Today would've been your first trip to the zoo. If things had gone as I had planned, you would be only a few weeks old by now. With that considered, you probably would've slept through most of this outing! I found myself missing you a lot today. Maybe because today fell into the 'special family outing' category and so my motherly heart just felt incomplete without you here. While driving to Madison, I even looked back several times in the mini-van, trying to imagine your little car-seat there, amongst your brother and sisters. Would I have had to 'shush' them so as not to wake you up? Your big brother would not have understood. Maybe by now, you would have adjusted to his screeeeches and learned to sleep through them.
We traveled with another family, some of our nearest and dearest friends. While stopping at a restaurant on the way, Mommy's friend let me carry their one-year-old baby girl inside. I loved unbuckling her from her little carseat and the feeling of her weight of against my body. That was a gift to me. I managed to croak out some words of thanks, but I'm not sure my friend could really understand that gift of just letting me hold her daughter. It made me miss you more and less, all at the same time. We used the double stroller at the zoo, although one seat remained empty for most of the time. I thought it fitting though. You should've been there, Olivia, in that empty seat.
Your sisters were so excited to move from exhibit to exhibit. Your brother though, was just anxious to find a way to get out of that stroller! I think he was tired of being strapped in. I know you wouldn't have minded though, being so little. Would we have taken the snuggly along for you to ride in? Or maybe the baby sling? It was such a beautiful day. Perfect weather for a newborn, really. It was kinda ironic in a way, because it was raining and drearily miserable at home, but mildly warm with sunny blue skies at the zoo. In my version of Heaven, the weather would be just like it was today.
Your dad and I read many of the signs that accompanied each exhibit, trying to fit in some learning for your sisters along the way. At one particular stop, we watched an American Black Bear roaming around his fake habitat. At about the same time, both Dad and I read that the black bear babies are born weighing less than a pound-and-a-half. I cradled my arms and cried out, "That was about the size of Olivia!" It was amazing to look at that big black bear and think that once upon a time he was just so itty bitty.
We built some nice memories as a family today. Even though you were not physically here, sweet girl, you were ever present, my thoughts of you intertwined with those memories being made. On our way home, despite some lingering sadness, I remember looking out the window, sunglasses on, warmth on my face and being reminded of my devotional this morning on Deuteronomy 30:19 about a choice that I have. A choice that has been so hard for me to make, to just keep on living and not let myself wither away inside. But I think you would've been proud of me as your Momma today. Because in that moment, even though I was missing you terribly, I said to myself, "I choose life." And that was a great moment, I think. It is only more evidence of how someone so small (you!) has had such great impact, even beyond the grave.
I'm sure your day was perfect today, as I would think all days in Heaven are. Just know that even though you are gone from this earth, you are not forgotten and are still missed dearly. Especially on days like today.