Sunday, August 25, 2013

Second Chances

There are many facets in my life that I think of as before and after.  Anything before April 2011 was THEN.  Anything after is NOW.  While it makes sense to keep different parts of my life separate, I am not sure it is the best way to live in thew now when I still often think of the then.

Confusing enough for you?  Here's an example. I ran out today to get a pedicure.  It will probably be the last one I get for a while as the summer is winding down and soon enough, we will also have day care bills.  So not only will I not really need one, but I will have a hard time justifying the expense.  Anyway, while I was chilling out in the massage chair and getting the royal treatment, I happened to notice a woman walk in with her daughter.  She was a young girl and I heard her mom say that she was 3.   They went through the very difficult decision of choose the exact right color and then the little girl sat in the big girl chair and started to get a pedicure of her own.  Her mom looked on while snapping pictures and grinning from ear to ear.

My eyes filled up as I remember telling my Labor and Delivery nurse in the class that we took that I could not wait for Allie and me to do that exact same thing together.

Suddenly I realized that I can still do all those things.  With Miranda.

Then I felt badly that Miranda was not my first thought.  Most days I fell badly that Allie is no longer my first thought.

Then.  Now.

Who I was versus who I am.

It's complicated!

In the end, I stopped paying attention to the family at the other end of the salon and continued to enjoy the last few minutes of being pampered.  I have all sorts of reasons for my eyes to fill up with tears, but as long as I keep it in check, then I think I am ahead of the game. As I say very often, I have one little girl in my heart and one in my arms (and also in my heart).  There is plenty of room for both.

I have been given a second chance...and a third and a fourth and a fifth.  Each day there is a new chance to experience something new, to live in the now, to make the most of what I got.

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of it, I guess.

Playing with some leaves with Daddy

A selfie with Mommy
Enjoying a visit with family

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beginning Over Again

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”   F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

My niece Ella was born on April 9, 2011.  I was due with Allie in May of that same year.  My brother's daughter and my little girl were going to grow up together. They would share secrets and laughs and stories and dreams.  They would share toys and clothes and hobbies and hopes.

On April 22nd, exactly 2 weeks later, that dream shattered.

My niece Summer was born this past Tuesday.  We are beginning over again.

Ella's little sister and Allie's little sister can grow up together.  They can share secrets and laughs and stories and dreams.  They can share toys and clothes and hobbies and hopes.  They do not make me sad for what was once but instead make me happy for what is.

I sat next to my sister-in-law just a few hours after she became a mom for the second time and she remarked how great it is that Miranda and Summer are just over 4 months apart.  They are going to be so close.  With tears in my eyes, I agreed with her.  It was what we had always planned for.

When I first found out that there was a new cousin on the way, I burst into tears.  I excused myself and ducked into a bathroom and cried till my eyes burned.  Pregnancy for me is not sunshine and lollipops.  It's fear and anxiety and 40 weeks of panic. 

Or at least it was.

A good friend from work had a happy and healthy baby boy in February.  The day we went to meet her baby for the first time was the morning after we heard from our social worker that there was a birth mom that was interested in us.  Then came Miranda.  Then came Summer.

Not all babies are born still.  Many, in fact, are not.

Gary stayed home from work with Miranda on Tuesday so I could go in as I had some trainings that I simply could not miss.  I went to work and had my phone glued to my hand.  A text from my mom that they were stuck in traffic.  Another that they were there.  One from my brother that the scheduled surgery was delayed.  And then the last one that said that Summer was here.

I finished up what I had to do and raced to the hospital.  The hospital where Gary and I went a little over 2 years ago to meet Ella.  The one where we joked that I might as well stay and have Allie since I was so close to my due date.  The hospital that I have pictured over and over in my head wishing I had just stayed there back then.  I remember so vividly when I greeted my new niece with my swollen belly very much present. 

I was so excited that I barely remember parking.  I almost jogged into the Maternity Ward.  I got buzzed in and I turned the corner to enter their room.  There she was.

Looking so teeny in my brother's arms, all my fears melted away.  She is here.  She is alive. 
Daddy and Summer

This baby is our second chance for all our girls to grow up together.  She is warmth and light and all that is truly great about Summer.

I held my new niece and stared deep into her face.  My mom, knowing me oh so well, stood by my side to make sure I was ok.  She knew that it might be hard for me to be back to where I was just over 2 years ago.  But it wasn't hard for me at all.  Summer made it that way.  And while there was no baby in my belly this time, there is one in my heart and one waiting for me at home. 

Looking at my new niece, I saw traces of Allie.  Even now, several days later, I am not sure what I saw for sure.  Maybe what I saw is just what love looks like.

I left the hospital feeling full of love and joy.  My heart was full and I could not wait to get home and tell Gary every single detail and explain to Miranda that she is no longer the baby of the family!

Tomorrow we will go as a family to meet this latest addition.  It will be the first of many Saturday's we spend together.  The first of many play dates between all 3 girls.  The second chance too set right what got delayed when Allie died.

For the rest of you that have been experiencing Summer for the last few months, I have got to tell you something.  Summer has just arrived.

Summer and Me

Uncle Jeff, Me, Summer and Daddy

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Painted Ponies

For much of this weekend, I have had "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell in my head.  Earlier, I was singing to Miranda and I heard Gary say, "Sing that last one again".  I looked up and asked what he was talking about.  Apparently the song was not just in my head.  I had been singing it out loud.

I wrote about that song back in October 2012 and how much I liked it.  How much it resonated with me.  And here, less than a year later, I am able to sing that song to my daughter.  It brought tears to my eyes.

I could not figure out why it popped into my head now.  Why it was on repeat all weekend long.  Then I took a step back and it all made sense.

On Friday evening, pre-bath time for Miranda and post-work time for Gary (I had the day off),  we went to a new local comic book store.  My husband loves any and all things comic related so when he said there was a new store that he wanted to check out since a friend from work told him they had a good selection, I did not think twice about it.  I just asked when we were leaving.

When we arrived, I had this odd sensation that everyone was looking at me.  Gary's coworker met us at the door and ushered us in.  Now usually, in a comic book store, I am one of the only women.  And in this instance, Miranda was certainly the only baby.  But it wasn't that.  It was something else entirely.

My memory is a little fuzzy as what came next was a surprise and I am very rarely surprised.  Gary mentioned that he had a surprise for me and I turned around and saw the wife of his coworker sitting at a little table.  On the table were 2 little painted clay ponies. No more than 5 inches tall.  One in the style of Captain America and the other like Wonder Woman.  I had never seen anything like it!  Turns out, this woman is an artist and she makes little clay ponies for whomever wants them!  She had a display in the comic book store and her husband mentioned it to Gary when he was telling Gary about this store.  Gary asked if she did commissions.  Like that, an idea was born.

As I was looking at these unique pieces of art, the woman reached down into a nearby box and said she had something else that might be interesting to me as well.  And out came this piece:

Our Family
There are 4 ponies.  A dragon pony for Gary as that has been his nickname since we got together.  We joked once that he did not have a Hebrew name so that is the name he and my brother decided would be his Hebrew name.  It stuck.  Next, there is a turtle pony to represent me.  She even has my hair.  Next was a slightly smaller rainbow pony / unicorn for Miranda.  She has a heart with an "M" and all the colors of the rainbow.  Last, but not least, is the butterfly pony for Allie.  A dark mane of hair and full, beautiful wings make her stand out.  They are all on a walnut wood base.

I started to cry.  Good tears.  Sad tears.  Surprised tears.  Happy tears.  I always love to be reminded of Allie and to see "her" sitting there snugly with the rest of our family, well, it was almost magical to me.

All the characters together
 And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

I was speechless the whole ride home from the comic book store.  In some ways, I still am.

The ponies are a reminder of the how much I am loved.  Of how whimsical my husband can be.  Of how cute my family can be when made into ponies!

All weekend long, during brunch with my side of the family yesterday and then again today, during lunch with some friends we met through our adoption agency, the ponies kept leaping into my mind.  No wonder I keep singing this song!

Since going back to work, I am finding myself feeling overwhelmed quite a bit.  I feel pulled in so many different directions and I am not sure I am getting it all "right".  This special and rare and one-of-a kind gift from Gary is a little reminder of how much I mean to him and how much our family means to us.  Little clay ponies!  How cool is that??

I can't wait till Miranda gets up in the morning and I can sing that song to her.  I can't wait for her to get older and for me to share the ponies with her.  I can't wait to see what our carousel has in store for us!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mommy Market

Yesterday, I went to my first Mommy Market. It's a community based one-stop shop for moms (and dads!) to buy, sell or trade the stuff they want, need, or want to get out rid of!  They are held all over the area at different times throughout the year.  Yesterday, it was at a church but I have also seen them at fire halls and community centers.  I have always wanted to go but never had a reason.  Until now.

My mom and I went over shortly after it opened to check it out.  While Miranda wants for nothing, we figured it would be neat to see what kinds of things people were selling and maybe there would be a thing or two that we could pick up.  We wandered around and weaved in and out of the crowds trying to find the best deals.  Found some sleepers for $1.  Got a swing for my mom's house for $10.  Books were 2/$1.  We spent less than $20 and got some good deals!  We also helped some parents empty out the boxes that were probably in their basements so it was a win-win.

At one point, I stopped and looked up and snapped this quick picture.  I wanted to remember the feeling I had at that exact moment.  I was really and truly a mom.  In every sense of the word.  I totally belonged there.

Miranda had her 4 month check up on Friday and she is thriving.  The doctor kept saying "good job, mom" or "you are doing great, dad" but Miranda is the one who should get all the credit.  She lets us know what she needs and it's up to us to make sure she gets it.  Within reason, of course!  We are starting her on some rice and oatmeal and then in about a month, moving to fruits and veggies.  While I should be happy that she is growing and developing so well, part of me does not quite want to let go of the baby stage.  So we are going to feed her very slowly!

Miranda has been rewarding us with all sorts of coo's and smiles and recently, giggles.  With all the music I listen to, nothing compares to the sounds she makes.  Nothing.

I feel a bit guilty that I am as happy as I am.  I think, though, the best kind of happiness comes from the worse kind of sadness.  No, that's not right.  I mean I appreciate the happiness more knowing how extreme the opposite of it can be.

Today, a high school friend came over to meet our rainbow.  She brought her kids, who were instantly comfortable in our house and playing with Gary's superhero toys.  She also brought a play kitchen and some puzzles and bags of books for Miranda to play with as she grows older.  I realized then that as much as I liked the mommy market and the feeling I had while I was there, I was even happier with these toys and books that I will be able to share with Miranda and tell her about the family that they came from.  The mom that I have known since 6th grade.  We used to watch "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and SpaceCamp during our sleepovers.  We talked about our crushes and shared our secrets.  I hope Miranda is lucky to have a life-long friend like that.  A friend that I had not seen in 2 years and yet we picked up exactly where we left off.

I am blessed to have several friends like that.  Ones that have a bag of clothes or a box of hand me downs every time I see them.  Miranda already has a snow suit.  And Crocs that change color in the sun.  And a Juicy Couture sweatsuit.  And each item comes with so much love that we can fill all the spaces around us.

And so I will end this fairly disjointed blog with a few makes sense to me that I am all over the place these days so of course my writing is, too.  But at least I am writing.  And remembering.  And being thankful.  And loving.  And being loved.  All while being a mom.  That's pretty $%*&^ cool!!

Adoption In My Heart

Today was the Adoptions From The Heart Annual Picnic . We love this event. It is close to our house, it is early enough in the summer that i...