Friday, March 6, 2015

2.5 years

March 6, 2015.  Today it has been 2 1/2 years since she's been gone.


Sometime, I sit and ponder about where we would be in life if Vienne were still here.  …"where would we be?"…."what would she look like?"….:what would she be interested in now?"…etc.  It is still so mind-boggling how quickly your life can change…how it can so easily be snatched away from you.

**Never take your life for granted!!**

I had a conversation with someone a while back about the differences between siblings.  This person was sharing how they realized that they are different parents to the second child than they were to the first.  The second time around your attention is now divided:  you can't give as much one-on-one attention to the second as you could when you just had one.  You are more relaxed and less cautious or paranoid as you were the first time around…you have to be.  You have to let certain things go.  …Thus you are a bit of a different parent.  And, therefore your two children turn out differently (that mixed in combination with their specific traits and characteristics.  Nature+Nurture).  It was interesting to me as I started to think about our two girls.  How more similar to each other they are, than dissimilar.  And, this conversation seemed to point out why.  We are back to having an only child again.  Since we liked the way we did things the first time around, we do them the same with Ivy.  Our attention is not divided, though, and so she gets all of us…we do things the same and our attention is the same as it was for Vienne.  I think that, in conjunction with Ivy's obvious nature to be gentle and cautious and fun and creative, insightful and sensitive, meticulous and clean…has made her to turn out to be very much like her sister.

{Top:  Vienne about 22 months.  Bottom:  Ivy about 2 1/2}

I watch Ivy every day and I just see Vienne more and more.  In most ways it is a gift, yes.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Sometimes I find myself even wanting Ivy to like things that Vienne liked.  But, then at the same time I am slightly irritated by it…as if it were God saying to me "see….I gave you Vienne back…just in a different, yet similar form".  Yeah, I don't like that.  I know that's not the case…but it's just the irrationality that runs through my head and makes me angry.  Nothing could ever excuse how Vienne was allowed to be taken from me.  Nothing.
But, Ivy certainly does things in ways that reflect her Sister.  She has her own unique preferences, of course, her "way" about her is what is most pronounced to us.  Her demeanor, her sensitivity, her eagerness to please, her joy and imagination, the way she says "fligilator"!….etc.

{Ivy - her hands so patient and waiting to blow out her birthday candles}

{Ivy daintily eating a birthday treat.  Her outfit looks silly because the shirt was a gift that she had just opened and loved so much that she put on over her bday outfit!}

{Creative, gentle, and sweet.  These critters on her arms are 2 of her buddies.  When I put this shirt on her, she got very excited about the straps that hold up the rolled sleeves.  She exclaimed:  "I can carry my buddies in these!!".  Silly Doodle.}

{proudly wearing Sissy's boots.  What a treasure.}

Looking at Ivy and how she carries Vienne's traits so closely to herself, I oftentimes wonder "what if?".  What if Vienne were still here?  What would Ivy be like, then?  What would Vienne be into?  What would she like right now?  What would be her new favorite movie?  What would she like to play with?  What things would interest her?  What areas would she be excelling in, in school?  Would she finally be interested in academic-type subjects?  Would she be artistic?  What would it be like to watch both of my girls dancing around the living room and singing "Let it Go"?  And, what would Ivy be like?  Would she be as gentle?  Or would she be tougher because she'd have to vy for our attention…and share with her big sister?  Would she be as meticulous and orderly?  …etc.

{Left:  Vienne age 2.  Right:  Ivy age 3}

If Vienne were still alive…

~ We would've stayed longer in the townhouse that we loved…until we needed more space.  Maybe the girls would've shared Vienne's bedroom until we moved.
~Mark would've continued pursuing establishing his Portland presence in residential Real Estate.  Real Estate is Mark's career of choice and what he did in Cannon Beach.  We had to leave it and the house we were buying when the economy turned in 2010.  He took a position at a heating and cooling company in the Pdx area, to provide for us.  After 2 yrs of doing that, he was pursuing real estate again, on the side - the summer that Vienne died.  That all stopped abruptly when Vienne passed.  How could he happily sell homes and put on that "face" after losing a child?  He couldn't.
~We would've eventually moved into a bigger rental and started saving to buy a home again.  Instead, these past 2 1/2 years have just been about surviving…and now just trying to figure out what we are supposed to do with this life.
~Vienne would've started 1st Grade this past fall!  I was looking forward to enrolling her in a private school in the area.  It fit so perfectly into our needs.  The school is a "hybrid" school, blending the best of private school and homeschool.  I always dreamt of homeschooling, though I quickly discovered that V wasn't all that interested in learning from me.  I learned that she thrived with peers, an organized setting, and an "official" teacher to follow directions from.  This hybrid school was perfect for both of our desires and needs.  It runs 3 days a week (MWF) and then you supplement at home on the other 2 days.  I could still be involved, but she could still get that socialization and orderly environment that she thrived off of.  We are hoping to be able to send Ivy there.

{me and my sweet Girl working on some preschool workbooks…a week before she passed}

~Ivy would probably not be so needy because she would have a constant best friend and playmate.
~I know that the past few years would've had some experiences in more swim lessons and other extra curricular activities as well as an attempt at horse-riding lessons - Vienne's dream.
~We would've continued going to play groups with friends.  I would be more social.
~I wouldn't have lost friends and my relationships would've continued to grow…instead of change as they have.
~But, I also wouldn't have gained many new friends, like all of you.
~I know I wouldn't have struggled with my health like I've been.

Our life now…

~Ivy is our WORLD.  I thrive off of her joy and the distraction that she constantly provides.  She is all that I can care about right now.

~Mark is no longer managing the heating and cooling company….though he is not in residential real estate either.  Last March, he joined a commercial real estate firm in downtown Portland.  Commercial real estate is an entirely different ball game from residential.   Back when he was pursuing residential, he had no idea how different it would be from working residential real estate in Cannon Beach.  You can make a career out of it there and still have a family life with residential real estate in CB.  Not so much in PDX.  I don't know if this commercial real estate opportunity would have come to him, though, if our lives were on that previous path.  But, commercial real estate is a huge career opportunity and I am proud of him for getting into it.  Of course, we would ALWAYS prefer the previous path.   This is the bitter-sweetness to his new career path.

~We have hopped around to two different homes, now since V passed….and we still are not settled in where we're permanently meant to be.  I don't even know what or where that is.  We spent the first year without V in a rental that was taken on immediately after she passed.  My family found us a quick home because I could not return to ours after Vienne's tragedy.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be the worst renting experience of our lives.  And now, we are in a condo/apartment.  We are back in the area we were in when Vienne was alive.  We love this area.  It is rich with memories of Vienne…which can be bitter sweet…but I am sooooo ready for a house and a yard.

~I struggle to care about much outside of my small little world of Mark and Ivy and our home.

~I thought this would make me more compassionate (and maybe it will one day) but I feel actually less compassionate.

~I still struggle with my health.  Probably both mentally and physically.  My anxiety has become much more manageable…though I have very limited ability in handling frustration.  It is embarrassing to me.  My tummy issues are still a battle - always trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat/tolerate.

~We have decided that we are not going to try to have any more children.  Yes, after 2 years of giving this serious thought and consideration - we are in agreement.  It is a difficult decision and I think we will always wonder which way was the best for us to go…but this is what we are sticking with.  We have 2 daughters.  We always will.  I always only desired just 2 children.  I never wanted an only that makes this very hard.  But, there are many reasons as to why this decision works best for us.  To be frank and honest, I just don't think I can handle the stress and anxiety that comes with having another newborn and those first two years.  As great of a mother as I am, I am not a huge fan of the baby stage.  Shocking, I know.  In knowing those things about myself, I just fear that I would not be the best mother that I could be if I took on another baby, right now.  And, I am not getting younger.  I turn 37 next month.  It gets harder the older you get.  And, I realize that all of these "reasons" are very me-centric…possibly selfish excuses…but this is the decision we feel most comfortable with.

2 1/2 years….so so so many more to go.

{always just a family of 3…}


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ooops...I didn't mean to delete my previous comment. I just wanted to thank you for opening yourself up - I know that it can be hard. Lots of love to you and your family.

    1. Thank you for reading, Friend. Your presence here is comforting.

  3. Thanks for the update Jenny. You and your family are often in my thoughts and prayers. I appreciate your honest sharing…you inspire me, and give me much to contemplate. Blessings to you….Terry

  4. Thank you for reading and commenting and still checking in with me, Terry. It means so so much.

  5. Dear Jenny, I think of you and Vienne often. You, Mark, and Ivy are in my prayers.