "that" day....praying I never have to repeat it. (I will be SO glad when school doesn't start on August 25th...)

3. Leaving Collen after staying home with him for a year.

4. A new job, material I've never taught before, and age group I've never taught before, a school I'm not familiar with, and new coworkers/people to get to know. Lack of comfort and assurance of support (yet).

5. Planning Collen's first birthday party...amidst starting a new job and trying to get organized for that.

6. Football season - a lot of time without Jeremy. And when things are changing and the routine is disrupted....all I need is stability, and it's tough without Jeremy here to hold me up and calm me down when I'm stressed.


So....August is a tough month. It's hard because I feel like I face this month as two people - part of me dreads it, the other me is so happy to see it because it marks a year with my sweet Collen!

I always said that God made this the month of Collen's birth for a reason. When I became pregnant, and I realized he would be born in August, I knew it was part of His plan. A way for me to embrace this month for the sorrow and joy it brings me all at one time. And now, facing another August 25th....another first day of school....I keep shaking my head and saying, "Ok, God. I know you wouldn't make me face this if You didn't have a purpose." I truly believe He's trying to give me a positive August 25th this show me that this day will end differently. (Deep least I hope so.)

I find myself feeling very on edge lately. I know it's because of everything all happening at one time, and I know I'm not in control. I can't stop time. I can't keep August 25th from coming around on the calendar. I can feel the panic creeping in, but I push it isn't going to help anything. But then I bet medication would be niiiice right now. I've actually been taking over the counter sleeping pills just help me fall asleep. If I don't....I lie there with my mind reeling....making list after list.....answer questions and talking myself out of the stress. 2 hours later, I might fall asleep. (I've always been this dad would have to come comfort me in the middle of the night because I'd lay there and cry....and I didn't know why....I was just worried and anxious. I've learned how to channel it now and calm down.)

Needless to say, August is a big month for us. I'm so thrilled to celebrate Collen's FIRST birthday this month.....and remember 4 beautiful months with our sweet Ayden. But, it is certainly bittersweet to face the 25th and mark the day we had to say goodbye.

Pray for us this month. This year, especially, this is a month of huge transitions and new routines....and once we're able to get into a new routine, we'll be breathing easier.