This has to be one of mine and Haleigh Raye's favorite memories and I would venture to say it would be one of Noah's as well (It is on my list of "100 things to ask Noah when I get to heaven."). Everyday when I picked them up at school they would fight (yes, literally fight) over who would be the first one to open and get to stand up through the sunroof (it's a small sunroof so not only having to be last at being up, the last one usually wasn't as comfortable as the one who got up there first.) I remember some days Noah would race out the school door just to beat his sister so he could hit that button and already be standing up by the time she was walking out. It got so bad I had to eventually make a note in my phone's calendar of who went first on what day! We also had battles over who got to choose the song on the radio, who set in the front seat and who got out of the car first. Any of those sound familiar to you parents? For 10 years that was my life. Especially with Noah. He had to be the first and best at everything and if you knew him for longer than 5 minutes you figured this out VERY quickly. He never stood still. He ran everywhere and he never ever ever wanted to be left out or left behind...of ANYTHING. He did, however, always make sure his sister was never left out as well...he just always had to be a step ahead of her.
Once we had the matter of who was standing up first settled, I would tell them to pretend they were in a parade and do a fancy wave at all the other cars in line heading toward us. There were days I thought it was so much hassle to do this and keep up with whose turn it was that on some occasions I wanted to scream "NO! We are not doing this and you all only get to do it for 10 seconds if that." But I resisted that feeling and they loved it even if was only for 10 seconds. The sun was on their face and the wind was blowing in their hair. I even think the people we passed enjoyed it as well because they always had a smile and a wave to give back to them.
By accident I had my sunroof open today. Haleigh Raye noticed it and immediately jumped up and said, "Mommy this was one of my favorite things to do with Noah. Oh, I am going to miss him so much" but without skipping a beat she climbed right up, smiled and did the fancy wave (I was the late parent today and everyone else had gone home so there was no one to wave at her but she did it nonetheless.) I was so surprised I had forgotten they did this and I was even more surprised I never got a picture of them doing it because I tried to capture every moment and it was what we did everyday weather permitting and I assumed it would never end. I assumed wrong.
You probably know the rest of the story and it did end. That chapter has closed in my life and it hurts. It hurts every day and sometimes can hurt every second of every day especially when a new memory comes back or we relive an old past time. I am so very grateful for the 10 years I got with Noah. Those are the years I can honestly say I don't know where they went. It's the 10 second memories like hanging out the sunroof that I hold on to and relive and I miss...terribly.
But it is also the 10 second memories here and 10 second memories there that can be so bittersweet but, yet at the same time, still remind that it doesn't have to end with Haleigh Raye. At least weekly I am in awe of something she has overcame or an obstacle she has faced head on. She amazes me. She strengthens me and most importantly she encourages me to go on without even saying a word. Just her presence is enough for me to realize she is alive and she is living. She has to see she that as much as I miss and mourn the loss of Noah I want to engulf and enjoy the life of Haleigh Raye and take in as many 10 seconds of joy we can find together until those seconds of joy turn into an eternity of life that include all three of us again with the bright sun shining, once again, in our face.