This holiday season will be the most difficult one ever. Since my brother passed away this year, Ava passed away this year, my sister in law, neices and nephew moved away and my grandmother is spending Christmas with my aunts, my family is seperated. This hurts my heart deeply. I feel lost in a sense. I thank the Lord for my mom and older (yet good looking 'wink') brother. I will at least get to spend some holiday time with them. It's amazing to see the Lord's plan unfold in front of me. We were pregnant with a critical baby when my brother died, which made me make myself keep calm and collected so I didn't go into labor. We moved into a new house the week after Ava passed, which has kept me super busy at nights and after her funeral. Then I had Trace right before Christmas 2 years ago, so planning his birthday party after my house was in order, kept me busy. Next, it was my year to host the Oakes' annual candy swap, which made me run around like a cheetah on ice skates. Next is the 2 kids Christmas parties, the 3 businesses Christmas party, a weekend of company, fish fry for AG and HB, delivery of toys to Batson, another week of company, then 4 Christmas celebrations. Whew, I'm out of breath already, but guess what!? I won't have time to wish the pain of this earthly life on my baby girl. See, the Lord has a plan for us. We may never live to see what that plan is, but in my case, I am getting to see a glimpse.
I have had a couple of people address me regarding speaking to other Trisomy moms. I would like to say that it is an honor. I had my first encounter with a T18 mom while I was in NICU. We have continued to stay in touch. Her baby did not make it passed our stay in NICU, but she thanks me often for being there for her. I wonder if this is a calling or was it that I was just given the right words to say at the right time? Since then, I have made a lot of connections with other t18 parents. It is so rewarding to get to share Ava's story with them and hear their astonishment of her will to survive. I am so proud of my spunky peanut for all of her strength and accomplishments and now, so are they.
I can't believe that we are almost in 2013. I've had people tell me, "you've just had a bad year". At first, I would agree with them. Now, when someone says something like this, I just smile and say, "it was the best year of my life". I got to meet 2 earthly baby angels. My brother went ahead of my only girl so that he could watch over her and introduce her to her grandpaw Jim. I met a lot of strong people and made new connections with parents of children like my own. I was reintroduced to the importance of Faith and the Lord in my life. I was made drastically aware of the importance of every second with your family and children. Made all too aware of heartache and warmth in the same moment. I got to hold the MOST PRECIOUS CHILD that has ever stole a heart. She is not gone, only physically. Her handprint impression is on every wall in my house. Her pictures surround us like light. Her videos are in my phone. Her story is on the net. Her cry and coo is in my head. Her smell is in my mind and her presence is in my heart. I did not lose my daughter this year. I gained knowledge, love, faith, hope and best of all........... I gained the honor of being called Ava's mommy. God bless everyone of you that has stood beside us down our rocky road. Those of you that has ignored the opportunity to pass judgement on any of our decision as parents. All of you that has read and shared Ava Grace's story with a complete stranger or the person next door. Through you, my angel lives. Through you she bloosoms and through all these experiences, my family grows.
Merry CHRISTmas from the Oakes family
3 Stockings for 3 precious kids
Ava had a precious little girl sit at AG's grave (who has seen her pictures) and play dolly with Ava. She even left one with her, so that Ava Grace could have it. Ava's first play date. :)
The pink ribbon is my piece of AG and the angel on this tree is a reminder of the angel I have in Heaven. It's renamed after her too, in case you were wondering.
Trace and Landon telling everyone Merry Christmas!
My earth angel. I will hold you in my heart, until I can hold you in Heaven.
Just a few of the toys donated in honor of Ava Grace and Hayden Brent. All of them will make so many hospitalized kids happy this holiday season.