My First Wildflower.

Most people that know me know that I have a two sisters, one of which is my fraternal twin.  She's had three little babies, all of whom I've driven through the night to meet as quickly as possible.  Two years ago next week my first niece was born - Molly.  I kind of had this feeling that Meagen would have all boys, and was really surprised when we found out she was expecting a little girl.  Molly was about as sweet as any newborn baby girl, and a lot easier on her mom than my nephew was.  

At 10 weeks, my sister went back to work.  She took Molly to her daycare - the same at-home daycare that my nephew had been going to - and halfway through the day, Molly went down for a nap and never woke-up.  

What was originally called SIDS was later reassessed - Molly was put in a pack'n'play, on her side (against the side of the crib) with a fluffy blanket.  She rolled from her side to her belly and, with the blanket beneath her, couldn't breathe.  At 10 weeks old, she was gone, and I watched my sister and her husband go through the hardest thing I've ever witnessed.  Even writing this I fight off tears and am covered in goosebumps - it was one of those things that should have never happened.

My mom gave the eulogy at Molly's funeral, with a tiny casket front and center, and among other things read this as part of her speech : 

"They say that time in heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye' 
for us on this earth. Sometimes it helps me to think of my child
running ahead of me through a beautiful field of wildflowers and
butterflies; so happy and completely caught up in what she is
doing that when she looks behind her, I'll already be there." 
~Author Unknown

That week my sister - a first grade teacher who barely drinks, married her first real boyfriend and was basically born to be a mom - decided to get a tattoo.  We all three got a different wildflower on our wrists in memory of Molly, and I still take photos of wildflowers everywhere I go for her.

I'll probably add more flowers to my wrist later this year - hopefully with the amazing Kerry Burke - but love that I've got this constant reminder of her AND of her family's strength with me forever.

Many many people would break during something like this.  My sister has decided that Molly's legacy will live forward in safe sleep awareness.  She started the Molly Ann Gries Foundation to promote safe sleep and to spread knowledge about the only way your baby should sleep - Alone, on their Back, in a Crib (ABC).  Not on your chest... not covered in blankets... not in a bounce-seat... If you're expecting - even if it's not your first - I highly encourage you to skim through these tips.  There are a lot of rumors out there about what's best for babies, but when someone loses a child to an accident like this, you can rest-assured she's done her research about what really works.