It's hard to believe it's already been three weeks since James passed away. These past weeks have definitely been different in our house. There are so many simple things we've been enjoying, just because they're simple.
We've been able to get out and do some visiting and each time before we leave I stand at the door thinking "are you sure we got everything, do I really only need one diaper bag?" And I used to think that going out with a baby was a pain ... you know, you have to pack the diaper bag - throw in a few diapers, a change of clothes, a few toys, a couple bottles and don't forget the soother. That's it!! One bag, a few things, done in a minute ... wow!!
Just socializing is something new to us again, we are no longer housebound. The kids are enjoying going out a bit more, we're enjoying renewing old friendships and building new ones. I have the extra luxury that Rob is around and a bit more available then normal and so I can just run out ... yup, all that requires is a purse, funny feeling indeed ... and do some errands, even some visiting without taking the kids. It's a weird feeling not to have to worry constantly while I'm out that I should get back because Rob needs to get back to his studies and can't tend to James that long.
We're noticing the difference at home as well. I find we're more relaxed and have more time for the kids. After school tea-time doesn't feel so rushed and like I'm wasting my precious little time. I can relax and enjoy this time with the kids. Supper time is less hectic ... I even end up having supper ready early most nights. I start at the same time as I used to, but have less distractions ... no more calling everyone to supper and then realizing I forgot to prep James' medications, or get fresh formula ready, or run after the monitor so we can see how he's doing while we eat, etc. We also feel this more relax lifestyle is having it's effect on the girls. They have been doing really well lately (besides the fact that they still fight like cats and dogs) on the behavioural side of things. I now have time for them to help me in the kitchen, which they love to do. So after some fighting it was decided they could take turns helping make the salad or something of that assort for supper. I'm sure the novelties will wear off, but I'm enjoying that I simply am able to take out the time for them now.
We miss James dearly. I'm not sure the ache has lessened, but the guilt has a bit. As we adjust to this new way of life we feel so thankful the Lord has allowed us this time with our other children. James was high maintenance from the day he was born, but really during the last 20 months of his life I felt like I never had the time to focus on the girls. I hope our appreciation for this time will not wear off and that we don't end up finding other ways to get caught up in life, they are only young once and they grow up so fast!!
We decided to just have a quiet family day today. We had explained to the kids a few times already that it was not James' birthday today, for he is not here anymore and will never celebrate his third birthday. We want them to be clear that we can't celebrate a life that is no longer, but at the same time we can still set aside this day as a day to remember the life that did exist. So there was some focus on James and some focus on family today.
This morning we presented each of the girls with a gift. I put together a photo album for each of them with pictures of James and themselves with James. Often they sit at the computer watching the pictures on the screen saver and so we felt this way they could look at the picture they wanted when they wanted. I did not put any writing with the pictures for I feel they will draw their own memories from them and already the ones they don't quite remember they have asked about. We hope that they will carry these books with them for many years to come so that those days will never be forgotten for them either.
During the afternoon we decided to go skating, we hope to do this more often so that the kids will actually learn to skate seeing as twice a year with the school really doesn't build much talent. The girls fought like cats and dogs all morning but it's so neat to see how they really do love each other as they helped each other skate, Marietta especially seeing as she's the oldest and know how to skate better ;)
Matthew came along for the ride. He enjoyed himself until he simply became to tired (was during nap time).
This evening we sat down together to watch the movie Babe. During the last two weeks of James' life we watch this movie more times then we can count ... it pretty much played continously. James loved the movie and didn't want to watch anything else, we love the movie too and so we didn't complain much when all he ever wanted to watch was "Pig". James received a singing toy pig as a gift while in ICU and even though James himself was a little scared of this singing animal we ourselves fell in love with it and named him Babe.
Since the girls were not allowed in ICU until the very end they never got to watch Babe. When they did come to visit we put the TV away so James could focus on them. They have heard much about this movie we love so dearly and so tonight we sat down to watch it with them. We had to stop it plenty of times to explain how it all fit together, and even so, I don't think Rebecca really got the whole idea, but they both got enough to now know what the movie Babe is about.
And so after a relaxing bath the day ends and I'm heading off to bed nice and early to get a good night sleep. It's funny how once your body gets a little taste of sleep it thinks it's so wonderful it wants more and more of it. I still love this idea of how I can go to bed at midnight and even if Matthew wakes up early (6am) I still am able to get a whole full six hours of continous sleep!! Of course I no longer have any excuse for going to bed that late. Before the days were so busy and full that it seemed the only time I ever actually got anything done was from 9pm-12am (technically 11pm since usually James started having troubles around 11pm). The lack of sleep at night meant I had to take a nap each day, even though I so dearly want to skip it and try get something done, but you never knew what the night was going to bring and so any time available for sleep was taken.
Anyways, I said I was going to bed! :)