Earlier in the week, Rich and I had discussed our tentative plans for the day, which included bringing the girls to visit with his mom at her home, stopping by the cemetery where Rich's dad is buried and a visit with Abbey at her stone, as the girls call it. Without throwing my medical history out there on the internet for all to read, I'll just say that I have some minor medical issues and very early Friday morning, I experienced the perfect storm of issues occurring at the same time. I stumbled through Friday and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep uninterrupted for a very long time.
Rich was gracious enough to care for the girls solo Christmas Eve morning so that I could sleep, which was a tremendous help. (He told me that he could tell I needed sleep because I looked like CRAP Friday night.) By the time I awakened, fed the girls lunch, ate lunch ourselves, showered and dressed, it was much, much later than we had anticipated. On the way to Grandma's house, we stopped at a Michaels so that I could look for frames. Are you ready for a shocker? We only have (or had) one printed photo of mine hanging in our home and, for Christmas, Rich asked if I would choose some of my photos and have them printed so that we could hang them before Christmas. Aside from a 10x10, the rest were 8x12 (because that's their size and I didn't like them cropped) and I couldn't find 8x12 frames ANYWHERE.
I did find frames but I don't love them and so I've decided that next time I update that photo wall, I'm printing to canvas.
We had a nice visit with Rich's mom and two of Rich's brothers and a (very soon to be) sister-in-law. As you can imagine, my brain was a bit frazzled and full with all my to do lists. We had wisely decided to wrap presents Thursday night but had run out of wrapping paper. So we had that finish along with hanging framed photos and preparing food for Christmas morning brunch. But I really don't love those frames. Should I just go with it? We need to make sure we get to the grocery store tonight before it closes. I wonder what time they close? I would imagine it would be open until at least 5:00. I knew I should have written shredded hash browns on the grocery list for Rich. Where. is. my. brain?
We did make it to the grocery store before it closed on the way home from Grandma's house but then it was rush, rush because we needed to feed the girls dinner and we had promised them that we would make cookies for Santa. I really think that they do believe in Santa but they also make statements such as, "I don't think that was really Santa. That was a guy dressed in Santa's clothes," and, "How can Santa be everywhere? Everywhere we go, Santa is there!" Redirect. Redirect. "Hey, look at those pretty lights over there!"
The girls loved watching the Santa radar on my laptop and kept asking for updates even as I was tucking them into bed. Rich and I enjoyed how their excitement filled the house. That was a fairly easy bed time too, which was much needed as we had a ton to do.
After the children were nestled all snug in their beds, I was cleaning up in the kitchen while Rich organized in the family room and it hit me. We hadn't gone to the cemetery. Either cemetery. I rushed into the family room to tell Rich. How could we forget? How did I forget? We had ordered Chinese food for dinner and after Rich left to pick it up, I sat on the couch and cried.
Some may think that after five years and three beautiful children, everything is okay. But it's not. I'm still missing a daughter. I was so incredibly angry at myself for forgetting about her. We had just been so distracted that for half a day, we forgot. It is such a frustrating process but even when we do go to the cemetery, it doesn't feel right.
So there I was on Christmas Eve apologizing to my baby for another one of my screw-ups. Apologizing as I have been doing for the past five years. I decided to look in her stocking to see what, if anything, remained from the girls' gifts to her. There was a craft Christmas tree with buttons glued on it from Allie and this drawing from Emily.
Some of the ache in my heart lifted.