Thursday, June 11, 2015

Our Hat

The last family vacation we shared with you was spent with our friends in the Outer Banks.  Mommy remembers how fun you were as a big girl.  You were almost 16 months when we went. You were old enough to walk and dance and play in the sand.  But you were also still small enough to carry on Mommy's hip and you still loved riding in your stroller.  Mommy and Daddy knew this would be the best vacation yet!

It was the middle of our week in OBX.  It was a shopping day.  The mommies and their little ones spent the afternoon walking through the quaint shops and boutiques.  Mommy remembers you riding in your pink umbrella stroller.  You loved the entertainment you got from your big kid friend, Skylar, and your friends Elly Kate and Jacob. They kept you smiling as we went in and out of the different shops.

One of the last shops we went into was a sweet little corner boutique.  It had a nice wrap around porch with clothing racks and baskets of pretties.  Inside were sweetly decorated rooms with every kind of goodie that a girl could imagine. Purses, scarves, jewelry, charms, candles, hats, trinkets.  If you can imagine it and it is pretty, it was there.  

Aunt Mary and Mommy picked out some things to try on. Mommy remembers you and me and Aunt Mary and Elly Kate crowding into the oversized dressing room.  As Mommy and Aunt Mary tried on our dresses, you and Elly Kate toddled and crawled around in front of the mirror smiling and laughing together. It was so much fun being with you girls this day.

On our way to checkout Mommy and Aunt Mary came upon a rack of oversized hats.  We took turns trying on different ones as we talked about how perfect they would be for the beach.  The brims were bigger than any we had seen before.  That's what made these hats a must-have. We knew they would be great for blocking our babies from the sun as we carried you on our hips. Aunt Mary picked out one with yellow around the edges and Mommy liked the black and white one.  

We were right!  Our big brimmed hats were exactly what we needed for the beach and even more perfect for carrying our sweet girls on our hips.  We wore them constantly the rest of the trip.

It was a month after our vacation when we lost you.  Mommy never wore that hat again.  The shadow it made was far too big for just one person. Wearing it only felt right with a baby on my hip.

Mommy held on to that hat for a few years thinking one day it might feel right to wear it again.  It sat on the top shelf of Mommy's closet and collected dust.  When Layne became the size you were, the thought of wearing the hat we once shared still didn't feel right.  Mommy knew by the time I felt ready to wear it again Layne would probably be too big to benefit from its shadow.  A couple years ago it was tossed into the yard sale pile.  It sold for $5.

Today, for the first time in awhile, Mommy thought of our hat.  Mommy and Layne took your baby brother Jack to the pool.  As I dangled my feet in the water and watched Layne swim with her friends, I found myself trying to block Jack's tender skin from the sun.  No matter which way I faced some part of him was always exposed.  Today I needed our hat.

In that moment I thought of you my sweet Kaden Layne.  I remembered our trip and smiled.  I thought of our friends and our fun we shared. I thought about how nice it would be for Jack to share the same shadow you once shared with Mommy.  I even thought of how all of us could have probably fit perfectly beneath that big brim. Today I missed our hat.

So much has changed since you've been gone.  The way Mommy thinks of you comes from the smallest of things sometimes.  It is a song or a picture. It's a book or the blue of someone's eyes. And sometimes it's a hat that once made a shadow big enough for us to share.  After all these years these are the things that make me smile and remember you.

Love you, miss you, and think of you often my sweet girl...