Target. I know many people share the same love of Target as I do. As a mother of two, I used to be at Target at least once a week, if not more. In the last three weeks I have been at Target three times. Three times ago, was about three weeks ago. We loaded the kids up in the car and made a "quick trip" to Target. We all know Target is never a quick trip. You can guarantee that at least one thing you didn't plan on buying will end up in your cart... After stocking up on wipes, diapers- sizes 4 and 5, formula and baby oatmeal, we headed over to the grocery section. Max was started to get a little orneryy so Dave and I decided it was time to divide and conquer. Dave and Max went in search of Clorox wipes, while Ellie and I hunted for animal crackers. I can vividly remember our smiley girl sitting in the cart. Max could be heard laughing from a couple aisles away and I leaned in close to Elle and said, "Your brother is silly!" She gave a little squeal, bounced up and down and returned to pounding on the animal crackers. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a box of Milano cookies. Mmmm, I thought, I think I need these...
The second to last time I went to Target was 17 days ago. Dave, Max and I went to make the hardest purchases of our lives. We bought one stuffed Curious George, a stuffed horse that played a lullaby, two books, a birthday card and a pair of fuzzy pink footy pjs. All things we needed to bury our baby girl. The pink pjs were next to tiny Santa dresses. Before Ellie was even born, I wanted to dress her in a little Santa dress, tights and a Santa hat on her first Christmas Eve. I lost it. Instead of buying that cute little Santa dress, we had to buy warm fuzzy jammies to bury Ellie in.
The stuffed horse was the one and only present from Max to Ellie. We asked the funeral director to pull the cord and start the lullaby before closing the casket lid. The stuffed Curious George was actually a replacement for Max's. We put Max's Georgie in the casket with Ellie, she always had this strange obsession with it... Don't tell Max... he never noticed the difference.
"We Love You Through and Through" and "God Gave Us You" were the two books I picked out. I wrote a message in each one and read them to her before we placed them in her casket. "God Gave Us You" is about a mama bear telling her cub the story of his birth. At the end, the cub asks his mama if she ever wished that she'd had Samuel the Seal or so and so. The mama reassures her cub and says, "no, we wanted you. because God gave us you." I felt like that book was the perfect "last story" for Ellie. Obviously her death and this pain is the worst thing anyone could ever experience. But I wouldn't trade those nine months with her for anything, even if it meant we wouldn't have to hurt like this. God gave her to us for a reason, we wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
The last thing I bought was a birthday card. A one year birthday card for our little girl. I wrote a birthday message to our beautiful Ellie and we put it the casket with the rest of things.
The last time I went to Target was tonight. We put Max into the car next to Ellie's empty car seat and headed out. After Max was settled into the cart, we made our way back to baby section to get diapers, only the size 5's this time. I couldn't even look at the baby clothes section- it was used to be the best part of my beloved Target. My chest was tight the entire time but I was ok until we went down the cookie aisle. That's where I saw them, the Milano cookies. It all came back in an instant... my sweet peanut smiling at me while she bounced up and down. Sometimes it just floods back in an instant, its like getting hit by a train.
As we were checking out, I spotted a woman I used to work with in high school. She was always the nicest, kindest lady. I used to babysit for her little girls who are now teenagers. We stood there catching up and that's when it happened. I've been dreading it. She looked at me and said, "so do you have any other kids besides Max?" "We used to have a 9 month old daughter," I said. "She died about three weeks ago." The words came out of my mouth so easily, it made me want to throw up.
Our girl is everywhere. Even Target is brimming with memories of her.