Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wishing your family a perfect holiday

So much is going on these days in the Oakes' household. I can honestly say that the Lord knows that if he doesn't keep me busy, then I may fall to pieces. I have to admit that most moments, I have it all under control. Lately I am going through a insomnia phase and that leaves me lots of time to think of "what might have been". I look at my Christmas tree decorated with her pictures and her pinkness and it seems so bittersweet. Somedays I think, "oh man, what I wouldn't do to have my precious angel back at Batson, smiling and happy". God knows I miss her beautiful eyes and smile. She was the happiest baby despite every hurdle life threw at her. Here I am whining because she is in a better place and not with me. While she was here, she made such a large impact on so many people. For that I am PROUD. My baby girl lives on through her story. One that I almost didn't share, as blogging was never my thing. Blogging seemed to bring more people to Ava's story, including the NICU and PICU nurses that didn't get the chance to care for Ava. They would still come by to see Ava in her cute little outfits and pray for us. While sitting in the NICU, Lauren called me one day and asked if I would like to do a toy collection for the kids in Batson. Immediately I was intrigued at the idea of doing for other children like Ava Grace and Hayden. Wow, did this idea ever take off!? Our community stepped up and has made this toy drive a huge success. We set our goal to fill up the back of 2 pick-up trucks, and so far we have almost doubled that goal. We are so happy with our fellow Deltans (I must have made up a new word). Our toy drive will conclude on Saturday, 12/15/12 at Oakes Toyota. We are having a fish fry, all donated by Oakes Toyota and Grandma's Best. All proceeds from the fish fry and the Santa photo booth are going to Batson. Did I mention that Toyota and my father-in-law have teamed up to make a $10,000 donation to Blair Batson Children's Hospital in honor of Ava Grace and Hayden? What a wonderful family I have. I love and respect them so much. All of them. My boys have even jumped on the band wagon and cleaned out their toy chest and went a little overboard with  donating the toys that they never opened. Trace really makes me smile by looking at the Christmas tree and saying "sissy" (pronounced dissy). I love that he recognizes her in every photo. He spent the most time with her when we brought her home for those 12 WONDERFUL days. Bless Landon's heart. Everytime he sees anything pink or finds an opportunity to color something pink, he gives it to me to remind me of Ava Grace. I can not wait to give these toys and money to the children and their families in our two angels honor. Such a blessing to have this experience. For everyone that has already donated.......Thank you!!!!!!

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

                                   My 3 favorite people's hand/footprint shaped like an angel

                                                   Merry Christmas sleeping santa angel

                                                3 Stockings for 3 precious kids
           My ornament from Jennifer, handpainted by J. Powell. Favorite piece in the whole house.

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. :)
      Thank you guaranty bank and Jeri Anne for doing a Ava Grace tree. It looks so PERFECT!

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.
           Thank you Red Leaf Pottery for my precious imprints. I have them mounted everywhere.

                                      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.