Chris, Everett, Elizabeth, and Obie Bear - January 15, 2016
Truthfully, with Everett now here and demanding attention as an infant should, it is harder to find the space for Oberon to be the focus. Instead of having Oberon at the center of everything, we have to juggle.
Sometimes that means late nights after Evie has gone to sleep is the only time we talk to each other about Obie. Sometimes it means tearful storytelling to Evie about his big brother and how much we miss him. Other times it's as simple as pointing out Obie's bees.
Obie's Bees at Happy Hollow in San Jose, CA
We have a few books that are specific to making sure Everett knows about his big brother, but Elizabeth still finds them too hard to read out loud. Someday we hope to make a picture book about Oberon like the ones we made for his cousins, but that's been too hard so far as well.
We've officially started taking Everett on family hikes. Starting with very easy ones, we hope to get up to moderate (and maybe even difficult!) hikes soon. It's a learning process bringing an infant with us on the trails, keeping him both safe and happy. We got into hiking because of Oberon, and we'll make sure Evie knows that. Finding yellow wildflowers and bees on the trail definitely helps!
Almaden Quicksilver on April 17, 2016
Summit Meadows on April 23, 2016
Of course, Chris already has his tattoo, which we've nicknamed the bumble butt. It goes with him everywhere and Elizabeth is totally jealous.
Another small thing we've done is add a bee sticker to the 24th of every month on our wall calendar. When Everett gets a little older, we'll try to have a specific thing we do on the 24ths. Maybe it's family game time, maybe it's craft time, who knows? But it will be something we do together.
Elizabeth still goes to support groups, though not as often as before. It's trickier with the timing and making sure Evie has what he needs, and that she isn't gone too long (breastfeeding - more logistics than we ever thought possible). Chris hasn't gone back to a support group since Evie was born, but he will at some point when the logistics are a bit easier. It's good to have some time set aside to just focus on Oberon, although the people who know us are also interested in hearing about Everett. The people we've met in support groups are incredibly (for lack of a better word) supportive. They truly care about us and about Evie, and that's a really good feeling. They understand that Evie doesn't replace Oberon, but that he is also special and brings us joy.
We suppose this could all be summed up in that we're trying to keep Oberon present in our day to day lives, along with special milestone days like his birthday (Obie's Bee Day) and Obie Xmas. Life really is mostly the day to day, so integrating Oberon is important.
Is this what they mean when they talk about finding a new normal? The idea seemed repulsive at first. How can it ever be normal to live without your child? It isn't, but you still have to get through the days. Now that we're settling in more and more to being Everett's parents, there is more routine and less intensity. It's very easy to include Oberon in the intense times - it's inevitable. Both the good and the bad extremes are forever touched by him and will always include memories (and likely, tears). It's the routine times that are tricky, so we're doing our best to be mindful. Doing our best to keep our first boy in our hearts, in our minds, and on our tongues.
Chris, Elizabeth, and Oberon - December 10, 2014