One year and two days. That 10 week old baby had all her first year firsts at our house. We got her first laugh, her first word, her first tooth, her first birthday. We saw her crawl, pull up, and walk first. At the same time we were celebrating these accomplishments, we were heartbreakingly aware that her mother was missing them.
After a year of 4 hour a week visits with their mother we asked for a small transition time for the baby. Our three year old just wanted to be with her mommy, but we felt the transition was important for her little sister. 2 weekend visits were granted and then we took them home for good.
It was the day before my birthday. We packed the car with tons of their stuff we had accumulated over the past year, and then made the drive to their mom's house. She was home alone, the older siblings were gone. We carried all their belongings in and visited a few minutes with her. I had been holding the baby. I was doing so well. I felt strong. I knew I'd be upset, but hoped to wait until we left.
We said goodbye. I kissed the baby one last time and set her down. That's when I lost it. I burst into tears right in front of her mom. I so didn't want to do that. She'd missed her whole first year, and here I am crying that she is going home. I apologized and told her I was really happy for her. I meant it. I was. I am. She hugged me and thanked us. No idea what was going through her mind, but she was outwardly gracious.
We got back in the car as I tried to compose myself. Going out to eat was now out of the question as I was not fit to be seen in public. We stopped by the store and my husband came out with frozen pizza, chips, soft drinks, and cookies. I told him we were like a teenage girl after a breakup.
I loved my husband's Facebook status that night. "367 days. After 367 days our girls went home to their mom today. They had my heart after 10 minutes, so you imagine after 367 days. We will all love them forever. There seems to be good hope that we will be able to continue having a relationship with them. Time will tell. Right now I just feel, well, I don't know. I guess like I wish it could have been 368."
Although it broke our hearts to take them home, we wouldn't trade that year with them for anything. What an honor to have known them and watch them grow. Two little girls we would have never known existed, and we got to share in their lives. The night before they left we ran into a friend at a high school football scrimmage. I told her they were going home. She placed her hands on our sweet baby's head and said, "Oh baby girl, may God bless you all of your life". Yes God, please bless our girls as much as their lives blessed us.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." -Winnie the Pooh