Most nights, I model a prayer for Hayden and then ask her to pray. As I began to thank God for allowing us to celebrate Amelie and Adaline's fourth birthday this week on the 21st, I slowly started to cry. Then Hayden started to cry, and I had to spend the rest of the prayer time reassuring her that it's okay to cry when you're sad and that we'll probably have a few more tears this week.
This kind of thing happens pretty rarely, but it has been hard to escape the subject of Amelie and Adaline over the past several weeks. Through no prompting from me, my girls' story has been surfacing in my conversations with friends and strangers. Sometimes I'm able to control my emotions, and other times I have to walk away to compose myself.
I'm grateful that I have not been on the verge of tears for the past year. It's been filled with good things. Hayden is in first grade and I (with the help of my parents) am homeschooling her. We took her to Disneyland in April, where she was enchanted with the princesses and rides. Lincoln is a sunny two-year-old whose vocabulary is growing every day. Caleb travels a lot, promoting his artwork and comic book. We both continue to teach music lessons to 80 students a week, and I enjoy my role as teacher and mentor to my students.
There are challenges too. I'm no stranger to depression, and something as trivial as a messy dining room table can set it off. I struggle to parent Hayden, who shares a similar personality, and reminds me all too well of myself at that age. After 17 years of marriage, I am still trying to micromanage my husband's time, and my to-do list for Caleb only seems to grow more unreasonable. Lincoln still doesn't sleep through the night, so we often feel sleep-deprived and cranky.
My biggest challenge is coping with my impending middle age. The Oxford Dictionary defines middle age as 45 to 65.
I've started asking big life questions like: "What's next? Have I hit my peak? Is it all downhill from here?"
I don't have the answers right now. I guess that's okay. Every September, this week is about putting one foot in front of the other, working through grief, honoring the memory of Amelie and Adaline, and spending time with Hayden, Lincoln, and Caleb. We'll get away this weekend to look at pictures, hold a pink blanket, read notes written to our girls by a class of fourth graders back in 2012, blow out two candles on cupcakes, and release pink balloons. Maybe we'll do a little crying together.
I can save the big life questions for later.
Happy fourth birthday to my sweet girls. We miss you every day.
I wrote a song called for Amelie and Adaline called "Never Let You Go," which you can download for free here.
Subscribe to my blog here.
Follow me on Facebook here.