Currently, I’m sitting on a plane listening to the team playlist. Specifically, the song Tell Your Heart to Beat again. I’ve seriously spent three years digging myself out of a dark hole. The words to the song literally stopped me from reading the book I’ve been trying to read for weeks.

On September 6, 2013, I heard Nicholas’ heartbeat for the last time. I didn’t know it then that I would never hear it again. The date sticks out to me because it was also my Grandmother Audrey’s birthday. Nicholas and his twin sister, Audrey, would make their debut in the world exactly one week later on their grandpa David’s birthday.

The last three years have been full of ups and downs…peaks and valleys. The seasons continue to change and as fall approaches each year my chest gets tight and I truly can’t wait until October. I just have to get through it. But this year, this August and September have felt different. I’m starting to remember what happiness feels like. The triggers are still the same like the double stroller at the airport I couldn’t avoid. They still hurt but are not as paralyzingly as they once were. Like the lyrics to the song,
“Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again”

I just had the most amazing weekend with two of my very best friends in the world. We finally celebrated our 40th birthdays after a few lofty and failed attempts, officially welcoming the my friend “Spot” to this exclusive club. I am eternally grateful for the women God has put in my life. I’ve been blessed with amazing friends in every corner of my life. I do not take this for granted – these women just came at an earlier point in my adulthood. (Who am I kidding, we were merely immature teenagers. One time in college, we walked back to campus from Guitars and Cadillacs in Lincoln because of a silly disagreement. We can laugh now but no one was laughing then.)

We’ve learned so much from each other over the years, sharing a sisterhood in our college years, parting ways after college and starting our careers, marriages, and then children. I was the first to get married and the last to have kids. (Children seemed like a such a permanent commitment?) Between the three of us, we have 6 boys and 1 legacy.

We are embracing an entirely new stage in our lives. Our children have started grade school. Our weekends are packed with soccer games. Our cars are now equipped with navigation, Bluetooth, and sliding doors. We still jam to the tunes of our generation and pretend we know the latest lyrics. Our parents are not the once immortal bodies we thought would live forever. We’ve faced some serious illnesses and hospitalizations with fairly good outcomes. And we have each other to lean on when the tears begin to flow.

We are hundreds of miles apart and yet when we get together, life feels somewhat complete again.

Melissa Haase

Melissa Haase is a wife, mother of three, veterinarian, and knitter, living in historic Stillwater, MN. Melissa grew up in Hastings, Nebraska in an average middle america family with her parents and older sister. Staying close to “home” (ahem...home is synonymous for boy), she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Melissa married her high school sweetheart, Aaron, nearly 17 years ago. After a brief stint working in broadcasting, she decided to pursue her original major and childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. Taking a homegrown Nebraska boy to Kansas for veterinary school should be considered one of her major life achievements. She received her veterinary degree from Kansas State University in 2008. After graduation, she and Aaron, two golden retrievers, and a cat moved to Stillwater, where she began working in a small animal practice. Once again moving her husband to the arctic north, practically Canada, and NOT back to The Good Life....did not win her any bonus points in the wife category. Melissa now works at Birch Lake Animal Hospital in White Bear Lake, MN. She enjoys meeting new clients with their pets and hearing the stories that make us all realize how unique the human-animal bond is. She now lives with a retired show champion, a 6 year old golden named Sparrow and the cat she acquired in veterinary school, a 7 year old calico named Katie. Most times it feels like a small zoo. Getting a later start than most of her friends, having a family didn’t come easy to Melissa and Aaron. They were overjoyed to finally welcome their son Jackson in November 2010. Jackson, 3, is charming, funny, and has more spunk than an entire classroom of preschoolers. Melissa is also mom to Audrey Rose, a beautiful, happy 6 month old little girl and a beautiful, heavenly angel, Nicholas George. Melissa loves nearly anything crafty. She learned to knit one Friday night her freshman year in vet school after wrapping up a long week with happenin’ night of wine, girlfriends, yarn, and husbands...not in any particular order of importance. The first thing she knit was a hot pink scarf with two cream colored stripes with yarn and needles borrowed from her friend, Meghann. Knitting has brought very special people into Melissa’s life over the last 10 years. Her latest project “Knitting For Nicholas” has blessed her life like a beautifully hand-crafted blanket could warm a child.