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Mothering a Little One Again

August 10, 2017

Today I took Char to the park.

That may not seem like the most life altering activity, but the way it came about was kind of a moment of realization for me. Her and I were driving home from dropping Bella off at school. Usually Sam takes her and I pick her up, but this morning he had an early appointment. On the way back, we were passing the street by us where they just redid the park; putting in swings, a canopy to shade it, pathways, and picnic tables. It only reopened a few weeks ago, but the weather has been so so hot still by the time Bella gets home we hadn’t been back there yet.

As a million things I needed to get home and do raced through my mind, I suddenly remembered I had a tiny one in the back who would love to go to the park with me. I turned down the street and got her out, carrying her to the swings for the first time.

She loved it and sat very still, rocking back and forth, for a few minutes until putting her arms up for me and saying, “Ah-done.” After that, she saw the pigeons (“dodos”) across the grass and took off after them. It was a disappointing moment for her when she finally understood they had no intention of being hugged by an excited toddler.

I watched her run and suddenly thought of a time after Kaden died when I was driving with Bella and she was about 6. We were passing a park we’d been to many times in the past with friends, since she was about Char’s age now. I glanced over at the children playing and it struck me that Bella was too big for that one – and I’d missed the stage of her getting there. There was such an ache as I wondered if I’d ever get to take a child to the park to play again like her and I had. It’s not that I couldn’t have taken her ever, it was just – it had been so long and so much had happened that I had unconsciously missed those “lasts” of her smallness. My grief and struggle to just survive had taken those moments.

For 6 years, Bella was my sole companion in many ways. Sam was gone a lot with the military, friends came and went, but her and I did everything together. Even when it was just trying to cope and find how to live again.

Now with Char, I am in a place where it feels like some of the fog from the past few years is finally lifting, postpartum fades away, and life finds a bit of a normalcy and pattern again. So as Bella starts a new chapter in school and with more independence, I find myself almost forgetting that I can do this again. It’s so easy to slip back into my pattern of “only child” and when she’s gone, feel a little lost.

Today was a reminder of how much I have to look forward to with them both. I get to rebuild that relationship with Bella in a new way, and find one with Char as she grows up. It’s a reminder to be a little more present for them both now that I’m able to.


  • Amanda M

    August 11, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    I am so proud of you. Of your journey. Proud’s really not the right word, but it’s the best I can find this minute. I’ve been following you for years and I am so glad that the fog is starting to lift for you. You deserve some peace. Some time just to BE with your girls and with Sam. I am inspired by you, always, and loving you from a distance. Praying every day is a little better. I don’t believe that the ache for your beautiful boys – Kaden, Julian & Preston – will ever go away. I don’t believe that kind of grief ever really “heals,” but you are such an incredible example of resilience and faith, even in the face of the unspeakable vastness of that loss and that grief. Thank you for sharing your journey. I know it hasn’t always been easy for you to do. Your bravery is astounding. <3

    1. Diana

      August 14, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      I never know what to say to something so kind – but thank you. I’ve had a lot of incredible people and help these past few years.

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