I remember the days of that week well. Two days prior, on Tuesday the 4th, it was my and Mark's 7 year anniversary. During the day, the girls and I hung out with my Mom, Grammy. We went to her house and then went to a water park - the fun one by Insomnia Coffee. Vienne preferred to play on the spinning merry-go-round in the park. She would sit in the middle of that thing and just love to spin fast, around and around. It always made me nervous, especially when the big kids were spinning it. I would hover nearby like any normal paranoid mommy. After that, we went back to Gram's for lunch and nap times. Vienne never napped well at Grammy's, so I enforced a quiet time up in the room. Eventually, I let her play with the toys in there. I remember, after some time, I told her that she could come downstairs after she cleaned up the toys. And, I remember being shocked that she actually refused...so unlike her. Moments like those always left me shocked for it was so out of character. After talking to her, I had to leave her in there and close the door, to let her clean up on her own. She cried. She was obviously tired. I checked on her once and she hadn't cleaned up, so I left again. I remember that after a few moments she was crying again and hitting the door so I ran up there. It turned out that she had finally made the right decision and cleaned up all the toys on her own and was trying to open the bedroom door but it was stuck and she panicked. I remember hating that moment...a moment that left her panicking. It pained me to see her scared. I just held her and calmed her down and praised her for cleaning up. I had tears in my eyes...tears for her fear and tears of pride for her good decision to clean up.
I remember that afternoon when we drove home, both of the girls fell asleep in the car. I recall looking back and Vienne was dressed in that new Cinderella gown....all light blue and puffy around her...and she slept with her head tilted to the side, so beautiful. So sweet.
I remember with that gown, she also got a blue boa whom she so creatively named "Blue". And, I hated Blue immediately for Blue shed blue feathers all over the house. I wanted Blue gone. But, now I still find blue feathers in the car and sooooo wish that Blue was back...back with it's owner.
That evening, my Mom drove over to our house to watch the girls while Mark and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. We had reservations at Paley's Place. I got all dressed up in a pretty dress and heels, my hair up, and wearing some jewelry. I remember coming downstairs and I was in a bit of a "huff" about running behind and Vienne kept hovering around my legs, looking up at me and saying "you look sooooo burrrrtiful, Mama!" over and over until I heard her. I will remember this endearment always. I felt so pretty after that.
(dressed up on our 7th year anniversary)
(my handsome guy)
That evening was the evening that she put her Cinderella dress back on, along with the matching click clack shoes and she and Mark went for an evening stroll. I know that I wrote about this in an earlier post. This was the time that she wanted to hunt for flowers for me. The image of her click clacking down the side walk with Mark is still fresh in my mind. Her hair twisted up into a bun, revealing her long dainty neck, with soft tendrils spraying about. She was breathtaking. She came back in the door holding a flower behind her back, with an excited grin spread across her gorgeous face. "Close your eyes, Mama, and hold out your hand". And then she placed a perfect blue hydrangea blossom into my hands.
That was the last evening, the last night we had with her.
The next morning, when it was time for Mark to get ready for work, he brought both the girls into bed with me. I remember pulling Vienne into my arms, first, and immediately noticed that she was warm. She relaxed in my arms and I just cradled her. I mentioned it to Mark and asked him how she had been that morning. He told me that she seemed a bit lethargic since waking. I remember holding her for as long as I could until Ivy started to fuss. Then, I had to let Vienne go. I replay this in my head over and over and just wish I could sit and hold her and Ivy together, forever. She never argued, but she quietly slipped out of my arms and lay down on the pillow next to me while I picked Ivy up and nursed her. Ivy needed to get ready for a nap, so I asked Vienne if she wanted to take a bath. She said no and then said she had a tiny tummy ache. I told her to try to go potty. She did but couldn't and then started crying. I hugged her and lay her in her bed to watch a show on the ipad. I also encouraged her to eat some of her breakfast, which might help her tummy. I nursed Ivy to sleep in the other room, quickly showered, and then came to check on Vienne. She had eaten some eggs and said her tummy felt better. I asked her, again, if she'd like to get in the bath. This time she wanted to. I ran a fresh bath for her. I asked her if she wanted me to wash her hair right then or wait a few minutes after I got my breakfast. She opted for a later washing. That's when I left the bathroom. That's the last conversation I had with her.
I will stop with the memories there.
It always still feels like I am in a sick and twisted test and I'm just waiting for it to be over so that I can go home and go back to our life. But, it's not ending. This is it. This is my life now. This is the path that I am supposed to walk. It is still hard to believe when you are of the select few to be chosen to walk such a horrifying path for the rest of your life. So set apart from the rest.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not fear for Ivy's life.
Three months down of this life. Many many more to go.
(I love this picture of Vienne, holding her sword. It speaks of her bravery to me. If she was brave, then I can be brave too.)