I have a photo that hangs on my wall...a collage of photos, really. It is Tony and me in 2004, blissfully in love and totally unaware what would happen the next day. I had long blonde hair and a blue shirt, my arms draped around his neck as he sat in a lawn chair on my dad's lawn. It was early May and my brother had just graduated from college.
Tony was on leave from the Marines and in Nebraska for a week. I was working as a seasonal employee at a state rec area. It was the type of unbridled happiness that only a person newly in love and 22 years old can feel.
When I walk by the photo sometimes I am wistful and sometimes impressed that the two of us managed to make it through all that. That I managed it, and that I found a man strong enough to walk with me through all of the pain of parents and babies dying.
And then I realize I am just 30. And I think oh, crap.
Someday I will be strong enough to hang up that black and white professional photo of Allison Christine's tiny little feet cradled in Tony's hand. Someday I will walk by it and not feel that choking feeling up in my throat, like I'm going to cry.
Sometimes I glance at my sweet girl Halle Marie while she is sleeping and am startled because she really does look like her sister. I immediately have to put my palm on her chest to make sure she is alive, real, breathing...
She really is a wonderful baby. All fuzzy hair and little grunts and deep blue eyes. She is already on her own schedule which I am particularly impressed with because Holden still doesn't have any semblance of a schedule and he is almost 4. Proof that it is in fact not my bad parenting but that some children are just more...challenging...than others.