Be Brave-I breathe because you can’t

Haddie Bo Bo,

It’s been awhile since I have written.  There has been a lot going on.  One being your brother who likes to occupy both of my arms most of the day, and that makes it hard to type.  He looks so much like you.  Especially now that he flashes a huge grin.  There are times where he looks so much like you that I have to look away.  Sometimes it makes me cry.  I have tried to tell him about you many times and I cry.  He also looks a lot like you when he is sleeping, but not in a good way.  Your Daddy has said it too that when he sleeps he looks like that last time we saw you.  You weren’t alive.  So then we poke him and make him show us that he is alive.

Another reason it’s been awhile is that we had our first annual Every Child Wakes Up 5k.  It was wildly successful.  There were a few glitches that we will fix for next year but over all it was great.  So many people showed their support by sponsoring, volunteering, running, walking, etc.  They came from as close as next door and as far away as Los Angeles, California.  My vision for this event was to celebrate your life and raise awareness about safe sleep.  I can’t tell you how weird it is to see your name on flyer and banners.  To see your face on tv is the strangest thing.  I believe that if you were alive, being on TV or the center of attention wouldn’t be your first choice.  But since you have passed you have become known.  You represent something, your face, your story.

On the race course there was quit a steep hill.  I struggled to walk up the hill.  One friend said that as she was huffing and puffing up the hill that she almost gave up.  But then she said that she remembered why she was doing this race.  She did it for you Haddie.  She kept breathing because you couldn’t.

Another friend posted the following on facebook:

This was such a fun run for an amazing cause. There were times during the run when I questioned why I was doing this…mostly when I was trying to make it up that HUGE hill…but my mind quickly remembered sweet Haddie Sue and I would run up 100 hills to honor her! So proud of you Sandy for all you do to honor Haddie and to raise awareness to others. 💜💜💜

This brought tears to my eyes.  Many times in my new life, life without you, I wonder why am I still doing this.  It can be so hard and hurt so much.  So many times if I am honest I find myself wanting to give up.  Not wanting to wake up the next morning, or just waiting for bed time so I can go to sleep and find some peace.  But it’s in times like these that I have to choose to honor you by living.  I have to breath because you can’t.  I have to make it up that hill for you.  I have to choose to be brave.  Everyday.  For you, for Elo and Fitz, for me.  My friend gave me this bracelet the day of the race and it means so much to me.  It reminds me that I have to choose to live bravely and that is how I honor you.

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I figured out the numbers today and the Every Child Wakes Up 5k raised $5900.  That is 639 sleep sacks.  That is 639 lives that can be saved.  It is 639 times that I can share your story and hopefully prevent a family from experiencing our pain.

I love you so much.  I will fight for you everyday.

Love,

Mama

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(Today) I hate EVERYTHING

Haddie Bo Bo,

Grief is hard.  Sometimes I just have one of those days where I HATE EVERYTHING.  There is no specific memory of you that I am holding on to today.  There isn’t a certain thing I can point to that is setting me off….it’s just life.  I am irritable and there isn’t a Zoloft dosage high enough to pull me out of this feeling.  There aren’t enough bottles of wine to drink that will make me forget that this is my life.

I hate my house and how there are toys everywhere.  No matter how many times I pick them up they always are scattered everywhere.  I hate how disgusting my dogs are.  They smell, they shed, the poop, they puke, and it’s gross.   My house always feels gross.  There isn’t enough bleach in the world to make it not seem gross to me.  I look around at the piles of laundry and feel completely overwhelmed.  There are clothes draped over our kitchen chairs that need to be hung.  There are 3 baskets of clothes that need to be put away.  There are clothes in the washer and dryer and I think they have been in there for days and need to be rewashed.  There are dirty clothes all over the floor of the living room from where Elo decides she wants to be naked and throws them.  There are always dishes in the sink, on the counter, in the dishwasher that need to be attended too.  I feel like all hope is lost for a “clean” pottery barn looking house.  I load and unload the dishwasher on average 3 times a day.

The baby cries all the time. It is a rarity if he is awake and not crying if he is not eating or being held.

I hate that I have no patience.

I hate talking.  I hate talking to your Daddy.  I hate talking to Elo.  I hate being asked “What’s Wrong?”.  I hate talking to the random people I encountered today.  I would like to lock myself in a dark room and watch Netflix for days on end and not make any contact with the outside world.

I hate how I look.  I hate how I feel in my clothes.  I hate that I crave ice cream all the time.

I hate that I feel pressured to take a medicine that makes me “nicer” to people.  I think that sometimes I don’t want to feel better.  I hate that feeling happy makes me feel sad.  Recently I hate looking at your pictures.  I see your smile and I feel like a failure.

There isn’t a Bible verse to be read that will make me feel better, not alone, not angry.

Today I feel like existing is hard.  Today I am angry.  I know this won’t last forever and I will feel differently soon.  Maybe in an hour, maybe tomorrow, or maybe just after I write you this letter.  Usually that makes me feel better and allows me to be able to get on with my day.

I hate the judgement that I will get from writing out these feelings.

Lastly I hate this life without you.

Love,

Your very disgruntled Mama

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Wedded Bliss

Haddie Bo Bo,

This past weekend we attended a family wedding.  As your Daddy and I were driving to the reception I was thinking about how this young couple has a whole life ahead of them.  It’s such a happy and exciting time for them.  It made me think back to my wedding day and the feelings I had.  I was so positive and so excited to build a life with your Daddy not knowing the joys and the tragedies that we would experience.  If I am honest I never thought about the bad things that could happen to us on that day.  I thought about the kind of life I wanted to live not the what if’s.

I turned to your Daddy and asked, “Would you still have married me if you knew everything that we would have to go through?”

He responded without hesitation, “Yes”.

He went on, “Losing Haddie is the worst thing that ever happened to me, but having Haddie is one of the best things that have ever happened to me.  Even if I knew she would only be here 9 months I would never erase the memory.”

That’s exactly how I feel too.  Would life be easier if this had never happened to us and erase it all?  Yes.  But I wouldn’t give up knowing you for anything.  I would have you die all over again so I could see you live.  It’s hard to put into words but I’m going to try.  You were a baby, you didn’t talk yet, but you still were your own person.  You had the sweetest personality and the kindest spirit.  Wrapped up inside of you was a lifetime of hopes, dreams, goals, mistakes, and experiences.  It’s hard for me to come to terms  with the fact that you were here and part of our family and now you are gone.  We won’t get those moments back and we won’t see everything you were supposed to be.

I started taking an anti-depressant recently.  Daddy says I am nicer to him.  But I haven’t cried since I started taking them.  I don’t like that.  I feel numb…grieving you is my only connection to you.  Yes life goes on (I hate that phrase)…but I never want to not feel connected to you.  I see glimpses of you when I look at Fitz but it’s not enough….it’s never enough.

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I love you…always.

Mama

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I hate birthdays.

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Haddie Bo Bo,

Your birthday came and went.  I think I have mentioned this before but when I was pregnant with you all my friends were pregnant too.  So your birthday is surrounded by your friends birthday parties too.  I really wish I could see you play with them and how you would interact.  All of your friends came to help us celebrate your birthday.  That morning I woke up with tears as I fed your brother.  The time leading up to your party was stressful.  Your Daddy and I had some tense interactions, but I think we both realized it was because of our grief for you and what that day means.  But once your party started the day got better.  We swam in the pool, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and of course had cake and ice cream.  Your sister was so excited to celebrate your birthday!  She couldn’t wait to blow out your candles, “Mama can I blow out Haddie’s candle’s?  She can’t because she’s in heaven.”  I asked Elo what kind of cake you would want and she said, “A heart cake”.  So that’s what we got for you.  Singing Happy Birthday to you was more than I could handle so I listened to everyone else sing as I let the tears come.  So many people remembered you on your birthday.  We received sweet messages, flowers, meals, donations in your honor, and we were so grateful.  The greatest gift is that they remembered you.

We had asked guests to bring a toy or book to donate in your honor.  So last week I put tags on all the gifts that included your picture and your story.  I drove them to the Holland Rescue mission to drop them off.  I met with the Daycare worker there and I explained what I had brought.  She said, “You’re Sandy Bromley right? You brought gifts last year too.  I have been meaning to send you pictures of the little girl we gave some of the gifts too.”  I cried.  I am so glad that we could bless a little girl who needed it.  I also donated several Haddie Sleep Sacks to the babies that stay at the mission.  I left the shelter and cried all the way home.  Why couldn’t you be here to open your gifts?  Why am I doing this?  It’s not fair.  But if you can’t be here then I am glad to share your story and help others.

So we have found out that your brother may look like you but his disposition is much more like your sister Eloise.  He is loud.  He likes to he held and have attention.  He hasn’t given us much sleep yet.  But we are loving him and getting to know him more.  Your Daddy and I were talking in the car about just how much we miss you.  We miss your sweet personality and big toothy smile.  I miss holding you and cuddling you in the morning.

Here are some pictures from your birthday!

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love you so much.  I hate birthdays without you.

 

Love,

Mama

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Why am I praying this?

Haddie Bo Bo,

It’s been awhile since I have written you.  I’m sorry.  It’s not that I haven’t thought about you daily…or every time I breath.  I told your daddy that I have felt like I have been neglecting you because of baby Fitz.  He said that he thinks of you more now that Fitz it here.  Every time he cries, moves, breaths, it reminds him of you.  It is crazy how much he looks like you.  People have shown us so much love in the last couple of weeks.  They have brought us gifts and meals and really spent time loving on us and we are beyond grateful.

 

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Haddie is on the right. Fitz is on the left.
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Elo is on top, Fitz bottom left, and Haddie bottom right.

Today has been 14 months with out you.  I miss you.  Yesterday we went to Target and shopped for your birthday on Thursday.  I never got a chance to celebrate a birthday with you.  You know how much I love planning a birthday party.  So I did that for you.  I pinned ideas for your party on Pinterest.  We shopped for party supplies.  Tomorrow I will make some decorations.  But all of it makes me cry. Who ever thought I would have to plan a party for my daughter who is dead.  That should never ever happen.  It hurts me deep in my soul, in my being, in my heart of hearts.

I keep thinking about bringing Fitz home and how I should feel complete.  Our family should feel complete.  But it’s not.  There is a gaping hole and nothing fills it.  Completeness doesn’t exist.  Many may think I am being ridiculous by saying that or it’s depressing.  But it’s the reality of my life.  The one thing I am at peace with in my life is exactly that.

A friend who has also lost a child wrote a post on Facebook about a dream she had.  In her dream her son visited her.  Why do you never visit me in my dreams?  Some mothers write about feeling their child’s presence or feeling them close to them.  How come I can never feel you or sense your presence?  The 2 dreams I have had about you have been about your death.

I found myself praying for Fitz’s safety the other night. It was the middle of the night and I was praying that he would continue to breath throughout the night.  In the middle of this prayer I stopped and asked myself or God, I’m not really sure, why am I praying this?  I prayed everyday that God would keep my girls healthy and safe and it didn’t work.  God chose to let you breath your last breath, to not keep you safe.  After this thought entered my mind I couldn’t seem to finish my prayer.  Then I felt guilty for not finishing the prayer and for doubting.  But I still didn’t finish it.

Tomorrow we celebrate you, and your life.

Love you today and always,

Mama

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Fitzgerald “Fitz” Penn Bromley

Haddie Bo Bo,

Last Saturday we welcomed your brother Fitzgerald Penn Bromley.

My doctor was off this week because of the holiday and I was scheduled to see a different doctor.  I was not thrilled about this.  In fact I made it clear to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t going to go to the appointment.  So Friday came around and your Daddy was insistent that I go.  So we packed up Elo and drove to Grand Rapids for this appointment.  When we got into the office my blood pressure was high.  The doctor did her other checks and then took my blood pressure again and it was still high.  She sent me immediately over to the hospital to be induced.  WOW.  I was not prepared for that.  So around 10:30am I was rolled into labor and delivery with your sister on my lap.  We were in for a long day and all I could think was I should have eaten more for breakfast and I haven’t pooped in 2 days….  They didn’t start an IV until around 2:30 so labor didn’t start until around 6:30.  I watched the Gymnastics Olympic trials while I pushed and at 12:00am on the dot Fitz was placed on my chest.  We had a wonderful experience.  I had the best labor and delivery nurse who stayed 3 hours past her shift to help with delivery.  My first question after he came out was, “Is he still a boy.”  I loved him right away.

We went upstairs to our hospital room and got settled.  About 12 hours or so after delivery I was nursing Fitz and he started to spit up or so I thought.  Then clear liquid started draining like a fountain from his mouth and nose.  I sat him up and tried to clear his airway. He had put his head all the way back and wasn’t breathing.  Your daddy rushed over took him and tried to get him to breath.  He was turning blue, veins popping out of his neck, and clearly struggling to get air.  I called for the nurse and it seemed like it took forever for her to come.  By the time she came I was legitimately freaking out.  She took Fitz and suctioned his air way and beat on his back and soon he was breathing again.  She kept saying he is ok and I screamed through my tears, “He’s not ok!”  I looked at your Daddy and he too was upset. It’s been awhile since I have seen that look in his eyes. But Fitz was ok and it was amniotic fluid from his lungs.  I just couldn’t stand watching my child struggle.  I couldn’t stop thinking about you.  You died alone.  Suffocated alone with no one to rescue you.  I explained to the nurse how you had died and she understood my intense reaction.  She kept trying to hand Fitz back to me but I was scared to take him.  I almost sent him to the nursery.  I was doubting my ability to keep him safe…keep him alive.  After this I was mad.  It ruined my day.  I cried many tears for you.  You didn’t deserve what you got.  You shouldn’t have been alone.  Why did this happen to our family?

It has been easy to love Fitz.  It has also been easy to be mad that you aren’t here to meet him and terrorize him.  He is a good mix of Elo and you.  I think he might have your blue eyes.  When we came home from the hospital Elo greeted us at the door and she was so excited.  But you weren’t there…

It’s amazing how something so alive can come out of a place that has felt so dead the past year.  I am still not ok with it.  I will never be ok with it.  I love you Haddie and you should be here with us.  This is where you belong.  Your Daddy said it best with his facebook post.

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Love,

Mama

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What About Haddie?

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Haddie Bo Bo,

Did you know that day that it was your last?  That when you laid down you wouldn’t get back up.  Did you know when you closed your eyes that day that they wouldn’t open again?  Were you scared?  Did you struggle, or was it peaceful?  I have always told myself that you just fell asleep and went peacefully.  But I don’t know that for certain.  These questions I will never know the answers too.  Maybe it’s for the best.  But then again it makes my imagination wonder places that it shouldn’t.  Those dark places that seem to suck me in.  

Yesterday (July 4th) was a dark day for me.  Which I guess took me by surprise and I wasn’t prepared.  I woke up and immediately felt like crying.  I was holding back the tears as I feed Elo breakfast.  I just wanted to go for a walk so I could be alone and cry and come back and hopefully move on with my day.  Well of course nothing goes as planned.  I tried to go on a walk but Elo was refusing to let me go.  She wanted to come with me and go to the park.  FINE.  So we went.  I still cried the whole walk.  She kept talking to me and sometimes I couldn’t even respond.  I just kept thinking how she deserves so much better than this.  A mom that can answer her questions, not only answer them but be excited to talk to her.  Then I started thinking about your baby brother and how unfair it is for him to be born into this world.  What have I done?  Your Daddy deserves a partner that can be happy, that can move on, that’s not me.  Sometimes I just think it would be easier if God would take me now.  Everyone seems to function so normally and I just can’t seem to pull it together.  I feel out of place constantly.  Everyday I feel sadness it doesn’t always get the best of me but yesterday it did.  My family deserves better than this, better than me.  I want to be with you.  

I know that everyone means well but yesterday I just couldn’t handle the constant questions about the baby.  Which I understand is totally me and my hormones because everyone is caring and loving.  But I didn’t want to think about the baby.  All I could think about was you.  What about Haddie?  It was July 4th in 1 month we would have been celebrating you turning 2.  It’s the 2nd time I have watched fireworks without you.  How many more times will that happen? It’s torture.  I know my thoughts sound irrational.  I feel irrational many times.

How come everyone else can be ok but I am not ok.  I was not ok yesterday.  After the walk and park we came home and laid in bed.  We ended up venturing out to a friends house to watch fireworks.  Eloise had a blast and that’s what matters.  It ended up being good to get out.  I smiled, and I laughed.  So the day ended good.

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Love,

 

Mama

 

 

 

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What is Haddie’s room like in Heaven?

Haddie,

A few days ago I was having one of those weepy mornings.  I had gone on a walk early by myself and cried for the majority of it.  I came home and got Elo ready and we all got in the car to head to my doctor’s appointment.  These have become a family affair lately.  As we drove we somehow got talking about baby boy’s room.  Then Elo talked about her room and asked me where your room was.  Daddy said that you still had your room in our house.  Elo said, “No where is Haddie’s room in heaven?” Your Daddy and I were both quiet for a minute hoping the other would answer.  Finally I said, “Haddie’s room is in Heaven on a big fluffy cloud that she can bounce on any time she wants.  Doesn’t that sound fun?”

“Yea, I wanna go there.” Elo said

I said, “Some day we will go there.  Hopefully, Jesus will come back for us and we can all go together.”

“No I want to go right now.” Elo said with an increasingly frustrated voice.

Your Daddy said, “Mama and Daddy would miss you so much and we want you here with us.”

“No I want to be with Haddie.”  Elo replied and started to cry.

Your Daddy and I let her cry and we sat in silence for the rest of the ride to Grand Rapids.  Of course I let the tears stream down my face.  I want to be with you too, Haddie.

Today Elo was having quiet time in her room and Daddy and I were sitting outside.  We talked about you.  Would you have hair by now?  Would it still be blonde or would it have started to turn brown?  Would you be sassy like your sister?  I personally think that you didn’t have a sassy bone in your body.  Your Daddy thinks that you would have learned to keep up with Elo.  Our life is so quiet right now.  In those quiet times I can’t help but think of you.  How different our lives would be and look.  A few weeks ago we had gone shopping for some clothes for Elo, some for Daddy, and I’m sure I found something for myself I always do.  But after we checked out I said to your Daddy, “Think of how much money we would have spent if Haddie was here.”  He replied, “I would gladly spend it all.”  I hate that I have to sit and try to imagine what you would be like.  How you would look.  How our lives would be.  I have started to go through Elo’s clothes and give some away to people who need them or sell them.  If you were here I wouldn’t be doing that.  I would be saving them all for you.  I also ordered a 3 year old picture of Elo to put in her frame that is next to yours.  Your picture stayed the same.  You will always be 9 months.

We are patiently awaiting the arrival of your brother any day now.  Elo so desperately needs a sibling.  She is very much an “only” child right now.  For many reason this baby is Elo’s baby.  Much of my decision to have another child was for Elo.  I am sure I will be surprised at how much this baby will change our lives, etc.

Today is 13 months without you.  I feel it.  I love you.  I miss living life with you.

 

Love,

 

Mama

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It’s all just BULL****

Haddie Bo Bo,

There has been so much sadness in the news lately.  So many families losing their children.  I can’t bring myself to read the articles because reading about their pain ignites my own pain in a way that sticks with me for days.  I know how they feel and I know what the future holds for them and it’s awful.  I know the torment they will experience.  The moments that are filled with guilt, shame, and regret.  The joy filled moments that seem joy sucking.

We spent father’s day here at home.  Quietly missing you.  On days like Father’s Day we don’t really talk about the day.  We know what day it is but we also know that it’s not how it should be.  Saturday before father’s day we had Aunt Alisa, Everett, Cruiser, and Olive over to swim for the day.  When they were packing up Crew was so exhausted and just beside himself.  It shocked me but your Daddy went over to him and picked him up and start to rock him.  He fell asleep with in a minute or so.  Watching this was just heartbreaking for me.  It’s one thing to deal with my own pain but to watch your Daddy do something that he should be  doing with you is a whole other ball game. Especially because it just doesn’t happen very often.  Although it was heartbreaking it was also heartwarming.  It was nice to remember what your Daddy should be doing.  We are so out of practice for having a kid your age around.  Crew threw almost everything into the pool a spatula, broom, a bubble blower gun, etc.  This is the stuff that would be happening if you were here.  

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IMG_3187There should be another shadow in this picture.

I find myself saying all these cliche phrases throughout the day.  I think I say them mostly for Eloise but maybe for myself.  When blowing bubbles I say, “Let’s blow some to Haddie.”  When picking out a balloon I will ask Elo, “What color do you think Haddie would want?”  Maybe I say them for me as a way to keep you a part of our everyday lives.  But at the end of the day it’s all just BULLSHIT.  None of it is true or matters.  Your not here to pop bubbles or pick out your own balloon.  None of it makes it easier.  Life is grey.

So your brother should be making his arrival any time now.  I go back and forth between wanting him to come right now and keeping him in there.  Once he is born he is here and life changes.  I am not ready for people to only talk about him.  I don’t want to stop talking and thinking about you…EVER.  I remember you everyday.  I remember who you were.  I remember the little things.  I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you are gone…forever.

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I love you.

Mama

 

PS. For some reason I can’t rotate my pictures.

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Girls Trip Missing You

Haddie Bo Bo,

One of my morning routines this past year was to check #Timehop while I was still in bed.  Many times I got to see your beautiful face and see what we were doing this time last year.  It was bittersweet as you can imagine.  Sometimes it left me sobbing and other times with a smile.  Since June 2nd has passed I still get up and check #Timehop.  But there is no sign of you.  Because you are gone.  I do get the occasional picture that reminds me of the sad parts.  Today last year your Daddy and I got tattoos to honor you.  It’s funny how enduring the loss of child will make you feel like doing extreme things.  For me getting a tattoo is not an extreme thing, but for your Daddy it was.  Before you passed I used to follow another’s mom’s blog who lost a child.  She always did extreme things and she said it would make her feel alive.  She ran a 26.2 marathon without training for it.  She hiked a mountain when it was 115 degrees outside.  I remember reading these posts and grieving for her but now I understand that on a whole new level.  Nothing compares to the pain I feel in my heart.  Nothing scares me anymore, other than losing another child.

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This past weekend I took Elo to visit Aunt Rachel and Evie in Chicago.  It was our first of many mother/daughter girls trips.  We did our first visit to the American Girl Doll store and spent our first small fortune there.  We swam on the rooftop pool and watched all the people at the beach below.  We walked to the donut shop, and then to the park.  Mama waddled more than walked and Aunt Rachel was very patient with my slow walking.  Then there was the fighting.  Elo and Evie are both very strong-willed 2 1/2 and 3 year olds.  I personally think that is a fantastic personality trait for a girl, but it is very very hard to parent.  We had moments of calmness between the raging storms.  It was a great weekend.  But as soon as I stepped foot in our house I knew I was sad and I knew why.  You should have been on this girls trip.  Honestly, I don’t know if I would have taken you on this trip or left you at home with Daddy, but knowing that I didn’t even have the choice sucked.  You should have been adding to the chaos or welcoming us home.  Either way it’s just wrong.

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In other news the Every Child Wakes Up 5K is coming along!  We have a great t-shirt design and a few sponsors on board.  I am really excited to put on this event.  I wanted to do it around your birthday to celebrate your life, but the timing didn’t really work out.  September is Safe Sleep Awareness Month and everyone is back from summer vacation.  So it just made sense to do it in September.

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Please head over to https://runsignup.com/Race/Holland/MI/EveryChildWakesUp5K to sign up!!

We miss you Hads.  ds

Love,

Mama

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