A preschool update and other stuff

I just realized I never posted an update on how the girls were doing in school.  So far, so good for the most part.  Avery loves school!  She almost can't sleep the night before because she's so excited.  She's relatively easy in the morning to get dressed and ready because she just can't wait to get there.  She won't hold my hand when we walk from the car to her class.  She is very independent so she says she's a big girl now and she holds her own folder and carries her own backpack.  They have little bins outside the classroom door, each a different color with their name above a picture of a teddy bear and she always puts her backpack carefully in the bin along with her jacket.  She then puts her folder in the tray and looks to see what the teacher has placed on the big table for the morning activity.  Avery honestly would not even notice that I've left if I didn't ask for my hug and kiss!  She is blossoming in ways I just didn't expect.  Her little brain is always working, she's figuring things out, saying sentences such as "I was on the playground today when I discovered an acorn on the ground that a squirrel didn't eat."  Yes, she is very independent, wants to only use a big girl cup and silverware that looks like Mommy and Daddy's.  We went to the park last weekend and this little girl came right up to her and said "What's your name?"  Avery said "I'm Avery."  The little girl then said "Come on Avery, let's play" and off they went.  Not long ago Avery would have turned and run back to me!  But instead she and this little girl climbed all over the place and had a lot of fun together.  So cute!

Lily is enjoying school...but she does not enjoy the time period leading up to school.  The night before she'll often complain of a stomach ache, I can't leave her sight when we're together (not even to put something in the recycling bin outside or to go to the bathroom) & when I do leave for any stretch of time, even just 30 seconds she always asks if I'm coming back.  She cries at night and cries when she wakes up from her nap.  The mornings are challenging so I have to make sure I get out of bed early enough to give us plenty of time to get ready as we always have problems getting her to eat breakfast (this isn't new), she hates the seams on her socks, only one pair of tennis shoes feels right to her, she can only wear dresses because she hates waistbands (Hanna Andersson playdresses on ebay...here I come!), we have to be sure to wash her hands & face & brush her teeth before she puts on her clothes because one speck of water on her clothes will throw her into a fit.  I have to hold her as I load up the car and I can not go back into the house after I've buckled her in or she loses it.  On the drive to school we play classical music to help her relax, which she does seem to enjoy and when we turn into the parking lot she immediately asks me to carry her, which I do.  She cries when I give her a hug and a kiss and we've got a consistent routine: hug, kiss, then I ask her "What does Mommy always do?" she replies "Mommy always comes back."  Then I ask "And what else?" and she says "God and Zoe are always with me."  Sometimes she says this as she clings to my leg or my finger or whatever part of me she still has a hold of.  The teacher assures me that the crying stops almost immediately after I leave and the rest of the day she's fine.  She does attach herself to the teacher though and often goes with Ms. Angie if Ms. Angie has to go to the supply room and she sticks close to her on the playground during recess as well.

BUT......on Wednesday of this week, on our drive to school Lily said "I like school now Mommy."  And she did NOT ask me to carry her in, she held my hand and walked.  And she did not shed one tear when I left...she did frown and hug me extra tight, but no tears!  Yay!!!!  I only hope it continues on like this.  I know she's enjoying it when she's there.  Every time I pick her up she's smiling and she's happy and she tells me all about what they did...especially if one of the boys gets in trouble!  She & Avery have both become friends with the other little girl in their class and they've hounded me for the last two days to call Kate's mommy to see if Kate can come over to our house and play.

So, all in all school is going well.  Their teacher is wonderful, the director and assistant director are wonderful, the music teacher is wonderful...they all sincerely care about these children and aren't just glorified babysitters.  The girls are learning and playing and growing by leaps and bounds.  It is truly amazing to witness...and also a little sad to know they are not babies anymore...they're just going to keep growing up!

Throughout the past few weeks they've talk about Zoe a lot.  Avery told us she had a dream that Zoe was whispering into her ear; I wish I knew what she said!  We gave them little ladybug lockets to put on their backpacks.  Each locket has a photo of Zoe and and photo of Richard and I so we can all be together at school.  They LOVED getting these special little trinkets and Lily loves that she can hear it kind of jingle on the chain when she walks.  Every single day they ask me something like "does Zoe have school in Heaven?"  "does Zoe have a piano in Heaven?"  "does Zoe sing songs in Heaven?" and they have taken to carrying around and caring for a couple of babydolls that were Zoe's.  It is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.  I cry every day...but that's not new, and the tears are a mix of happy & sad.  Every day when I thank God for the blessing of these girls and for the blessing of the 14 months we had with Zoe I can't help but wish she was still here.  I can't help but wish she was in that classroom with her sisters, in the flesh.  I don't suppose that will ever go away, and I don't think I would ever want it to either.

I remember two years ago I was corresponding with a woman who had lost one of her twins and I asked her if the hurt ever goes away.  She responded that it's like when you walk up to the ocean in the middle of winter and the water is frigid.  The initial shock of the cold water stings your feet and when it recedes, the sting is still there but not so strong.  She's right.  The sting of Zoe's loss is very much still here and while some days it does drag me down...it's not so strong every day.  One of the parts I've struggled with lately is introducing myself and the girls.  I'm always asked if they're twins or what their age difference is because Avery is 3" taller than Lily and I always say "They were triplets but their sister is in Heaven"...and then I stop myself and think "why did I say were?  They ARE triplets eventhough their sister is not here in the flesh."  I know I've written about this a million times before and I guess it's just been very frequent lately being in new situations at school, a new church, and a new bible study.  I love talking about my girls and I love having the freedom to talk about Zoe and at the same time I still find myself stumbling on my words for some reason.  I guess that too will get better over time.

I know for some people and in some situations its just easier to say "Yes, they're twins" and move on...but I don't want to confuse Avery and Lily by doing that.  At the grocery store as I was pulling a cart out a woman saw the girls and said to them "Oh how precious. Are you twins?"  I heard Lily say "No, we're trip-u-lets" but the woman was older and didn't hear her or understand what she said and responded "Oh, how special to be twins."  And Lily looked at me and said "Mommy are we twins?  I thought we were trip-u-lets."  So I explained very quickly to the woman that they are in fact triplets with an angel.  I think she heard me because she was quick to get away from me after that.  Oh well.

I'm rambling...I guess my whole point in writing this is that the intertwining of opposing emotions goes on.  The grief and the happiness are joined forever.  I don't think that's a bad thing, I think it's just something we bereaved parents have to learn to live with in some way.  We'll always have a part of our hearts missing that our angels took to Heaven with them and one day we will see them face to face again and our hearts will be whole again.  And, while I would not wish this on anyone, having been through all that we have been through has provided us with opportunities to connect with other families in ways you simply can't unless you've walked this path of loss.  Our annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss remembrance is coming up next month and we get these emails from moms from around the country, many of whom can't attend, but all of whom are overflowing with gratitude that we would take the time to light a candle for their baby.  It goes to show that the simplest acts often have the most profound impact.  A small act of kindness can touch someone's heart in a way you yourself may not even comprehend.  Just letting someone tell their story of loss, to give them an opportunity to speak their angel's name, can give them a sense of comfort and help them along their healing path.  I think we all need to remember that fact.  As the pastor at our church in Georgia once said "It is not in grand gestures that we find God, it is in the ignoble that we truly find the Lord."

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All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31