Breathe in, breathe out. Smell her, taste her kisses, feel her soft skin, stare at her, memorize her every feature, her every expression and reaction. Be still, be in the moment. All day, everyday, I repeat this in my head. Since before Ruthie Lou was born I have wanted to honor her arrival, wanted to bless her little spirit. Always knowing she was special, but never knowing the extent of her presence, it has been important to me to bless her with all the important, good, pure, and loving things of the world. Realizing we have limited time, borrowed time, I began having anxiety of how to go about appropriately making this happen for Ruthie Lou. Who should officiate? Who should be there? What should we do? All along with the logistical thoughts of what can I plan? Do I have time to plan? Do we get tomorrow? I woke up Saturday morning feeling the urgency to do something that moment. Ruthie Lou has taught me to live in the moment, not count on tomorrow, it may not be here, act now. After talking to chris and getting the "go ahead" we made our calls to invite our first guests to the house. Chris was concerned that it was short notice and it was, just about 2 hours for family to get up and go. We also knew it was Labor Day weekend and many people we love were away, but sometimes that's life. It isn't perfect, can't always be planned and cannot accommodate everyone. Some family couldnt make it, some felt it too difficult to come and some family got unintentionally overlooked because the normalcies of life right now are not normal and important things unfortunately get forgotten. We would love to have had the world, all of you standing by our side but you all were there, all your messages, your energy, your thoughts, all were with us that afternoon even when your physical presence was not. There are so many people in our life that we would've loved to have here, too many to even allow, so we made it as small as possible, intimate, with only Ruthie Lou's aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents. As predicted our early birds arrived early and our late arrivals surprisingly got here on time! Ruthie Lou and I added that to our "blessing of the day" list, which I finally started writing down as the blessings big and small show up everywhere. Pretty quickly our studio apartment was over capacity so we gathered in the "Great room" to write blessings and messages to Ruthie Lou. Here at the house, they have an Art room available to the children and families equipped with a teachers dream of art supplies. I gathered up a scrapbook, some markers, colored pencils and gave all my "teacher" directions and away the messages flowed. It was so special to see the process and blessings that were written for Ruthie Lou and even the messages that were too hard to be written down, in that moment, all thoughts were with Ruthie Lou. It was nearing sundown but the weather was still calm, we gathered outside near one of our favorite spots, the gazebo. Standing in a circle, I tried my best to articulate the intention of our blessing ceremony, of our welcoming ceremony for our sweet angel. We had no officiant, just me, with my server experienced public speaking that matured into my teaching voice. Chris, the strong silent type, who isn't always comfortable at these public emotional moments, stood tall next to us, shades on as if that meant the tears weren't really there. Sometimes when you're in the moment, the words just flow but when you think back you're not really sure what you said. Having only two hours to plan i really just spoke from my heart, trying to convey our love for this little girl, this blessing we have been given, this honor that we have to care for. We were fortunate to capture it on film but now we have to figure out how to send that video to us to actually watch it, should we choose to. The actual words don't matter, the feelings of love were felt thru all the words, the tears of joy, sadness and honor said what a million words could not. I shared some stories about Ruthie Lou, her ladybug story, read a couple of poems and blessings that I have been given or came across since Ruthie Lou's stay in the NICU. A couple of them were even special poems or blessings from you, since they were sent for Ruthie Lou, they have such special meaning to us. Stories were shared from our family, the joy and miracles Ruthie Lou has brought and we talked about those lost before us, those waiting so patiently to meet our sweet angel, or to see her again if that's what you believe. I also talked about God, who means different things to different people yet i don't think can be made right or wrong. That night God was in the wind for me, the rustling of the trees, the squirrel that ran near us, the smell of nature in the air, all in celebration of Ruthie Lou. We closed with a circle hug and repeated a prayer that has become a mantra to sweet Ruthie Lou: "The Light of God surrounds you The Love of God enfolds you The power of God protects you The presence of God is in you Where ever you are, God is You are a happy, healthy child of God" It was a beautiful moment, and as the gentle wind came in and all the pictures were being taken, Ruthie Lou woke up! This isnt uncommon for our trips outside but usually it only lasts about 10-15 minutes until she gets overstimulated and her seizures start. I began to feel the anxiety to get her inside because even though we love to have these experiences with her, if they end up causing her pain, it is not worth it for us. I am constantly asking myself, is this for her or is this for us? And if the picture I want, the handrprint I desire or the outfit so cute is for my benefit, it gets thrown out the window. Her comfort, her happiness is our number one proirity and even though I had dreams of experiences with this little girl, she runs the world and her needs are number one. Another lesson from little miss Ruthie Lou, the small things are not always as important as they seem in the long run. But that day, Ruthie Lou WAS running the world! I had told her all morning about her party and this girl was not missing it! She woke up during pictures and stayed awake for the next two hours that everyone was here. She was awake thru several of her pictures, thru dinner, even sat with her grandpas on the couch and caught some of the Giants game! There was a party and she wasn't sleeping thru it! What a blessing, for her and for us. After pictures, we went to "Ruth's Cafe" (coincidently-or not coincidentally-the name of the dining room here) to have our gourmet Round Table pizza. Sometimes it's the good ol' food that makes me feel at home, feel normal. We sat in the large dining room across two oversized tables, chatted, laughed and I held Ruthie Lou. I had shared her so much that afternoon, I couldn't handle a moment more and had to keep her to myself. The day was such a gift, such a blessing, as each day has been since the day she was born. I hope we did her justice, paid her due honor, blessed her as she has blessed us and welcomed her into this family, this world who loves her so much.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.