Lately it’s been a little more difficult than usual to get any quality blogging time in, as I’ve been very busy preparing for Elyse’s baptism and accompanying family pool party. For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on completing those pesky projects around the house (you know, those ones that you aren’t actually motivated to get to until you invite your entire family over to your house for a party?) and planning the more intricate details of the largest soiree I’ve thrown since Clara’s baptism party. Days have been spent taking care of kids and attending to any small tasks that I can do in the presence of an infant and toddler and nights and weekends have been dedicated to painting Clara’s new room, the downstairs bathroom, weeding the yard, deciding on the party menu, designing the dessert table, you name it. Although I’ve been enjoying the planning process, I’ll be happy when I can sit down to watch TV or take a dip in the pool without wondering, “What task/project should I really be working on right now?”
Needless to say, my brain has been brimming over and my fingers have been itching to get at my keyboard for the better part of the last week. Every time I get the urge to write, something that needs my undivided attention comes up. But since today is Thursday, once again, I know that I need to give in and just write. Besides, I need to keep my promise to all of you, dear readers, and explain how this year’s Summer Olympic Games have stirred up feelings that have been dormant for quite some time.
The last time the Summer Olympic Games graced our television sets was July/August of 2008. It was a very dark time for me. While the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Games introduced the world to those few chosen to showcase their talents on the world’s largest sporting stage, I remember sitting on the love seat in my sister’s apartment trying my best to enjoy an event that only happens as frequently as a Leap Year. Just a handful of days earlier, on August 4th, Taylor and I lost our first child at almost 20 weeks gestation. As my sister lay on the sofa perpendicular to the seat I occupied, she nursed her newborn son, my first nephew, Brody. Feeling as if I were being torn in two, I stared at the screen holding back tears while trying my best to support my sister — a new mom who was enjoying her new baby. Over the course of the following two weeks, Taylor and I spent a great deal of time watching the events of the XXIX Olympiad unfold. As familiar faces, such as Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin, made history in venues with funky names like The Bird’s Nest and The Water Cube, we tried to shut out the world around us and focus on the happenings a half a world away.
As this year’s Summer Games approached, I couldn’t help but reflect on just how much has changed since that somber summer. As London wowed the world with their Olympic orientation, Taylor and I sat on the very same couch we had just four years ago. Except this time, we parked ourselves in the living room of our house (not condo) with our two daughters. As Clara watched the fireworks explode on the screen, I nursed little five month-old Elyse. At a time, just four short years ago, when the world seemed to be at a standstill, it was impossible to imagine that I’d be sharing the 2012 Opening Ceremonies with two new Henshalls.
Since losing our son, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him. I often wonder if he’d resemble his sisters and if he’d have their same easy-going sense of self. Each year since his passing, the anniversary of his death goes by more and more peacefully. During the first year, I was pregnant with Clara. I remember taking my routine walk up Blackstone Boulevard and spending more time than usual just smelling the air and enjoying the summer scenery. On August 4, 2010, Clara and I spent the afternoon floating lazily around the pool and enjoying one another’s company. Last year, I was even brave enough to schedule the first ultrasound of my pregnancy with Elyse on that fateful day. And when the church had an opening on this August 4th, I knew this was the day meant for Elyse’s baptism. Although August 4th will always remain a day of sadness and reflection, it now has a new meaning — one of renewal and rebirth.
After Elyse’s baptism last Saturday, a group of us went out for dinner to mark the occasion. As we sat among grandparents and godparents, I sipped my peach bellini and made a silent toast to the little boy that I knew, but never met. I thanked him for changing my life — for teaching me the importance of patience and perseverance. I thanked him for watching over my girls and for allowing their safe arrival into this world, despite all of the odds. And I thanked him for giving me the strength to live my life after losing such an important piece of it. Like the athletes who paraded into the Olympic Stadium in London two weeks ago, I have spent the last four years striving for the courage to live my own dream. And I found it — in the two golden-haired girls who make me feel like I’m always on top of the podium.