Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An open letter to my future child, part 2.

I am really going to screw up. A lot. Like, a lot a lot.

I will occasionally cuss when I step on a Lego with my bare foot, or when you spill a drink on one of my Apple products, or when you rip the pages in that book that I just got you yesterday. I might ignore you when you're asking a million questions in the car and all I want to do is get home and pour a glass of wine when you go to bed, or maybe even before that. The Tooth Fairy might forget to put money under your pillow. I will occasionally have to throw away pieces of your preschool "art" when you aren't looking so it doesn't hurt your feelings. I will forget to pack snacks for your soccer team. These things will happen, and I won't be the perfect parent, because the perfect parent doesn't exist.

This is why I have to work on being the best version of me that I can right now, before I meet you.

Because it's not your job to fix me. 

I need to deal with the grief of losing the babies that came before you. I need to learn to be nice to people even when I'm sleepy and out of coffee creamer. I am trying to think before I speak, even when I'm angry. I'm learning to consider other points of view before forming opinions. I am establishing a career so I can afford all the things you will need as you grow. I am practicing being alone and happy on my own, because if I can't do that, I'll be a terrible partner later in life. I'm trying to budget my money, to pay off debts, to work extra while I still have the energy. I'm not your mother yet, but I'm making room for you in my life so that when I meet you, I'll be ready.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

An open letter to my future child

I don't know your name yet. I don't know if you'll grow inside my body, or in someone else's. Maybe you're already out in the world somewhere, breathing the same air I am. Maybe the same moonlight that weaves its fingers between the slats in my blinds also lights your windowsill each night.

I don't know what you'll look like. I don't know if you'll be fascinated with outer space or if you will love art like me, or both. It's possible you'll be one of those kids who never. stops. singing. Maybe you'll be totally into sports and I'll finally have to learn to love baseball in order to connect with you. Or maybe you'll be a bookworm and you'll beat me in Scrabble thanks to your ever-growing vocabulary. Maybe I'll read you a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time each night like my mother read to me. You'll really like my mom-- she's funny and so smart.

Maybe you'll hum when you chew your food like your uncle did when he was a toddler. I will hope you like vegetables, and try to feed you foods that will help you grow strong. Maybe you'll hate bath time, but I hope you don't, because I have a very sensitive nose.

I'll love you even when you're sick and whiny. I'll love you even when you say you hate me. I'll love you when you smell and when you say embarrassing things in public. I'll love you when we are at the kitchen table, struggling so much with your math homework that we are both in tears. I'll love you even when you're three and also when you're thirteen and slam your door all the time.

I don't know who your father will be. It might be just us, and that's okay. I don't know your story yet, but I want to-- I want to know and love everything about you, but not yet.

I'm not sure when I'll meet you, or who I'll be then. I can promise I'll be stronger than I am right now. I know the road to you, no matter who or where you are, will be long and hard, and I'll cry some on the way. But you're worth the wait because I'm worth the wait.

I want to be the best mom I can be for you, and that means I need to do some hard work first. But don't worry, I think about you every day and I know that the second I see your face and you lay your head on my shoulder or put your hand in my hand, I'll be right where I belong. Every single tear I've cried along the way will be worth it.

Every single tear I cried this week will have been worth it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All the shades

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.” 

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vegan cookies are the best medicine, and other thoughts on grief and gratitude

To this day I have only received one shipment of homemade vegan cookies.

Then that box of yummy, banana-y, chocolate-y love arrived on my doorstep. I had just experienced my third miscarriage. I was delirious. I laughed constantly, which was weird to most people. A coping mechanism, I was told. My sarcasm was at an all-time high. And I was at an all-time high, too, taking more pain pills than I needed. I had lost all motivation to exist, except for to watch the box set of Harry Potter that Brittany had lent me while eating batch after batch of the most delicious cookies Carey had sent-- with love from California.

After my first miscarriage, my small group leader, Jacki (who coincidentally was also vegan), brought over this sausage and lentil stew with freshly baked bread. "My friend recommended it, and I wanted to make sure I brought you something that would make you feel a little warmer." It was February. I wasn't a seasoned miscarriage veteran at this point. I broke down sobbing in the kitchen, my bare feet on the cold tiles.

Today is the Remembrance Day / Wave of Light-- a day to remember the babies we've lost to miscarriage or stillbirth. I have three that I will remember today, along with many other babies that my friends have lost over the years.

But I will also remember those friendships that came from these losses. I will remember after my second loss my college professor and mentor, Anabel, brought me spaghetti and a heart-shaped dish and sat on the floor next to my bed for hours. It was the first time I had smiled-- really smiled-- since losing Micah. We talked about travel and family and languages, and it reminded me that outside of this overwhelming, life-altering event, I was a whole person with interests and joys and dreams, and for a moment I didn't feel minimized by my loss.

I will remember when Stephanie brought me Chick-fil-a and her favorite book of comics that she thought would make me smile. And she didn't judge me, even though I was clearly drinking too much and sleeping too little.

I remember Meghan, who baked peanut butter blossoms and sat in bed with me and just listened-- really listened-- to my sorrows and my fears and didn't turn her face away from my messy, ugly grief. 

I'll remember Julie, who saved all her baby stuff for me instead of selling it in a yard sale, because she really believed that I would need it eventually. In lieu of the divorce, I gave her my blessing to sell it to someone else who needed it, but the fact that she held onto hope for me for so long meant everything, especially on the days when I had no hope at all.

I remember my yoga-teacher-turned-friend, Sarah, who let me cry and cry and cry on my mat in her yoga class as she taught me to reconnect with the body that betrayed my children.

I remember my parents taking turns coming over, helping with chores, cooking meals, and making me shower, even if it was just to get back in bed. The depression was so heavy at times.

I could go on and on and on and on. It wasn't about what these people so graciously gave to me or did for me, but I really learned who would be there in the hard places. I really learned who my friends are and I saw God in those moments when I felt really alone.

My babies gave me that.
So today, I remember.
I light my candle.
And I give thanks.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Equality in the Sweet Carolinas

I have a dream that one day the Land of the Free will recognize the rights of every citizen. I hope to see this dream realized in my lifetime. This week in the Carolinas has given me reason to believe that progress is coming, but it's slow and shifty and unsure. I hope it will be worth the wait.