NYE.

A new year is upon us again, it’s a time to make new memories, have new ups and new downs, try new things, and leave new impressions. A new slate to make a difference in a mere 365 days. While some look at year as a lifetime, the harsh reality is that tomorrow is never promised.

Many will make resolutions at midnight that they may or may not see through the year. Some will be for personal gain, others for financial security or weight loss, take your pick, there’s countless options.

Tonight when the clock strikes twelve I’m going to promise my daughter that I’ll be the best “me” I possibly can. A mom she can depend on and look up to. I plan to be stronger, wiser, giving, independent, and more compassionate. I want to put God first and allow Him to show me the ways in which to raise Abigail. I want to trust Him to help my family through the trials that are sure to come. I plan to have Him give us the heart to see the good in all and to never take a moment for granted. I plan to introduce ‘more better and less bitter’ into my life, as my brother in law says.

My son Tyler taught me so many life lessons and I pray to never let go of a single one. I will keep reaching for his wisdom in the moments of silence where I find myself replaying the memories of his brief and beautiful life. I can and will continue to learn from him and his love.

We’re only given one shot at this life so why waste it. Vow to smile daily and allow others to share in your happiness. Love those who love you, and have grace for those who don’t. Value the things you view as negative and always search for the silver lining.

As we wrap 2017 up and embark on the new adventures 2018 has to offer, hold your loved ones tight. Bring in the new year with a kiss or a hug from family and friends. Remain forever grateful for the lessons this last year has taught you; open your eyes, heart, and mind to the future that awaits you!

May you all have a Happy New Year!

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Christmas Eve, Eve.

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With Christmas two days away and Tyler’s second birthday just fifteen short days later, my heart and mind has never felt so torn. I am completely overjoyed to spend the first of many holidays with our sweet Abby Grace! She has in so many ways brought total happiness into our lives, she’s truly my little sunshine. I can’t wait to teach her so many things about life and watch her grow into a strong, independent, God fearing woman. More importantly, I yearn for the day I’m able to share more about her older brother with her and know she’s able to comprehend the stories of his life. You see, Tyler may not have lived on this Earth for long, but he left a lifelong impression on those he left behind. My child is a true blessing and changed my life in ways that I’ll be forever grateful for. I know one day I’ll see his angelic face beaming at me as I enter into God’s kingdom, it will be in that moment when I forget all of the hurts this world placed on my heart.

The holidays are never easy when you’re missing someone you love. All of the ‘what if’s’ begin to reappear and cloud your mind as if your grief never subsided to begin with. I’ve said it a thousand times, but I’m saying it again, this year was filled with so much change and so many new things for us. I would have given my own heart to have had Tyler’s heal so he could be here to experience it all in my place. I would do and give anything to see his precious little smile while holding him in my arms. Hear his giggle, watch him walk, talk, and play. Having Abigail has reminded me of the need our children have for us. We as parents, are their lifeline and their safe place; we are their voice when they cannot speak. Make your voice count for them!

Well folks, here I am! I’m here to tell you I birthed an angel who continues to spread his love all around the world through myself, his father and the little sister he sent us just three months ago.

Just a couple of weeks ago Billy and I took a huge step. We went through all of T’s unused clothes, sheets, miscellaneous blankets and rattles. I had every intention of keeping all of Tyler’s things until maybe one day we had another son of our own who could use them. If that wasn’t in the cards for us, we discussed holding onto it all until little Abby had some rug-rats of her own; just in case she wanted to keep her big brothers memory alive through her own babies.

However, Billy and I both felt it heavy on our hearts to give his things to a family who is truly deserving. We felt Tyler was speaking to us, and through us. They, much like us, lost their first born. A little girl named Naomi, who changed her parent’s course of life the second she came into the world. They struggled for years with grief and infertility until this past year when they found out they were expecting! Their family of three, recently grew to four, much like ours. Two little feet in heaven and a sweet little man named Connor here for them to love. Rainbow babies are more than special. They are ways to watch the child you lost, continue to live.

Our Abigail is a real life Christmas miracle. She’s our second born being raised, loved, and spoiled as a first born. She was wrapped in love from above and sent here to us for a specific purpose, just as her brother was. She helps me in ways I pray she’ll never know, nor understand. On my darkest of days, one look from her keeps my world turning. Her coy smile and soft coos can rock me back into reality when my mind begins to wander back into the dark depths of grief. Each time I look into her blue eyes my blessings are reaffirmed and the goodness of life flashes before me. I’m reminded of all that I have to be thankful for, even if for a period of time it hurt more than any words could ever begin to explain.

By having Abby I’ve gotten a piece of my son back. I can only imagine that many people find that strange or even impossible. Honestly though, I can see and feel Tyler when I interact with her. I know he played a role in forming the sweet child that sits before me. He knew I needed her to find myself again, and watched over her as she grew in my womb.

Abigail Grace Newton will never replace her brother. She is not my only child, she will never be the one that made me a mother, and she was not the first baby who was placed into my arms. She is however my second born, the little girl who taught me just how rewarding being a mother is, despite the constant challenges that go along with that role. She is my little goose-a-moose whose smile can melt my heart. All the while, Tyler Matthew is tucked into our hearts. He is and always be my baby. Something I haven’t shared with many people is that during my time with him, we still managed to create wonderful memories out of the brief moments we were given. I can remember sitting on the side of his hospital bed and reading him ‘Noah and the Mighty Ark’ over and over again until I could recite the book without ever looking down at the pages. I like to believe that because of those moments with him, I’m able to love Abby deeper than I could have ever imagined. We’re able to share a bond that means so much more because of the times I shared with T. It never fails when I read that book to Abigail I always cry, and she always looks back up at me in awe. It’s as if she knows I need that moment, and that the time I’m spending with her right then and there is more for my own pleasure than it is for hers.

I saw a quote the other day that sat well with my soul.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

How true that statement is. Death is inevitable, we all know that. With Christmas just days away, please remember to love your loved ones. I often share about Tyler when I’m hurting a little more than usual. I’m slowly but surely learning to embrace that hurt for the love that it is. I wouldn’t have it, had I never held that boy in my arms. And let me tell you friend, I’d suffer through every agonizing second all over again if it meant that he was mine even for just another minute.

The true meaning of Christmas falls back to Christ and the love he had for us. I know for some, that’s something too big to comprehend given this fallen world. I myself have doubts more often than I care to admit. BUT, I can say with all honesty that I believe. I believe in the magic of Christmas, I believe in the love from our Lord and Savior. I believe we’re all put on this Earth for a specific purpose. We’re given the gifts and the heartaches, for a reason. We must seek the silver lining in all that we do in order to achieve total happiness. So smile, forgive, laugh, pray, and most importantly, love, this holiday season. You never know who may need grace; we all face battles on the inside others may never see.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y’all.