Thursday, September 06, 2007
Reflections on a Big Sister
I decided to break out the Lily pictures this evening. I took these last night right after she shucked off her pants and put on my shoes. She loves to wear my shoes (okay, she'll wear anyone's shoes) and go clunking around the living room--and the kitchen and the bathroom...
She is holding a miniature lava lamp Nana had given Hannah. Han fell in love with it and would admire it for what seemed like hours, watching the glitter glint and the colors change. Unfortunately, Lil fell in love with it too and Hannah guarded her treasure fiercely for she knew if Lil got her hot little hands on it it would be gone. Sure enough, on the way home from Nana and Pop's house that first night, Han was gazing at the bright lights contrasting with the darkness around her and Lily desperately wanted to hold the lamp, screeching her displeasure with being denied. Poor long-suffering Monkey, she gave the lamp over and could not prise it away. Poor thing!
Hannah tried so hard to be a good big sister. She was so excited when she found out we were going to have a baby. She came with me to all my appointments (except those rather, um, personal ones at the end) and would gaze wide-eyed at the OB as she got Lily's heartbeat on the doppler.
Han was with us at the twenty week ultrasound, gazing in awe and wonder at the monitor that showed the baby in Mommy's "yoo-ter-us". She danced with joy when it was determined Lil was indeed a "she" and not a "he". Hannah would hug my tummy (as best she could as I was HUGE!) and talk to Lily saying, "I love you Lily! Come out and play with me!!" She would then giggle at herself because she found it so funny to talk to my belly.
Then, Lily arrived. What a dud. She didn't talk. She didn't walk. She didn't do anything other than eat, sleep and suck up all Mommy and Daddy's time. It was terrible. I felt as if I had ruined Hannah's life. This baby she had anxiously awaited for nine months was nothing like what she had expected. She was indifferent to her, often ignoring her. As Lily grew older, she ADORED Hannah and wanted to do everything Han did. Hannah meanwhile would just quietly walk away from her.
Then, Lily got mean. She would pull Hannah's hair, laughing uproariously as she did so. She bit Han on more than one occasion. At this point, I couldn't fault Han for not wanting to be with her baby sister. But, things were beginning to change, the Monk was beginning to enjoy moments of time with Lil. They would sit at the small round table in the kitchen and color peacefully for moments at a time. Often, Lily would want a marker or crayon Han had and the Monkey would just hand it over and pick up a new one to use. I was so proud of how hard Hannah was working to be kind, gentle and patient with her baby sister.
I know a big part of the problem, besides the resentment (Hannah had been the only child and the STAR for four years), was that Monk was older than her years. She was so mature it was almost as if our girls were five or six years apart in age, not four.
I loved so many things about the Monk, but one thing that stands out this evening was how well she could keep herself entertained. Han could play by herself for hours and HOURS! She would go off and find something to get into (please, please don't let it be nail polish or scissors...) and I would occasionally check on her but she was (almost) always fine. Han could also travel for hours and hours in the car. We never purchased a DVD player because Hannah would keep us and herself entertained. We would play games, sing songs and listen to terrible knock-knock jokes. We would also spend time admiring the scenery--"Aren't those mountains just beautiful, Mommy? Don't you just love them?" (Hannah always spoke in italics--I have no idea where that came from. :oP) I miss traveling with her and conversing about anything and everything that popped into her head. Talk about some wild conversations. Oh, and the laughing and giggling that would ensue when we would pass a skunk on the shoulder and I would say, "Pee-ew, Hannah, you STINK!!" Laughing fit to be tied, she would reply, "It's not me, Mommy, it's Daddy!!" Hee hee hee.
I find the majority of my Hannah memories involve her being happy and laughing, or her throwing herself on the floor in tears of despair because she had been told she could not watch any more "TD". There were always those extremes with the Monk. She was either overjoyed or in the depths of despair, often within moments of each other. They were just opposite sides of the same coin. I miss it all, you know? I would love to hear her laughing and getting tickled with herself once more. She really was my Sunshine. She was from the moment she was born. She was always the sunniest, happiest little Monkey and I find my days just aren't quite as bright as they were.
I always wondered why I never sang "You Are My Sunshine" to Lil like I always did to Han. Lil was a wonderful, easy, even-tempered baby, sleeping like a pro and rarely crying, but she wasn't sunny like Hannah was. She is happy, grinning frequently, but it's not the same. Please know I'm not criticizing Lily. She is SO special. She is a sweetie and she has a wicked sense of humor (she always has), but Han was my Sunshine Girl and always will be. There was just something so very vibrant about her.
Two of our little froggies from last night. Most nights, one of them is sitting on the round part behind the light, waiting for an opportune bug.
Both the froggies, up close. You can see just how small they are from the first picture. I find them so enchanting I can't stop myself from taking their picture. :o)
My geranium continues to bloom outrageously. The flowers are so vibrant and pink they are almost blinding in their intensity.
The flowers in Hannah's garden are also blooming fools. :o) They are enjoying this slightly cooler weather as much as I am. ;o)
The plants are beginning to turn a little yellow around the edges and I'm wondering if there is something I need to do to improve their health.
Hm, I don't think I need to type up a Hannah story today as I've just littered the post with them. Instead, how about a Hannah knock-knock joke?
(Wha???) Um, yeah, Hannah, ha ha...:o)
Wait, wait, there's more.
Iiiiiiiiiit's CARGO!!! (insert maniacal laughter here...)
Uh, yeah, hee hee hee...:oP
But, wait, there's still MORE!
(insert a quick "Nobody's home, Han!" from Mommy)
Who's there? (said on a very weary, long-suffering sigh)
(oh boy) Cargo who?
Iiiiiiiiiiiit's MOUSIE!!!!!! (Falling all over herself with giggles at this point...)
Oh, no, Mousie *again*?!?!? (This absolutely HAD to be said.)
But, her favorite was the impatient cow joke.
(Imagine the most maniacal laughter of all!)
1. One of my little girls was wearing frog earrings similar to the ones Ruhiyyih brought down for the Monkey's celebration. I mentioned I liked them and had ones very similar with angel's wings and the girls practically begged me to wear them some time. I may just take them up on it.
2. I received the loveliest email from a parent today. She said her daughter just loves my class and loves school and that she comes home talking about all the fun things we do. Yay! The like me!
3. My froggy signs continue to appear and that comforts me no end.
4. One of my commenters sent me a sad little note informing me her beloved pet dog had died. But, putting a positive spin on it, we realized Hannah has yet more animals to love on and adore! How lucky is she that this little guy liked to dress up? The decorating diva is about to strike again! :oP
5. Thursday night college football, baby!!
6. Lily who can make me grin with her impish nose wrinkle and the way she says so many words. She is SO funny!
7. Lil's coloring today. As many know, Lily LOVES to color. Today she was coloring at Shari's house and her paper is covered with little doodles that look like stars. I kid you not. I'll try and take a picture of it tomorrow. Mom, Brien and I are all impressed, even if it is a fluke! :o)
8. Fifth grade continues to be SO much fun. The cooperative learning activity we did today was incredible and the kids really seemed to enjoy it too. The kiddos in the other homeroom are so devastated they won't be with me for social studies anymore it breaks my heart (yet secretly makes me feel pretty good about the job I've been doing!)
9. I feel pretty good today. Not "normal" (whatever that is), but less heavy hearted than yesterday and certainly not achy like the day before. The respite is nice.
10. Beth delivered the CD of the family pictures we had taken a couple of weeks ago and they are so beautiful.
1. A Thursday sans pain and awful memories. Oh how I miss Hannah and oh how I wish she were here, but I'm doing fairly well today.
Somehow once I start typing I can't seem to stop and I'm eternally grateful to all of you who manage to stick it out to the end of the posts. As always, I appreciate all your kind thoughts, words and cyber hugs. I know many of you feel there is nothing you could say that would make a difference, but just knowing you are coming to check in on us, and possibly say a little prayer for us makes more of a difference than you will ever know. The fact Han has touched so many lives and has encouraged so many to live a life more sparkly makes me smile and fills my heart with joy. So, once again, to all of YOU, thank you for making me feel special and for letting me know my Monk led a worthwhile life! :o)