Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eight Months: Remembering

Eight months. Two-thirds of a year. A seemingly very long time. And yet, like last month, the 13th has snuck up on me again. I have not spent days thinking about it coming up, dreading its arrival. I’m sure that in time, the 13th of any given month will feel like just another day (and I’m not sure how I feel about that). For now, though, I do like taking a special day just for remembering, although like last month, I’ve already done a fair bit of remembering in January.

I’ve written before about how special a place the National Arboretum is to us, how special it was to Hudson. Some of our best memories with her, and certainly many of our best photos of her, were made there. Last January, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we had a beautiful sunny day here in DC, with temperatures almost up to 60. Ed and I were both off from work, daycare was closed, and we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed to the Arboretum. We tooled around the Capitol columns, the Asian collection, and the dogwood collection (the spot where we sprinkled a small portion of Hudson’s ashes on her birthday), and just enjoyed being together, as we always did. These are some of my very favorite photos from our trips to the Arboretum—I’m so fortunate that Ed is such a good photographer (far better than I, as you can see) and that we had invested in a good camera about six months before Hudson died.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have these precious images of our sweet girl, ones that I think capture her essence, especially her seemingly old soul, in ways that other photos of her may not.  I’m just going to post them all here and not bother culling them—as I’ve mentioned before, when the number of photos we have suddenly became finite, each and every glimpse became a precious one, no matter how similar it is to the one before it. 

God, we love this one.  Ed now calls it her “grumpy face,” and is so happy with the real moment he was able to capture here.  This is a not a face we saw often, though, I can tell you that.  

This is such a great one, too. Our child was nothing if not facially expressive. 

I have no idea what’s in her hand here.  I’m guessing a rock or a piece of mulch. But whatever it was, she was very interested. 

And who knows what she’s pointing at here?  Most likely a bird.  She loved everything about being outside. 

Just aching for you, my sweet girl, and wishing I were sitting here plowing through these old photos only in order to plan for pictures of you with your little brother in these same special places in a few months.  I love you so much, beautiful Hudson. 


  1. Mandy, beautiful pictures. I love the one of Hudson hugging Bess. Thinking of you guys often.

  2. Mandy, your girl always delights me, gem that she is! Here it's your joyous face I note. I remember you posting from Paris about the photos taken there and how you see yourself now. The look on your face, in each picture with Hudson, is always one of great delight. That look - or something close to it - will reappear soon as Jackson makes himself known to you.

  3. Keeping you in our thoughts for sure, especially during these "darker" days of winter. I love the photo below her "grumpy face"-those eyes with their intensity, curiosity, depth, beauty. You all have some beautiful memories with that babe to savor. These photos will teach Jackson and others so much about Hudson. Take care.

  4. What a beautiful girl. What a perfect mix of you and Ed. She truly is an expressive girl, and clearly very curious and happy.

    Thinking of your family of four every day.

    Lisa S.

  5. Oh, such a sweet, sweet face. She radiates kindness and curiosity, wisdom and a thirst for knowledge. Thinking of you so often. I cannot fathom the tearing of emotions you face every day. One child unreachable, snatched from you. One child yet inside you. It is staggering to consider the gambit of emotions you must experience on a minute to minute basis.

    As you count up, I count down. I'm three months into the big law firm life. Something I never, ever wanted to do. Away from everything I've known and love and value. But, it is a means to an end. And while I realize this seems completely non-sequitur, it is a way of expressing my gratitude for your sharing. You steadily remind me of perspective that is desperately needed. A reminder of all that is to come, of the change I can, and will make, and why and for whom. So thank you. I wish you never had to be in a position to teach such lessons, but I am grateful nonetheless. I often wonder if I might be half the mother one day that you are. I hope so.

    A song, one of my favorites, that reminds me of your January. Actually called "January" by Jason Myles Goss, a very sweet kid, with a very big talent for stringing words together. Listen here: (better version on iTunes) and read the lyrics here:

    Much, much love and brightness to you, through you, in front of you and surrounding you. This winter has seemed to drag for me, and I can't imagine how ready you must be for spring. And for all the promise it *will* bring.

  6. Mandy,
    The photos are such a glimpse into her fabulous nature and soul. Thank you for sharing these intimate, heart-rending images. I agree with Jake-the one of her hugging Bess is just so wonderful. What a sweet and loving child. I wish...

  7. She is so beautiful, and your pictures never cease to amaze me. Such precious expressions indeed. Remembering with you Mandy....

  8. What gorgeous photos. We love the Arboretum too. And how great that you can bring dogs! To the creation of many more memories in Hudson's honor at that lovely place.

  9. Hudson's delicious little cheeks just do me in.

  10. Such a cute dumpling..just yummy! Olivia

  11. Kate Ackley ZellerJanuary 14, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Thinking of you as I always am. These pictures of Hudson at the arboretum are amazing. I have been experiencing a fresh round of disbelief about what happened to Hudson. She is so missed in so many ways, especially at St. Ann's and in the Brookland community and in the snow. I know I won't be able to find the right words ever, but I hope that you can just feel the prayers and support and positive energy that thousands of us send your way every second.

  12. I never thought that Sunday would again seem like "just another day" but gradually my fear of the weekend has lessened, and Sundays finally do not bring the deep sorrow that for so long was associated with that day of the week. I guess that eventually it will be the same with the 13th of the month...Lauren was born on the 13th (July), so I have all the more reason for that date at some point return to return to being at least neutral...

    I cannot believe it has been 7 months...yet in some ways it seems as though June will be here tomorrow, and we will be dealing with "one year." Maybe that's because spring (if it will ever come) is always a busy time for me...maybe it's because we have so many plans up in the air for "Matt's Trees"...and maybe it's because I am in a way wanting to get past the first year because I think it will be better "after." I guess this is better than feeling, as I did in the beginning, as thought each and every day without him was endless...

    I love you, Mandy, and as usual I loved seeing the pictures of Hudson. She was and is SO very special to so many...


  13. Oh, I just love the "grumpy face!" It's like she's trying sooo hard to be grumpy, but then that darn cute hood just messes up the whole act she's trying to put on! So many wonderful pictures ~ I can see why they are ALL special to you. Thank you for sharing.

  14. The second photo down from her "grumpy face" is just exquisite. What a beautiful little soul.