Monday, February 28th marked two years since we lost Mary Grace.
Rob and I were not together on Monday, and I regret it. We had both presented talks at an Engaged Encounter retreat over the weekend, and then on Sunday afternoon I went back to my parents' house in the mountains to spend a day before bringing Isabel back home on Tuesday, the 1st.
Monday went pretty well at first. I thought I could get away with acting indifferent that it was her anniversary. I didn't attend Mass like my mom suggested. I didn't put up a blog post. Although it was on my mind, I felt very casual about the day...until that evening. I was on the phone when I realized that the ballet class I was planning on putting Isabel in for the next session had just filled up and there were no more spaces available. I completely burst into tears on the phone with Rob. I'm sure he thought I was a crazy person...who else would sob like that over a missed ballet class??
I went to bed in tears that night. But it really wasn't about the ballet class.
The next morning (Tuesday) Isabel and I headed back home...a long 4.5 hour trip. That evening I was tired and impatient. It was getting to be way past Iz's bed time and without an afternoon nap these days, it is pretty critical to get her into bed on time. By the time Rob got home, it was 6:45pm. Honestly, I could have had Isabel in bed by 6:30pm that night! She was feisty and had some plan in mind to surprise Rob with something. She barked at us to not look in her room until she was ready. I told her she could meet us downstairs, but I was annoyed at her bossiness.
She takes her time and comes downstairs, commanding us to close our eyes. Come on Iz, it's getting late.
"Now Mommy, you can open your eyes." Okay Iz, (opening my eyes) but Daddy needs to eat his dinner.
"Not Daddy, just Mommy." Iz, I'm starting to get frustrated. Daddy can open his eyes.
"Okay, Mommy." (Rob taking this as a sign he can open his eyes, opens them).
Isabel loses it....bursts into tears... I lose it, because I am frustrated with the waiting game, impatient that she's not already in bed and not sure what the big deal is.
"Oh no, now it's ruined! I needed to tell him something before he opened his eyes", Isabel is crying.
What? I snap at her.
"I can't say it now, it's too late, it's already ruined." (Tears streaming down her face).
Iz! Stop it right now. If you want to tell him, then just tell him, otherwise we are going straight to bed!! (Me, more than frustrated at this point...angry and almost yelling.)
"I....I....," (she stutters)"....I need a hug!"
Okay, come here, (my voice more gentle). I hug her.
Now just tell Daddy...he didn't even really look at you, so just pretend he hasn't seen you yet and you can tell him.
"I..." *sniff* *tears* "can't remember what I was going to say," she says. (I'm immediately annoyed again. I'm tired of playing games.)
Okay, well we need to get to bed.
Isabel, who had dressed up in her most beautiful pink ballet tutu gown with pink floral dress up shoes, complete with tiara, and carrying a bouquet of fake violets, remembers what she was going to say and softly says,
"Happy Mary Grace's Anniversary, Daddy." Extending the bouquet of flowers toward him.
I absolutely burst into tears. How could I have been so ugly to her, so angry? Her whole plan was to wish her Daddy a "Happy Anniversary" for Mary Grace since we hadn't seen him the day before, on her actual anniversary. She wanted everything to be just right...and I had rushed it with my impatience, and ruined it.
Her kind, innocent little 4 1/2 year old heart had remembered from the day before about the anniversary (because we did not speak about it one time on Tuesday)....and she thought up all on her own a special way to show her Daddy Jesus' love, and I ruined it.
I absolutely wanted to die. Even typing this out a day later, I feel like the most horrible mother ever.
I apologized to her, and seconds later she was laughing and smiling as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
But it tears my heart apart every time I think about it.
Two years ago our whole family was affected by Mary Grace's death...now we are about to have a baby who didn't experience any of that. Whether or not I want to believe it, February 28th and the days surrounding it, do affect me. Thank God, He is always there to catch me when I fall. Because what a miserable fall yesterday was.