April 15, 2011

18 Months Old

Dear Anne Marie,

Today you would be 18 months old. I know it’s not an official birthday but it’s still a milestone for babies. I try to picture you as an 18-month-old toddling around and I wonder what you would look like. Right now when I picture you I still see my sweet, dark-haired baby girl gazing up at me with her beautiful eyes. It’s hard for me to imagine what you would look like as a toddler.

This morning you would have gone to literature class with Mary Margaret, Jack Henry, and me. One of the moms would have held you and played with you while I taught, and then after class was over I would have taken you out to the church playground to swing on the swings. And tonight Lincoln and Lillie go to their spring formal. You would have been in the picture with them before they leftyour handsome brother and beautiful sister holding you. And Saturday we would have taken you to our neighborhood Easter egg hunt. You would have your little basket and Jack Henry would have helped you gather up all the eggs you could find. I still imagine what things would be like if you were here with usyou fitting into our busy routine, making us all laugh and smile.

There is a boy on Jack Henry’s baseball team who has a little sister who was born just a few weeks before you were born. I saw her last night, toddling around at baseball practice while her mommy chased her around. Her mommy tried to put her in her car seat, but she screamed and cried so her mommy got her out and followed her all over the ball field and up and down the sidewalk. I sat in my car, quietly grading papers. I would have rather been chasing you around, trying to keep you happy while your brother was at baseball practice. I would trade all my quiet moments to myself for busy, noisy ones with you.

We planted your summer grass at your grave site and are waiting for it to grow. It has been dry this spring (the driest since the Dust Bowl, says your daddy) but we water it each day and I’m hoping that it will be in by Easter so your spot will look pretty. I would rather be buying your Easter dress and looking for little white sandals for you to wear, but then I try to imagine what Easter would be like in Heaven and I try to be thankful. It is still hard, this accepting of God’s plan.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and miss you. You are almost always my last thought before I fall asleep at night and you are my first thought when I wake up in the morning. There are still moments that daily catch me off guardit might be a certain smell, the weather, or some random reminderand out of the blue I start to cry, missing you so much.

Happy 18-month birthday, Anne Marie. We love you and miss you every day!



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