Monday, February 22, 2010

Lots of time...

Glow In The Woods is a fantastic blog written by 6 Babylost mamas who have a way of putting things in perspective and making you feel like you aren't a freak (which is good when you go around feeling like a freak for much of the day!) Today the post made me do some thinking. You should read it (here).

The question is: When is the first time you felt okay after your baby died? I actually remember the moment. Those of you who know me know that it was many, many weeks after Sophie died before I could see, walk and function normally. I was so, so, so very sick. In a way, that made it even more difficult because our grieving was so tied up in my physical recovery that most people were focused on that and not the deep, deep sadness that had penetrated our family. But we had two living girls who had not stopped wanting to do things. So one day, we decided to go for a "hike" up a very short mountain at Acadia National Park. It was a beautiful sunny day in early spring. There was still snow on the ground, but the sun was warm and the hike was very easy. I remember that despite the relative ease of the walk, I was out of breath and stopping often to rest. (This frustrated me to no end--a "mountain" that mere months before I would have run up in a matter of minutes was now causing me to huff and puff.) But at one point, as we rounded this turn into the sunshine, the girls running ahead and laughing, I stopped. Not because I was out of breath or because I needed to sit down, but because I found myself smiling at the sunshine and the pure joy of my children running through the spring mud. And then it hit me. I had just smiled. Smiled, for crying out loud. My baby was dead and I was smiling! Of course I stopped smiling and began to sob. Much better, I thought, this is how I have to be for the rest of my life. Chris, reading my mind at exactly the right time, took my hand in his and said, "It is okay. She wants us to be happy."

He's right, of course, and now three years out, I can find much more joy in my life than I could then. But that moment, that split-second smile, was the very first feeling of joy I had after her death. I remember it so clearly, not because of the joy, but because of the immense guilt that hit me like a ton of bricks immediately after I smiled. Like I was forgetting her or something. As if the only way to be a babylost mama is to be sad all the time and make sure everyone knows you are sad. Obviously, that isn't true, but learning it takes time. Lots of time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. Because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." --Helen Keller

What can you do today to help your children feel at peace? Because if our children feel at peace, likely they will act in peaceful ways. Republicans, democrats, presidents, "leaders" or whoever else people think are in control are nothing compared to the power of parents loving their children. I do believe this. What can I do today? (Asks the woman whose children are downstairs with a friend in an all out Star Wars battle--the ultimate fight between good and evil--lightsabers and all. Peaceful, huh?)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

He's Really One

He's one. One. From out of the ashes of our broken hearts came this little man--this little person who would never have been--our little Evan Christopher. What would we do without him??

This past year has gone amazingly fast. How is it possible that my pregnancy with him consisted of days on end when I could do little more than sit and watch the clock tick away the seconds while I obsessively checked his heart beat? Those nine months seemed like they would never end--or that they would end but not in a good way. But they did end, and they ended in a very good way. He's amazing in a way I can't describe and few can understand.

He's walking all over...has been for nearly 2 months now. He has that funny toddler sway to him--that stiff-legged swagger that makes him topple when he needs to go faster than his feet can move. He's done more than a few face plants lately as he desperately tries to run to keep up with his very busy and very fast sisters.

He loves to climb--EVERYTHING. Shelves, ladders, stools, buckets, tables, chairs...if it is in front of him, he wants to get on top of it. And the smile on his face when he is on top is usually worth any damage he created getting there!

Evan has a laugh that wins over anyone within earshot. It is the sound of pure joy that comes from deep within his soul. His sisters can bring it out with little effort and a game of peek-a-boo will always draw out at least a giggle.

I'm not sure what else I can say about the millions of little things that bring a smile to my face when it comes to my little guy. The way he cuddles up against me in the morning, the way his warm breath brushes my cheeks as we sleep, the way he manages to get into the dog water dish every time the door is left open for even a millisecond, the way he smiles, cracks himself up, says "Uh OH" as if throwing things on the floor was an accident...the list goes on. What can I say? I'm in love.

Happy Birthday, Little Guy. My wish for you is that you will always know how important you are to me, to us and to our family. We love you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My High Needs Baby

I just realized that it has been a while since I mentioned Megan in a post. My wonderful Megan. The precious middle child who somehow got sandwiched between the oldest and the missing one. The baby girl who still likes to be my baby girl in the morning as she crawls into my bed for a hug (on the mornings that she isn't already there!), but then reminds me daily as she heads off to school that she is NOT a baby and she WILL grow up and be ten someday. Yes, my beautiful little girl, you will be 10 someday.

Unfortunately for Megan, she was born right after Erin, the easiest baby on the planet. Seriously. Erin was sleeping through the night at about 3-4 weeks. She was doing 10-12 hour stretches by about 10 weeks. She was speaking fairly clearly around 13 months and therefore, as a two year old, rarely had tantrums because she could tell us what she wanted (and, being the only child at that point, she usually got what she needed right away—no hassle, no wait!). I knew, deep, deep down in my heart that Erin was such a perfect child because of my parenting. Obviously. I would see parents with kids throwing tantrums and I would think, “Well, duh! They just aren't doing it right!” I considered writing a book about parenting. Yeah.

Reality was born on a Friday night and she was a fairly easy baby for about a month. She got sick when she was 5 weeks old and was in the hospital for a week...but she got over that very quickly. She nursed a lot and all the time, but she was still young, so I didn't really think about it. By the time she was about 2 months old, she had started to cry. A lot. By the time she was 8 months old, we were nearly delirious with exhaustion from the sleepless nights. I don't remember very much about her 1st birthday. I have her baby book, so I know she was there and I know she may have even smiled, but I can assure you, she didn't sleep that night. Or the night after that either.

Megan is the baby who taught me to stop trying to meet everybody else's expectations and parent with my heart. No, I was not going to leave her crying alone at night. I just couldn't do that to her. I realize I couldn't always calm her—mostly nobody could—but if she was going to be crying, she would be crying secure in someone's arms. If she was sleeping, she was sleeping on me or next to me. The cool thing we found about co-sleeping was that it sometimes actually involved sleeping which became the most sought after treasure of the year. Megan is the reason we own every baby carrier known to man--she was our clingy baby. She would ride in the wrap on my chest, sleep in the Ergo on my back, or be anchored to my hip in the sling. Attachment parenting, the extreme edition! It was a pretty amazing experience, parenting that little toddler!

Now look at her. Secure, happy, still not always sleeping through the night, but definitely better than her first two years of life! I remember I used to jokingly tell her she was trouble and she would flash this amazing little grin and agree with me. When Grammy told her she was cute Megan would reply, “I not cute. I trouble.” Oh, my sweet, sweet Megan. Always so sure of yourself!

Megan is in her second year of a three year Montessori program. Last year she had class with her sister (who was in her third year there). This was good for her—a chance to learn the ropes and still be secure that there was someone there who would watch out for her. This year, Erin isn't there and Megan is spending more time away from her older sister than she ever has in her life. This has allowed her to really come into her own...and what a phenomenal little girl. She is so imaginative, creative, fun, unique and just full of energy.

Thank you, Megan, for what you have brought into our lives. You are a joy to watch, every day.

I wrote this post because when I reached into my pouch of parenting cards today (just for fun, not to calm down or anything), I pulled out, “Like roses, children bloom at their own best time.” They do, don't they? Megan is blooming now, and her flower is going to sparkle like glitter glue! Mark my words.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Three Years Out

A couple of my posts two weeks ago were bordering on incoherent as far as what I was trying to say. They were basically the ramblings of a babylost woman, three years out from my loss who couldn't quite put into words what I wanted to express. It is so hard, sometimes, to explain to the general public what it means to miss a child who never was but who definitely was.

Today I found this post on one of my favorite blogs, Glow In The Woods. Read it. That is what I was trying to say.

Different Kids

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and we kind of slipped into a discussion of homeschooling and why it makes sense. See, she has a baby girl just about two weeks younger than Evan. Now, Evan is walking all over...but her little girl just started to crawl. Her baby girl knows more signs than Evan and outweighs him by several pounds. These babies are different. They have different personalities, different responses to the same stimuli, different favorite books, different ways of taking things kidding. This should be obvious. But nobody, nobody in their right mind would say that she is "slow" because she isn't walking yet or that Evan is "slow" because he only does three signs. Babies and toddlers develop at different paces. Everyone knows this and everyone expects this.

So why, when kids reach the magic age of 4 or 5 or 6 (whenever your town starts schooling), do we suddenly put all the kids in one box and say, "This is what we are learning now. This is what you will be interested in and this is how you will react." Why? It just doesn't make sense. Evan and his friend will probably not have the same interests or abilities or reactions to things when they are 4 either...

Just something I was thinking of. I'm sure I've just opened a can of worms for many people though...sorry!