Mabel’s 3rd Birthday

Mabel’s third birthday came and went last month.  I sent out a little reminder a few days before and the day of- sharing the #3goodthings invitation in honor of her birthday.

Dear Friends and Family,

As Mabel’s third birthday approaches, we invite you to join us in #3GoodThings. It is a practice in both gratitude and doing good.

1. Reflect on your day or life and find 3 good things that happened or you have done.
2. Write them down (and share them if you feel brave!)
3. Reflect on your part in each of them

February 15th

“you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” -This is Us


If nothing else it’s a practice of gratitude.  Last year I received a painful response from a family member and so this year, I kept my invite list small, trying to temper my expectations.

I received many heartfelt messages and even some gifts.  I Mabel’s birthday was the day after valentines day and in addition to a card and donation my parents sent, they also send two valentines cards- one addressed to Felix and one addressed to Mabel.  To see her name on an envelope means so much.  I received some beautiful carrot paraphanelia from people near and far (even from people I barely know!).  And so I guess I was especially hurt when two close family members didn’t recognize the day.  Birthdays are always a big deal in my family- we sent presents or cards, we make sure to call.  I gave it a few days just in case their lives were crazy and they would respond later, but no dice.  I just want Mabel to be valued as much as the other children in the family.  I think she’s just as important and I thought others did too.  I also was a little surprised by the lack of recognition from many other close people in my life.  I have heard over and over from other loss friends that the responses from others diminish over time- so I was expecting that.  I guess I just didn’t realize how quickly and by how much the responses would decline.

Things I’ve learned from Mabel’s 3rd Birthday:

Keep my expectations low. Perhaps I’ll have none whatsoever next year.  I know I have to guide people in how I want them to respond, but I thought I did that by my emails. Next year I might keep things more private.

Appreciate the good.  I’m also learning to try to appreciate the responses I did get and not focus on what I felt was missing.  This is a harder lesson to learn, but I will try!

Practice Gratitude. And in reflecting on her birthday, I am wondering if it’s time again to take a moment each day and reflect on #3goodthings- something I did in the early days of my grieving Mabel.  I might need another lesson in the practice of gratitude.


My #3GoodThings from Mabel’s 3rd birthday:

Email written February 15, 2017:
Today we bravely share our #3GoodThings in memory of Mabel. We have many things to be grateful for and we chose to use use our good fortune to give to others.
1. On one of Felix’s last day of his last day care, I overheard one of his favorite teachers talking about making small gift bags of toiletries for the homeless.  This began our first good thing.  We brought her a bunch of supplies to use for her project.
2. We donated to Hope After Loss, an organization that has helped us through the hardest times and continues to help us keep Mabel’s memory alive
3. We have supported Planned Parenthood in memory of Mabel.  Though our family’s decision was to continue a difficult pregnancy, we appreciate that we had a choice to do so.  Planned parenthood supports men and women in many ways; providing choice is just one of them.


In the grief books I’ve been reading, in the babyloss online magazines I subscribe to and on many of the babyloss blogs I follow, I often see the theme of gratitude come through. Being grateful can help a person move through grief, to take it by the hand and walk side by side with it, rather than be smothered, motionless in the corner. Gratitude doesn’t make grief go away; it helps make life go on. I am in no way grateful for my baby dying, but her death has made me look at the world a little differently. I felt this way even in pregnancy when my baby was given a likely fatal diagnosis and wrote about it here. Sometimes now my grief can feel all encompassing and I forget all about gratitude.

In August, I was inspired by Leigh’s post on her blog, I nominated myself for the #3GoodThings challenge and followed through on facebook. For five days, I posted about 3 things that I was grateful for. After 5 days, I decided I needed to do more, so I extended to 2 weeks. The result:  (p.s. Day 4 is my favorite, I think)


in an attempt, to foster happiness I’m going to try this. I’m not really one for this kind of thing, but this one makes sense.

Every day I will find and post three good things about my day. I am tagging three people in hopes they will do it with me (please). Three friends, three different networks. And they can tag three people, spreading the happiness.

Gratitude helps create happiness.


#3GoodThings Day 1

1. It’s friday and I don’t have to work for the next three days
2. my husband cleaned up the kitchen
3. the comments my professor on my online writing course gave me regarding my homework made me feel good.


#3GoodThings Day 2
1. I caught up on a bunch of email and found someone sent me some pretty awesome photos (looking at you, caitlin)

Mabel 1
2. Found out my town is totally cool. Hung out at a local cafe listening to the sweet sounds of John Ciambriello with Michelle and Roo
3. my blog got mentioned here! It may be a sad subject but it is a good thing for the community to be recognized


#3GoodThings Day 3
1. Swimming followed by milkshakes. Today was summer

photo 3 (5)
2. Beautifying my house with flower filled window boxes and planters on the front steps

photo 1 (13)
3. Chocolate cake and left over peanut butter pie with good friends ( Scott &Sabina) and winning a few games of the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel with their kiddos.


#3GoodThings Day 4:
1. After a morning of starting of wrong (waking up too early, forgotten shoes for bootcamp, running over a curb), I had a really nice lunch catching up with a friend at Bar taco which was amazing! Baja fish, duck and pork belly tacos!
2. Got chocolate chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate sprinkles with Abby.
3. while walking out of the ice cream shop, a chubby little girl with brown pigtails was standing on the old fashioned scale by the door. “I weigh 15 inches!” she announced proudly. I held the door for her as I left and looked down, seeing for the first time that she had Down Syndrome. My heart smiled.


#3GoodThings Day 5
struggling today. some days it’s easier to find the good things
1. chocolate bundt cake. I made this, inspired by a recent bundt baker friend Eleni, and ate two pieces today. two.
2. i remembered my sneakers for bootcamp.
3. i sat on my patio, eating homemade meatballs by Chris and enjoyed my backyard. i love my backyard.


#3GoodThings Day 6
1. saw a dog riding a motorcycle. he was wearing goggles.

photo (21)
2. i bonded with a two year old in the office today. after blowing up a rubber glove balloon, playing with giant q-tips and a round of peek-a-boo behind the curtain, he didn’t want to leave. I put him down next to his mom and said good bye and he just raised his arms up at me with those sad little kid eyes that said “don’t leave me>” he also had a mohawk
3. green pizza truck + gelato + ocean views= a nice hello/goodbye party for the a big staff change over at work


#3GoodThings Day 7
1. Had a too quick lunch with a friend Amanda, a lunch that was a brief respite from the craziness of my work day. In the middle of the lunch I told her, “This is one of my GoodThings today
2. Got a great big hug from a great big Doodle, who smiled up at me while her doodle daughter watched.

photo 2 (12) photo 1 (14)
3. DuckTales, woo-oo! Watched Huey Dewey and Louie team up with Uncle Scrooge to beat the Beagle Boys. And was reminded that Gummi Bears was the best cartoon of my childhood.


#3GoodThings Day 8
1. Sleeping in with the help of my air conditioner (I’d be a hot mess with out it)
2. local brewery tasting with some new friends
3. Bacon s’mores.


#3GoodThings Day 9
1. Beached it out today. Ribby Roll and ice cream to boot!

photo (22)
2. Felt some love today, during a challenging milestone.
3. Made stir fry complete with sweet peppers, hot peppers and carrots fresh from our garden.


#3GoodThings Day 10
1. I’m grateful for my health
2. I’m grateful I have a supportive partner
3. I’m grateful I had the chance to experience pregnancy
When things are bad, sometimes it’s important to remember the important things.


#3GoodThings Day11
1. Spent the day with our new doc observing me to learn the ways of our practice. SHe was enjoyable and so I think she’ll fit right in. But at the end of the day I realized I had someone with more training than me watch everything I do and I didn’t feel self-conscious. I do believe I’ve found myself in my career.
2. dinner made with veggies from the garden. I feel like a farmer.
3. I have good friends.


#3GoodThings Day 12
1. I like the rain. Nature’s way of watering my garden. And i just like the rain
2. long lunch with a friend Eliza who listened to me rant and rave a whole bunch
3. i did not work today, and any day not working is a good day. and I end it by sitting on the couch, watching Orange is the New Black, sharing a seasalt caramel chocolate tart with the handsomest man around, Chris


#3GoodThings Day 13
1. As I fell down through an emotional spiral today, I had several hands reach out to catch me. you know who you are and you are all good things today.
2. Even when I was in the midst of my own spiral (see #1), I was able to still do some good things as a midwife. I”m proud for these small victories.
3. I am fortunate to not have to worry about how I’m going to eat today; i have clothes to keep me warm and air conditioning to keep me cool. I garden “for fun.” I am surrounded by abundance, for which I am grateful.


#3GoodThings Day 14
1. I got out of work early today. I heart no-shows
2. headed to VT for some old fashioned fun with good friends.
3. got to visit mabel twice today. stopped by on my way to work but then thanks to #1 I swung back again before #2. she’s my favorite.

and that’s the end of my two week. thank you for humoring me.


Overall, it was a GoodThing for me to do. I might do it again sometime.

What are you grateful for? Are some days harder than others to come up with things you are grateful for?