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December is Here!

December is here! What used to be one of the most exciting months for us is no longer the same and never will be. December used to be a big month of celebrations and excitement in our home. It was the month in which Adeline celebrated her birthday. We would always celebrate as a family with grandma RaRa, grandpa Paul & Uncle Tyler on her birthday by doing dinner. Her family birthday party was with Huxley in November since that was between their birthdays.

In addition, she would either get to have a party with her friends or she would get to have a special trip with just mom and dad. Last year we had planned a special trip complete with a hotel room with a hot tub and nine special surprises for our girl since she was turning nine years old. I will never forget the gift that she gave her brothers and sister, grandma, grandpa and Uncle Tyler. Instead of having the celebration that we had planned, last minute Adeline asked us if she could have a celebration day with her whole family. So, that is just what we did. She woke up to a scavenger hunt that held nine special presents along the way. She got clothes and toys and other activities and things to do. Then we went and got Starbucks (Althea wanted to buy Adeline a cake pop with her own money.) and breakfast from Don and Nancy's. After breakfast we did an assortment of unicorn crafts together as a family. We ate lunch from McDonalds, her favorite (one of the few places that I have not been since I lost her. She loved McDonalds fries and coke so much that I just have not been able to go there since the last time that I went, it was just the two of us as we waited for Althea to finish at dance.). After lunch, we played Family Cards Against Humanity and then we got ready for her to head to grandma and grandpa's because she also wanted to spend part of her birthday there and she wanted grandma's special chicken and dumplings for her birthday dinner. She loved them so much! Even uncle Tyler stopped by to give her a present (her burrito blanket which I recently discovered actually survived the fire). She had a great day and it was perfect since she got to celebrate it with the people who she loved the most in the world.

Additionally, we did a virtual party for her so that she got to create a "party in a bag" which she delivered to her friends and then they all joined on a Facebook Call and played, did crafts, and enjoyed her birthday shenanigans together. It was a great last memory for me of her with her friends. (Hopefully Apple will be able to get my pictures off of my old phone. I have not been capable of having them tell me that they can't, so I have not attempted this yet.)

Then there were all of the amazing Christmas traditions that we had. There was driving to see the lights and singing Christmas songs together, watching Christmas movies like "Elf" and "Christmas Vacation" while we laughed and enjoyed hot cocoa and popcorn, doing Christmas crafts together, seeing Santa, discovering how much trouble our elf could get into, making and decorating Christmas cookies so we could leave cookies for Santa, leaving a beer or cocktail for Santa instead of milk, our Christmas Eve tradition of sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn and opening new pjs and books and cuddling on the couch before bed, and our big Christmas morning filled with joy and wonder as we got to spoil our four kiddos.Last year I had decided against doing the pjs because the kids could still wear their Christmas pjs from the year before, but Adeline told me that this was her favorite of our Christmas traditions so I went out last minute and picked the perfect pairs for each of us to make her Christmas Eve feel brighter.

This month is now one filled with the most pain and sorrow that I can imagine. There is her birthday which we will celebrate without her. We have decided to have yard signs put in our yard that say "Happy Heavenly Birthday" and we are going to shoot off 10 pink powder canons with those that Adeline loved the most. I am so thankful that so many people love our girl and that she is still thought about on a regular basis. Then we were gifted with a reading from a medium. I am hopeful that we will gain some peace of mind and have some sense of peace when it comes to what we are told during this time. I know that Adeline's spirit is strong around us. There are times when I turn around while driving because I can hear her voice singing along to the radio...especially when I play "Sweet Adeline."

(This cute little photo popped up in my Facebook memories. Adeline was so proud of her hand turkey, so proud in fact that it was still hanging on our refrigerator when we had our house fire. I really wish that I still had this little turkey. It was so very special.)

Then we will hit the one year mark from our fire and Adeline's first angelversary. I am not ready for that either. I am still so upset and long for things to be different. I wish that I could rewind things to the day before the fire so that I could redo the things that happened and I could save my little girl.

Tonight as I type this, I am hit with a lot of feelings. There is a range. I am happy and thankful that I was chosen to be Adeline's mom. She was the most dynamic human that I have ever met and someone that I actually looked up to from a very young age because there was something about her that was different and so wise for a little girl. I am filled with rage and anger at myself for not being able to save her. I hate that I made choices that morning of the fire that ended with her not being able to walk out of that house with us. I wish more than anything that I could redo this. I promise God that I would do better and that I would save my little girl. I would even happily let you have my life so that she could have the chance to live hers. It was just too short and she deserved to be able to live more and experience life more.

But more than anything I am filled with sorrow. It is a deep sorrow that stems from the emotional pain of not having my girl here with me. It hurts so bad because all that I want is for her to be next to me in this bed, to hear her stories, to get to know who she would have become, to see the rewards for her hard work and efforts, to be able to have it all, and to be able to give her the life that she deserved. I am just so sad....even when I am happy, the sadness remains. It is the type of sadness that you know will never go away. It scares me to think that I will "learn how to live" with this level of pain and sorrow. This is no life to live and yet it is the life that I am to live out as I have the rest of my days.

(She always loved the magic of Christmas but she always had a little bit of a shy side when talking to Santa or Mrs. Claus.)

I know that I have taken more of a break lately from writing this blog. I know that it has been one of the most therapeutic things that I have done, but I also want everything to be genuine and in the past few months...I have really struggled with being able to come up with the words that I need to say how I feel or how life is going. It is like I have been walking around in an endless daze and I just do not know how to get back to where things are normal. Then I am reminded that without Adeline there will never be a "normal" again in my life. My life is something that I don't recognize and something that I sincerely wish that it wasn't.

(Adeline loved all things Christmas. We lived in a pretty amazing community -- Canton, Illinois -- and they had amazing little activities all of the time. One year, the owner of local Black Crow Candy Company hired Mrs Claus to entertain the kids. Adeline got to go with her friends Sofi and Delaynee, and fellow Girl Scout Ava.)

Today was the 346th day without my girl. She has almost been gone from us now for a year. It has been the longest and the shortest year at the same time. A part of me is so thankful that the days, hours, and minutes seem to fly by at lightning speeds that are so much more than they were before....but a part of me is also sad as I feel like I have been in such a daze that I worry that I have not been the mom that I needed to be for my other children. I worry that they think that they are somehow less important to me or that I am so broken as a mom that they lost their mom when they lost their sister.

(When I decided to go back to school after Adeline entered kindergarten, I decided that I needed to make sure that I focussed a little extra hard on having special moments with the kiddos. I started eating occasionally with them at school. By the time that COVID-19 hit, I was eating lunch one day a week with Adeline and Huxley and as I could with Althea at the jr high. I sure wish that I could have another one of these lunches with Adeline. They were so much fun and she always made me laugh so hard with the stories that she would tell me and the things that she would say.)

I am trying to be my best, but some days I will acknowledge that my best is just not good enough, but it really is all that I have to give. This year I hosted my first Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful week full of family and surprises. My mother in law visited since it was the week of my husband's birthday and surprised him by bringing his grandma along. His cousin, her two kids, and his aunt came up for a couple of days and it was so fun to see the kids playing together, but it again made me sad not to hear Adeline running through the house giggling and laughing with them.

The 23rd was Shane's birthday. That was the last 1st family birthday that we celebrated without our girl. I had to work that day so we had a party for Huxley, Shane, and his grandma the next day as that was her birthday. I had cakes made for each of them and had a delicious spread of Vietnamese food for everyone to enjoy. Then it was Thanksgiving. I made a bone in turkey breast, homemade macaroni and cheese, homemade broccoli rice and cheese casserole (one made without canned anything!!), jello with cool whip that has the layer, veggies and dip, a homemade apple pie, a homemade chocolate pie, homemade whipped cream for the pies, and roasted sweet potatoes. It was a busy day but I managed to get it all done and it was done pretty well if I do say so myself. I also had cocktails for each day. The day of the birthday party it was margaritas. The day of Thanksgiving it was apple pie drinks and bloody Mary's. I had fun hosting and it was a nice distraction to be so focussed on something that my sorrow and pain did not defeat me. I was able to mourn while I had an enjoyable holiday. We even got to play games as a family and we laughed and really appreciated things. I did get to save a space at the table for Adeline too. Shane, my brother (Tyler), and myself at the table with our girl. It was so nice to have her present in some way. Then on Friday we had some family pictures taken while everyone was here so that we got to create new memories with our family.

(Adeline's seat at the table. I am so thankful that my family is completely supportive of the things that I do to keep her memory alive. So many complimented that we had a seat at the table for her.)

If you are the praying type, please say a prayer for us. If you are not, please send us some love or positive vibes. We sure could use all of the help that we can get over the next few weeks.

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