Friday, November 13, 2015

Too beautiful for earth.

Last night I dreamed that I had an ultrasound, and I was told miraculously that my baby was still inside me, that there was a heartbeat, and I was 22 weeks along.  I was filled with an astonished kind of hope and I went racing to find my husband to tell him the good news. 
 
Then I woke up. 
 
And I remembered that my baby hasn't been inside me for 6 weeks now.  That it didn't have a heartbeat for much longer than that.  And that there is no plausible way for that dream to be a reality.  


                         -----------------

I have been avoiding this post for a long time, but with the pain of avoiding, grows the pain of my loss.  I need to put a voice to my pain.  Since the day I found out that my baby's heart was no longer beating, I started writing. Writing every thought, every heartache, every revelation, and tucking it away for when I was ready to put it all together.  I have not opened that box of writings except to add more in, for fear that the contents inside would create a great explosion when opened.  But it's time. I need to pull them out, slowly and gingerly, and weave them together to create something meaningful, rather than something to be feared. 
 
When I hurt, I search desperately for relatable words.  I need to read and feel that I am not alone. So I humbly ask that if you know anyone suffering the loss of a pregnancy, anyone silently drowning in that pain, will you share this with them? If you think it will help, if relatable words are their medicine, will you please share? Even if you don’t know of anyone, will you share it anyway? Because through the channels, it might reach one person that is feeling so very alone.

 I don't believe everything happens for a reason, especially loss.  But I do need something to come from this experience, and if that is to help even one person know that they are not alone, that it is ok to hurt, and sink, and feel utterly lost, then it wasn't for nothing.

This one is long, and it is raw, but it is truth.



                         -----------------

The miracle that is growing a whole little person inside your body is a phenomenon I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully wrap my head around. 

It was a warm summer day in July when I discovered our third miracle. The little voice in my head that whispered, just pee on a stick already! laughed triumphantly at my shock upon reading the digital +YES that appeared on the pregnancy test.

Yes, I know how this happens. But we weren't exactly trying for this, not yet anyway. And it's always a shock to find out that there's someone growing inside you, especially when my littlest is still so attached to me, she’d most likely crawl back in if she knew the way. Still, we always talked about three children, and surprising as this was, we knew that our last puzzle piece was fitting into place because it was meant to. This person was meant to be part of our family and we were ready.

Cue nerves, excitement, and an ecstatic 4 year old who was counting down the days until she would be a big sister again to yet another little.

At my 8 week appointment we were comforted to learn there was only one miracle in there, and it had a strong heartbeat.  Weeks seemed to crawl by, and my morning sickness seemed to ebb, and I felt quite good.

Then another little voice started to whisper in the back of my mind. Something isn’t right, it would say. You don’t feel this good when you are pregnant. Something is wrong.  Anxiety started to build, and I would calm myself by the self-assured notion that I felt this good because we were having a boy this time.  Still, that 12 week appointment couldn’t come fast enough. I needed to see that heartbeat again to shut the voice up for good.



                         -----------------

As difficult as it is to wrap one’s mind around the miracle of life, I found equally so, the mystery that is losing that little person. 

It was a rainy day in September when we were given the news. My much anticipated 12 week appointment had arrived.  The doctor squirted gel onto my stomach and looked at the ultrasound screen... I waited... she was quiet for just a beat too long. She put a gentle hand on my knee and said, "I'm sorry."

There was no heartbeat, no baby that could even be seen.

And just like that, a hole opened up inside me. It was as if all the air had left the room.  The voice in my head, the one that had whispered so many times that something was wrong, slunk into a corner, devastated that she had been right.



                         -----------------

The next day I log on to social media to take my mind off of the nightmare I am living. When I see friends and family have posted updates and pictures I find myself thinking, How can you go on living like everything is normal? Don't you know what I'm going through? This is selfish. I know that. The logical side of me knows that. But I am all consumed. I can't leave my house. I forget that the world goes on out there while I slowly grieve inside the walls of my home. 

I sit in the cave I have created and I wait -- wait for my body to complete this process since it has shown no signs of trouble whatsoever. Waiting is torture, but deciding what to do if my body can't do this on its own feels impossible. I am a zombie, trying to hold a brave face for my sensitive girls, but wanting nothing more than to just sleep and forget. But when I wake up, reality hits me hard and I wait some more.

And while I wait a heavy fear grows. I am terrified to see people; people I know, people that don't know me at all. I don't want to talk to those I know. Though I can't fathom walking among strangers wondering, Can't they see this dark cloud hovering above me? Can't they see I am in pain?

As it turns out, I am among the 20% of women whose body refuses to abort a miscarriage naturally or with medication (two rounds of medication to be exact). And after weeks of turmoil, a decision to take the pills that would start the process, the aching pause before swallowing those pills, then the strange crushing defeat when they didn't work, I was left with no other option than to have a D&C.

The night before the surgery I fall asleep with my hand protectively placed over my stomach. It seems silly, since my baby is no longer living, but it is comforting all the same. That baby will forever be our baby, even if (s)he only lives in our hearts.

The next morning, two weeks after finding out that we'd lost our third, I was officially empty.  It was a strange closure -- waiting, for what felt like a lifetime, with the knowledge that I had a lost life inside me was just too much, and now I could start to figure out how to heal.

This is a unique kind of grief. I don't have memories of interaction to hold onto, I don’t have kicks, I don't have movement. What I do have is an ultrasound picture of a tiny peanut with a little beating heart. I have hopes and dreams and plans for a baby that will never be able to live them. I have a little girl whose excitement to be a big sister again was shattered by a heartache no child should ever feel. And I have two new tiny yellow jammies that will never feel a wiggly body inside them.

My most prominent memories are of worry and anxiety. Memories of shock and heartache, drawn out misery and pain. Rather than missing what was, I long for what will never be. An aching longing, deep in my heart and down to my stomach. Sometimes it hurts so much, I just need to curl into it for a moment until it passes.

The sorrow comes in waves and I am still learning how to embrace the impact of the wave when I feel it coming.  There is often no warning and no logical reason for it, but I can feel it rumbling my way.  I know what I need is to stand still and just feel it, let it crash into me, wash over and out of me. But too often I cower and run the other way, I swallow the tears and move away from the wave.  I am always able to find a reason to run – I am at work, my girls are around, people are around. I am never really alone enough, and for me to stand under the wave, I need to be alone.

Truth be told, I am scared of the wave. It is dark and ominous, it requires wails of sadness, not just silent falling tears, and I am scared to feel it all the way.

For me, I know that there will be a mix of feelings over every new baby I come across for some time; joy intertwined with a throbbing sadness. 

I feel a bitter jealousy at the announcement of friends’ pregnancies.... Babies that will be born when mine should have been. 

I swallow tears when I see baby boy onesies.

And the need to be pregnant again -- it is at times so strong I feel like I could scream. The desire to have a life inside me again rocks me to my core.



                         -----------------

For some reason, miscarriage seems to be a taboo topic.  We aren’t supposed to share our pregnancy news too early for fear we will miscarry, as though sharing your joy will jinx your pregnancy, while suffering in silence is hardly healing for anyone. We share our accomplishments, the loss of loved ones, what we made for dinner for F-sake… why are we afraid to share the loss of a pregnancy? I lost my baby. And I am hurting.  I am grieving a life that will never be, but was so desperately wanted.

I am still figuring out how to heal. I have nothing in this physical world to hold me to my baby. Since I had to have a D&C, I was left with nothing to bury. I need something to grab onto. And I have to believe my something is hope. I have to have hope.

Hope that we will be able to have another baby someday.

Hope that this experience will make me and my family more compassionate human beings.

Hope that soon I will not run from the wave of grief, but stand still enough to let it wash over me and cleanse the hole in my heart.

Hope that sharing my experience, my tender pain, will help even one woman know that she is not alone. Your story is your story, your grief is your grief.  And there is no limit to your heartache.



                         -----------------

I am very fortunate to have a large support network. I have a loving husband, a big family, and close friends.  And these people kept me afloat by understanding my need for physical distance but emotional closeness.  A bouquet of flowers delivered to my door, a daily text saying simply, “I’m thinking of you today. The sun will shine again.” A cup of hot tea, an open ear as I poured my heart out, and those that were willing to share their own experiences so I didn’t feel so lost and alone in my own grief.  These moments saved me, these people built a protective bubble around me when I was too scared to face the world, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

I am working towards healing by sharing my pain, I am breaking the silence. I am sharing to change the belittling stigma that surrounds miscarriage -- to acknowledge that it is not a minor loss, it is the loss of a life, of a puzzle piece that was supposed to complete your family, of a sibling, and a part of yourself.

When you are ready for it, I believe there is hope, but until then, it's ok to just feel. It needs to be felt, all of it, for as long as it needs to be felt.



An angel from the Book of Life,
Wrote down my baby’s birth,
And whispered as she closed the book,
Too beautiful for earth.


-unknown

I will forever hold your heart in mine.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

By the glow of the nightlight.

By the glow of the nightlight, I feel renewed.  As I rock my koala baby to sleep, her body entangled around mine, I am calmed. The rabid gremlin she resembled just moments ago, fades from my mind.  I look at her angel face, and I am with her, in this moment.

She asks me to sing, and as I do she sings along, her words a jumble of sounds, but the sounds match mine. And as she sings, my heart bursts at the seams.

As she reaches up to caress my face and I stare into sky blue eyes, I forget the pull of today. I no longer feel unable to satisfy her needy demands. We rock together, fulfilling each other’s needs for once. When I tell her to close her eyes, It’s time for sleep, I can’t help but laugh at the glued tight squint she attempts.

Funny how the glow of the nightlight can illuminate things much brighter than the light of the day.  She needs me, more than I’ve ever felt needed. And though I often feel inadequate in my attempts to fulfill this for her, right here, in this moment, rocking in this glow, I am all hers.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grown-up status

 Well, it's official. I'm a grown-up.

 I thought I was a grown-up when I could vote legally, then again when I could drink legally.

I was convinced I was a grown-up when I got a taste of independence in college. 

When I moved in with my boyfriend. 
           Especially when that boyfriend became my husband.

When we had our first baby and I used the term "my daughter" for the first time in conversation; that felt very grown-up. 

Buying a house recently felt like an adult thing to do -- more points in the grown-up bank. 

But now it's really official.  Now I am surely a grown-up. Because now... now I am not only the owner, but the PROUD owner, of a minivan.

That's right. A minivan.  The thing I SWORE my entire life I would never own, never drive, never desire -- I now own, drive, and adore. 

Practicality beat out a false sense of lowered self-esteem.  My old thoughts; Minivan's are for MOMS.  I will be a Tahoe-mom, NEVER a minivan-mom.

Well, this minivan-mom can't afford the gas in a Tahoe, not to mention the automatic sliding doors in my minivan make me so happy I'm fairly certain I could do a triple flip, land on my index fingers alone, and break into a flawless cartwheel. 

I've gone from this assumption...




To this reality...



My reality is that I don't care if you see me coming and try to pull out quickly before I pass for fear I will drive 5 mph under the speed limit because I'm in a VAN.

My reality is that I don't need head turns and honks anymore, I find it rather juvenile and annoying to tell you the truth.  Minivan invisibility is rather freeing actually.  I can rock out with my girls to Andy Grammer's Honey I'm Good like my life depends on it, with hardly a self-conscious thought in my body.

My reality is that I am a mom.  A proud mom. And we need space.  We need room for our family of 4, our dog, all of the essentials and future babies.  I need sliding doors so I don't have to negotiate big sister’s exit from the car for 5 minutes while I wait to lift her out and close the door.  I need this.
 
It's stupid, really, to think that your car determines who you are or says anything about you. Your character determines who you are. A vehicle is a means to an end.  Literally, a vehicle, to get you from one place to another, and the roomier and safer this journey can take place, the better, in my new grown-up opinion.

Yesterday, we all sat in the driveway, all doors open, back row stowed into the floor, and played for at least an hour in this minivan.  No joke. It's still new, so it’s cleaner than the house -- which feels peacefully delightful to me.  And little imaginations are going to town with this new 'playhouse.'
 




I can even see sneaking out to the van to find refuge with just myself and a glass of wine in the near future. It's quite lovely in there.

What I used to think was; What will people think?!

What I think now is, Check me out! My stress level has plummeted and I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.

It's really liberating – not to care.  And to add a cherry and some whipped cream to that sentiment, to actually enjoy and be proud of the one thing I used to care too much about. 

So there you have it.  My official welcome into grown-up status. 

And if the minivan wasn't enough, I happened to notice that the capris I purchased at Target the other day are Levi brand. LEVIS. (The fact that I can bend over or squat without having to hold up the back to ensure modesty should have been my first clue.) I wear Levi's and I drive a minivan.  I am officially a mom.  Officially a grown-up.

And it feels pretty damn good.




 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Will I Be Okay?

I had a moment of panic today.  As I, exhausted and recovering from a stomach flu, chased little sister around the Parks and Rec Senior Center during big sister’s ballet class, I was hit with one of those quick flash forward visions into the future.  A future that is seemingly far away, but it made my heart race and my vision blur for a moment. 


There is a sweet old woman who sits at the desk at the front of the Senior Center.  I’m not sure what her job is exactly, but she sits there, quietly and pleasantly.  As little sister and I passed her desk for the tenth time this morning, the woman made eye contact with her and said “Well hello there!” I gave a tired smile, little sister just kept walking, old woman pulled out a cell phone and began scrolling. 


And I wondered, does she miss this stage of life?  All its exhaustion and joy, does she miss it? Or does she look at me and feel relief that she’s well out of the marathon?


Then I wondered; does she have kids? Grandkids? Do they visit? Do they live close? Does she see them regularly? Does she just go home to an empty house?


Cue heart racing panic.


I will be “the old woman” someday. My children will be grown and out of my house. No more messes, no more tantrums before bed, no more needy whines to be picked up, --- no more snuggles, no more asking to be read to, no more “Moooommmmmmyyyyyyyyy!” called throughout the house. 


And I just sort of panicked.  When I think of myself, I identify as a mom. An always needed mom.  They are my world, and I need them too.  Who will I be when they are grown, strong, sufficient adults? This sounds unhealthy, I know that. I have other interests, but none I’ve been able to pursue fully because THEY are my life right now. 





And then I wondered; will I be happy? Will they visit? Will they live close? Will I be ok without them?


My days (and nights) consist of constantly thinking, and worrying, and planning; meals, outfits, schedules, activities, counting screen time, staying calm, coming up with solutions, balancing, balancing, balancing.   And sometimes, it gets the best of me, there are days that I. Am. So. Done. by like 2:00.


But I love it.


And truthfully, it scares me to think of my life someday without them always there. Without the need for the constant thoughts and planning. What if they don’t live close? What if I don’t get to watch my grandbabies? Because watching my grandbabies was the only way I slowed the heart today. 


I mean, I have plans.  A Master’s Degree, a career working with children in some very meaningful capacity. I have hopes that these plans will be fulfilling in other ways. . . . someday.  But I don’t know for sure.


Tonight as I rocked little sister to sleep, after a very whiny and clingy day from her, I remembered my vision this morning.  And after she fell asleep, I rocked her a little longer, traced the lines of her chubby little face and whispered sweet nothings into her ear.


These girls have my heart wrapped up so tightly, that sometimes it’s hard to breathe. I can’t truly envision the day when I’m not running around after them like a crazed chicken. And it scares me to think that day will come.


So again, I have to remind myself that this is it.  These little moments, they won’t come back.  Even the tough ones.








And I’ll probably be ok – if the Master’s Degree plan doesn’t pan out, I’ll become a crochet master in my old age, crocheting and custom fitting little baby booties on tiny feet.  That will hold me over until the grandbabies visit.




Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Today is Mother’s Day, a day I very much look forward to.  Not for presents or grand gestures, but simply for the fact that I am able to celebrate it as a mother.  I get to spend time with my own mama and the two girls who made me a mama.  I also forgo diaper changes and food preparation for the day, that part feels like a spa day. 


Today is the one day a year that there’s a little extra recognition for a role that is often a thankless one – I’m not dismissing the billions of silent thankful rewards that come with motherhood.  But it is one day where I feel a little special, and slightly entitled, if I’m being honest.  I don’t feel guilty for not vacuuming today, or lazing in the sunshine.  



I woke this morning after husband let me sleep in, with the little excited butterflies that come with anticipation and expectation.  I knew big sister had worked on something in her preschool class for me and had carefully hidden it somewhere in the house. Her first school project gift for mom.  Any mention of Mother’s Day the past few days resulted in her whispering “Shhhh! It’s a surprise!” which gave me special little fluttery feelings. 


The morning started out fine enough; big sister wished me a Happy Mother’s Day with no prompting, which I found so endearing.  I poured a hot cup of coffee and sat on the couch, surrounded by my littles and a few gifts.  Big sister is a veeerrryy good helper when it comes to present opening, so she went to work right away.  And then -- upon my suggestion that we let baby sister help too, the blissful moment was over. A 4 year old tantrum ensued; flailing limbs, gifts thrown, screaming and tears.  It was lovely. 


I carried sister to her room to calm down, at which time baby sister dumped my hot coffee off the windowsill and down the back of the couch. And among the screaming tantrum, and the coffee stain, I just felt so – done. I felt this frustration and disappoint well up inside me and I knew I needed out. I wanted to have a tantrum, I wanted to scream IT’S MOTHER’S DAY! But because I’m an adult, I took a fresh cup of coffee out on the porch and breathed.  Deep, calming breaths.


However, not twenty seconds later, the whole family joined me on the porch.  One thing I've learned in my short four year duration as a mother, is that we have to be gracious with ourselves.  I felt feelings bubbling inside, and although I could not quite place them, I knew they needed to be acknowledged.


So I snuck to the bathroom, locked the door, and had a little cry.  I felt disappointed that the morning had begun this way, but I also felt upset with myself for going into today with such high expectations.  Did I think today would just be smooth sailing? That my small people would suddenly understand how to process their feelings and emotions in a mature way just because it was Mother’s Day?


Mother’s Day doesn't mean that kids aren't going to act like kids.  It doesn't mean I don’t get to stop being Mom.  It’s because of these little hooligans that I get to celebrate this day at all, that I go into it with a deluded sense of entitlement and anticipation. If I wanted a day of peace, I could take the day to myself – go somewhere, pamper away. But the truth is, I want to spend the day with them.  And if that means I don’t get out of every dirty diaper, that I have to calm a hysterical daughter because she’s emotional and head strong (I have no idea where she inherited these traits) and can’t process her feelings yet– if it means that I have to escape to the smallest room of the house and lock the door so I can cry for just a moment, then I’ll take it.





 Because that’s the beauty of it.  Today is special because of them. I love today, because of them. Bring on the tantrums baby, Mama is here for you, always.



 Happy Mother’s Day. Be gracious, not only with the small people, but with yourself.


And when all else fails, a dance party will fix anything.


^ note the coffee stained belly.

And if for some reason that doesn't do the trick, husband made sure I’m well stocked and able to eat my feelings.








Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is this real?

Sometimes I get hit with a forceful feeling of wonder.  The *knock you off your feet, sit down and gather yourself* kind of forceful. I look at them and I just can't believe that they are mine.  That I made them.  That they call me "Mommy."


It happens in the simplest moments.


Big sister walking past my office window with her preschool class, eyes searching for me, and lighting up as they find mine. She mouths “Hi Mommy!” and I think, that’s MY girl.
                          

Tiptoeing into their rooms on my way to bed to give one last kiss goodnight to angelic sleeping faces, and breathe them in.


            A big sister that can’t get enough of her baby sister, ever.



I wonder, is this real?!  

.....


 I don't always feel my true age (which is on the precipice of 30 somehow, good grief).  I generally think I am younger than my birth certificate claims I am.  Usually that age lands around 25, but at times it's younger.  When I bury my head in my own mama's neck and smell her wonderful smell, I feel much smaller, not like an adult, that's for sure.


When did I become an adult? I'm a MOM. And these two independent, book loving, confident, beautifully perfect little girls, are MINE. How did that happen? When did that happen?


I've been in the mushy brain club for 4 years now.  Time seems to blend together -- the days, months, years, somehow seem endless, immeasurably linked and intertwined.


But then I think-- 4 years, is that all?! I can hardly remember my life without them, it seems like a movie I watched, a story I know... but not my story.  Surely my story begins and ends with them.  When I think back to times of my life when they weren't here yet, I find myself wondering where they were that day, what I did with them.  My mom tells a story of driving to the hospital the night she was in labor with me, and wondering where I was while she was in the hospital... birthing me. And I get it.  I absolutely get it.




These precious little people.  They change it all.  The meaning, the purpose, the desire to achieve and do the best damn job I can for them -- they change it all. 

 


Sometimes it feels so big and unfathomable, I just have to bask in the wonder of it.  




Is this real?! 


Even amidst all the chaos, the frustration, the exhaustion, and the repetition, I have to pinch myself.  And it is real. It's my real.


And it's delightful.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dear Kind Sir

I had the hellish bad luck privilege of being that mom in the grocery store tonight with a child fitfully rolling about in the middle of the produce section.  Boneless and inconsolable she was. The reason for her tantrum? It appeared that all the grocery carts with the gigantic plastic car attached to the front (you know… the ones that won’t turn a corner to save your life… the cart that forces you to literally plan your next move 5 aisles ahead of time) were all taken.  So we, unfortunately, had to use a regular cart.  Apparently this was not acceptable to her.


I went about picking out a good batch of strawberries, keeping my head strategically bowed so as to avoid eye contact with any onlookers, while she wriggled and cried – I know my girl, let her get it out and we’ll move on.


But then, something very touching happened (touching to a tired mama that is just trying to grab the necessities for dinner and be on her merry way anyway).  A young man walking into the store stopped by my fitful child and said, “Uh oh, someone’s not very happy.” I replied with a smile and a “Not at the moment…” expecting him to just mosey on shaking his head.


But he didn't. He knelt down by her and in the kindest, most understanding voice he asked her, “What’s the matter? Hmm? What’s wrong?”  He wasn’t belittling, he wasn’t mocking-- it was like he genuinely wanted to know what had her so upset.  And so, I’d like to write this—


Dear Kind Sir,

Thank you.

Thank you for your kindness today.  You didn't look at us and give us the old ‘wide-eyed-raised-eyebrows-sucks-to-be-you’ glance.  You didn't walk by as if nothing was happening.  You acknowledged us, you acknowledged my daughter—and kindly.  You knelt down to her level to make sure she was ok. And though she immediately hid behind my leg and was too shy to answer you, she stopped crying.  I don’t know if this was your grand plan, but it was brilliant none the less.  I don’t think this was your plan though.  I truly think you were just being empathetic to her feelings, and to mine. 

“I have a little one too,” you said to me, “she’s almost 2. I know these fits.” 

You related to me.  You related to her. And in the simplest way. 

You never did find out why she was so upset. You went on your way after she stopped crying.  You smiled, I thanked you. But I don’t feel like I thanked you properly – just a quick “Thanks!” with a smile of my own trying to pull it off like I've got it together and I know what I’m doing. 

How easy it is to judge something we see without stopping to relate – we can all relate on some level, but it’s easier to walk on than to stop. 

You stopped.

Thank you for stopping, for not jumping to judgement.  Thank you for being KIND.

Sincerely,

A humbled and appreciative mama

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Don't be in a hurry."

"Mom, don't be in a hurry tonight... ok?" she said to me as we snuggled into her bed to read books.


I was speechless, my guilty heart broke.


I guess I am in a hurry by the end of the night. I'm in a hurry to sink into the couch by myself and have a moment of peace-- a moment of indulgence, whether that be binge watching Scandal on Netflix, or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I am admittedly in a hurry for my time. But it never occurred to me that she could sense that. That she felt my rush.


The days are long. There is no break. (Allow me to preach to the choir of mothers reading this.) Never do both children nap at the same time, giving me a moment to myself or to catch up on the 4 laundry baskets of clean clothes waiting to be folded (for a week now) or the dishes, or - I'm going to get really fancy here -- clean the BATHROOM.


No. There is no break.


When baby is napping, big sis wants to build puzzles with me, or read books with me, or do an art project with ME. And I willingly oblige. These are precious moments, I know that. I know that the laundry can wait (another week), the dishes will be done eventually, and the bathroom-- well, the bathroom is just that; a bathroom-- the toilet bowl is still white, so I'm winning.


But I know these times of her asking “want to build a puzzle with me mommy?" will quickly fade and blur into me asking "want to do a puzzle with me baby?" as she rolls her eyes and texts her friends about how lame her mom is *insert cringe here*.


So, the day drags on, and somehow flies by at the same time. By the time the dinner battle is over -- generally with a score of exhausted-mom: 0, stalling-picky-eater-3-year-old: 1, teeth brushed, jammies on, books read... Yes, I am feeling a little anxious for MY time.


I LOVE my girls, I LOVE snuggling with them at bedtime. But in order to love my girls properly, I also need to love my own sanity. And without a few precious moments to myself, I quickly lose that. (I've only recently regained it after 11 months of a non-sleeping baby.)


With that said -- "don't be in a hurry tonight" broke me a bit. I had no response other than "I'm not, Honey," and pulled her close.

Disregard my lack of make-up and pinned back bangs here -- I suppose it goes along with the theme of "end of the day exhaustion." 


So where is the balance? When does the knowledge that *these moments are fleeting, soak it up while you can* lose out to *I need a MOMENT for myself*?


Because I know, I KNOW, that when I'm old and looking back on these days, I won't remember the episode of Breaking Bad that I watched, but I will remember the snuggles, the endless books read, the way her breathing steadies and her grasp on my hand lightens as she falls into sleep.



I also know that without my sanity, without a little time to myself, I won't be the best I can be for her or baby sister. So again I ask, where's the balance? What's the answer? For me, I suppose the answer is simply this –


Don't give up my small, precious, allotted ‘me-time,’

but…

Don’t let her feel the hurry.


Embrace the snuggles.

Embrace that she wants me there by her side.

But also, embrace my time-- when it is time.



There's no need to hurry, my alone time will come. And sooner than I'd like to acknowledge, it will come far too often.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Perspective. Part I

Perspective is a funny thing.  We are often blinded by our own opinions and we forget to take into consideration that we may not, in fact, know everything.  Perspective becomes painfully clear when we find ourselves on the other side however … the side we used to judge so easily based on our own naivety and small mindedness.  Whoa. This is getting deep. Backing up.  The reason for this post is that I now find myself on the other side of an old opinion. Many, actually.  When you become a mother, a parent, perspective finds you-- often-- and wakes you right up. 


Tapping in on some deeper reflection with a light example today.


In my short duration as a mother, perspective has made her appearance in many forms.  One being in the form of the backpack “leash.” You know-- the cute little stuffed animal backpack that looks like it’s hugging the child, but with a convenient plush “leash” attached.  I used to see this contraption and think, "Good lord, that is your child! Not your dog!”


Hello perspective.


I now know that yes indeed, this is a child – because I have one (two, actually, but this example pertains currently to the one).  I have a child that is capable enough to walk on her own, to have her own ideas and desires, and is able to make those desires known, whether that be in the form of an attempted word, some sign language, or a shrill, ear shattering scream.  She cannot, however, reason yet. I cannot explain to her that she can't walk unless she holds my hand -- I mean, I can, but it results in a boneless baby girl, screaming at the top of her lungs. I cannot reason that she must walk right by me if she wants out of the stroller.


No. There is no reasoning with a 16 month old.


So the other day, at the zoo, I attached "the leash."  And this controversial contraption allowed my baby girl to discover some independence, to have a taste of freedom, to get out of the stroller and walk with her own two feet. She was able to follow her ideas and curiosities, but safely, with me holding on-- and she was none the wiser. She was quite content actually, and watching her discover and toddle around without worrying about the crowds or her sudden disappearance, was worth the sideways glances we may have received.  The sideways glances I used to be guilty of giving. The glances from those who have yet to be shaken awake by perspective.




It's a funny thing, perspective. The stares I noticed were not from parents with young children, they were from teens, from much older adults. People that have either not reached this phase of life, or have been too far removed to remember this phase, and the beauty that is her need for freedom, and my need for her safety.



Let perspective shake you awake.  It feels a lot better to notice the grey, over the black and white of opinions and judgments.  Stop that judgmental voice in her tracks. She’s not worth it. Perspective feels better.  And until you get there, open mindedness feels pretty good too.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Someday.


The moment, and I mean the very instant, I became a mom, I got it. I finally understood– I understood my mom, my parents; the all-encompassing love, the fear… I just finally got it.  This kind of love, it is impossible to explain, you just have to feel it to know it.

 


So, my dear girls, this is for you. And someday, if you choose to become a mommy (and oh babies, I hope you do) you'll understand too...
 

You'll know why I inhale your smell, like my life depends on it, every time I kiss the top of your head.

 


You'll understand the pit in my stomach when I first hear your cry in the middle of the night, and then, the way that pit completely evaporates the moment I scoop you up and you rest your head on my shoulder.

You'll understand the notes of encouragement I have taped to my mirror that helped get me through 11 months of waking every 2 hours with you. And you'll understand why, even when you (finally!) started sleeping through the night, I still didn't-- and I probably never will again.

You'll understand why remembering your birth will bring me to tears at any moment of any day for the rest of time.


You'll understand why sometimes, just sometimes, I lock the door when I finally get a shower--and then feel guilty about it when I hear you on the other side of the door.


You'll know why, when you take my hand, press your face to my palm and close your eyes, I feel just as comforted as you do.

 
 
 
 



You'll understand why my greatest fear is losing you. 
 
                   And that my second is leaving you too soon.


You'll understand how I dread, to my very bones, the first time you feel you aren't good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough-- and how I'll convince you that you absolutely ARE.





You'll understand why my eyes well with tears as you tell a ridiculously wonderful story that is, at times, nearly impossible to understand through your lisp.


You'll finally understand why it’s so important to me that you eat dinner-- and why occasionally I give in to the feeling of failure that brings on tears after your millionth refusal to take one bite.

Also, why you can't eat chicken nuggets every night. 


You'll understand why I walk around the house like a stealth ninja navigating an active mine field when you and your sister are asleep.



You'll know the exhaustion of the repetition of every day; the dishes, the meals, the laundry, the required patience – lather, rinse, repeat. And sometimes it will get the best of you, but always, you wouldn't change it for the world.


You'll know your baby has a fever simply by kissing her forehead, and your heart will sink. 



You'll understand why, since your birth, my prayers have become more of a silent plea, a sort of hostage negotiation with God, begging Him with all my might to keep you safe, protected, and healthy all your long and happy life.




 
And you'll understand why I often look at you in heart swelling, utter disbelief-- disbelief that you are mine and disbelief that I am lucky enough to be yours.
 

My dear girls, you are my greatest gift. And you’ll understand why someday.