Almost unrecognizable really. Seeing images of myself juxtaposed to images of today Recognizing the sadness in my sons eyes today versus the innocent glee from just a couple years ago. I am able to see the "hits" life has given my family...subtleties only a mother or father could observe behind the smiles and captured moments of us "going on and moving forward" as best we can. Facing the choices I have made, B has made, that have had the greatest affects on our family. Acknowledging that some changes needed to be made, and others could have been made in a better way. All of us growing up, learning, figuring it out and trying to salve all the wounds with as much joy and continuance we can muster. Especially regarding my littlest one. It has become my mission to let her continue to have the fleeting blessing of innocence, daily joy and a sense of moving forward in life. Absent of the confusion and instability that has been present in her life this past year. I haven't been able to do this with my son. He at 16, is past the stage where I can shelter him, create diversions and distractions from all that is going on. He vividly sees the cracks in life and bares his own scars and resentments. Both literally and figuratively. Facing his own mortality in a car accident this year- his reminders are in the physical form, and the emotional ones he has kept to himself thus far. Although I can see they exist along with the ones of simply missing B. I feel in some ways we have failed him and I carry that with me into each day. However, I have refused to sit and wallow in all that has happened. I try to not allow guilt to consume me. I am choosing to continue to provide normalcy for pollywog as much as possible. To answer her questions as honestly and appropriately as possible. To continue sitting around the table for dinner, to continue to celebrate each day and each discovery. To provide a stable, warm, cozy home. To have regularity, routine, surround ourselves with family and friends. I in turn am rewarded with a happy, balanced, stable, secure little girl. A little one who fills the home with laughter. Whose smile literally lights up even the greyest days. A little girl who is learning, discovering, making friends, has fully acclimated and settled into a life I have worked hard to create. This morning as I drove her to school I watched her dancing in the backseat. Her face was gleaming, and her "pollywog" way of dancing made me smile so deep inside I thought I might burst. I suddenly had this overwhelming desire to take her home, hold her, protect her. Images of her as a baby and toddler flooded my mind. How fast it is all moving...but I walked her into class and watched her run to bead necklaces with her friends. I realized that letting her grow, learn, and trust herself, is protecting her. Letting her develop into herself and providing a soft place to fall when needed, and providing CONSTANT...constant love, constant guidance, constant listening, constant acceptance and constant security. I am so excited to watch this precious child grow. I am excited to see our relationship grow and change. When carrying her in my womb I would dream of traveling with her, going shopping together, giggling in bed talking about boys, having that special mother daughter relationship. Then I began to think of my boy. His smile, his creativity, his ideas that swept me up right along with him. His hugs, his laughter and humor...and how far away he feels from me. From his sister...how much I miss him...miss his smile and happiness. How much I miss watching my kids play together, hug, learn. I cannot begin to describe the pride and pure love I have felt watching my children interact together. So I prayed. I prayed for guidance, for protection for my kids, for a full circle moment when my son comes to me and puts his arms around me and tells me he loves me. A moment where I can hold him and begin to heal the broken heart he is carrying. A moment when he and I remember what a beautiful life we have shared together as mom and son and best friends. A moment when pollywog and him play, laugh and we are a family again. Maybe not the one we were, but a family just the same!