Stella's Story: Part 1

Here is the beginning of Stella's Story: Stella's Story: Part 1
The rest is coming soon!

Everything Looks Different

Warning: Slight "Tangled" Spoiler.

Okay, I admit it. I'm a complete sap. Movies really affect me; they always have, and animated Disney movies are no exception.

I took Ely to see the new Disney movie "Tangled" today, and even though it had a happy ending (what fairytale doesn't), it had some really sad and moving parts. Having gone several days without experiencing the consistent deep, stabbing pain of loss, I was hardly anticipating that a trip to the movies would break my streak. But it did.

In the movie, every year the people of the town release flying lanterns to celebrate the lost princess's (Rapunzel's) birthday. On Rapunzel's 18th birthday, there is a scene where the king is crying because he desperately misses his daughter. Cue the tears. Yes, I know I'm identifying with an animated fictional character, but I couldn't help myself.

Then, in the same few minutes, Rapunzel and Eugene sing a song that kept the tears flowing. The main line in the song is "All At Once, Everything Looks Different Now That I See You." I thought of Stella. I thought about how I had a hard time becoming attached to her while I carried her and how I worried that I wouldn't bond with her after she was born. Having decided against prenatal genetic testing, I had no idea what she would look like and the types of deformities she might have. What if she looked strange? What if I was scared by the way she looked? What if I didn't think she was beautiful?

Oh, but if only I had known how I would feel about her. I saw her for only thirty seconds after she was born, but "All at Once, everything looked different now that I saw you." I had an immediate, intense love for Stella that I did not experience with my boys. And she didn't look "normal," but gosh, she was beautiful. And seeing her changed everything.

My whole world looked different the day Stella came into my life, and my whole world still looks different. I cherish moments with my boys, with my husband, and even with complete strangers in ways I didn't before. My perspective has shifted to much more of an eternal perspective than an earthly perspective. I feel so deeply, and my heart has been tenderized, not just to my own pain, but to the pain of others. I'm so much healthier spiritually than I've been in a long time. Nothing matters more than glorifying God with everything I do.

I'm trying to be a better mother, to remember and hold dear the sweet and bittersweet things my boys say and do. I know that God is teaching me through my boys. He is using my boys to both help me hold on to and to let go of my precious Stella. I think their worlds look different, too, now that their baby sister is gone.

Today, I was priveleged to see more of a glimpse of what Milo is feeling (and a little later on, Mike, too.)

Every year, I buy an ornament for each boy that's representative of something from that year. We have a Christmas ornament that's a milk bottle for Ely when he was one. Thy boy loved his milk at that age and did up until about six months ago. It was the end of the world if we ran out of milk. While the boys were decorating the Christmas tree, Milo became enthralled with the milk bottle ornament. He gingerly lifted it from the Christmas tree and brought it over to me.

"I need some of this, mommy," he told me.

"You need some milk, Milo?" I repeated after him.

"Yes," Milo explained, "because I want a baby."

Mike and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and extended bottom lips.

I noticed that Mike's sad expression hadn't left his face an hour after he and the boys had finished decorating the tree. I encouraged him to talk to me. It's a rare occasion that my introspective husband takes me up on this offer, but this time, he did.

"I was looking at the ornaments, at all the ones with the boys' names on them, and it made me sad. The hardest is the letter ornaments." I couldn't remember what letter ornaments Mike was talking about, so I asked him. He walked over to the tree and showed me his M. "These ornaments. The cookie cutter ones. We all have one. An M, J, M, and an E." And I filled in the blank. No S. "They're on the other side of the tree so I don't have to see them from the couch," Mike finished. More eye welling and protruding lower lips.

As Mike was tucking the boys in tonight, and they were praying together, I heard Milo mention baby Stella. When Mike returned from the boys' room, I asked him what Milo had said. Mike interpreted Milo's prayer to his best understanding. Milo had thanked God that Stella was with him. Oh, Milo. My little three-year-old boy was again echoing his mommy's heart. Glad that our Stella is with God, but so hoping for a [healthy] baby.

"All At Once, Everything Looks Different Now That I See You." Everything looks different for all of us now that we've seen and met our baby Stella. Everything looks different now that we've seen and met God. And He's met us.


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About This Blog

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This is the story of our daughter, Stella Rose, who went to be with Jesus after five days here on this earth. Stella was born with multiple birth defects due to a severe case of Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome. Although Stella is no longer with us in person, she has changed us forever. Stella's legacy is my journey on a new road without my daughter, and how God is working in our hearts.

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