But life did get back to "normal" off and on. Anellah returned to her beloved school and the rest of us returned to a schedule too. We planted a garden and went frog hunting. We baked cakes and cookies and had Grandparents and Great Grandparents over for dinner. We did craft projects and read books. Anellah learned to read. Capper turned 3, Anellah turned 6, and I turned 30. I realized that I had my "three kids before 30" that many women hope for. Life was pretty good again. Then in April, slowly, things changed. It started with a cold that turned into a sick household, and a few stomach bugs and I was tired. I wanted to leave the house but there was always someone sick or asleep. And then Anellah got really sick. And we were in and out of the hospital for a few weeks...until we finally left for the last time. But we didn't leave together this time. This time she went with Jesus and Daniel and I went with each other.
So I grieved again. This time many grieved with me. Some might say the bright light had been snuffed out, but ironically in those months it seemed to shine even brighter! We celebrated a beautiful life. And we remembered her, when we rode bikes in the driveway, when we baked cakes, when we played. We remembered her when we went camping, and had swim lessons. And I still don't think more than a couple days go by when Capper says, "Anellah and me used to..."
Looking back on 2015 I'll always feel my heart burst and be torn apart simultaneously. It was a year of tremendous growth...because the real work of growth comes during the challenges. It was a year of perspective shift, a reminder that life is both too short and far too long at the same time. It's too short to sweat the small stuff and too long as we yearn again to see those we love who have passed. Looking forward I feel ambivalent too. I hate to leave 2015, it's hard knowing that each day that goes by brings you farther away from the last moment you spent with your child. But I'm also really looking forward to 2016. I'm looking forward to Capper's birthday adventure at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm looking forward to Capper and Evelyn continuing to learn and grow and laugh every day. I'm looking forward to expanding our family through foster care. And I'm looking forward to more growth, different growth, growing in my TRUST. That's this year's word, TRUST.