Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Andrew's 2013 Ornament

Tonight is the annual remembrance ceremony for babies gone too soon in our local area. Each year we go and hang Andrew's ornament for the year and they speak his name. It hangs on the tree that is then displayed at the hospital I delivered my boys and will deliver their little sister in the new year. I only wish his ornament would still be hung when I'm checked in for a hopefully happy and uneventful induction. The dates will be too far apart, so that won't happen. But what a lovely thought.

We weren't able to attend last year, though we did attend another ceremony in his honor. But this year, I'm happy we're back to the tradition of remembering our firstborn with hundreds (yep) of other families also missing their babies who passed on too soon. It's a very different remembrance ceremony. We'll see parents, siblings, grandparents, and all kinds of other supporters who either lost their own baby or love a family who did. It's really quite special... and totally heartbreaking. But if there is one single place I feel totally at home each year, it's in a room full of these other people. Especially during the holiday season.

This year, I couldn't decide what I wanted to do for Andrew's ornament. Many of my babyloss friends had an ornament exchange/secret Santa, but I was too late for the signup. Next year, I hope to be a part and use that special ornament as his 2014 addition. This year, I chose to get very brave and follow in the footsteps of one of my friends by creating an ornament of his things. I was originally going to add things in a clear bulb ornament that reminded me of him, but I really wanted something more. I was anxious about it, but I made the decision to spend naptime on his birthday last Thursday cutting the clothes he wore and a special outfit we bought that I just had sitting in the closet for the last three years waiting for him. It just never did feel right dressing Benjamin in that outfit. It was very much chosen with Andrew in mind and so special to us. Surprisingly, cutting the only clothes he ever wore was not as terrible as I imagined. I think it was because I wanted to make it so beautiful and worthy of displaying in his honor that I allowed myself to carry through. Also, my friend brought up a great point that while the pieces of clothing would remain whole and in a box, they would only be infrequently seen when I opened the box. This way, I can see pieces of him for an entire month displayed on our tree during the month of his birth.

He wore everything in this photo except that beautiful sweater outfit we picked out just for him. Not to share with siblings or to hang in a closet for three years. The blue ribbon on the right came from one of my baby showers. All of the items on the left were worn or touched by him. Baptismal gown (with ribbons & angel cut off that I used in ornament to tie swatches of clothing in a roll, hat, hospital blanket, blue outfit that says "Thank Heaven for Little Boys"-- breaks my heart, pants and booties). I did not choose any of those outfits and assume that all but the blanket are specifically for babies who die. I'll never ask. I don't think it matters that I know.
The card is in his box of things but thought I'd include his cute footprint. The pom from the hat above, swatch from his blanket with the ring they had him holding in many of our NILMDTS photos (symbolism?), the blue outfit with an airplane, a piece of the baptismal gown with an angel that was attached to it... all wrapped in either ribbon from my baby shower or the ribbon off the baptismal gown.
I stuck the piece of the beautiful sweater outfit in the ornament before photographing. I couldn't get it out... so pretend it's in that last picture. :)
I wrapped a piece of the blue ribbon around the top of the ornament and attached the little angel bead and "A" they had with the little gold ring from the hospital. I am assuming this was a gift from another babyloss mom or sweet citizen.
Finally, I added an "a" from the letters I used to create a sign above his crib that spelled out his name. The capital letters were gone, but I used the lowercase "a" and attached it to the cardstock paper I also used in the frame above his crib along with smaller confetti-like pieces for the bottom of the ornament (not visible).
I won't be bringing this ornament tonight, but the ornament we had made on Etsy last year that we could not bring to the ceremony. I just can't bring this one. I fear something happening to it and never receiving it back. The ornaments are returned at the ceremony the following year. However, this one is currently being displayed on our tree and will be forevermore.


Party of Three Heads said... [Reply to comment]

That turned out absolutely beautiful! I think that as a great decision, and something you'll forever cherish! <3

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

I hate that all those families and loved ones will be at the remembrance without their loved ones but at the same time love that there is something for those who need it especially around christmas!
Andrews ornament is beautiful! What an amazing creation! You're an amazing mom!!

Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy, that's so beautiful.
This was very brave of you, but it looks like it was worth it. Both for the physical and emotional outcome.

I have a little outfit I bought on Valentines day - not heart themed - for Alexander. I was just 4 days away from "due" and I had to add a special piece to our collection of baby clothes that was just from his mom. And I too didn't ever put it on Theo. it's still in a drawer upstairs, with tags and the receipt :(. This post - and the images from Molly on IG - have been so inspiring.

You really did a lovely job. All the details are so darling, and add so much love.

Missing Andrew with you as you hang his ornament.

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

"Thank Heaven for Little Boys"-indeed. ;'(

I love the ornament so much more than I thought I would. I have the same fears you did- that I would ruin it or that I would mess up the clothes and be sad. But this? This is perfect.


Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Oh it is so lovely!!!!!! Turned out great! I was actually thinking about your ornament project this morning and was going to email u to ask for pics bc I thought u maybe weren't going to share. I'm so glad you showed us all! And glad you did it! Really, it is great!

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

That's beautiful. It makes me think I should do something similar for Eliza. I hadn't touched her little clothes in so long, but the week of her birthday I got them out and held them and smelled them and bawled over them. It would be hard to cut them up, but like you said, this way I'd get to see those physical reminders of her. I love it.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Love this. Thanks for sharing such tender and precious possessions. Hate that there aren't more.

Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy, I am in awe of Andrew's ornament... it is simply beautiful. I hate that the room you gather in is so full... I love that you are there to support each other and remember your sweet loved ones.

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

I love the ornament. What a wonderful idea, brandy. I'm going to share this with my girlfriend who just lost her son last month.

Em said... [Reply to comment]

That ornament is just perfect.

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy. The ornament is absolutely perfect. You did a beautiful job. It's tasteful, sentimental and shows love and tenderness. Wonderful.

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

It is perfect and considering my emotional instability 1 week out it brought me to tears...You did wonderfully!!

Dianna said... [Reply to comment]

The ornament is gorgeous and so thoughtful. Andrew is such a lucky boy to be so loved.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

This ornament is absolutely amazing. Thank you for the inspiration mamma... xo