Lil's summer was everything it should be for a four year old. She asks when can we go back to the places we went (Tate and The Caboose, Sauni's house, Grandmar's pool and Grammy and Papaws house). I feel like such a kill-joy having to explain "next summer, dear" - I recall not liking that concept as a kid..."next summer" is an eternity!
Lil surprised us with how well she does in the water, all of her own volition (I'm not allowed to teach her, she gets frustrated and explains "Mommy, doggey paddling WORKS!"). I have to say, she does jump in deep water and gets herself to the pool edge no problem, no floats of any kind...so I'll just see about next summer, maybe then she'll be more open to a few suggestions!
Lillian's imagination is always enjoyable to witness. This summer she put on an outfit and became the "Jungle Fairy."I was asked about what kind of animals live In the jungle as she went through her stuffed animal collection. She is detailed-oriented when she is onto something.
The movie, The Last Unicorn (a favorite from my childhood that I introduced to Lil...) is by far, her number one favorite story/movie! Often she will put the soundtrack on and "dance" to each part as she tells about what is happening in the movie at that point. She has even told the story via different characters. She recited in a dramatic voice holding her little bath-mermaid dolls "long ago they were chased out of the ocean by the red shark and he covered up their bubbles..." (in the unicorn story the red bull is based the unicorns into the sea and covers up their tracks).
I could write a book...but for now this will have to do! Lillian is a handful-and-a-half and I wouldn't want it any other way! So many summers to look forward too with this wonderful, amazing little girl - and in-between we get Fall, Winter and Spring with her and....with her little brother to add even more delight and dimension (or so we keep promising her that really, her brother IS going to be born soon but know, she is super excited because she gets to sleep over a friends house when he's born!).
- What Lil said on the way into "Sibling Class" when sharing with us what she already knew about babies. Good thing we decided to sign her up for this class!
It was a sweet class, they even got to see a real baby that was just one day old.
At a kinda random moment while the kids were "touring" a hospital room to see where the childrens moms will be after the baby is born, Lil blurted out, "I went to the Please Touch Museum when Gwenyth was born. But she died. "
I was already a little choked up after seeing the newborn baby and imaging us in a few weeks...and knowing, as I hold this little guy, tears will come (yet again) for the last baby of mine that I held. Thankfully I didn't loose it, it simply wasn't the time or place to let the dam break- I didn't want Lil to think her sweetness caused Mommy to break down during her special sibling class... But it did, it got me and yet I was also so proud of her for sharing Gwen and for showing that she already was a big sister and carried Gwen in her heart.
Lil, I know, doesn't have a real memory of Gwen in her life - of Philly, of us having to be mostly apart for weeks, of Gwen here at home and all that it involved for Lil...it was not a normal new-sibling situation. My goodness, at this point in time, Gwen was already born and several days passed open heart surgery! We are so glad that so far, and that so far as we know, this time around, we are living in normal land, healthy-baby land - and for Lil's sake and of course, this soon-to-greet-the would little guy - words fail to express our thankfulness.
Adjustment-factors aside, it is going to be wonderful to see Lil take on the role of Big Sis again... I never imagined her as a one-and-only and I'm glad this little guy has her. I just hope there's no attempt at "milking."
Lillian delivers our news the best, so I decided that she simply must be the one to share our news with the Internets and beyond...
So here goes and man, she nailed it. One take, perfectly delivered:
I am 15 weeks along. We had an ultrasound on Monday and so far, so good. Myers and I saw four chambers. Patricia, the ultrasound tech who was the same one that noticed something was wrong with out little Gwen's heart at 20 weeks, concurred - she saw four chambers and everything else about the baby looked great thus far.
On Monday April 16th we will head over to University of Virginia for a fetal echocardiogram. I will be 18 weeks at that point. This is when they can actually check things out and get a good idea of the heart and if there are any problems as well as confirm the basics, like the four chambers that we are pretty confident about. Gwen's problem, where her pulmonary artery and aorta had not split (Truncus Arteriosis) is one detail among many that requires this level II ultrasound/fetal echo in order to so much as attempt to detect it. April 16th is a big day for us.
Lillian told us tonight, with confidence, that it's a pattern. That "I had a healthy baby, then I had Gwen, who died, and then this baby will be good." She, like us, still prays that this baby is healthy. Even after April 16th we will continue to pray for health, as the next detail we will want to check is our little one's blood and make sure there are no disorders such as Gwen had (autoimmune neutropenia).
I have been dying to buy something new for this new baby...and once we found out what I should be looking for, I finally went out last night and picked up a newborn outfit and some bibs. It felt so wonderful to bring the new clothes home in anticipation. Yet, there is a part of me that is still, so afraid...doesn't want to buy too much... But I'm trying to feel excitement and Hope more than cautiously holding back planning beyond today. I'm trying.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for enjoying our sweet Lil and our big news!!!
Lillian - I fear I've not kept up with your blog. So I will be spending some time looking back and looking forward with you...as we dream about life with a new baby...our third child.
Looking back and seeing you throughout your four years gets me so excited for our new baby. And what a four years it has been. My hope and prayer is that you will experience a little more of what we often think of as simple, ordinary blessings - a healthy sibling and happy family gatherings. And I pray that you will have a deepened appreciation for these things as we do.
In the last year alone you've gained three first cousins and two third cousins (I think that's what they'd be). Seeing our family grow and thinking about you getting to grow up with your cousins makes me so happy. I hope you'll feel close to them and they to you. I love it when you video chat with LK. I love when you and I get to play with Connor or Amelia over video chat. Modern technology is pretty awesome! You get to see your grandparents a fair amount too! It's great.
You simply are a delight (and a challenge) and I love you and treasure the privilege of watching you grow up and being called "mommy" by you.
I gathered these for this post: Lillian in the Springtime:
March 2008, three months old
At JMU Arboretum in April 2009, one year old
April 2010, two years old with Gwen at CHOP
April 2010, two years old
March 2011, three years old
Lillian this March, four years old
My sweet girl.
I love how you told me one day, "when I get home I'm going to climb trees and do other things girls do..." Your favorite thing this year is to climb the Magnolia tree out back. It is a small one and the perfect size for you. I suspect it will grow with you. We had a completely fantastic time joining daddy on his biz trip to San Francisco last month. You are a great little traveler. I will have to make a post for that trip someday.
I look forward to seeing your cousins soon for Easter and then a visit from Grammy and Papa. Then I get to see you in your first dance recital in May. Soon after that we'll go to Tate (this year I really, really hope you don't get sick for the whole week!). You and I may get to Erie to visit your Aunt and Uncle and baby cousin. Then later this summer we get to go up all the way to our other favorite family place besides Tate - Uncle Tom's caboose in NH. So many wonderful things ahead - I am excited for the days ahead with my Lillian!! And who knows, maybe I'll actually get some photos and stories from these times up on your blog :)
We thanked you for this reminder and you explained that you had been looking around the car to see who had their seat belts on.
The other day I was telling you that Grammy and Papa have a bike helmet for you at their house and your replied with enthusiasm; "Oh! That's what I've been wanting that foryears."
So apparently you are a little safety nut (your Papa would be proud). And I have to say, I appreciated having you there to help take care of your Daddy as I missed it this time around - so good job Lil!
I'm sitting here on an oddly cool August evening just having left your room. Your Daddy is working late for the fourth day in a row and I know he is tired. And so the evening is not perfect. But it's okay. And "okay" after all, all that could be, all that has been, is not far from perfect.
I'm soaking in what you just told me. Even as it may have been a bit contrived. Even as it really was you reflecting back to me what I just said to you. I was explaining about Jewel, her CD and that no, she does not have children but is now expecting as I understand. I told you that she, at the time she recorded the CD, dedicated it to her future children.
It is one of my favorite CD's and you haven't listened to it in a long time. However, a while or so ago, in that fuzzy existence of last summer, you would listen solely to that CD as you feel asleep at night. It is now close to your heart. Tonight, I started to play it, and you realized how much you did want to hear it instead of your usual stories that we play on your little Ipod for you.
So as I explained that Jewel thought of the children she hoped to have one day and loved them even before she had them - I told you that I loved you before you were born, that I knew I wanted to have children someday...and I thought of you and loved you even then. I told you how much I love you now.
And I do. Even as you can challenge every last wit, I love you so deep. I love you on a level that I know it's not healthy. Letting children into your life is the riskiest kind of love. And worth it - two months, twenty years, but know, I want you here forever - that I don't want to leave whenever I'm faced with that... even, despite...
Today you said to me, "I'm sad about your Gwenyth." Just randomly after you ate your cereal while you were playing with your toys, you volunteered this. I did tell you that I dreamed about her last night - so I'm sure that's why she was on your mind. I asked, "Oh, and what are you thinking of?" You explained, with a sigh and much to my surprise (I didn't expect an answer really) "I was thinking that if she was here now, she'd be all grown up already."
I don't know if you mean that she would no longer be a "tiny-little baby" as you used to call her, or if you didn't understand that she would not be older than you, that she would always be younger... So I explained her age and what a year-and-a-half-year-old might be like and you listened and went on with your day.
The other day you asked me another startling question. It was the first thing you said when I went into your room in the morning; "Mommy, do you think someone else is having baby Gwenyth?"
I don't know if you dreamed something like that or what, but something got you thinking that - maybe all the five wonderful new cousins that were born since April made you think along those lines. Maybe you really are becoming a vegan all by yourself and believe in reincarnation (totally joking here, but you sure do inquire about which animals people eat and all, and you don't seem to be totally okay with this reality). But I explained, that just like you were always mine, so is Gwenyth - and I said, kinda jokingly serious - she sure better not be born to someone else - she's MINE.
But tonight, you looked at me as you lay on your pink pillow with Jewel singing her lullabies on your Ipod, you stumbled through, trying to find the words... "Mommy (long pause), I loved you before. I, I. (another pause and then you looked directly in my eyes and said, "Mommy I knew I was coming to you."
I love that thought. True or not. It's a perfect idea. It's a perfect thing to hear your little girl tell you. Simply perfect.