Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snapshot of another life.

Pushing the stroller today,
as your little brother and sister looked up at me from behind curious eyes, 
an image came to mind. 

Of you.

Walking there alongside me. 
Your crooked brown pigtails bouncing. 
Laughter in your blue eyes.

I could see you there as the proud big sister.
Playing mother hen to the twins. 
Showing them off to passers by. 

"There are two," you might say, just in case someone hadn't noticed.

I imagined teaching you about the water coming over the waterfall beside me, 
pointing out things in the nature that surrounds us,
and singing songs to you the way I do with your siblings.

I could see how things might have been, 
had things been different. 

A snapshot of another life. 

A life where the five of us,
our complete family,
are all together.

And maybe we are, 
in some other space, 
in some other universe. 

Maybe we had to sacrifice being together here,
so that we could live in that snapshot there?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My family is growing!

Now it's not what you think. 

No new babies to report (not newer than my little snowflakes who are still pretty new that is) but my family is growing... 
and growing...
and growing...

As of 1PM China time (1AM EST this morning) my sister's family of five became a family of six when they welcomed their new son, Will, into their family! 

Waving Hello!

Will is 7 years old, and from what we have been told, a little ham. He loves to sing and make people laugh. So I have a new nephew, which in and of itself is great news...


By the end of the trip, I will actually have TWO new nephews!

Yes, you read that right, TWO NEW NEPHEWS!

My sister's family of six will be a family of seven next week when they adopt James, who is five, and just as cute as can be! 

Check out that smile!

So that's my exciting Monday morning news!

My sister has two more sons.

I have two more nephews.

My snowflakes have two more cousins.

It's a beautiful thing!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo.

Come Join The Fun!

**Possible trigger post as this deals with Rainbow babies.**

Has your Rainbow hit a milestone this week?
Starred in a cute video?
Done something adorable? Funny? Downright embarrassing?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, 
than you have come to the right place!

Welcome to the Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo, a place to celebrate the amazing children who have come into our lives after loss, and to strengthen our bond as a community of Rainbow parents.

Every Friday we can gather here to share our little ones' triumphs, brag like the proud parents that we are, and yes ... even own up to our epic fails in parenting (all in good fun of course) via links to our own blogs with posts about any and everything Rainbow from the week.

Feel free to grab the button from the sidebar and help spread the word. Let's bring this Rainbow parenting community together.

I will go first...

Someone has been on the move this week.

We were taking pictures to mark the snowflakes' four month birthday, and K...

Well he just cant seem to stay face up!

Every time I turn around the little guy has gone and flipped on me.

 "Hey, how'd I end up like this?"

 I put him back into position...

And he rolls again. Sometimes right onto his sister! 

Luckily she thinks it's hilarious!

"Ahh... that's better."

So tell me...

What have your Rainbows been up to this week?

To join in the fun, write a post on your own blog about what your Rainbow(s) has been up to this week, and then add the link to that post in the Linky widget below. 

Thanks for riding along on the rodeo!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For Better Or For Worse.

For better or for worse.
In sickness and in health.
Until death do us part.

Last Friday hubs and I celebrated our five year anniversary, a milestone that feels as if it has sort of crept up on me somehow. When I think back over our married life, the three plus years since we sat down and decided to start a family are a bit of a blur. A kaleidoscope of joy and pain and anticipation and grief with a miscarriage, and the loss of our first child, and the incredible blessing of getting to raise our twins, and I can't help but to feel as if we have lived a thousand lifetimes of experience over the short five year span of our marriage.

Five years ago, we, as two excited and nervous kids with our whole lives ahead of us, made a commitment to love, honor and cherish one another for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do us part.

There are areas of my life where I feel cheated - Peyton no longer being here, my lack of fertility, my inability to traditionally birth children etc etc, but one area where I know I have won the lottery is in having married a man who is my partner, my best friend, and my love.

He held my body up in support, when all I could do was collapse through Peyton's funeral.

He allowed me the space to step away from the world and embrace my grief.
Embrace my writing.
Find my new normal.

He encouraged me through two rounds of IVF and cared for me through twenty-seven weeks of bed rest.

He has proven himself time and time again to be an amazing father.

Committing my life to my husband is the single best decision I have ever made. Of course when we recited those vows, we couldn't have known that the "for worse" was to come before the "for better," but that was how it was to be for us, and as we now know all-too-well, nothing in this life can be planned on or predicted.

I have been thinking a lot about love lately, not only because of the love I feel for my little family, or because of my anniversary, but because I have been witness to such incredible acts of it lately.

Two years ago, my Uncle Eddie learned that a funny looking mole on the bottom of his foot was metastatic melanoma, and though we were told that his time with us would in all likelihood be measured in months rather than years, my uncle recovered, resuming his active life of skiing, and biking, and dancing with his daughter on the day that she walked down her own aisle and pledged to her new husband that she would love him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do they part.

This past February, my uncle learned that some pain he was attributing to sciatica was actually the return of his cancer which had spread to his spine, among many other places. This time the cancer was much more aggressive, and though we prayed for one, it was becoming painfully obvious that a miracle like the one he had experienced in healing two years earlier, was just not to be.

My aunt and uncle have been married for 47 years, and together for over 50. They have had 5 healthy children together, several grandchildren. Their "for better" was a beautiful and long lasting gift. During a recent visit, my aunt told me that she knew my uncle's battle was coming to an end, and that she wanted, as a final gift to him, to renew their vows. She said,"It may seem strange to want to celebrate, given what a sad and difficult time this is for us, but I will not have another chance to do this, and renewing our vows, in the face of his illness, is my way of showing him how much he means, and has always meant, to me, now while he can still hear it."

I couldn't help but feel my eyes welling up as I took in the bittersweet beauty of what she was planning. My aunt could have run and hid from all that was happening, as many of us would have, but instead she stared cancer, and all of the unpredictability it brings with it, in the face, and forged ahead with her plans to surprise him with a ceremony that would reaffirm for him that even knowing what she now knows, even knowing how their story would end, she would do it all over again.

A backyard celebration was planned, but last week my Uncle Eddie took a turn for the worse, and knowing that his time was limited, my aunt called in the priest. In an intimate bedside ceremony, witnessed only by the families of their five children, my Aunt took my Uncle's hands in hers, and vowed before their family, and before God, to love, honor and cherish him, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do they part. My uncle, whose strength had already left him, rubbed at the wedding ring that he had placed on her finger nearly fifty years earlier and simply said,  "yes."

48 hours later, my uncle was gone.

Life can be crazy, and chaotic, and at times downright cruel, but it is also so full of beauty when graced by true love.

The true love of a husband who comforts his young wife through the loss of their first child.

The true love of a father, who finds the strength to heal to live long enough to see his daughter get married.

The true love of a wife, who sees beyond her own suffering and sadness, to provide for her dying husband the reaffirmation that he is the best thing that has ever happened to her - and to let him know before he passes, how very, very blessed she has felt to share her life with him.

I have lost my child, but I have still been blessed.

My uncle was dying, but he still was blessed.

My aunt has lost her husband, but she too has been blessed.

For better or for worse.
In sickness and in health.
Until death do us part.

We have each been blessed by the gift of true love, and despite the heartaches that life may throw at any couple over the course of their marriage, that is a gift to be celebrated.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Quiet Looks Like In My House

This morning, K was no match for the jump n go.

All those lights left him tuckered out...

And because she is not one to be left out, here is H napping in her swing.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting to Happy - a BlogHer Book Club Review

I love to write.
I love to read.
BlogHer offered me the opportunity to become a book reviewer for the Blogher Book Club.
What could be better than that?!

Today my first review is up for the book "Getting to Happy." the long awaited sequel to Terry McMillan's 1992 best seller "Waiting to Exhale." If you would like to read my thoughts on this book, just click the link below.

BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Between Two Worlds

We have an old clock on our wall.
A blue and white dutch plate with an hour and minute hand that has never worked.
We have had it some 5 or 10 years and never so much as wound it or put a battery into its back.

Last night, after we put the snowflakes to bed, I started to tell hubs about how a visit to see my uncle who is battling cancer had reminded me of what a cruel thing cancer is. I told him how it got me to thinking about Peyton and how just royally screwed over she got in this life and that as I was driving home from the visit, I had started to cry. As I was telling this story, an electrical storm rolled in - the kind you get after long hot summer days with loud claps of thunder and bright shocks of lightening - and wouldn't you know it, that little clock on the wall started to tic-tic-tic.

The storm lasted maybe ten minutes, and as it moved out of our area, that little clock went back to a standstill. I couldn't help but to feel that it was somehow a message from Peyton. But of what?

If Peyton could reach me I would like to assume that she would give me a message like "hello" or "I love you," but last night the feeling I had over that little clock was not one of comfort. It made me wonder if that was her message - to let me know that she is angry with me.

If it was, I can't say that I blame her for it.

When I replay the last day of Peyton's life in my mind, it doesn't matter that the doctors told us she had no hope. Nor does it matter that they walked us through, in painfully graphic detail, the way the fungal infection caused by the chemo was going to overrun her body. It doesn't matter that they proposed removing large portions of her face to combat this, a move that would not have cured her, but perhaps bought her some more time living in intense pain.

I am familiar with the above facts, but what do they matter, really?
I was her mother.
I should have found a better way. 
A way that didn't involve my five pound little girl struggling for breath as she left this world. 
There is no making peace with something like that.
I know, because I have tried.

I am living between two worlds. 

As I wash pacifiers and bottles for the little joys that have come into my life, and my mind wanders to all that we couldn't do for their big sister. 
Not being able to enjoy treats here or there because where others see a junk food indulgence, I see additives and preservatives and chemicals and poisons, and don't want to take the chance with my kiddos. 
When the topic of something cancer causing comes up, and everyone around me plays it off as no big deal and my mind and body go into the mode of hyper-vigilance because I NEED to protect my living children, or when the light hits a sleeping baby in just such a way that the sense of calm that I am feeling is overrun by memories of those final moments with Peyton in my arms.

Each of these things just reinforce the fact that new joys (and yes I feel an incredible amount of joy from the snowflakes) cannot erase old sorrows. 

I can not un-learn what I have learned. 
I can not un-see what I have seen.

There is no such thing as un-remembering. 

People in the witness protection program are forced to assume a new identity. They are told to act as if nothing has happened as a means of remaining safe. To those around them they seem fine. Normal. They blend in no differently then the rest but the truth of the matter is that they are living a sort of half-life - hiding behind a new identity while constantly looking over their shoulder and running from their old one.

As a bereaved mother with two rainbows, this is what I have become.

I am that woman, the new mother of twins, the one with the huge smile on her face as she pushes a stroller into her future, forever checking over my shoulder for the fears from my past.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Didn't see that one coming.

Every once in a while I think I am going to post valuable Instructions on Life as I encounter them. The babies and I are battling thrush, so we have to take extra precautions with all of their nipples and pacifiers between feedings. So, for my first installment of Instructions on Life - How To Sterilize Nipples.

  1. Be sure to start your morning on little to no sleep
  2. Place nipples and pacifiers in pot of water.
  3. Place pot on the stove and turn to high.
  4. Allow to reach a rolling boil.
  5. Walk away.
  6. Get distracted by massive double blow out on first attempts at cloth diapering.
  7. Smell something "funny."
  8. See that the house has filled with plastic-y smoke.
  9. Freak out.
  10. Move to fresh air.
  11. Spend the next two days worrying about the possible toxic after affects of what has happened.

Follow the above directions, and you, too, can have this masterpiece in your collection.