A Fletcher is one that makes arrows. We named our Fletcher after my maiden name and Benny’s middle name, but I hadn’t given too much thought about the signifigance of the arrow until now.
It’s the new direction that our lives are taking. I’ve forgotten how much love and joy my babies brought to my life over the last 19 months as I suffered with losing Benny. We are truly blessed to have this new little man and I’m so in love. He was born on June 23rd and came into this world screaming. He kept screaming for the first hour of his life, inconsolable until dad started talking to him in the warmer. He instantly recognized dads voice and calmed down.
With love comes grief as I look at this little guy who seems so familiar to me. It’s hard because we keep calling him Benny out of habit, like any parent does with multiple children. His personality is different in so many ways, yet so similar.
Of my 3, he is definitely the most needy, which is fine as I am needy for him too. If I could hold him all day I would. I’d forgotten about that bond, that deep mom/baby connection that happens. It makes me miss Benny something so fierce while at the same time love this guy so much. It’s a contradiction of emotions.
My arms may be full again, but there will always be a piece of my heart missing.
Day 17-Month 17:
Mid September through November 2013 seems like a blur. We got into the routine of school for Darcy, I was working part time and things were picking up at the shop for Parker. We were constantly going. Darcy was enrolled in dance on Monday nights, so Benny would accompany us and I would chase him around while Darcy danced.
Parker and I were gearing up to host the second Open House at the shop and had our hands full. The kids were involved in every aspect of it, cleaning the shop, getting stuff ready, etc. Of course Darcy was definitely more helpful than Benny. The day of the event, Benny owned it. He was walking around the cars, shaking peoples hands, he just wanted to be involved. He was my old soul.
We celebrated Benny’s second Halloween and he went around the neighborhood with us and the neighbors. He started out in the wagon, but wanted to be with the big kids, so of course, he ended up walking with us. It was a fantastic night and our last holiday as a family of 4.
Benny turned 17 months on October 17th. He was 9 days shy of being 18 months when the accident happened. Looking through all of these pictures and memories has been hard, but so truly amazing. I don’t like that the pictures stop. I know that he was only 17 months old, but my goodness it was a very busy 17+ months! He fit a lot of life and a lot joy into those months. He made our lives a crazy, chaotic place, one that I miss terribly. It’s too quiet now, there’s less laughter and noise. Darcy’s growing pains through all of this has been agonizing to watch. Trying to grieve alongside your spouse who is handling it differently has been hard. It’s amazing to me when I look back now how different life is in this aftermath. I miss my little man every single day.
Day 16 – Month 16:
There were lot’s of changes in our life come the September of 2013. Darcy had started Kindagarten at the end of August and was going 5 days a week. This was a big change for Benny and I because we were used to Darcy being home with us. All of a sudden he was bored with me. It was a tough transition for both of us because I was used to depending upon Darcy to help out too. We were missing her something fierce. It was the most amount of time that I had ever spent away from Darcy and it was really tough. We found that if we ran errands during the day, it kept us busy until it was time to pick Darcy up from school.
Benny would come with me to Darcy’s school when I dropped her off and picked her up. He would climb the stone wall and hold my hand and watch the big kids. The days that he was Sandy’s, I would pick him up on my way home and swing by the shop to get Darcy. Of course once we got there he wanted to get into every car and ‘drive.’ He took tools that were lying around that we would have to fight him for. Once he grabbed keys from Parker’s desk to try to unlock a door. He was so clever and never missed a beat.
His vocabulary was substantial for a child his age and so were his motor skills. He loved playing with toy cars and ‘vrooming’ them around. He never bothered with dolls or really any of Darcy’s ‘girly’ toys. This kid was all boy.
We also cut his hair for the first time. I just came across his beautiful blonde locks the other day in his bedroom digging through the baby stuff. Sandy had had it with me and started clipping his hair up and it was time. He just sat there as I trimmed and let me do my thing. I tried to keep the curls in the back and the front short, but once he started rocking a mullet, the curls had to go too. God I miss that hair.
Day 15 – Month 15:
By late July, early August we had settled into our summer routine. Darcy was still in Pre-K and Benny was Sandy’s a few days a week. We had had a very busy summer, like all of them seem to be.
At the end of July, Tara and I participated in the SGK 3 Day walk. The boys were left to fend for themselves with the four kids and trying to following us on the route. Tara and I had an amazing time on the walk enjoying the silence and the ability to carry on a fully uninterrupted conversation. The best part of the weekend is when the boys and kids met up with us on the Boston Common and walked with us for a bit. Benny was our little cheerleader!
In the middle of August we were able to escape up to Vermont for a few days to a friends house. We left on a Thursday afternoon and figured that the kids would fall asleep on the ride up. Bad idea. Benny resisted almost the whole way. By the time we got up there, set up the pack and play, he was all disjointed and wouldn’t go down. After an hour of rocking and laying with him, I finally brought him to bed with Parker and I. At this point it was nearly 1 AM. He was rolling around, talking to us, touching us and just being his crazy self. At one point he stood up and started dancing. Parker and I just looked at each other and laughed. What to do with this crazy child??
We visited the Stowe car show, went out to eat and played outside with the kids for hours. It was a great family vacation and one that I’m so thankful for.
Perhaps I need to finish my ’17 days of Benny’ blogging before the new dude will come. I need to get it all down before I start mixing everything up. It’s hard enough to differentiate what baby did what with just Darcy and Benny.
Day 14 – Month 14:
We did so many fun things as a family during the summer of 2013. The kids and I spent numerous hours outdoors in the backyard, taking walks and playing with the neighbors. Parker was traveling for a week in June, so it was just me and the kids and of course, Murphy’s law, everything went wrong. The basement flooded, the freezer stopped working and I think one of the cars died. We still had fun though going to the Holden pool with Benny in his pink life preserver, the library and playing outdoors. We certainly kept busy.
For the Fourth of July we went down to Plymouth for the fireworks with Tara and family. The house was on a lake and the kids spent time swimming (or floating in Benny’s case). We had pizza by the water and stayed up super late with the kiddos to watch the fireworks. They were so well behaved and I remember Benny playing with Ice from the coolers to keep busy. They loved the fireworks and I’m so glad that we kept him awake to see them. It was a fantastic day.
Benny was running around at this point, wreaking havoc. The messes that this kid created! He was so much work to chase around. He was a climber too, climbing up the small slide in the backyard and going down with little help. While Darcy was amused by him, the animals were not so much. Bailey pretty much stayed away, where as Toby has no common sense and would keep thinking that Benny was a safe bet.
Getting my hands in the dirt. Can’t wait to pick our first strawberry!
I can relate to Mandy’s story in so many ways. She has been an excellent source of support for me during my grief journey. I always enjoy her writing and perspective.
Day 13 – Month 13
By the time Benny was 13 months old he was giving us a full on run for our money. He was completely mobile, standing, walking, it was like it all happened overnight. He was constantly climbing everything and anything that he could. He spent so much of his time trying to be like the big kids. His vocabulary was incredible for such a young guy. We tried signing, but he refused. We’re pretty sure that his first word was either ‘cat’ or ‘that’. It was hard to tell and he always pointed. Of course he said ‘Darc’ all of the time. He was a comedian and enjoyed entertaining all of us. It was so hard to get mad at him because he was so amusing.
It’s hard to remember this sometimes. It’s hard not be consumed by it.
Yep, pretty sure all this kidney business was Benny’s way of preparing us for a baby that looks just like him. We had our final (it better be!) ultrasound today and his kidneys are fine. Got some great shots though and the resemblance to us is uncanny.