I woke.. just a few minutes before the birthday girl. Those moments alone were so necessary.  I went to her and wished her a happy birthday… I tried to steel myself for the onslaught of the day. We waited for the boys to wake up then we went together to see what we had decorated for her.

DSC_0579She seemed to really like it.  We decided to wait on opening presents until Daddy came home.. and we headed to Monterey. I needed to get out of town.. to be near the water. I needed to make it a good day for them.. The drive allowed me the time to think.. and be in myself.

Before we left we baked some gluten free cupcakes. Jonathan asked for gluten free and it felt right to me also.

We walked on the beach and let balloons go for her.. messages to sissy… Jonathan’s main message.. that she be there for Charlottes birthday.. I hope he felt her. I hope she came to him.DSC_0595

It was hard not to completely crack.. I wanted to just sit in the sand.. and cry. Mourn the one I lost 3 months ago. The one missing.IMG_3761DSC_0621

I got up.. and tried my best to celebrate the one I gained a year ago. Here is a video from the day she was born its not gory and it has some amazing pictures of Jennifer meeting her baby sister.

**watching Charlottes slideshow**
**watching Charlottes slideshow**

Cannot believe its been 3 months. .. only 6 months since she was first diagnosed. I cannot remember a time not grieving.. cannot remember what it felt like before we knew she was going to die.

Picture 278I feel like I cant remember her .. the real her.. the healthy her.. I wish I had written like I do now… So I could read our average days and just be transported back.

so thankful for my photos.

It was one of those days where I looked like a rock star mom. 3 different couples/people came up commenting not just how cute my kids are.. but how well behaved they were.. what meant the most to me was how they stuck together and were so kind to each other..

the way she made them..

Its one of the many things I miss about her as their sister, her ability to teach them how to be good to each other. Today reminded me how it used to be..most of the time.. I hope this can continue.



**I remembered this photo of her from the aquarium.. I wanted to see all of them together but didn’t see the same shell**

I hope I can be better at it also, being nicer. I found myself struggling today.. not being as kind to them as they deserve… feeling like I was walking a thin line.

A line I have straddled a million times before in my short parenting career. A gift she gave them is my awareness of it now.. and how much harder I am working now at staying on top of it.

.. .. I just realized as I was mentally rehashing our day…my feelings of overly frustrated with them was before we left and once we got home.. Maybe just a heightened awareness that Jennifer was missing..

We left and got some ice cream cones.

On the way home they all slept. I cried.. and talked to her.. and made a phone call. At home I made some of Charlottes favorite foods and we waited out front for Tony.

I couldn’t even get up to hug him when he got home… She loved to wait for him outside. She begged for it. Sometimes we made up songs for him .. .I remember once we made up a whole routine for him and preformed it right when he walked in the door… or the kids would hide and he would act so worried/mad that I didn’t know where they were.. then they would yell surprise. DSC_0172

she would run to him.


never walked to his arms.  Hair flying behind. I was more than a little jealous.. but one thing I was certain of.. I would get her back. As an adult she would be mine again. I love my boys. I enjoy my sons. But I do not look forward to them as adults.. so much changes. But my daughters.. I looked forward to it so much. It gave me something to look forward to.

thank you for Charlotte. thank you thank you thank you.

Every time I was pregnant I wished for whatever would be best for Jennifer. I think a sister was so very good for her.. but I think maybe it was really for me.

.. . something to keep me going.. to look forward to in 30 yrs. . the relationship I will have with my Charlie bear. ..

please let me still be good enough to earn that…. please let her outlive me.

.. . please..

I don’t allow myself to dream that far in the future.. way too scary.

We ate dinner and sang her happy birthday and had our cupcakes..Happy birthday sweet Charlotte.. I thought of Jennifer so much..

She was always right there with them as they blew out their candles… I was so sure she would live long enough to help Charlotte. .

**Jonathans 3rd birthday**
**Jonathans 3rd birthday**


***Nicholas 1st bday***
***Nicholas 1st bday***

I hoped I would “see”  her today…

Then a bath and presents. Jonathan and I had ordered her a sea-sea…So that they all have one now. Jennifer had begged for a pink one for Christmas so we got it. She still has it.. it will be with her forever..When we decided to send it with her, Jonathan and I also hatched a plan to get baby Charlotte one for her first birthday,  a physical connection between all 4 of my kids.

DSC_0244 DSC_0709

She also opened a present from Jennifer. Something her big sister had put aside for her. .. so thankful I had the knowledge of her death so we could plan these things together.. I had planned so much more though.. thought we had so much more time.. DSC_0726

6 months.. that’s what I was banking on.. I am so jaded I really meant that 6 months seems like so much time with my child.

I didn’t get to do and make all the things I wanted to. But I did a little.. it will be so hard for me when all of it shared .. when the last of things from her have been given to her siblings… no more tangible…

Nicholas is really missing her… and I think.. oh I am scared to jinx it… I think maybe she visits him. He has been talking about her suddenly so much. Now calling her Jennifer.. like she has changed to him somehow. He mentioned her twice during prayer at dinner, during his own and Jonathan’s.

And he is crying a lot. Hand over his mouth like he is trying to not let it escape.. his eyes looking confused at his overflow of emotion.. this is not his usual self. He is 2. Grieving and watching us grieve. That has to be so hard.

**Jennifer and nicholas**
**Jennifer and nicholas**

We went for our its the 12th tradition of cold yogurt. I couldn’t believe they really wanted to go after all the sweet they had today. But I am glad we went.. I debated it.. Tony chose not to go. We drove away and a song from her slideshow came on. I got some to go for me and Tony to have at home later. .

Its a simple tradition but I like that it honors the passing of the months in a not horrible way. 3 months.

I can’t beleive its been that long..

I can’t believe its been that short.

Because Nicholas had yesterday Jonathan wanted to sleep in her room.. but I think it was too much for him. He ended up back in his room after several times of us going back to him.. giving him the option. holding him. telling him it was ok to stay there.. or not.. telling him he could try again another time.

..please visit him baby girl.. your brother misses you so much.

we all do. we always will.









33 Responses to “presents/presence”

  1. I’ve been thinking of you all so much these past few days. I’m glad you were able to have a nice day for Charlotte’s birthday. I pray for you and your precious family to have some sense of comfort and peace.

  2. Oh Libby, such heartache and joy. Or, should I say joy and heartache? You moved me so much with this blog. A day to celebrate Charlotte’s birth and to remember Jennifer’s death. You are an amazing mother and wife…you are all in my prayers for strength and peace.

  3. The video is really amazing, thank you for sharing. There is a picture at the end with Nicholas looking at the baby…it is the look of the youngest one who realized there will be somebody else now who is the youngest. All the pictures tell so much.
    Happy birthday to Charlotte, she will be an amazing big daughter for her mummy one day! xxx

  4. Happy birthday Charlotte. So much heartbreak,joy, and above all love in this day. Praying for that love to continue to bind you- all 6 of you- together. Thank you for sharing the video. It is exquisite.

  5. Your baby video was so sweet and the music was just right.
    You are an amazing mom the to your sweet babies.
    Happy Birthday little Charlotte.

  6. Thank you for sharing the video. Those photos of Jennifer…. simply beautiful, amazing, she had a way of telling a story with just her eyes and her expressions. Took my breath away. She truly has such DEEP DEEP LOVE for ALL of you!

  7. The video was so precious…priceless. All the photos of Charlotte’s birthday, the boys & Jennifer are beautiful. You’re’ an incredible Mommy. Sending hugs to all 6 of you.

  8. LOVE the video. My favorite is Jennifer at your bedside with her hands together. She looks an angel. So many sweet photos. Happy first birthday to Charlotte. I hope Jennifer is guiding you through all of those special moments. You are a wonderful mother, Libby. We all have those moments of frustration with our kids, try to be gentle with yourself.

  9. Although you didn’t write like this then, you are now and I love that you are sharing her stories and memories. Sending lots of love and hugs to you…all 6 of you!

  10. Libby, I am so happy to hear about Jennifer and Nicholas. I truly believe in that. I do. I’ve shared some amazing stories with you about another child. I hope you will have some special moments as well. I hope all of you will. And your 12th tradition, love it.

  11. Tears. I believe in my heart she will all come to you individually and for all your lives.
    A lady I know, her daughter sends the most amazing pink sunsets I’ve ever seen….we just know it’s her sending love.

  12. When my grandson lost his father due to a freak motorcycle accident .. he was in the car chatting away …pausing and answering. I asked him who he was talking too … he said, “daddy”! He looked shocked thst I didnt see him there.
    this is one reason I believe … I saw it. There are other reasons but this one happened in front of me …
    Jennifer is with you. I believe it.

  13. The photos, the video, the memories.. All so very precious and beautiful. I feel so grateful to share in them with your family and thankful to you that you allow us to be captivated by Jennifer’s life and after life, too. Happy Birthday, beautiful Charlotte!

  14. Libby Happy birthday to Charlotte u are such an amazing mom. And the video of Charlotte’s birth brought tears to my eyes. U made Jennifer so Happy and so loved. Hugs to u Libby.

  15. I just learned that a childhood friend of mine passed away about 6 months ago. She was young and carried a light, a special spark just like Jennifer did. She made the world a better place for all of us while she was with us. She created a place of healing and hope, similarly to how Jennifer healed you and gave you hope by making you a mom. For some reason some of the best souls who are making the biggest positive difference in the world spend the shortest time on earth… it’s almost as they are moving on as soon as they have completed what they came here to do… I don’t know if there is a heaven or not, but I do believe that from somewhere all these wonderful souls are watching over us and each other. Jennifer is in wonderful company, and you will be with her again soon enough… but first you have to do what you came here to do… to raise your beautiful family and complete the mission Jennifer started… fight the fight for all those kids with cancer so they can complete their missions too. It’s your circle of life.

  16. Happy Birthday to your beautiful baby girl Charlotte. I know Jennifer was with Charlotte on her special day. She is with all of you always. Yesterday (May 12th) my daughter Eva myself and my husband released balloons for Jennifer. We wrote messages on them to her. I hope she saw them. I will always remember her and she will always be in my heart. Even though I dont know you all I feel connected to all of you. Jennifer will always be a very special little girl. She will be forever 6. I will be attending the run/walk on the 18th for Jennifer. I hope I have the honor of meeting you all. Thankyou for sharing your Beautiful little Jennifer with us. ♡♡♡♡♡

  17. Happy Birthday Sweet Charlotte. I still read everyday. I still ache for you and pray for the healing in your heart to be a healthy momma to your living babies. I wanted to share with you another blog. This 5 year old precious boy is in his last days/hours….Stage 4 adult brain cancer, diagnosed January 2014…. Maybe you two beautiful mommies can help each other…. Ben is a twin, they have a little sister and are expecting another girl in September.

    1. Thank you I actually reached out to her a few days ago. They are in my prayers and I will reach out again after..

  18. I love all the traditions that you do with your children. You are an amazing mom! I think of you and your family daily. Hugs, prayers and love.

  19. sending you love Libby. I am sure the past few days were beyond hard for you, but you still amaze me with all that you continue to do with and for your kids through all the pain you are feeling. xoxo

  20. I look at pictures of your beautiful children, and it breaks my heart to knowthe younger three are without Jennifer. Especially for Charlotte. I am glad you have her, and pray your relationship with her always remains strong. Jennifer reminds me so much of my Annabelle physically. That is why your blogs crush me and helped me commit to this battle. Proud that her cells are doing great things; proud that you are fighting for funding and research; proud that you continue to put your children first…all 4 of them.

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