Rainbow baby is the term for a baby after the loss of a previous child. It is the understanding that a rainbow's beauty does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.
On Saturday, I spent the day with a bunch of rainbows. It was noisy and hot and chaotic and bright and BEAUTIFUL.
You see, Allie has a friend named Leo. He joined her in Heaven about 6 weeks after she got there. Allie and Leo (and a college friend of mine) made sure their mom's connected. We have been friends ever since.
Leo's mom and dad and baby sister and brother live locally and they hosted a picnic for parents of rainbow babies at their house on Saturday. I think there about 13 adults and 11 kids. The ages ranged from 3 years to 2 and a half months. People came from as far as Canada for the chance to hang out with other parents like us and kids like ours. Hotel rooms were booked long in advance and cars were checked out to make sure they could handle the drive.
Then the day was finally here. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. These are other kids who will be taught (or are already taught) about siblings that they can't see. They have moms and dads who went on the same grief journey as us. As these kids get older, they might very well want to be friends on their own since they have this common thread that connects them. What luck that as they start to have questions, we will have other parents and other kids to ask and talk to and help out!
We arrived in the afternoon and the party was in full swing. Introductions were made and hugs were given out. Many of us had only met on Facebook so it was great to see these people come to life. Watching Miranda play with the other children made my heart swell. Gary and I watched her find her way and we spent much of the day just in awe of her. I love to observe her as she tries to navigate her little world. She probably does the same to me.
The kids had us all running around so much that there was no time to really "talk"...more like chase them and try to keep up! I did not know a lot of the women and therefore I did not know their stories. But it did not matter. Our children brought us together - yet another gift they have given us.
There were toys and games and food and drink and the air was electric. There were bubbles and walks to the playground and a taco bar and a bottomless pitcher of sangria. To a neighbor or passerby, it probably looked like any other summer party. But to us, they day was so much more than that. So much more.
It was an amazing day. I hope we all get to cross paths again. For our sakes and for the sakes of our children. All along, I have drawn on the strength and love of others to get me through and to share in an afternoon with some familiar faces, as well as many new faces, it just validated how important it is for us to stick together. For us. For our babies. For our rainbows.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”