Sunday, December 11, 2016

I Love You, Goodnight!

It's Christmastime again, Baby Girl.  One of my very favorites is pulling out old pictures of your first Christmas. Some of my favorites were captured by Michelle Carlisle.  Your giant smile and the simple joy in your eyes  are what I always look back on.

After you passed away I worried pictures would never be the same for us.  Our family would always be incomplete without your smily face right in the  mix of things.  It's been interesting for Mommy to see how so much of that has changed.

It was already December last year and Mommy still hadn't had Layne and Jack's Christmas pictures taken.  It was a thought in the back of my mind for weeks, but something I had been putting off, and with it being Jack's first Christmas, I felt even more pressure to get something figured out.  It just so worked out that our family photographer had a last minute opening on a random weeknight to squeeze them in.

"I hope it's ok," she said.  When we got there Mommy's eyes lit up!

"It's perfect," I replied through welled up eyes.

Michelle had scrounged around in her storage area to find the same white feathered tree decorations she used in your Christmas photo session all those years before.  "I tried dusting them off." she said. They looked pretty good to me considering they were over five years old and still in near perfect condition.

As Michelle snapped picture after picture of Layne and Jack so many happy memories of you came flooding back.  No sadness, only joy. Mommy felt so blessed knowing this was an experience you all three had shared.  Looking back, Mommy's so glad all of it worked out as it did.  Little did I know then that our family photographer, the one who captured so many precious images of your first year, would retire this year.

So there they sit.  Side by side on our built in shelving.  It makes it feel a little more like you are altogether.

Fast forward to this year - 2016. Your Donna Ma, or Bobby as all the others know her, wanted to capture a picture of all the grandkids to use for her Christmas card.  She had made them all pajamas with their first initials and coordinating plaids.  It seemed like everything would look picture perfect except there was one thing we needed.  She called Mommy to see if we could come up with a way to include you. could we do this? We tossed around the idea of using your big bear (the one Santa brought for you on your first Christmas) or a little bear you often cuddled while in your rocking chair, but Mommy wanted to come up with something a little more subtle.  And then it came to me.

On the night you passed away, and every night before when you had stayed with your Donna Ma and Norm Pa,  you heard these words:

I love you like I love blueberry pancakes.
I love you like I love strawberry milkshakes.

I love you like frogs love flies.
I love you like pigs love pies.

I love you like mice love cheese.
I love you like vines love trees.

I love you like windows love blowing.
I love you like plants love growing.

I love you like boots love splashing in puddles.
I love you like bears love kisses and cuddles.

I love you like the moon at night
big and round and warm and bright.

I love you, goodnight. 

All these words were from a book.  Each night when you stayed with your Donna Ma she would read this book to you. At the end, she would take your little chubby finger on that last page and slowly trace around the full moon.  After you passed away, she kept that little  board book on her night stand next to her bed.  As time has passed, she's read that book a million or more times to all the others who've sat in her lap before bedtime. She still does that same thing with their little fingers. And how fitting, Jack will often stretch out his arm in the dark night and with his little finger attempt to trace around that moon that's big and bright.

The little book. What a perfectly subtle way to include your memory.

You're never far from our thoughts and always in our hearts.  I love you, sweet Kaden Layne, goodnight.

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