It’s strange and sad to think that all the pictures and videos we have of Olivia are all we’ll ever have. Surely our memories with her will last a lifetime, but the actual collection of pictures is complete. I’m thankful we have (literally) thousands of pictures of her, but it’s a hard pill to swallow that there won’t ever be another. It makes me cherish every single one more than I thought possible. Even the outtakes. The ones I wouldn’t post online because I worried about how she looked hooked up to so many machines and with tape across her face. The ones I didn’t share on the blog because the lighting was bad, or the picture was too grainy, or her outfit didn’t match her blankets that day.
Every single photo now means the world to me. They bring me back to a very concrete moment in time when she was here and we were there with her. I still scroll through the “favorites” album on my phone a few times a day, and I usually watch at least a couple videos so I can see her little fingers waving in the air or catch her raising her eyebrows at us. I’ll re-watch a video where she starts crying because I’ll never see her cry again, or I’ll watch the clips of her on our walks outside because it reminds me that we gave her as much as we possibly could.
Anyways, this thought all started because I’ve been creating a few physical artifacts to help us remember Olivia. Videos like the one above, framed art, photo books etc.
While working on each project there’s been this overwhelming sense of finality. Finality might be the wrong word, but the thought crossed my mind that I probably won’t ever make another video of Olivia… because we won’t have any new material to work with. And the photo book I’m putting together isn’t going to be just the first of many. This will be the only one. The word that keeps making its way into my mind is “complete”. I’ve now organized all of our pictures: from my phone and Luke’s, from my big camera, from Jocelyn and from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I’ve organized the pictures and the videos separately, grouped certain events in aptly labeled folders, and as I did so I realized that all of these files represent Olivia’s entire life captured on camera. It’s like this amazing collection that I will never, ever let out of my sight. I cherish it and love looking through it, and yet the whole time there’s this constant reminder that this collection of photos and videos is complete. It will always be exactly as it is right now.
This video above is one of the things I recently started… something I’ll add to the collection of things that capture Olivia’s life as a whole, from start to finish. Something we can watch over and over again whenever we want to see our little girl. Something to remind us that she was fiercely courageous and just so darn sweet, and that that’s how we should be too: relentless, strong, full of life.
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Luke and I do.
Guess who’s due for a celebration today? Olivia Grace is, that’s who.
Now 21″ long and just over 7lbs, today Olivia celebrates her 2 month birthday. Technically, in the medical world, she’s “on day 61 of life” but by our standards she’s 62 days old and today’s her monthly birth “day”. To celebrate, she spent the morning with Mom and Dad, dressed in her birthday best: an outfit with green animal print and glittery gold hearts.
In the afternoon – after a snooze in Mom’s arms – we got even more crazy, first with a little play time in a “crib gym”, and later was her first time in a bouncy seat.
First up: crib gym time. The voice in the video is our occupational therapist Meg, who is helping Olivia interact with the toy by propping up her arm. This helps “remove gravity” for Olivia, which makes it easier for to move her extremities on her own.
Afterwards, when it came time for a field trip to the bouncy seat, we positioned the seat on the floor along the windows, so little miss Olivia could catch a glimpse of the great outdoors! As I sat with her, I couldn’t help but think about how she’s 2 months old now, and never even been outside. She’s never really seen the sun or laid on the lawn or felt a rain drop. It made me think of a JJ Heller song that I’ve grown to love (lyric below) and I sure hope Olivia loved staring out the window as much as we loved giving her the opportunity to do so. Little does she know just how big the world outside room 15 really is!
“It’s a big world, baby, big enough to dream, you’re not too small to do great things”.
It’s worth noting that taking Olivia in and out of her crib is quite a production and always runs at the risk of sending her into a bit of a tizzy, so we’re very thankful for the nurses and therapists who are willing to do it for the sake of these great “normal” child development opportunities.
After receiving an official break from occupational therapy two days in a row due to her trial extubation, Olivia was excited to hang out with her good friend Meg this afternoon.
And boy, did Meg deliver! Today Olivia got set up with a toy piano at the end of her bed, and some “bracelets” as mom will refer to them. The piano will hopefully make her more curious about voluntarily extending her legs, and meet her kicks with resistance to help build strength. The textured bracelets will encourage her to move her hands and wrists more, give her something to practice grasping, and also provide her with another textile experience.
I follow a couple of NICU parents online, and one of the dads recently created an incredibly sweet, short video clip to the tune of Can’t Help Falling In Love. Well I fell in love with their family’s video, and stole all of his creative juices. I literally created the same thing, except with clips of Olivia and scenes from our room.
I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I do, and perhaps I’ll start sharing more like it.