Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Olivia's 1st Birthday

Better late than never? Olivia's first birthday was May 12th and I have managed to completely skip blogging about her birthday. Blogger had been down when I first tried and my physically and emotionally demanding pregnancy has kept me away from blogging. Leading up to her birthday, the entire month before, I grieved like I had not grieved since losing her. I found myself crying and breaking down ALL the time, in the most uncomfortable of situations. Needless to say, I was nervous about her actual birthday and how difficult it would be. I had plans and ideas of how I had wanted the day to go and let them fall to the side because I honestly did not want to have to deal with it. In the end, I could not have been happier with how her birthday turned out.

When May 12th rolled around I was again refilled by the peace that only God could provide. It was wonderful to just have a day for her where it was nothing was expected of us as parents to do anything except think of Olivia. There were sad moments and tears but mostly celebrating her life and how great our lives really have become since she was part of it. Except Greg taking the day off, it was a normal weekday routine with our special remembrances of Olivia worked in as part of our day, just like if she were here with us. We sent the girls to preschool in the morning without reminding them it was Olivia's birthday, I was worried for the teachers trying to diffuse an awkward situation with 20 preschoolers asking questions about death and heaven without warning. Greg and I were able to go to Effingham to get balloons for the balloon release and the ice cream cake without kids. It was a miracle that the balloons fit in our car! I seriously underestimated how big 25 helium balloons would be and was so glad the girls were not with us for that!

We had just enough time to get balloons and cake in the house and then right back to the school to pick up the girls. I love that life still continues, no matter how some moments I wish it wouldn't! At the school Makayla did not have her glasses on her face (that we had just had fixed the day before!), the details are still fuzzy but too many kids going down one slide = glasses bent up! Thankfully the lenses were still intact! We also had another accident report for Hannah, she fell off of something on the playground. This might sound insensitive but I am immune at this point, I'm sure she set a record for accident reports sent home!

Once we got them in the car they were excited when we reminded them it was Olivia's birthday. I love that, to them she is their sister and they were ready to celebrate! We went to the cemetery after lunch for the balloon release. Hannah was too excited and let her balloons go early, she did get more though.

After the balloon release the girls went to dance class, where Hannah and another girl bumped heads resulting in a big swollen black eye for the other girl....did I mention that life still happened this day?? We went back to town in the evening and ate dinner out with just the 4 of us. There is a local restaurant that sends out coupons for birthdays and since May is our month, we had a coupon from Makayla's birthday. The waitress asked Makayla if she was the birthday girl and both Makayla and looked at us cautiously. Makayla told her "I'm not the birthday girl." I quickly diverted that and reminded Makayla that it WAS her birthday last week and the waitress was gone. After dinner we came home ate the icecream cake. The girls sang a sweet version of Happy Birthday to Olivia that they made up on their own.

Throughout the day we had received many messages, some cards and gifts that were so appreciated! It was nice to know that we were not remembering Olivia alone. My friend Yolanda brought by a copy of "Heaven is For Real." I also received an Olivia pendent from another baby loss mom, Kara. I plan to make it into a keychain but for now it's in my kitchen window so I see it everytime I do dishes (which is 2-3 times a day!).

Holly sent me a picture of Olivia's name.