Monthly Archives: September 2013

Aside

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler

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Yesterday, my dear friend Kate (https://www.facebook.com/chasingrainbowsblog) spent a day thinking a lot about her son Gavin. More so than usual. You see, yesterday was Gavins sixth birthday. But she did not celebrate the day with her son. Because Gavin passed away at the age of 5 1/2. Image

 

 

Gavin was born with what remained an undiagnosed genetic syndrome. His life has inspired and touched so many people. On April 14th, on Kate’s 43rd birthday, sweet Gavin passed away. I sat at my computer yesterday morning, scrolling through old photos of Gavin and crying, while my own 6 year old son sat on the floor nearby, practicing writing his letters. I wept for the unimaginable depth of grief that I can only try to imagine Kate went through and continues to tread through daily. Wept for the guilt i felt for having a son who saw his 6th birthday, and will probably see many more to come. Wept for Gavins brother who will miss him every day and for Gavins unborn sister who will never be lucky enough to have known him in person. 

I have known a lot of women who have lost children over the years. Women who clutched positive pregnancy tests and were over-the-moon ecstatic at the prospect….only to find them selves days,weeks,months later, bleeding into the toilet, helpless to stop it. I have known women who birthed still babies, cradled their silent,perfect bodies and kissed them goodbye, never knowing the joy of kissing them hello. I have known women who had to watch too-small coffins being lowered into the ground and then gone home to a house with a too-empty bedroom filled with clothes that will never be worn again and a bed that will never be slept in again.

I’ve also known women who buried husbands, fiances, brothers, sisters, best friends. You expect the day will come that you will have to say goodbye and bury your parents and your older relatives. After all, age is a common-sense denominator in life, is it not? But we tend to forget how fragile living can really be. We get in a comfort zone of assuming those who walk beside us will always be there. And the children, well of COURSE the children will never fall before we do. Look how YOUNG they are. How vibrant and alive. Oh how very naive we can be at times. 

Grief changes you. Scars your heart. Morphs the way you look at people, at circumstances, at living your own life. 

I myself lost my best friend and fiance 2 1/2 years ago. There literally is not a single day that passes that he is not on my mind in some way. He is in the way Drezdyn love salami and chocolate milk. The way my older boys throw a football. An inside joke that  can still make me laugh out loud in an empty room when it crosses my mind as if he is right here with me whispering it in my ear. He is a part of me. He is why I am the woman I am today, as much by his life as by his passing. His presence being in my life showed me the strength within myself. The loss of that presence helped me see that strength in action. I am forever indebted, forever grateful, forever changed by his life and by his death. 

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Life is a fragile bird. So, treat it with kindness. Take time to cajole it from the nest and take flight. Honor it. Respect it. Live it. Love it. 

And for those who walk this journey with you, tell them how much you love them. Tell them thank you. Hug them. Laugh with them. Hold them just a little tighter. A little longer. 

We are never promised tomorrow. 

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Seeing The Beauty

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We as women are set up to fail in the beauty department. Go flip through any womens magazine. Every third page is an ad for a wrinkle cream, a weight loss pill, an acne medicine, a hair shine serum. We are made to believe from a very early age that we are meant to be a size 3 with flawless skin and shiny hair and perfect straight white teeth and perky round breasts and a cute little butt that is THERE but not TOO there. Being a teenage girl can be hell for any girl who buys into those standards and measures herself against them. 

Then we become mothers. And shit we thought we had all under control totally unravels. Hips widen. Breasts change. Even our FEET can go up in size. There are stretch marks and veins and softening of flesh in places we had all this time worked SO damn hard to keep tight and firm. Sure, we have this amazing, awesome baby that we would fight to the very death to protect and we are in heaven getting to be a mom. But when we place the baby down to sleep and eye ourselves critiquely in the mirror, what we see often depresses us. We find it hard to see ourselves as beautiful. We worry our husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends will not see us sexually appealling any longer. 

Here’s the thing. 

Mothers are sexy. More so, in my opinion, than some taut skinny 19 year old girl. Because a 19 year odl girl is just beginning to understand what sexy means. But a mother has taken sexy and formed it into life and birthed a mother fucking human from out of her act of sex and then continued to use her body to care for that miracle life, by snuggling it, by nursing it, by nurturing it. A mother is the grace of a gazelle blended with the raw power of a lion. A mother is soft where she once was hard muscle. Because it requires softening to become a mother. Patience and gentleness and love. Breasts cease being only sexual objects of desire and suddenly serve a greater purpose. The stretch marks are like tattoos that serve as reminders of every kick we felt, every contraction we encountered, every beautiful, wonderful, marvelous moment of that portion of our journey. I know women who have been trying for years to have a child. It is their deepest wish and desire. They would give ANYTHING to have stretch marks dance across their skin. Anything. 

Throw the damn “beauty” magazines away. Change the channel when some commercial comes on telling you how being skinnier or less wrinkled will somehow make you better. Teach your daughters what true beauty is all about. Tell them it’s courage. It’s women who face cancer while carrying a baby in their womb. Its women who try so hard to breastfeed and cry while they pump precious drops of milk with a pump into a bottle for fragile newborns in the NICU. Its a single mother who takes her new baby home to their apartment and fills it with so much love that that baby never notices another parent is missing. Its women who birthe babies without any medication. And women who cling to their husbands hand while they undergo and emergency C section. Beauty is courage. Beauty is individuality. Beauty is the woman who sings her baby to sleep while he sways in a swing by her side as she recovers from a C section. Beauty is the woman who carries her baby in a sling while she grocery shops. Beauty is the woman who tandem nurses her newborn and toddler daughter at the same time. Beauty is wide hips perfect for balancing babies and toddlers on while we stand in line at the grocery store. Beauty is soft breasts that were once filled with milk, amazing life-giving milk. Beauty is the soft, pliable flesh of our bellies were life once grew and developed and lived, a reminder how truly awesome we are. 

Our potential is limitless. We are amazing. Gorgeous. Sexy. Stunning. 

It’s all in how we look at it. 

Go ask your children. Children aren’t dumb enough to buy into media hype. They don’t give a rip about what media says is beauty. They know they have the most beautiful mother on earth. 

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To My Someday Daughter

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Dear Someday (Maybe) Daughter:
This is the second letter I have found myself moved to write to you on my blog. I find you heavier on my mind in these past few weeks, as this pregnancy progresses and I often pause to wonder if you are already nestled within me, growing beneath my heart, or if I am carrying another son.
I know the politically correct thing to say is I want only a healthy baby. And frankly, if this newest child is a son, I know without a shadow of a doubt I will love him with such a deep passion and depth, just as I love his brothers who came before him.
But to be 100% honest here, I’ve been waiting a very long time for you. You who often visits me in my dreams, with your long wavy brown hair. You with a smile like a fairy. You who loves dancing and climbing trees, running and giving hugs. You whose very laugh can make the stars dance. I see friends who have daughters in all stages of life and I am envious for them. My friends who have baby girls with frilly dresses and giant flower bows perched on top of wispy hair on fat baby girl heads. My friends who have toddler daughters who wear leopard print leggings and sparkly tutus and have chubby cheeks and knees and speak oh-so-sweetly in toddler dialect and make that delicious stubborn-toddler-girl pouty face. Friends with teenage daughters who are growing into young women and finding their own strength and identity. Friends with grown daughters who share such a lovely friendship and are silly together.
I want that with you. All of it. I want the pink and the gentle fragility of a newborn baby girl. I want a daughter whom I can teach about loving her body, standing up for her beliefs, throwing a mean right hook, weaving flowers into crowns, empathy, acceptance, good poetry, dancing barefoot in the sand, making her own pathway through this life. I want all of it with you, my Someday Daughter.
I love my sons. Im good at this Mother Of Boys gigs. I really am. My life is such a fun blessing. I am grateful. I am complete.
And yet…..some times..in the quiet moments…I sense something still is missing here. Within my heart, within these walls, within our family.
I love you. I’ve loved you for years and years now. With every son I birthe, I cradle them close, baptize them in tears of joy and gratitude, and feel a teensy little twinge deep within my soul that whispers “Maybe someday…..”
My name is Tonia and I’ve carried you in my heart since I was 14 years old and first settled on a name for you. You are very much a part of myself. I hope I can meet you someday. Look into your eyes and tell you “Welcome home.”

Love,
Your Mommy
xoxoxoxo

It Won’t Always Be This Way

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We’ve all been there. Had those days as parents when we wonder why we even HAD these kids in the first place. 

Oh, I know what we all SAY. We tell people how oh-so-very-blessed we are.We say we cannot imagine life without these babies. We post lovely memes on FaceBook of cherub-faced children that say such poetic crap about our children being our joy, our reason for getting out of bed every morning. 

Sure, my kids are the reason I get out of bed every morning. But that’s only because they wake up in argue-whine-scream mode at 7:00 a.m. and are at the side of my bed begging for pancakes and demanding I break up their incessant fights over light sabers and socks. 

Look, lets be honest here. We all love our kids. No one is neggating THAT little fact. But we also have moments when we lock ourselves in the bathroom and blast the sink water just so we can sob in defeat. We all make deals with the devil if our angels will just GO TO BED AND STAY THERE because it’s hit after 11 p.m. and we are bone-numbing weary. We all wonder how the flip so-and-so can handle being super mom while dressed like a freaking supermodel and singing songs like Mary Flippin Poppins and meanwhile we consider it a triumph if all in one day we can manage to shower, shave our legs (both of ’em!) and brush our teeth. All while keeping our kids alive thankyouverymuch. 

Let me be the first to assure you on this: 

IT WON’T ALWAYS BE THIS WAY. 

You won’t always have to clear schoolpapers and toys and shoes and sippy cups off of the couch just to clear enough space for your Mother In Law to sit. There won’t always be a barbie in the toilet. Or a matchbox car in the freezer. Or a melted candy bar stuck to the closet floor. Or glue in the cats fur. 

Some day, you will be able to buy a brand new pair of shoes and they WON’T get drawn on with a marker. You’ll get a new hoodie sweatshirt and no one will cut the strings off the hood because they need a leash for their stuffed puppy. You’ll have nice dishes and they won’t get broken. All of your silverware will be used only for eating with and  will NOT be found out in the yard being used as shovels. The bar of soap in the bathroom won’t be coated in mud. Your windows won’t be covered in smear marks from dirty sticky fingers and greasy noses. Your purse and car will not be loaded with random odds and ends. You’ll sleep straight through the night and wake up feeling rested.

Someday you’ll get that privacy you are always complaining about not having. You’ll get to canoodle with your hubby in the afternoon on the couch if you want to. You won’t have to sit through onemoredamntime of Cars or Monsters Inc or any other Pixar/Dreamworks/Disney animated movie. You’ll get to go to dinners at fancy restaurants and out to see rated R movies. You’ll go on vacations. 

You’ll have a whole bed to yourself and your spouse. Or dog. Or yourself. There will be no getting peed on in the middle of the night. No one nursing on you from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. . No tiny feet kicking you in the back. Or in the face. No battling over covers with a 40 pound blanket-hogging gremlin. 

You won’t have to stay awake half of the night watching this tiny creature slumbering peacefully because you simply can’t bear to STOP watching. You won’t feel tiny bursts of soft warm breath on your neck as you cradle a sleeping baby on your shoulder and pat her squishy diapered bottom. You won’t get to smell that new-baby smell emenating off of the top of his warm little skull. There won’t be a preschooler at your bed talking about bad dreams and asking sweetly to “sweep wif yew Mawmaw?”

There won’t be anyone who wants to make a tent with you in the living room and watch a marathon of all the classic Disney movies while munching on homemade peanut butter cookies and stove-popped popcorn and strawberry milk while snuggled under fluffy blankets. There will be no one begging you to do your Grover and Yoda impersonations. Their birthdays will come and you won’t get to bust into their room with a bunch of helium balloons in hand while dancing goofily and singing The Beatles “Birthday Song” at the top of your lungs. That room will just be a place where you keep Christmas decorations and old clothes. That bed they used to  sleep in will be a “guest bed”. (Although frankly, you never have over night guests.) 

Your home will get clean and STAY THAT WAY. You’ll clean those windows until they sparkle in the afternoon sunlight and they will keep on sparkling for days and days after. And you’l sit there one day looking at those pristine windows and recalling how your son would squish his fat little face up to that very window whenever he saw you coming up the walkway, his little nose getting all smooshed to one side as he mouthed to you through  the glass: “Mommy!” And you’ll realize how much you miss it. And you’ll kinda wish your windows weren’t so clean. 

You’ll miss those after-school drives home when your pre teen would spill out her days story to you and you’ll recall how it sometimes got a bit annoying and silly but now she only calls once a week to chat on the phone with you and you really miss her 12 year old ramblings. You’ll think back to when your son was a teenager and all of his friends would come over and plop down on your furniture and eat you out of house and home and be really really loud and watch The Simpsons and play the XBox and now your house is very very quiet in the evenings and actually kind of boring. 

Someday, someday more soon than you even realize, they will be all grown up and gone and you’ll have exactly every little thing you complain about NOT having and very much wanting right now. 

And it will only be THEN, that you will realize how much you ironically MISS it all. 

Even the tough stuff. 

When my first son was born, he was a preemie and struggled to figure out breastfeeding. He would wake up every 3 hours at night to eat. I’d sit in the living room trying SO hard to get him to latch on and nurse. We both tried so hard to get it right. But he never got the latch part right and after awhile he would begin to get frustrated and hungry and begin to cry. So I would pull out the breast pump and pump a bottles worth while crying myself, then feed him that bottle, lay him back down to sleep and go back to bed myself, feeling like a failure and hating the nights myself. 

But now, now that that tiny baby is a 12 year old young man, I can look back and realize that it was those long, exhausting nights were the beginning of a wonderful, beautiful relationship with a pretty awesome boy. In those long, hard nights we got to know each other. I found my strength as  a mother. I look back and am amazed that as a brand new 21 year old mother I was so very determined to give my son the best start that I would do all of that extra work and sacrifice sleep for it. I recall fondly how zen it was when the entire world was deep asleep and it was just me in the dim quiet of our living room snuggling that tiny perfect little baby and listening to him slurp and gulp and make all of those sweet newborn sounds. 

I know as time ebbs on, I will enjoy the journey to come. To watch my relationship with these marvelous young men evolve as they step out into the world and discover their wings. 

I also know I will be forever grateful for the short time I had to help them develop roots.

❤ 

 

 

 

An Ode To Breasts

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Boobs. Knockers. Melons. TaTas. The Girls. 

Whatever you call ’em. 

Mine have been a part of my life since before they were a part of my life. When I was 12 I became obsessed. A few of my friends had already been blessed with boobs. My chest was sadly still flat. I used to steal my moms bras from her dresser and stuff them with socks and stand sideways in front of the mirror admiring my potential. (I am built petite…..I’m pretty sure I overshot my potential in those moments. 4 pairs of socks may have been pushing it. I wasn’t ever gonna be Dolly Parton.) 

I finally started my menses at age 14. I sent a school photo to my best friend who lived back in Connecticut. He wrote a letter back that said “Hey! You finally got boobs!” 

From that point until age 20 when I had my first son my breasts were a source of generalized concern. They were not shaped “right”. I had seen porn magazines. I assumed all boobs looked like THAT. Mine were a solid A cup. No more. I longed for a nice pair of C or D cups. After all, isn’t that what men found sexy? At age 18 I went out and spent $40+ dollars on a WonderBra at Victorias Secret. It was padded with a good 2 inches of padding. The padding was filled with water. It gave me the illusion of having bigger breasts. For the first time in my life I knew what cleavage looked like on me. And I loved it. I loved the attention I got from men. Not anything whore-y. Just the lingering glances they made at my chest when they spoke to me. And the little  boost of confidence I got from wearing that bra. It made me walk differently. With more confidence. 

In 2001, 2 weeks shy of my 21st birthday, my husband and I welcomed our first son. He was born 5 weeks premature. I had decided during the pregnancy that I was going to breastfeed my son. But for the first 24 hours of life he had a tube intubated down his throat. Then another tube in his mouth for 2 days. He was 3 days old before I was allowed to attempt to nurse him. I sat awkwardly in a rocking chair in the middle of the NICU, cradling my tiny newborn son who was connected to all sorts of tubes and wires and sensors that were attached to machines that beeped in alarm if I pulled any of them by mistake. A nurse rolled over a little divider curtain to hide me. I pulled up my shirt and pressed my sons tiny face to my MAMMOTH boob. (Oh yeah, if you have never had a kid, lemme tell ya….no one warns you that your boobs will qaudruple in size when your milk comes in and become full and hard as rocks.It wasnt sexy. It was painful. And weird. )

Anyway I pressed his face to my boob. His poor head was dwarfed in comparison. And……..nothing happened. I had no clue what to do. He had no clue what to do. A lactation consultant came over and manhandled my boob and shoved my nipple into his mouth. She taught me how to do what I thought was supposed to be natural and instinctive. It wasn’t. It often isn’t. The first time my baby boy popped off of my breast in mid-feeding and milk sprayed everywhere out of a half dozen milk ducts I was all “Holy CRAP!!! ” Because my naive brain assumed it came out of one single hole in the middle. 

The more I breastfed my son, and the ones who came after, the more I became impressed with my boobs. Turns out, size and shape doesn’t mean shit. Boobs are pretty freaking awesome. I managed to feed, nurture and comfort 6 sons with them over the course of 12 1/2 years. I am currently still nursing my 13 month old son. When he gets hurt or gets fussy I can simply nurse him and he becomes instantly calm and content. Its like a magic elixir. Pretty damn badass if you ask me. 

When my son Bailey was a newborn we shared a miserable case of thrush. Got rid of it with gentian violet. Whcih is a natural remedy, a liquid you must paint on your nipples and your babies mouth. So, for a week straight I had deep purple hued nipples and my infant son had a purple mouth. During the week, the thrush caused A LOT of pain. I would sit in bed nursing my son, my hands clenched in fists as I cried through the  pain, determined to continue giving my son what was best for him. 

In 2005 I had a scare. Found a lump in my left breast. Thought at first it was simply a clogged milk duct. But after 2 weeks it was still there, no matter what I did to get rid of it. I realized it was more than that and I started to get scared. went to a doctor who tried to tell me it was “just a clogged milk duct probably.” That doctor was a moron. (PROBABLY???? Thanks for the certainty, doc.) 

Went to another doctor. Found out it really wasn’t anything serious. Nothing cancerous. 

I am 33 now. My Girls aren’t like what they were back when I was 18.And frankly, I don’t miss ’em. They’re familear now. Comfortable. They’re a little softer. Kinda like a favorite t shirt thats been worn a million times and becomes super soft and cozy and fits like a glove. 

I see those pictures of the women who have had boob jobs and have those globular shaped huge knockers. I don’t envy them anymore. Mine fed 6 sons. Mine are still enjoyed by my man. Mine are both purposeful and beautiful. Sexy and wonderful. Just like the rest of my body. 

We as women must reach a point where we are comfortable enough to embrace our sexuality. Where we can love our breasts for all of the purposes they have. Where we can stand and be proud of the fact we have them. I know women who fought a battle with breast cancer and won with their life but had to sacrifice their breasts in order to do so. Those  women understand being a woman is not EVER wrapped up in whether we have boobs at all. But to love them and respect them if we do. To be thankful for them. 

Its taken me until age 33 to really be happy for what I have. To feel secure in who I am on the INSIDE so I can therefore be content with the outside. 

 

You Are What You Eat: Healthy Foods For Healthy Bodies

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It began in 2004. My oldest son was 3 and hardwired for hyperactive behavior. My gut knew that medication was simply not the solution. But behavioral management techniques alone were not enough. Then I stumbled onto a website that was praising the results of the Feingold Diet. I began to learn about the short and long term effects of artificial dyes and additives and flavors. I began to pay closer attention to how my son behaved after eating a bowl of brightly colored cereal as opposed to when he ate an apple or a salad or some home made stew. Once I began to really pay attention I was shocked with how obvious it was. I began to notice that I myself got a little fidgety and scatterbrained when I binged on chocolate and soda. I felt so much more clear headed when I ate whole foods.
In contrast, when my husband and I first separated, I sent the boys to his home one day to visit and against my request he allowed them to have cookies. “Just a few chocolate chip cookies.” he shrugged it off casually. Those few chocolate chip cookies resulted in my eldest son acting like a crazed monkey on crack and inevitably punching his younger brother straight in the face in a moment of pure impulse. For no reason. This experience cemented my mindset that I wanted to feed my kids an all-natural diet. And that is what we have stuck with. The way I put it “No foods that your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize .” My kids go nuts for fresh fruit. On our property we grow wild strawberries, blackberries, pears and apples. My kids are free to pick them anytime they want a snack. We make snacks as a family. Peanut butter popcorn. Banana bread. Baked kale.
Yes, it’s tough at times. Like birthday parties and holidays when every other kid in the room is binging on candy and cake and soda. But I’ve learned to carry extra snacks and drinks for those situations. And my kids have been known to tell people “Oh I can’t have that, it has Red 40 in it.” They themselves have seen other kids having ADHD and bi polar and autistic meltdowns and they understand it’s easier to avoid such issues when they eat whole foods without all of the crap. I myself have learned my anxiety levels shoot sky high when I drink an energy drink or eat too many additives.
In 2008 I became raw foods vegan. (A diet I have since veered away from but am gradually working back towards.) I was amazed at the amount of energy I had while I ate that type of diet. I cut out all caffienne as well, drinking only water and herbal teas. It was the healthiest and most vibrant I had ever felt in my entire life. There is much to be said for the benefits of ingesting live enzymes.
I ate McDonalds a few months back. The flavors were intriguing. But man oh man did I feel like I had eaten a wad of cement and grease afterwards. Ugh.
So many people do not realize that it is just as possible to become addicted to foods than it is to become addicted to alcohol or cigarettes or other such things. Those food cravings you get are no different than the craving a smoker gets for his next cigarette. It can be hard at first to cut those types of things from your diet. But the results are amazing.And worth it.
I fully believe so many of our health problems, whether psychological or physical , can be cured by a healthy diet of all natural, organic foods. What ails us is all too often simply just a lousy diet.

Holy Crap My Baby Brother Turned 25 (And I’m Too Broke To Buy A Gift So I Wrote This Blog)

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It was 1988. I was 8 1/2. (That half is crucial when you are a kid.) My mom had just given birth to my baby brother. Once I had gotten over the initial bummer of finding out my new sibling had the wrong genitalia, I went to the hospital along with my Grandma and Aunt to meet the little creature.
I’ve been handed 6 other newborn baby boys since then. All of those were my sons. I recall THIS memory just as vividly as I recall those. Except I think there was much more adoration and magic and bliss with my sons. When they handed me my baby brother, I cradled him awkwardly, peered into his little wrinkly red face and thought two things immediatly “Wow, he’s small.” and “Boy, he’s weird looking.”
He didn’t look anything like the baby doll my mom had bought me months earlier to get used to properly holding a baby. He wasn’t all rosy-cheeked and plump and dimply and smiley. He was pink and scrawny. He looked sort of like a bald monkey. He sqaulled a lot. He was weird. And annoying. And kinda boring.
One day at home, while watching my mom change his clothes and attempt to shove his rubber, wiggly arms and legs into some ugly, tacky 80’s style sailor outfit, I informed my mother “He looks weird.” (His skin was all splotchy from screaming for teh past five minutes, which wasn’t helping matters.) She replied “All babies look like that.” I wondered what led so many women to want to be moms if THAT is what they end up with.
But then he started growing. He started plumping up and crawling around. (MAN did he plump up. He became a bit of an over-achiever in the weight-gain department.) He got downright cute. And fun. And I started to forgive him a little for being a boy.
When I was 11 and he was 3, we shared a bedroom. Not a great deal for me. He liked destroying my stuff. But at night I would scoop him up in my arms and rock him while singing ” His” song (the one I always sang to him- “Kuckabearah”) and rocked him until my arms ached. I loved it. It was my first taste of motherhood. A glimpse of what was to come. I woudl weave him elaborate stories about the “dew fairies”, explaining to him that teh reason the grass glistened with dew in the early morning was because the dew fairies came out late at night to dance on the grass. We would venture out onto the lawn after dinner time and hunker down to brush our hands across the damp blades of grass and he would stare in awe as I would whisper the magical tale once again.
I lived 8 years with just my mother. We were a GIRL home. Now here was this boy to come along and stir it all up. Suddenly we became privy to matchbox cars and Star wars and Pokemon. He was a strange breed. He would spend a solid half hour just lining up his crayons by color in OCD-like rows at the table. He did the same thing with his matchbox cars, lining them up in categories in his room. I found it sort of creepy. I preferred the chaos and clutter of my bedroom, where my clothes all lived on the floor and stuff sometimes grew under my bed. He saved every penny he earned. I blew my cash on junk. He kept his Halloween candy until Christmas. I devoured all of mine in two days. And then would sneak into his room to eat from HIS stash. (Sorry, bro, that’s where all of your chocolate went.)
Then he got a little older and started developing this awesome sense of humor. And intelligence. He was awesome. Suddenly he was evolving into my FRIEND. (gasp) I could discuss things with him. Thoughts, beliefs , ideas. I could laugh with him. laugh until I cried. Laugh until our stomachs hurt.Laugh while our mom eyed up suspiciously like we were both certifiably nuts and she wasn’t certain if we could possibly genetically be hers.
My brother and I are opposites in so many ways. He lives in New England, in a busy tourist state. He’s a college graduate, works full time at the same job he has held since he was 16. I’m a hippie mother of soon-to-be-7. I live in a small Southern town and spend my days home schooling and blogging. But what connects us is that one single, unbreakable thread called FAMILY. Nothing can sever that. Not distance or age or pathways taken individually. I would stand up beside him and defend any cause that stirred his heart. I would walk through hell with him. I would swing my sword with every bit of courage I could muster to protect him. He is my brother. That word encapsulates it all. He is the zen to my tantrum. The calm to my storm. The GPS to my hopelessly lost. The nerd to my hippie. The wise to my intuition. The believer to my fantasy. And I love him. Not only because he is my brother, but also simply because he is a genuinly groovy guy.
Nick

Mourning For Angels

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Statistics say that miscarriage occurs in approximately 20% of all pregnancies. But that is only counting the miscarriages that were medically reported. It does not take into account the women who have early miscarriages at home who may not go to a hospital or the women who may not realize they even WERE pregnant and just assume the heavy bleeding and cramping to be a late period. The actual percentage of pregnancies that end in miscarriage could be as high as 40 or 50%.
I am what the medical community calls a habitual aborter. Nice, right? The label makes me cringe. I am a huge advocate of pro-life so to have a label slapped on me which makes it sound like I on purpose kill my unborn babies……it bothers me deeply. I have 6 children alive and well on earth. But what many people do not know is that in the past 13 years I have also lost 6 babies inutero. One at 20 weeks and 5 more were all early miscarriages at 8 weeks or earlier. The only difference between my late term loss and my early miscarriages is with the late term loss I had baby clothes I had to fold up and pack away into boxes when I got home from the hospital. The emotional pain cut just as deep at 8 weeks or 5 weeks. The moment I took that positive test the plans for that baby were set into motion. baby names began to roll around in my head. I started eyeing adorable teeny baby outfits at the store. I imagined how my older son would handle being a big brother. As my mother put it when she suffered her own loss a decade ago: “I already knew where we were going to put the crib.”
That encapsulates it all right there. The existence of this tiny being begins to shift and change your entire life. The unexpected loss of that life within you very abruptly brings those plans and changes to a screeching halt. Smashes into you like a car crash. Rips the dreams out of your arms. Yanks the rug right out from under your feet.
And the kicker of it is, in the midst of unspeakable grief and confusion, you find that the comfort can be very shallow. Not that anyone purposely wants to make you feel bad. But the fact is, if you haven’t been through a loss like that, you cannot begin to understand all that it entails. The grief, the jealousy of other pregnant women, the guilt and blame, the questions that often go unanswered. You get offered such comfort as “You can always try again.” “Well, at least you have your other children still.” “Maybe God took it because it had deformities and it would have had a hard life.”
What those folks do not realize is that there are NO WORDS to say to soothe that kind of raw pain. That a mother is a mother whether she has ever held her child in her arms or not. That to some, a miscarriage is just an unfortunate incident, a pregnancy lost. But to mothers who suffer through it, it is a child lost. A potential future cut short. I have a friend who just this past week lost her precious son at 16 weeks. As she put it to me ” A persons a person, no matter how small.” (Dr. Seuss sure hit the nail on the head with that one, didn’t he?)
Tomorrow is my ultrasound. Two p.m. A part of me is giddy with excitement. To be able to see that tiny lima bean shaped creature with its rapidly beating heart nestled deep within me. To see all is well. I can’t wait.
But another part of me is absolutely terrified.
I’ve been through 2 miscarriages where I didn’t bleed at all. The only way I knew I had lost my child is that the heart was still, oh-so-perfectly-still, on that ultrasound screen. I’m scared of seeing that again. I am scared of my body betraying me and failing my unborn babe. This is The Mans first child. I am scared of feeling like I failed him.
Miscarriage has been on my mind a lot recently. Two close friends of mine have suffered through that loss in the past couple of months. Another friend of mine is currently half way through her pregnancy after suffering multiple losses. I have watched these strong women navigate terrifying waters and keep their chins up above the water line and I have nothing much to say to them to help. Because I know nothing really does. Just love. Just hugs and support. Just permission to grieve in whatever way is needed that day.
We mothers of angels. We women mourning for angels. We are all members of a club we never wanted to be initiated into. A club that has dues that are far too steep. We never forget though. These angels will always be our children. Always.
I light a candle tonight for each of your angels. Namaste. ❤