counting heads

I think all moms will get this.. but certainly moms of bigger families. We count. 1,2,3,4.. Leaving places.. in the middle of places. . we count to be sure we have all of our little chicks accounted for.

I think its automatic, we aren’t even aware its happening.. like a counting program running in the background. But when that number is off all other systems shut down and an alarm sounds. One is missing.

That happened all the time after she died. I was still counting for 4.. then when the count was only 3 my heart would race.. my eyes would automatically start darting around. And I would hurt so much that moment later realizing over and over again I was back to only counting for 3. ..

I don’t know when I stopped. Part of me can’t believe I stopped.. and I feel guilty that I ever did stop. Just writing this I grab the picture of her hung around my neck and I rub it. As I often subcounsiencely do.. As a way of soothing myself and apologizing to my Jennifer.

sorry baby. sorry i stopped counting for you.. sorry i didn’t even know i stopped

I realized it this week. On Monday we went to indoor play park for an Unravel fundraiser. (side note its called Lost Worlds and its amazing I highly recommend it) I had my 4 and was able to take one of Jennifer’s friends with us. Not only did I have 5 kids in my care.. I had one that is the age my daughter should be.

I didn’t even really think about it ahead of time. I just love this little girl and my boys adore her too. . Even writing this now I am not sure I will publish it.. because I don’t want her family to not understand it..It feels so selfish so hard to explain these thoughts..

But she just slide right in with us. Right into the hole. The big gaping hole in our family.

He was so tender with her. Even in the end when she was actively dying he just wanted to be near her.. to touch her.. This was one of the few times she actually let him.
He was so tender with her. Even in the end when she was actively dying he just wanted to be near her.. to touch her.. This was one of the few times she actually let him.

I can just feel the weight lifted off of Jonathan when he has a older girl around us that he feels comfortable with. He relaxes immediately back into the little brother role.. (if its somebody we don’t know as well he is a normal boy and just shows off!) But when there is that level of comfort then its like all the pieces fit together again. Its like the our family puzzle feels so complete.

we miss you we miss you we miss you

My boys get along so much better with the presence and the leadership of a little 8 year old girl.. Things have improved leaps and bounds for them, their relationships is vastly improved since she when she first died . but… I think sometimes I have tricked myself into forgetting  how it was when she was still here.. how it should be still. But its not. Not yet anyways. Maybe one day it will be, I don’t know.

On this day with one more in our “family” it was glaring again how much its still just not right for them, because she is gone. Because she died, 2 years later her siblings are still learning how to exist without her. ..

I think it must be subconscious for them too.. Like my internal counter, they have a behind the scenes system that hasn’t all the way worked out the kinks of her absence.

This is what she did for them. She pulled them not only into her.. but into each other.
This is what she did for them. She pulled them not only into her.. but into each other.

I watched them in the backseat of the car together laughing and sharing stories.. I watched how they took care of each other so well.. even when this little girl wasn’t right with them. It was like they became again who they were meant to be. Comfortable, easy. .

I know. I know it sounds crazy. I know it sounds like I am putting my grief and ache on them. .. But they were different . . something changed in them so immediately.

And me. I counted so naturally..1,2,3,4,5.. With no effort it came to me. A mother of 5 children.. I have never gotten to count past 4.

Except for one day I did.  Without even realizing it the count to 5 was natural. And since then.. all those old feelings came back to me. My internal clock was re-set in those few hours.. and since then my alarm keeps going off.. I count.. and then re-count. My heart races and my eyes look for that 5th child.. And at first I couldn’t figure out what was happening.. I would look down and know I had them all .. so why the panic.

Then I realized. I don’t have them all. One is missing. .. ALwyas missing. I hate it. That brief panic stricken moment.. But I know now that it won’t last. So I just try to embrace the wave of hurt that follows and appreciate how lucky I am to have gotten to count her as one of mine for a little over 6 years.

My last picture of my oldest 4 together.. Never ever will I have a picture of my kids.. One is always missing.
My last picture of my oldest 4 together.. Never ever will I have a picture of my kids.. One is always missing.

Even Bridgette was different. . As I have shared she is a needy little thing and really likes being with me. But this little girl was able to take her from me. .. Saddle her up on one hip and walk off with her and she stayed happy. I watched as it happened and thats when it all sorta clicked for me. That this girl was Jennifers age.. that this is what it would be like if she was still here. In that moment I watched and yearned.. I just deeply yearned..

Now though, sitting here writing looking at her picture, her big bold brown eyes staring back at me I realize.. somehow Jennifer was part of it then too. Somehow she was there.. comforting her baby sister in her friends arms.. A message to me that it was ok. That this was all ok. The pain and the happiness. the yearning and the healing. .. All of it is ok,  because she will find ways to connect to us..  I am trying to find comfort in that. That she was there. That she wanted that day to happen and she wants my healing to happen too.

I’m trying to be ok sissy

i promise i am ..

but

1234…

5

because of you

no matter the count i am mother to 5.

DSC03348

..until there is a cure..

6 Responses to “counting heads”

  1. You will always be a mother of 5 beautiful children. Jennifer will always be remembered. She is sketched permanently in my heart and on my mind. I will, we will never ever forget her. We love you Jennifer ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  2. Can’t help it…..I have to comment again. You have 5 beautiful children!! For a child I never met lil’ miss JLK sure does steal my heart! LOVE4JLK!!

  3. Of course your the mother of five. Even if you only count four physically there will always be 5. Nothing will change that. No matter how you might heal or carry on with Jennifer physically gone you have 5 beautiful children 3 girls 2 boys. Jennifer is thought of by many people every day. Every second you know she crosses some strangers mind. She’s here, she’ll never be gone.

  4. I have to tell you that I saw you on an outing with your four youngest. I so wanted to give you a hug, to mention Jennifer, to let you know that I care, and to show your other kiddos that Jennifer is known for her life and the way that she loved them. I didn’t. It seemed so intrusive for a stranger to approach your family that way. But I can tell you here: I love your girl, and I won’t ever forget her. Thank you for sharing all of your family with us. You are a treasure.

  5. Libby, I hope you are doing okay. It has been long enough between blog posts that I can’t decide whether to be worried, or to hope that maybe the pain is easing in the very slightest way.
    Regardless, know that you are being thought of…

  6. Hi Libby,

    I check your blog everyday looking for word from you… It has been a while. I hope you are alright and the kids are healthy and safe. Hope to hear from you soon..

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