March 2, 2012 marked an important day in our lives. The listening stones the kids picked for the day gave an accurate picture of how we all felt.
Ellianna would be one year old… but instead of pictures of her smashing her first cake in her hair, another family snapshot of us visiting the cold, hard stone that marks where her beautiful shell is buried. It was hard to know exactly what to do. I bounced between wanting to have a celebration, and wanting to just ignore the day and not do anything at all. In the end though, we wanted to celebrate more than just the anniversary of our daughter’s birth. We wanted to celebrate all that has happened in our lives because she was here. The sweet memories we have of her, the growth in our marriage that the trials have cultivated, the way that our children have learned to feel and express and love because they have seen the value of living fully. So we celebrated.
We didn’t get to birthday shop for Ellie, so we picked things we would have liked to have given her, and took them to her NICU. The nurses chose for us a little baby girl whose family is experiencing the challenges of having a preemie. We got to pay forward some of the love and support we have received since Ellianna graced our lives.
We got to open our home to our worship group who surrounded us with love and caring. They had encouraging words to share, gifts of sweet significance, and prayers that uplifted and strengthened our hearts. We sent the most amazing cloud of glowing balloons off into the night sky…each scrawled with thoughtful words of grateful memories.
We made it through another hard day, and came out the other side with a renewed sense of the blessings that are daily showered on our lives.