It’s the day before Thanksgiving. I recall a much different kind of Thanksgiving last year – a secret-keeping, meaningful-glance-throwing Thanksgiving with the Dub clan, the Hubs and I both well aware we were expecting and trying to hide it from the rest of the gang.
This year will be much different.
We thought we’d have a baby by now.
A lifetime has passed. We’re different people. We were both there when our daughter was brought into the world. We were both there when our daughter left the world.
And this week, we are supposed to think about being thankful.
All over Facebook, people are doing this “Thankfulness” exercise, posting something they are thankful for every day. I missed the memo on this whole idea, but I do like the concept. Unfortunately, it has been a pretty emotional month – a hard one, to be frank. More friends are pregnant. The OtherDubs (Auntie K and Uncle M) are expecting a girl. It’s the first in a lifetime of holidays without our daughter. I have had a few really good cries – the puffy-eye kind. I want to be pregnant, and I’m not.
But we do need to give thanks, to count our blessings, and my number one blessing of 2012 was this: we had a beautiful baby girl this year. She died, but she was born and she was amazing and wonderful and her life taught me an important truth: This is all you get – this life, this day – and we should be thankful for and show our appreciation for all the blessings we are given in this moment. There is no time to waste.
I am thankful for our daughter. Everything is more important now, every person, every connection, every opportunity is different because of her.
I am thankful for my husband. Watching him love our daughter, seeing his strength as we’ve navigated this loss together, feeling his support in all the ways I’ve needed it, makes me realize what a once in a lifetime love we have. And I get to spend my life with this man. I am truly blessed.
I am thankful for my family. For a sister who runs with me, hugs me, gets nostalgic for the things we are missing but never in a way that sounds like whining. For a brother who is so sweet, who loved our girl so much that he wrote a poem for her (that I really need to post here), who plays a #3 golf ball inscribed with our daughter’s initials (“HRW”) in his tournaments. For a mother who prints off every single blog post, who shows up when I need her, who sells her photography to raise money for the Forget-Me-Not Foundation. For a father who texts me email-length notes about Hudson and football and love and politics, who keeps in touch with my father-in-law so they can talk grandpa-stuff, who always reminds me that I have the strength to handle this.
I am thankful that Uncle M and Auntie K are having a baby in March, a little girl who will bring so much joy to our family, a world of experiences we missed out on with Hudson. I can’t wait to meet her.
I am thankful for my in-laws. The concept of dreading a visit from the in-laws is completely foreign to me – I hit the jackpot in that department and my husband’s family is my own, a wonderful support system who raised such a gentleman for me to marry.
I am thankful for my dogs, for sunshine, for baked goods, for good books, for clothes that fit and for access to the Internet.
I am thankful for my body. What an amazing thing the human body is! I can run for miles after having a live human baby (almost 8 pounds!) pulled from a 6 1/2″ incision (I just measured) in my abdomen.
I am thankful that an elderly pediatrician was able to get my baby girl’s heart beating so that I could spend the best three days of my life with her.
I am thankful for time, for a future, for hope, for comments on my blog and for notes from people who never even met Hudson whose lives have been impacted by her story and ours.
I am thankful for my friends, this amazing group of people from different stages of my life who have stuck around as I’ve grown up, who have seen me in my wildest and my tamest of moments, who have listened through failed love stories and disliked people on my behalf, who let me talk about Hudson and ramble a stream-of-consciousness riff of emotion and never tune out, who let me feel how I need to feel and sometimes go there with me. These are the people I want in my children’s lives.
I am thankful for this moment. For the next. For five minutes and five years from now, if I am so lucky.
Count your blessings, one by one. You’ll find that life given you millions of things to be thankful for, and that your life is beautiful if you let it be.