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Christmas 2017- A Bittersweet Christmas

6 am I hear my name being called. My husband jumps out of bed in excitement. He’s been up for a couple of hours already and has been anxiously waiting for Caroline to wake up on Christmas morning. I struggle to get my eyes open as I shuffle down the hallway. My husband races Caroline downstairs to see what Santa brought. 

Out on the family room floor were toys from Santa.

– A new Paw Patrol bedding set (from Auntie, but it was just too hard to wrap LOL)

– A Paw Patrol coloring book (I bought this two years ago for like $1 at Michaels- this was the perfect year for it since Caroline is now obsessed with Paw Patrol)

– Cookie Monster stuffed animal (I buy the $5 stuffed animal from the Kohls Cares program each year)

– A Marble Track

Caroline headed straight for the marble track. Let me just say that I almost didn’t buy this. Here’s the back story…We had marbles that we were using as a reward system. That quickly had turned into Daddy finding some old pieces of molding and making some makeshift marble tracks. Caroline loved what he’d put together.

I wasn’t sure if she’d want to use an actual marble track, or if she was too fascinated by the makeshift ones. I knew that she’d be able to use this one more easily on her own though. Anyways, this marble track was only $15 on amazon. That was a steal! So we decided to get it.

This marble track was payback for all of the Christmas eve nights that our parents had to stay up and assemble toys for us… this one was quite the puzzle to put together. It was so much fun sitting on the floor with my husband in that role, though.

Good thing we ended up getting this present. It was the HIT of the day! It was her all time favorite present. She played with it for hours, and never wanted to stop- not even to open more presents. LOL! Caroline stayed in her underwear all day just playing with this toy. Never did she get dressed. Never did she even stop to put a blanket on!

We finally convinced her to open the rest of her presents… a few more leapfrog books to add to her collection, light up paw patrol sneakers, and more.

This Christmas was so hard, though. Our house was quiet with just the three of us. It was filled with thoughts of April. Christmas was an odd mixture of happiness, loss, and grief. I watched Caroline play, and I cried. I want her to have her sister here to play with.

I wanted to be carrying April down the stairs to see what Santa had brought her on this Christmas morning. I wanted to show her the joy of Christmas.

Every moment that I watch Caroline grow up, is a moment to remind me that April doesn’t get to grow up.

Caroline held me. She comforted me. She told me everything would be ok. She told me she missed April and wanted her here to play with. It was a hard, hard day.

On the Saturday before Christmas, we opened a package from Caroline’s great auntie- purple, sparkly, colorful, starry crocs. They were perfect for Caroline and she just loved them. They were too small, though. My sweet, thoughtful daughter decided she wanted to save them for our next baby.

Caroline talks about April and Chelsea. She wants to talk about why they died. She wants to talk about how everyone dies eventually. She talks about having another baby in Mama’s belly. Part of our Christmas was spent looking at pictures of me when I was pregnant with her, and with April, as I answered all of her questions.

A simple question about why Mama wears a bra, quickly turns to talk about why women have boobs, and that babies drink milk from them, etc. The simplest of questions is a sharp reminder of our loss.

Our daughter is full of questions lately. Great questions. She knows that when the tampons are out, Mama is on her period. She knows that means an egg is released…like the egg that April grew from. She asks SO many questions. And we answer them.

I wasn’t expecting Christmas to be any different, but I also wasn’t expecting it to be so hard. I can handle the 3 year old inquisitiveness. I can handle the matter of fact talk about what happened.

But, Christmas was hard to handle.

It’s hard to feel happiness when I feel so broken. And on this day I felt very broken. April needed to be there. April was supposed to be born this week- December 28th was her due date. That’s making this Christmas season extra hard. I want to watch her grow up. I want to hold her just one more time. Feel her hand on mine as she squeezes my finger. Feel her take breaths- just once more.

We have two very special daughters. They are each so special in their own ways, and they both have amazing ways of taking care of me. Christmas wasn’t all happiness and joy this year, but it was spent thinking about and celebrating the lives that are so important to us. It was small and perfect in it’s own little way.

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