May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Staring My Demons In The Eye

I have always been a shy person and there are so many reasons for that.  In part because genetics have not been my friend.  I was sporting eyeglasses before I started school, got asthma in first grade, wore braces starting at age 11 for five years (yes 5 years!) and those braces were super awesome with rubber bands, then due to the congenitally missing teeth as a teenager I was missing two front teeth and had a super fun retainer with fake teeth which through a couple surgeries was then replaced by dental implants.  And I won't even go to my frizzy, coarse thick hair, bad skin, or abnormally long legs with a short torso (which equaled high water pants)....the list goes on.  Basically I never felt confident in my appearance nor was I given any reason to feel confident in my appearance.

I can now say that my appearance issues for the most part have resolved themselves  - even my hair (yay!) and I do feel confident in my appearance.  But inside, I'm still that teenage girl sometimes and I tend to regress to her emotional maturity.  Which means that I basically crawl inside myself socially.

This is where the demons have found their ways in.  The cracks in my facade have left them plenty of room.  The insecurities are deep and profound at times.  Wyatt and Eli's lives and deaths only intensified those feelings and urges.  During each of their pregnancies and after I delivered them I felt that my forehead had some kind of neon sign announcing that my baby would or had died.  I was sure that sadness was just seeping from my pores most days.  I didn't want people to see that, I didn't feel comfortable with many people seeing that.  My answer was to huddle in where people couldn't see that.  And each time, it took a lot of time for me to venture back out into the world.  Even then, I was so fragile, so afraid of just breaking apart.  I avoided so many social situations and find myself still doing so even two years after Eli's birth.

Until last weekend.  Through fate and a long string of fortuitous circumstances I didn't just agree but volunteered to organize and create a new spring carnival for our elementary school's pto.  Did I mention that the school has almost 700 kids?  I put over two months of blood, sweat and tears into it and had many sleepless nights wondering if it would actually happen and then if it did, whether my ship would sink or float.  Friday was that night.  But to make it happen I had to stare my demons right in the eye.  I had to put a smile on my face and look people straight in the eye, over and over and over and over that night.  Not something that is easy for me to do.  Definitely sent my flight reaction into overdrive.  But I did it!  I walked around that carnival all afternoon and evening organizing volunteers, introducing myself, talking to participants and ... I enjoyed it!  For me it's just more proof that I can get through anything, even when that self doubt creeps in.

Because of my boys I can always tell myself in a difficult situation that I have been through much much worse and I know that's true.  I know that I made it to the other side not once but twice and that most anything else is small peanuts.

Take that demons.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Two Years Flies By When Mourning a Rosebud and Raising a Rose

Today is Eli's second birthday.  In my memory he was born just yesterday.  Memories are like snapshots frozen in time.  I remember getting to the hospital, just my husband and I wearing my "lucky birthing outfit" (I've been able to wear the same outfit to the hospital all six times I gave birth).  I remember waiting for everyone else to arrive.  I remember before going to the OR everyone waited to give me a hug one by one before they filed out and left us alone once again.  I remember the excitement of knowing in just moments I would meet my little boy.  I remember pure joy at hearing his cry and knowing he was alive.  I remember my very next thought was of his impending death.  I remember crying and smiling and smiling and crying as I stroked his cheeks and nose.  I remember the soft little cries he emitted.  I remember when those cries stopped and he became still.  I remember my cries when that happened.  I remember how Eli looked in my husband's arms.   I remember the wonder of his naked little body as we bathed and dressed him.  I remember every precious moment we spent as a family of five as I watched my daughters meet their brother and snuggle with him.  I remember the anguished cries of my older two girls as they sobbed uncontrollably when they had to say goodbye.  I remember how good it felt to take pictures because I knew how invaluable each one would become.  I remember the anguished cries as I had to say goodbye.  I remember the crushing  loneliness after he left us that evening.

I've wondered how it's possible to miss someone I didn't even know so much.  I have no real memories, no words to cling to, no stories to laugh or cry about, nothing but a few items of clothing, a clip of hair and many photographs and snippets of video.  But I did know him.  He was knit in my womb.  I knew him from the moment of creation.  My body recognized a tiny bundle of cells as a human being that needed special care and attention from that moment on.  I grew to understand his waking and sleepy times, his movements and even what sounds he liked.  I knew his spirit from within and I believe he steadied my spirit.

I miss you baby boy.  Every minute of every hour of these last two years.  Happy birthday.


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