One of the things I was most excited about was "Fall Family Day." I knew the day would morph and change as our family grew and changed. Pumpkin patch visits, hayrides, and apple picking would morph into checking Hadley out of school on some random afternoon in the fall and having an entire day of "fall fun": pumpkin picking/carving, maybe buy some scarves and/or boots as she got older, and of course, my idea of a perfect fall day has to include Starbucks. I vowed when I was pregnant that every year I would have my first Pumpkin Spice latte of the season with Hadley. Not on my way to work, not a quick drive through for it, but with her, in the store, savoring each other's company and fall goodness. And since latte consumption is frowned upon for young ones, she'd have a pumpkin muffin or something. But she might hate pumpkin, so cake pops are always an option too.
It sounds silly, but that horrible Thursday in the middle of June when we heard words like "withdraw care," "brain damaged," "stroke and seizure" for the first time, my mind, while a blur of sorrow of complicated emotions, thought clearly: What about Fall Family Fun Day? What about....all of it?! I've heard it said that when a baby dies, it's not just the baby stage you lose, but a whole lifetime. I thought of Hadley's wedding she would never have as I put her lace headband on her head on her last day on Earth. I thought of Disneyland trips, first days of school, visits to the zoo, family walks, and of course, Fall Family Fun Day. We are 3 months beyond Hadley's time here on Earth and it's been interesting how this year has taken shape. There's been so many tears, but laughter, too, firmly gripping to what I am lucky enough to call my own, like a family, my husband, our home, my job, friendships, and unexpected but very welcome pockets of joy and grace. There was only one option: I was determined to still have Fall Family Fun Day. It wouldn't look at all like I imagined (Propping Miss Thang up against a pumpkin and taking 1290230 pictures of her)...But we could celebrate in our own way.