Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life on a high wire!

When I had my first son I decided to be a stay at home wife and mom.  It was a dream!  I was June Cleaver!  As a 3 month old David slept soundly in my Mai Tai, dinner in the crock pot and I washed a window, I thought "I don't understand how people don't keep up on housework!"


Well because you KNOW that I know it all.  Or at least I thought I did ;)  The months rolled on, David became more mobile and things got a little tougher but I was still queen of the house. 

And then....
2 pink lines.  Most ladies who have ever been pregnant, know what that means.  2 lines that change your life forever.  I was pregnant again.  David was 10.5 months when I found out.  I was so excited.  Life had gotten more perfect.  The days rolled on, not a lot of morning sickness.  David turned a year old, I was 7 weeks, we announced it that day.  Yippee, yay, everyone was excited.

About a week later, the morning sickness set in, fatigue hit me like a tsunami and I was down for the count.  How I waded through those next several weeks I'll never know.  I have vague memories of David watching more Veggie Tales and Baby Einstein than I care to admit while I hovered between the sofa and the bathroom. 

Morning sickness passed, my fatigue did not.   And then came the mood swings.  Yikes.  But I was still able to wad through the days, cook some, clean some, but my house wasn't up to June Cleaver standards anymore.  Maybe more "Roseanne" style. 

Aaron's birthday came and went and now I had 2 babes under 2!  David was 19 months when Aaron was born.  I slept in the recliner for the first month of Aaron's life nursing every 1/2 to 1 hour and just getting used a newborn again.  My husband was an amazing help with David.

The first couple of months passed.  I don't honestly remember feeling exhausted from all the nursing and shepherding a toddler.  But I think I just repressed those memories more so than I actually got rest!

Now I began to see why it was harder to keep up on the house, but I still managed.  I learned to cook with a baby nestled on my back in a carrier.  I could vacuum, scrub a toilet and even fold laundry that way.  But I began noticing a few cob webs here and there and some dust on baseboards.  "Well one day it will be up to June Cleaver's white glove test again."

Yeah.....that day never came.  The months rolled on and then a year went by.  I had 2 very mobile boys and less time to much of anything.   I think there were days when Eric even asked if I showered.  I honestly couldn't remember!  I started getting a bit frustrated that I couldn't do all I had before.   And I scarcely believed it when I would hear some moms say how they got up an hour early and either worked out, or spent time studying whatever religious/spiritual devotion or path they believed.  It was hard to understand how their houses were spotless or they always had a smile on their face.  Surely they were aliens or I just didn't know the secret that they did ;)

And then when Aaron was 22 months and David [who was already in his special needs school by then] was 3, I went back to work full time.  A part of me was excited.  But the other part weeped.  Even though things were not perfect, I still loved being home, to be the homemaker.   But such is life and bills must be paid.

Well at least now I thought, I'll be on more of a schedule and bam, I WILL be June Cleaver again.  The first few weeks [because everything was new and exciting] I WAS June Cleaver again.  Ahhhh, a dream recaptured.   Then reality creeped up behind me and yelled "BOO!"  And I stumbled off that pedastool.

Again my home fell below June Cleaver standards.  The months went on.  And before I knew it, I wasn't even on "Roseanne" standards.  Being a work OUT of the home mother now meant, or more felt, like I had 2 full time jobs!  And as mothers can attest again, there is something that just snaps on the moment we become mothers.  We don't "turn off" anymore.  Even when we are sleeping, we are still not "sleeping."  I can't explain it.  There are no words to do that.  But most mother's will identify with what I mean.

And now, even Crock pot meals?   That was way to much effort.  Here's your hot dogs and macaroni!   What is this?  I think that's apple juice on the wall!  And my heavens, what a work of art on this wall with the Crayola crayons!  Oh well, I'll get it later.  Praise God for magic eraser! 

And this is where I stand today.  On a high wire, precariously balanced.  There are days, I can barely get a 10 minute shower to myself so I make no apologies about not doing my own religious devotion.  There are days I'm just trying to get in and out of the store with a gallon of milk and a child [or children] throwing a fit because they can't have skittles.  "No, because they have poison in them, that's why!"  <----Yes, I HAVE used that line!  So if you see me in a store and I don't say hello, it's truly because I probably didn't see you or I'm counting to 10 in my mind so people don't think I'm a total loon addressing my child.

I did get some cleaned last week and even washed a couple windows washed.  If you come to my home, I just ask that you do not look up or down.  If you look up, I'm afraid you'll see those cobwebs and dust on the ceiling fan.  If you look down, you'll see the dust on my baseboards and goldfish on the floor [not real ones, but the colored Pepperidge Farm ones!]  Well, while your at, don't look at the walls either because you'll see the artwork [and I'm not talking family photos], or the apple juice.  Just look at your coffee mug, or at me and engage me in adult conversation.  That way you'll be distracted! 

 I gaze around my house and that artwork is still there, well wait, some of it is gone.  I gazed at some 1/2 cleaned windows.  I gaze a clean sink, but an unmopped floor.  I gaze at a pile of laundry, a stack of unread books. 
I shake my head at the apple juice and crayon the wall.  I get a little frustrated at the toys scattered about.   And again I think, HOW do other women have it together.   And then I go and chat with some great friends and they share some of the same sentiments, over and over again.  

Indeed, some have and lived balanced lives with great discipline.  It is only in the last month or so that I realize, this is not me.  I rather like the spontaneous, nomad-ish life.  But it's this "ideal" that a wife and mother MUST be this way.   The reality is, we can make our OWN reality.   As a mom who not only works inside the home, but outside of the home I realize that I can not and do not wish to be the epitome of a perfect wife and mother.  

In the end, if the dishes are not done right then, or the pile of laundry clean, or all the windows sparkling, shiny walls, glowing kitchen floor, immaculate carpets....that ... is ... OK!  It is ok! 

Why?  Because that stuff will always be there.  But my sons will not be 3 and 5 and 4 and 6 and 5 and 7, forever.  Just like mine, there childhood will be whisked away and soon the more adult world will beckon.  I am trying harder to just relax and enjoy each day.   Enjoy my sons, enjoy my husband, enjoy life!  Because in the end no one is going to say "I really wish I had done that sink of dishes."   But I know I'll say, "I really wish I would have hugged my boys one more time.   I wish I would have went on one more date with my husband.  I wish I would have just slowed down and enjoyed life more!"  I love the days when all seems right with the world.  Those days where I actually play with my children, as a child myself.  Or have a quiet dinner with Eric [which doesn't happen often enough!], or spend time with a best friend.  It's hard to fit it all in, but at least it DOES happen.

Life doesn't HAVE to "balanced" according to what everyone else thinks.  It has to be balanced according to my own sanity and more importantly more balanced in that I'm loving my family with all that I have each and everyday, as if it were our last.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

6.5 years later....I still wonder about you tiny one!

I will never forgot the day when I found out I was pregnant for the very first time.  It was such a rush of emotion.  Fear, happiness, contemplation, all wrapped up into one.  It wasn't the most opportune time, but let's face it when is it really? 
At the heart of it all, I was ecstatic.  I was going to be a mother, and Eric a father.


Several weeks later I could tell, things were not going well.  One night we found ourselves in the emergency room.  An ultrasound had been ordered.  Eric was made to leave and I was left alone in a sterile room with just the technician and myself.  She barely spoke 2 words to me.  I saw the baby and the screen was then quickly whisked around so I could see no more.  My heart sunk.  The doctor came in and said we see the baby, but no heart beat.  But don't worry.  It's still early!

But I already knew in my heart.  I was nearly 8 weeks and the heart should have already been beating by 5 weeks.  A week later, I was in the ER again and it was all over just like that.  This time at least the doctor was more personable and the nurses very sympathetic.  Many of them sharing that they had been through this too.  But everything seemed like empty words. 
This was my first miscarriage, some more followed.  The first for some reason really stuck with me though. 

The next days drug by.  I don't think either of us knew what to think or feel really.  It was very tough for a while to even go grocery shopping.  I'd have to hurry past the baby section without looking.  And it seemed around every corner was a mother to be or a small newborn.  Slowly the days turned to weeks, and the weeks to months.  I thought about the baby.  She [I always felt it was a girl] would have been born in April of 06.  What kind of eyes would she have had, hair, personality, what would we have named her.  Then more time went by where I didn't think every single day about the baby.  The months turned to years.  2 wonderful sons came along and I am so very thankful for them.

Nearly 6.5 years have come and gone since those days.  David and Aaron don't know anything about our losses.  They are too young.  They've never been mentioned.  My mother in law was here in November and she said one day:  "Does David know about your miscarriages?"

I told her no, we've never mentioned anything about them or talked about around him.  She went on to tell me that all day he had been saying "My sister is in heaven."  The funny thing is, he had started saying this just a few days before my mother in law arrived from Ohio to visit.  I really didn't know what to say to him other than, "She is?"...."Yes."   He said.   "She's with Jesus."   I felt my eyes tear up and didn't really talk about it further.  David was very adamant for a few weeks about this and I took comfort in it.

Well a few months have gone by since then.   A couple of days while walking to the building where I work on the elementary school campus a random thought that had nothing to do with my present thoughts popped into my mind:

"She would have been 6 years old in April."  I teared up and thought where did that come from.  And I found myself thinking about her again and wondering all the same questions.  Then I remembered David's insight.  A beautiful insight from the innocence of a child.  She IS still alive in spirit, just not with us here.  Though I wish she was.

You would think about 6.5 years the emotion would still be as strong when you think of it, but it is.  Though I wasn't "far along" and I never got to feel her move or hold her in my arms, she was still very real to me.   And just maybe, one day, I'll see that little spirit again!