I’ve spent the last week swimming in baby items. Most of which were Toby’s. The switch over of the nursery has hit me in waves. I feel joy & love in my heart in places that have been so broken and painful for 25 months, it scares me. Then the pain begins and the tears fall while every sense is engaged by grief – my eyes see flashbacks to certain moments when Toby is right with me; I can smell him when drawers are opened or blankets are moved; the sound of toys that jingle or crackle take me back to the 2am feedings where he would be wide awake and the happiest baby, just wanting to laugh and watch you talk to him.
I can’t make it through a day lately where I don’t have a huge breakdown, missing Toby and wondering how on earth am I going to be able to mother our third little boy without constant fear?
I’m not sure there is an answer, enough therapy, or strong enough medication to take away the fear.
Yesterday I pulled the car seat from the basement. It was buried in the corner of the room where items that needed to be gone from site were placed two years ago. It had never been cleaned. The interior inset had spit up on it and smelled moldy & musty. Toby’s frog toy still hung from the handle. When I pulled at it, it rattled back to the top. I imagined him laughing, watching me, even though I was crying.
I spent an hour last night pulling the whole thing apart. Shouting the entire inside before placing it in the washer. I wiped down the straps and placed them in hot water to soak overnight. But I couldn’t stop thinking that this was the last place I saw my baby boy. He was in his seat, happy as can be, when I left him that morning. That evening, we brought the empty seat home. And Toby never came home.
I pulled the insert out of the washer this morning. Clean. Smelling of detergent. No sign of the marks that were there last night. Those pieces of Toby that had been there for two years were gone. I was mad at myself for cleaning it, well knowing it had to be done, but wishing to God the pain could have gone down the drain with all that other muck.
I put it all back together and brought it upstairs, setting it in the stroller in the living room. I sat on the piano bench and stared at it for a few minutes, tears welling in my eyes.
There are many days lately that I can’t believe how close we are to having our third little boy home. How quickly it went. How some days it doesn’t even feel real. Being on the cusp of 30 weeks pregnant and after doing this two times before still feeling like, “Am I ready? Can I do this?”
It’s that motherly fear.
It doesn’t go away. It manifests itself in different pockets of pregnancy and the newborn stage. We’re all afraid of something. If you don’t think you are then your lying to yourself. No one knows how to do this. No one does it perfectly. The grass is not greener on the other side.
Maybe you’re just getting more sunshine that day?
Did you ever think about it that way?
I didn’t until lately.
Through continual prayer, novenas, and the help of Toby from Heaven, I’ve been able to walk through the last few weeks, grieving when I need and for as long as I need, and focusing on myself and my boys. I know that is where my focus needs to be right now.
Two years ago, when I started writing about our journey, the word that resonated with us; described the 12 weeks and 5 days we had; and also symbolizes how we made it through another day without Toby, is JOY.
#joyfortobystern became our rock and became a trend that was spread across the US to share Toby’s story. The impact it had on everyone who read about Toby or saw his picture was remarkable to see and many times we witnessed how Toby brought JOY to others, in their time of need.
Toby and his JOY are with our family now as we stand at the doorstep of another chapter for our family.
I have faith that God will see us through.
I have faith that Toby will guard our family with his army of Angels.
I have no doubt that we will experience JOY again in the coming months and it will be delivered by our blue-eyed angel, Toby, who sits at His Thrown and is now protected by His graces for eternity.
I have faith that Toby’s JOY will support us as we wade through memories of him and make new memories with our third little boy. As we transition from #ourfamilyoffour to #ourfamilyoffive.