Monday, September 20, 2010

Stepping Out

Sometimes I feel like I can't be completely honest about things I'm thinking about. I often think I'm being judged or criticized for carrying such a deep sadness over the loss of my baby girl. Most of the time, when I'm out there in the world, I am a completely normal, functioning mother of "three." I homeschool, get children to various activities, play games, cook, clean, do laundry, read books, bandage small cuts, take out splinters, kiss noses, wash get the idea. There is nothing really to hide. But, like most Babylost Mamas, I see so clearly what isn't here, sometimes I need to stop, take a deep breath and...well, and do what many women need to do when they have some issues...I need to talk about it. But to who? This is where I can't always be honest with people. Many, if not most, of my friends have so fully moved on they think it strange when I mention her name. When I turn to Chris, he most often looks as me with the same glassy eyes I have. He simply nods, I know what you are thinking, he might say, I'm thinking the same thing...and then he'll look away. Sometimes neither of us can bear the hurt we see in the other person's eyes.

This past weekend was special in that we got to spend two days with my sister-in-law and her beautiful children, my nearly 3yo niece and 11mo nephew. The kids had a blast, running around the yard, playing in the sandbox, sharing girls LOVE their cousins and my niece? Well, she adores the girls. She gets out of the car and instantly wants to know where they are and then she will follow them everywhere (to the point that Erin begins to tire of her--"Doesn't she ever stop asking questions??" she'll say. It is one of those moments that I wish Erin remembered being nearly 3 and full of endless questions!) On Saturday, one of those perfect fall days that Maine is known for, we went down to Acadia to ride bikes on the carriage roads and play in a beautiful stream. On the way back, my niece wanted to ride in our car with Erin, Megan and Evan, so we quickly moved her carseat to our van and happily drove off, singing silly songs all the way.

Sounds perfect, doesn't it? There I was, driving down the road and in my car were four blond children, aged 7, 5, nearly 3, and 1. Three girls and a boy. Hum...anyone else thinking what I'm thinking??? I looked at Chris. He looked at me. But really, what was there to say?

This burden that we carry is ours to carry--ours alone. We get that. I would give anything to be able to look at my niece and not think about where I was when she was born (months from my baby girl, a week from a miscarriage--joy all around, basically...). I would love to be able to talk to my sister-in-law about any of it, but this sadness has permeated its way into that relationship as well. (And it isn't like I don't understand her points--would you want to be the one who has to announce her pregnancy just before your niece's memorial service? Would you want to be raising the child who so clearly fills this other gap in the family but who is so unbelievably perfect and special in her own right that it becomes almost necessary to build an invisible wall between the families? Think about the position all this has put her in! I do not envy her shoes at all!)

So, without the ability to just say her name, here Chris and I sit, just outside the world in which we so easily function most days, watching that which continues to pass us by. That missing chunk of our family that seems so invisible to everyone else, that chunk of our heart that I birthed on a cold day in January three years ago, this we will carry with us when we step back into our lives and continue to move forward. But sometimes, sometimes, when I'm deep into the regular world, I just want someone with me when I step out to weep.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Baby Is Growing Up

So tonight when Erin was in the shower, I heard her say, "YES! I can do it!" When I asked her what she was doing, she replied, "MOM! At the homeschool co-op on Friday, Seamus taught me that if you put one hand under your opposite arm and then flap your arm up and down, it makes funny noises. I can do it! Listen!"

Ahhh...her first armpit farts. I'm so very proud of my baby girl. (And people say homeschooled kids are unsocialized--HA!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today's Homeschooling Group

People often ask me what we do all day--is it really school? Well...probably not what most people think of as school, that's for sure. Today we went to a homeschool co-op meeting. We picked local corn, learned about local foods, ate a locally produced lunch. Then, we tromped down to the pond where the kids were instantly knee-deep in mud, catching water bugs and flinging mud-balls. They got cold, wet, dirty and, as you can see in the picture, completely filled with joy. Not bad for a day at school, huh?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Sister Part Two

I'm sorry to anyone who read my post the other day and thought that I was taking away anything from Erin or putting her down in any way. She, too, is a fantastic big sister. She does a lot for Evan and is very helpful to me when I need a few minutes to shower or make dinner or whatever else I need to do that would be easier to do without him. She loves him a ton and enjoys reading to him and playing on the bed with him. The difference is that she is definitely playing at his level and it is clearly NOT her level--but there is a 6 year age difference here, so this should be obvious! While Megan loves to build sand castles for him to knock down, Erin builds them only for him to knock down...does that make sense? Anyway, despite this (or maybe because of it?) Evan has two wonderful big sisters and he loves them both. Just yesterday when Erin sat down to do her spelling words, Evan joined her. "ABs" he said, "ABs" (meaning, he wants to write his ABCs).

So here they are, both intently doing their homeschool work for the day--one because she had to and one because he simply wanted to be just like his big sister. And really, who can blame him?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big Sister

Megan is absolutely the best big sister I have ever known. Her patience and willingness to do the same thing over and over (and over) again with her baby brother is astounding. The kindness she shows him is tremendous and even when she gets frustrated or whiny at him, simply asking her what we can do to help usually fixes the problem. Now, I understand that Evan is lucky enough to have two big sisters and Erin does spend some time with him, but she is quick to abandon him to play with kids in the neighborhood or find a new friend at the beach--while Megan rarely does that. She loves building sand castles for him to knock down, she loves "reading" to him with all kinds of made up stories to go along with the pictures she knows so well. Her new favorite thing to do? Baseball--that thing I told you about the other day? They have been doing that every morning.

What does Megan get out of this deal? The undying love and complete devotion of one small toddler. And I mean complete devotion. Often "Megmeg" is the first word he says in the morning and he looks for her as soon as he is done nursing (assuming she isn't in bed with us already!) When she needs some time and space, she often has to ask us to literally detach the toddler from her shirt! It is not uncommon to find her playing with Legos or Lincoln Logs in a closet somewhere with the door shut. But all kids need their space, right?

All of this is the backdrop to the quote I'm about to share with you. See, Evan is learning to talk--a lot. So often words and phrases will be said and then Megan will say, "Evan...can you say [whatever it was]?" Usually this pretty sweet, like "Evan...can you say 'baseball'?" and will be rewarded with a toddler saying, "baaayball" Then Megan claps for him, he claps for himself and everyone laughs. Today Megan had Evan in the chair with her as she "read" to him from a lift-the-flap dinosaur book.

"Evan...can you say 'herbavore'?" "hbvowre" (I'm trying to spell toddler-speak here, not easy!)

"Evan...can you say, 'carnivore'?" "cnnvowre"

"Evan...can you say, 'flesh and blood'?" "feesh booood!"

Yeah! (clap clap!) Good job!

I'm so glad he has his big sister to teach him stuff!

Here they are together in their "Meguin" pjs (which is Megan and Penguin put together, in case you missed that)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Her Birthday

Remember that friend I have who is dying of cancer? Today is her birthday. The fact that this is her last birthday is, at best, difficult to accept and, more aptly, so gut-wrenchingly unfair that I want to go to the top of the highest mountain and scream my objections to the universe until my face turns purple and I collapse in a heap of tears.

I can't wrap my brain around the very concept of her death, the whole idea of what the next few months will bring. I just don't know. I wish for very little pain and much peace for her, of course, but what about me? (I know, I know, this isn't about me...but in a way, it is...) Me? I'll still be here. Assuming I'm not killed in a random accident between now and then, I'll still be here. I'll be getting up every morning, breathing in and out all day, inhabiting my little space on this Earth...without her. How does that work, exactly? Will it affect my daily life? To be completely honest, probably not. My kids will still need to be fed, educated, hugged, kissed, etc. My husband will still need clean clothes, my dog will need his water dish refilled. My friend, who lives two hours away, has little to do with any of that stuff, you know? We no longer see each other on the daily or weekly basis that we used to when she lived closer. So in the abstract, my life will change very little.

But then there will be that moment. That moment that Evan does something really cute, or Erin says something funny or Megan draws yet another picture of Wally The Green Monster (Red Sox) and I'll pick up the phone...and she won't be around to call. What will I do then? I'm guessing that the first few times this happens, I'll simply sit down and cry--sob, really, and wish that things were different. I'll remember all the things I love about her, all the history we have together, all the love our family holds for her and I'll wish beyond possibility that things were different. Then I'll pick myself up, put the undialed phone down, and force myself back into my life. I'll move forward because, truth be told, that will be my only option. Oh, how I wish I weren't so well-versed in this routine.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend, I just don't know what else to say....

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I know it takes at least 2 weeks to start a new "habit" so I've been trying to be out running (or up exercising) by 7am every day. I went Sun, Mon, Tues and did yoga (to give my body a break) on Wed. Last night Evan was up a LOT and although he woke me to nurse at 5:40am, I just couldn't get myself out of bed (you know when your eyelids are closing as you are thinking, I should just get up). Now the thing is to try again and nail two weeks from tomorrow. That will mean running through a tropical storm on Saturday...which could be fun, don't you think?