I love going to church on Easter morning. I love seeing all of the kids sporting their Easter best. Little girls with their hats and gloves, spinning in circles to watch their new dresses float in the air. Little boys with sweater vests, ties and shiny shoes stuffing their hands, or anything else they can find, into their pockets. I loved Easter morning before we had Addison and now, along with watching all of the other adorable kids, I get to watch my own little girl become angelic in her own Easter best.
For parents waiting to adopt, holidays can be difficult. For parents who have lost babies, holidays can be difficult. Many of our recent holidays have been mixed with joy and sorrow. We do everything we can to make each and every holiday as special as possible for Addison. She knows no differently than the traditions we have created with only her. She does not see the same dreams we had for our family or feel the absence of those who will never be here or of those who are not here yet. We follow her lead and celebrate wholeheartedly to give her the holiday she deserves.
This year Easter was just beautiful. Our hearts were lighter this year, our smiles more genuine. Addison was thrilled with the Easter bunny, very particular about her Easter outfit, and most excited to spend the day with family, especially her cousins. It was a peaceful day filled with family and food, relaxation and catching up, laughing and talking. The sun was even shinning and our bodies truly felt the warmth of new beginnings.
I welcomed the peaceful, hopeful day and tried to savor the moment and not surrender to the constantly flowing thoughts within my head. For me, as it relates to our losses and our waiting to grow our family through adoption, the preparation and anticipation of an upcoming holiday is emotionally harder than the actual day. As I sat in our family room on Easter eve quietly stuffing eggs and filling baskets, my heart ached. I wondered what Connor might have been like this Easter and longed to know how our family might grow and change by next Easter. I stuffed a few extra eggs and overfilled Addison’s Easter basket with chocolate, thinking that these extra treats would somehow make up for the fact that she wouldn’t get to share this Easter with a sibling.
I have my moments when I crumble, as I said, usually in the days prior to a holiday. I have my moments when the pain of the past is still unbearable. I have my moments when the unknown anticipation of the future feels crushing. And then I have moments when I realize that I am breathing again. I have moments of warmth and peace. I have moments like Easter day that remind me of the beauty of this life and the beauty of this holiday.
I am so thankful that this Easter I was able to enjoy my little girl and truly feel the presence of so many blessings in my life. Even at peace, it does not escape me that others were suffering yesterday, not able to find peace or realize blessings. I know that others who wait to adopt, waiting without any children, without any Easter bunny, and with the same uncertainty about their future were hurting deeply yesterday. My heart goes out to anyone who has journeyed down these shared paths and who is still so deeply in pain that it is hard to find light. For those who have lost, it is true what they say, it does get better. For those who wait, together we wait and hope and never give up hoping…
As Addison slept and the sun set on our drive home last night, Chris and I talked about how good Easter felt. The Easter best, proudly worn that morning, was now stuffed in the bottom of a bag, but the feelings of peace, hope and joy were still felt as we safely arrived home.