Today I went looking for some little prizes I had left over from one of our block parties. I needed them to create a little gift for a Secret Santa family. I knew they were in the closet under our stairs. I had seen them when I cleaned it out just a few weeks ago.
I didn't find them. I hate losing things. Some things I lose are no big deal - like these little prizes. They are just an annoyance. Other things we lose are kind of a bigger deal but with enough money they can be replaced - like Jon's keys to our car. Then there are some losses that can never be replaced and they just eat at you over the years.
As I was searching for those prizes I looked in a storage container with some odds and ends in it. Inside I found what I would like to think of as Camille's birthday/Christmas present to me, to Jon, and to our little family. I saw a mini DV tape with the title "Camille's birth" on it. I have been missing it since we moved into this house almost 3 years ago.
After she died I searched high and low for it. I knew it existed because I had written about it in my journaling of her birth. But for all my grief stricken searching I couldn't find it. How many times since then have I seen a mini DV tape and wondered where THAT tape was?
I called the girls together and plugged the tape in to the machine to play it on the TV. It is an hour long of her first 8 months on this earth. It has her first and only Christmas. It has lots of time with Jon just taping her newborn noises and her learning to roll. It also has adorable footage of the older girls. It has Lauren's 2nd birthday and Sabrina's kindergarten graduation and first piano recital. It has Annie at just barely 4 years old welcoming her baby sister Camille into the world, being the first to hold her hand and stroke her head.
She was so beautiful and perfect. One of the first scenes after her birth was of me holding her and dressing her at 2 weeks old. It was just me and her and Jon taping. I told of how everywhere we went everyone wanted to hold her. Now I know people love newborns and want to hold them. But this was different. Everywhere she went with me people ... strangers ... asked me if they could hold her - my 2 week old. And I let them. She loved people. She was so happy to be out and about with other people to look at and explore.
In the tape I said, "our beautiful little Camille. She is our family's ambassador to the world." How prophetic this statement turned out to be. And she still is. I am overcome ... with joy at finding this tape ... with sorrow missing her ... with gratitude for this most precious "gift" of a find. I am simply undone.