Ella is my niece. She has a smile that lights up a room. She is so pretty and cute and adorable and she will be 4 months old in just a few weeks.
Ella was born 2 weeks before Allie died. She was the first grandchild on my side of the family and she was wanted very badly. My brother and his wife waited a long time for her and are truly blessed now that she is here.
The weekend before Allie died, I went to my brother's house and Ella took a nap on my belly. My very pregnant belly. I knew these cousins were going to be so close and I was so excited for Allie to be born so the girls could grow up together and be the best of friends.
In the hospital, I did not want my brother or sister-in-law to come visit me because I wanted them to be home with their daughter. I did not want anything bad to touch them during what was surely the most exciting time in their lives. My brother did not listen and came anyway. I have two brothers and neither listened to me that weekend and I am so very glad.
From the moment we got home from the hospital, Gary and I have made a point of visiting Ella often. We need her to know that she is so loved by us. We feel the same way about Maddy who was born last November, our niece on Gary's side. These little ladies are so very special to us and we are so lucky to have them remind us that there is still good in the world.
Last night, Gary fed Ella dinner. He has done it before, but this was the first time I saw how proud he was. The last two visits, Gary has felt more comfortable with Ella and embraced her even more. When it was time for her to go to sleep, he was the one to put her down. I watched in awe - we were playing family in a way and it stung. We should be home with our baby and not here without her. But life happens and we can't control any of it. What we can do is love the ones that are here and look forward to a year or two from now when we will hopefully have a cousin for Ella to play with.
My brother asked me last night if is was hard for me to see his daughter or Maddy. I sighed, as it is such a loaded question. It's hard because my arms feel more empty than when I am at home, but it's easy as these babies make it so easy to love them.
I wear Allison's name around my neck on a necklace I ordered myself for Mother's Day. Ella grabbed onto it last night and Maddy has grabbed onto it in the past. I know babies grab whatever they can, but I think my nieces are reaching out for their cousin. To know me is to know that this is bizarre for me to say, but I really do believe it.
So yes, it's hard. What is not these days? But girls, your Aunt Sam and Uncle Gary love you so much and are excited to watch you grow. We love you more than you can know.
|Maddy and Me|
|Ella and Me|