Sunday, April 9, 2017

Moments of joy

We stopped for ice cream today after swim lessons. Rosie chose blue moon right away and enjoyed every last blue drop. 
Blaise has a new bike- with hand brakes and gears! He tested it out on Wolfram. 
We visited the new Whole Foods which has a mini arcade. The boys learned Frogger. 
Rosie and I took a long walk to meet friends for lunch. When we passed the library she insisted upon entering, then insisted upon doing this puzzle with me. It took at least 30 min (she had to do each piece by hand) but we conquered the four layers of the rainforest. I'm having to say no to so many of her demands that a yes sure felt good. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Visits with Lily

Wanted to capture defining moments from the past year, and thought I'd begin in an unusual spot, the cemetery. Lily is buried in the infant section of a large, Catholic cemetery about thirty minutes from our house. We laid her to rest on March 1, in the middle of a blizzard. I remember Danny carrying her to the gravesite, Fr. Joe saying her final blessings, and Blaise voluntarily kneeling down in the snow next to her.
Because Lily isn't here, I am grateful to do anything for her, as a mother would. One of those tasks was ensuring her headstone was just right. It's very simple but each option I deliberated over; the wording, shade, finding the perfect little angel.

The first time I returned to the cemetery, it was spring. Kelly had cut a tulip from her garden for Rosie to lay on Lily's grave.  When we arrived at the cemetery, I had forgotten how vast it is. I could find Lily's general area, and knew she was close to a tree.  It would be tricky though to find her since the headstone hadn't yet arrived. With that, Rosie and I unloaded and started walking. After ten minutes of searching, I spotted a tree, and near it a patch of brown dirt, signaling it was Lily. Tears, tears, tears. As we approached the grave, I happened to glance down, and burst into laughter. The baby buried directly at Lily's feet is nicknamed "McLovin" on the tombstone. Not joking. So now whenever we visit Lily we first pass McLovin and have a smile, before the tears. He must be a fun baby friend to have.
I wonder if Lily knows about her crazy sister? Rosie is the independent, self-assured little girl I always dreamt of for a daughter, but oh, can she test the limits. Sometimes she and I go to visit Lily together, while the boys are in school. We had to talk to Rosie about not stomping on graves. (Yes, she did. and laughed.) We also had to teach the kids not to pick anything up, as there are loads of toys and trinkets scattered around.  
This particular day, as I turn to surveil Rosie, she has picked up a small, ceramic Mary statue and is carrying it around. Annoyed, I say, "Rosie, you set that down now!" Looking me straight in the eye, she extends her arm, opens her fist, and drops the statue onto the headstone beneath her, smashing it to pieces. Lily, did you laugh at our mother daughter cemetery brawl?
It feels most right visiting Lily when there's a blanket of snow. It reminds Tommy and I of the day we buried her. We snuck out two days before Christmas to bring Lily a little poinsettia. When we arrived at the cemetery, the ground was completely white. Since the markers are all flat and close together, we knew it would be tricky to find her. We walked out to the tree we know she is close to, Tommy picked a spot, dug his glove down and said "well, let's start here." There, in that exact spot, we looked down and saw pink granite. It was Lily. We laughed and burst into tears. It was the greatest Christmas gift. It proved to be even more remarkable, as we sought to uncover McLovin, and couldn't find him after 15 minutes. Dad always knows where to find you, Lily.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

World Series Champs!

What an exciting time to be in Chicago! And oh how those Cubs stressed us out. 
Here are the boys watching Game 7. Note Tommy's lucky sweatshirt (they win whenever he's worn it) and note that Tommy is most likely texting his brother. Ha. Blaiser in pajamas happily watching after downing some Portillo's chocolate cake. 
It was a nailbiter... But... Cubs won!!!
We celebrated by decorating our neighbor's house who works for the Cubs. Blaise enjoyed learned to TP from his mom. 
The next day we took a spin around Wrigley. 

Fall at our House

The kids were all very certain about what they'd dress as for Halloween this year. Blaise wanted to be a soldier with a gun. (Such a big change from his ice cream cone costume.) Gus was insistent upon being "a black bat." And Rosie, why Cinderella of course! 
We've been up to visit Lily a few times this month. Rosie helped pick out a mum for her. Lily's mum matches those on our front porch. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Gus Bwyant

Gus has lovingly worn a hand-me-down Starlin Castro jersey for 2 years. It was time for an upgrade. 
We went over to Wrigley just the two of us on Sunday night (Gus in pjs) and picked out this badboy. The jersey he chose? His favorite "Kwis Bwyant."
I hope the kids always remember this exciting time in Chicago. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Yesterday we took the kids to Notre Dame. It was a golden day with unseasonably warm weather. We caught up with dear friends. Blaise tossed the football outside Alumni Hall. Gus drank three Gatorades. Rosie was only lost once. 

I hesitate to document these days now. 
How to explain the feeling of happiness and sadness coexisting? How to share these trivial moments, knowing Lily cannot be a part of them.

(Gus and Rosie high on Gatorade. Woot.)

But, Lily, yesterday you were there with us. 
...When I was asked "How many children do you have?" and stammered an answer 
...When a long lost friend bumped into us, and acknowledged your loss 
-When we spotted lilies on campus (I've got the kids trained to look for them!)
...When our family picture was taken, even though it is incomplete 

I've been waiting to clear my throat and get started again on the blog. Yesterday was Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I'll let that be a sign that I can write and be present here, but always remember

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Birthday Boy

Today we celebrated Blaise, the eight year old! Where would we be without our human GPS? 
Blaise, you made us parents, and for that you are special. You have a unique relationship with many people. You look up to Dad, help Rosie, play with Gus, and take care of me. 
This is how I find you- with your head in a book. Even as a baby you'd crawl over and sit with your book basket. Some mornings (many moons ago) Dad and I could sleep in 'til 9:00 because you'd be reading happily in your crib. 
Your other love: sports. It was fun taking you to a Cubs game in May. You sat and watched each play, glued to the action. That intensity comes from another TBD we know. 
Your heart is close to God. You understood the magnitude of your first communion. You share your faith with others. (One of your Masses at home)
You understand my heart. Some days I tell you "Blaise, I'm really missing Lily today." You tell me with a reassuring voice, "That makes sense." Whenever you mention your siblings, she is included, whether in prayer, in conversation, or simply in number, 4. 
(Blaise with Tommy on left, Lily with Tommy on right
One of my happiest moments this spring was because of you, Blaise. Our neighbors had purchased lilies to plant on our block and had made a banner and some balloons that said Lily. Seeing the balloons, you requested to send them up to Lily. The neighbors all gathered to watch as you knelt in the street, said a prayer, and released the balloons, all on your own. 
It's wonderful sharing the twists and turns of life with you, Blaise. Thank you for the lessons you teach us each day. And may you never get too old or cool for the penny pony. :)