The state of Ohio is a tough subject for my family. It has been a mere five months since we moved away from that state. That state is where our first child was born, where we bought our first home. It is where we triumphed as a family together, and yet where we suffered a heart-breaking loss.

It has been about 10 months since we lost our foster daughter that we had loved as our own for more than two years. It has been 10 months since she went home with her biological family.

When our beautiful little girl came into our lives at the age of five weeks, we had a problem. We didn’t have a place for her to go. In Columbus it was hard to find a daycare or babysitter that would take a six week old on such short notice, so we were scrambling.

Luckily we talked with another foster parent who knew a nanny who owned her own in-home daycare, and so we were able to find someone that would watch her. This person became our best friend in Columbus and quite honestly was there for us when we needed her the most.

This week, she is bringing her family to Wisconsin and spending the weekend with us. It is the first time we will see her in more than five months.

This weekend is going to be a joyous one, full of laughter and board games. Our families seem to love the same activities and genuinely enjoy each others company.

Even with all of this excitement, there is still a rock in my stomach because a piece of Ohio is coming to Wisconsin. A piece of our baby girl’s story is coming to our doorstep. Even though there will be a huge hole that is filled, there will still be this void. Like something is missing.

Sometimes I wonder if the “What if?” will ever end, will ever get easier.

The memory of her comes up nearly every day in every situation. Just this last week, Carter went pee on the potty for the first time. I was really proud of him because he is starting to grow up.

It was a huge milestone, but I couldn’t help but remember when our daughter managed that same feat for the first time.

Carter is currently going through the stage in his life where everything reminds me of our daughter. Reminds me of her at his age.

Every time I remember her, I wonder what she is doing today. What book she is reading or what trouble she is getting into.

In all honesty, the remembering was one of the reasons we had to leave. Every little piece of our house had a memory with her in it. Since we left, life has gotten easier. Not everything revives a memory anymore, but there are still those specific times that bring her back.

Even though I hate having memories of her, I still love them because they are my connection to her. They are how I remember her, in my arms as my little girl.

Steph and I are working on moving on. A pretty sobering task if you were wondering. We are getting settled into our new house, making new memories with our son in a new state. We have done a pretty good job so far of holding it in, but the feelings are still there sometimes.

That is why I’m still nervous about this weekend. Still wondering what emotions are going to come to the surface. Still wondering what memories will flash like lightning bolts in my brain.

I don’t know what this weekend will bring, but I’m excited for all of the new memories that will be made…and some beautiful old ones to be revived.

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