Two weeks ago, I am at Children’s Hospital, waiting for the results of my daughter’s blood test. I am convinced my future looks bleak, hers even bleaker. Which is strange, considering I’m usually such an optimist. How am I going to write this scene in my memoir, I find myself wondering? How will I describe this night in the years and pages to come? (Such is the curse and the privilege of those who play with words, I suppose).Read More
I wonder if I should send him to bed hungry so he knows what an empty stomach feels like. I wonder if I should return the brown paper packages tied up with string (and blue Amazon Prime tape) piling high on my dining room table. Would an empty stocking on Christmas morning teach him the lesson I am so desperate for him to learn in this moment?Read More
I had to take a lot of deep breaths today. I should have taken a few more. There were times I should have stopped to take one, but I didn’t. I yelled instead. I grabbed instead. I’m taking them now, while my boys are napping upstairs. Both sleeping soundly, something that doesn’t happen much these days.
Upon reflection, here’s what I should have saidRead More
We never gave our babies names. In utero, I mean. We never called them peanut, or sweet pea, or bubby or anything remotely cutesy like that. Even when family members named them for us, we didn’t really play along. We thought it too dangerous. We hardly acknowledged the fruit we grew through along the way. We might raise an eyebrow in passing. “We’re a fig this week,” my husband might say. “Nice,” I’d reply, spitting out my toothpaste and reaching for the floss.
We might have actually done this the first time. I can’t remember now. But we’ve lost too many since then to allow ourselves to get attached. Last week we lost number seven. I was twelve weeks along, but the baby was only five. I like to think she stuck it out in there because she knew she’d be the last. Maybe she felt safe inside and just wanted to hang with her mom as long as possible. (no idea if it was actually a she, I just like the sound of that).
And this concludes our attempt at becoming a family of five. Or six. Or seven. Not officially, not drastically, no measures have been taken. But we’ve decided (kinda-sorta, 96%, probably most-likely, pretty-much) that we’ve had enough. Don’t quote me on that. But I’m still going to say it. I’m tired. My body is tired. Our spirits are tired. We’re just plain tired.
But I’ve also been reflecting a lot this week on ‘enough.’ Because in saying I’ve ‘had enough’ I am also saying that I ‘have enough.’ And I do. This week more than ever, I am so incredibly grateful for what I have. And in a strange way, this miscarriage has given me pause to take stock in what I do have, and for the first time in a long time, call that ‘enough.’
This is NOT to say I was not grateful before. But for the last six years (OK, really since we tied the knot as far as I’m concerned), we’ve been looking at what we can add to make a family. For the last six years, I have either been trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding. And there’s always been the desire for more on the horizon. I’ve never stopped taking prenatal vitamins, I’ve kept myself mostly-healthy, limited my alcohol intake, peed on countless sticks to get the timing right, and constantly visualized a big crazy family.
But now, I don’t have to do that anymore. I can just sit still. I can just surround myself with my incredible husband and two beautiful boys and call us a family. This is it. This is us. This is everything. No more, no less. Exactly as we are meant to be. From here until the end.
Don’t get me wrong, this is going to take a SERIOUS amount of meditating on, sitting with, crying over, talking about and will (very likely) involve copious amounts of wine in doing so. (Because, why not!?) But I’m going to go ahead and give myself permission to be content. It’s been a long time coming.
(This is a nicely wrapped up little reflection, I’m aware. Miscarriage is a LOT harder than this, it f*$King sucks, believe me. I’m writing the hard stuff too. Maybe for another time, it’s a little raw right now).
Almost every morning, I wake up and head to my meditation mat. And every morning, I say the same thing.
“Today I will be calm. Today I will not yell. Today I will breathe deeply. Today I will not let a three-year-old infuriate me. Today I will be calm.”
And every evening, when my husband returns home and takes over, I say the same thing.
“Tomorrow I will do better. Tomorrow I will stay calm. Tomorrow I won’t yell. Tomorrow I’ll breathe deeply. Tomorrow I will remember that he is three, and I am forty.”
Yes, tomorrow, when I am trying my best not to yell because he has climbed up the side of the teepee for the third time nearly knocking the structure over, and I tell him that I need to step away and take a few deep breaths … And when I step away and watch him through the picture monitor whip down his pants and start peeing on the carpet …
I will stay calm.
Tomorrow, when he is angry because he cannot have forty strawberries and because we are out of animal crackers, and he throws over the stool, knocks the highchair backwards, tips a dining room chair sideways onto the hardwood floor, and then screams so loud the neighborhood dogs start their barking …
I will not yell.
And tomorrow, when he calls me evil, and spits on me, and shouts in my face, and tells me he wishes Ariel was his mother, and doesn’t want to be my friend anymore …
I will take a deep breath.
Instead, I will close my eyes and try to put myself back on the mat where I sit when the house is quiet, when he is sleeping peacefully in his bed, his little body curled around his pillow. I will try to remember the faith I had in myself in the wee hours of the morning before the day has had a chance to make an unbeliever of me. I will try to summon the strength I started with, reminding myself that he is only three, and that he loves me madly, just as I love him.
No doubt I will fail. Oh yes, I will fail. And when I do, I’ll take another deep breath. And remind myself that I’m still a decent mom. I’m still learning. And that I deserve forgiveness.
And at the end of the night, after he’s cheered up because he’s fed, and bathed, and had his daddy time, I will hold him tightly and whisper:
“I’m sorry I yelled today buddy. Let’s have a good day tomorrow.”