Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sharing Is Caring

We are taught from a young age to share.  Share our toys.  Share our feelings.  Share our lives with others.

I want to be a good sharer.  But it's hard when I have to share my daughter with her other mother.

Gary says it's not really sharing.  And he is right.  But in some ways, it sure feels like it is.

We agreed to open adoption.  We agreed to 2 in person visits a year.  We agreed to share our baby's life with the woman that gave it to her.

It's so good for Miranda to know that her birth mother (M) hand picked us to raise her.  It will be so good for Miranda to know what her birth mother looks like and sounds like and well, is like.

None of that takes anything away from me.

And yet today, sitting in a restaurant watching her feed my daughter, I felt like I wanted to grab Miranda and run.

Far away so no one could find us.  I do not want to share!

But M got 2 hours today.  I got that with Miranda just on the drive to and from the meeting.  M fed her a bottle.  I feed her several bottles today.  M held her and gave her kisses.  So did I.  Isn't the point for Miranda to have as much love and as many kisses as possible?

I guess one of the lessons of parenthood really is that your goal is to do what is in the best interest of the child.  So if that means that I have to "share" my baby for a few hours a YEAR, that's not so bad.  And even if it was...if it was difficult and miserable and awkward, I would do it anyway since it really is what is best for Miranda.  And yet it was not difficult.  Or miserable.  Or awkward.  For we have one very special bond between us and that is the special little girl that we both call our daughter.  

The birth father is not in the picture and I often wonder what it would be like if we had to share Miranda with him, too.  I guess it would be the same.  Respecting where she came from but knowing that we get the honor and privilege of raising her and parenting her and teaching her so many things.  Like sharing.

So at the end of the day, when our daughter is tucked in safe and sound and I have a few minutes to write and reflect, I find myself feeling sad for the woman who cannot raise the baby she gave birth to and yet grateful and happy at the same time that we were chosen to do the job. 

It's by far my favorite job yet.  I love being Miranda's mom.  Turns out I am really good at it.

So I guess sharing is caring.  And sharing is loving.  And sharing is complicated.  But what isn't??

Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 Years

Time is a subject that a lot of people write about.  I have written about it plenty.  Since Allie died, I saw time as a chunk or space of my life without her. 

Today I want to reflect on the passing of time in a good way.

5 years ago this evening, Gary and I went out for drinks.  Drinks turned to dinner.  Dinner turned to me practically moving in a few months later.  Everyone was worried it was too fast.  I was freaked out.  Gary was calm as ever.  It was right.  He just knew it.

The first time Gary told me he loved me, we were in the parking lot of a movie theater.  I said something along the lines of "No you don't" which is what every guy longs to hear, I am sure.  I just did not see how he could know after dating for such a little time.  He said he just knew it.

It took longer for Gary to propose. To be fair, it was less than a year from our first date but when I decide I want something, I have NO patience (most people reading this blog have an example of this trait).  When he did propose, it was in the parking lot of the restaurant that we went to for our first date.  He was so excited that he could not even wait till we went inside.  

Tonight we are going back to that restaurant to celebrate 5 years of our lives together.  Hopefully we will make it past the parking lot!  (Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for babysitting!). While there, we will surely reminisce.  Here is some of what 5 years means to us:
  • family
  • love
  • honesty
  • security
  • faith
  • life
  • death
My gut instinct is to say how sad it is that we have experienced death the way we have in our short time together.  But then I realize that I would not change a thing.  Having Allie, and later having to say goodbye to Allie, has made us who we are.  Stronger than ever and more dedicated than ever.  Experiencing a loss like we did almost laid the ground work for our relationship.  Would we be the couple that crumbled or the couple that got it together and plowed forward?  Some days were not our best, but all in all, at the end of the day, there is no one I want by my side more than my husband.  My partner.  My best friend. 

5 years since we walked into the restaurant with 2 different lives only to emerge with 1.  I can't wait to see what the next 5 and then the next 5 and then the next 5 years have in store for us.  One thing is for certain - we will face it head on and keep on going.  That's what we do.  I just know it.

Our Housewarming / Engagement Party
Out for one of my birthday celebrations
My Bridal Shower

Our Honeymoon

Saying goodbye to Allie

At "Mission Adoptable"
Gary, Miranda and Me

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    The Journey

    Six and a half months ago, I was working full time and had no baby to raise.

    Now I am a stay at home mom with a very full plate.

    I went from training classes on Communication Skills to training Miranda how to eat solids and to nap.  Quite a difference!

    I am not a patient person and that is coming out more and more every day.  I also question myself and my skills much more than in necessary and end up in tears more than I care to admit.  Parenting is HARD work.  Rewarding?  Yes.  Difficult?  Yes!

    Sometimes I feel that it's harder for me as I did not have the 9 months of a pregnancy to prepare.  There are some very unique things about adoption.  I think the biggest is "the wait".  You do not know when you will get the call that you have been chosen and when you do get the call, will it be that a birth mom chose you and you have x amount of months till the baby is born or could it be that a birth mom chose you and your baby was born last night?  Both happen.  Both change your life in an instant.

    We had from March 13th to March 31st to prepare.  (Yes, Gary plays those numbers.  A lot).  But we had Allie's whole pregnancy to prepare, too.  We had multiple baby showers so we had a crib and a changing table and a stroller and diapers and a bumbo seat and a bouncy seat and everything else in-between. Luckily, since our call was that a baby girl was on the way, we also had all the right clothes. And for all the right seasons since Allie was also born in the Spring.

    At first I thought I would want all new stuff for the new baby.  Then I realized exactly how much I wanted to use Allie's things.  Not all of it - some were so "hers" that they went into her memory box or just away.  But most were things we had chosen with love and excitement and I have to say, I got extreme joy out of seeing the nursery put back together and using all of the things that had been given to us with so much love.

    This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and it is a very different month to me than it was the last 2 years.  With Miranda by our sides (or on my lap), my grief is different.  In some ways, I do not have time to mourn as I once did.  In other ways, I feel so lucky that Allie prepared us for parenthood that I feel pride and not grief.  But then I go to visit her tree or light a candle in her honor or attend a balloon release and the tears flow now just as much as they did then.  I guess grief really is a journey and sometimes there is traffic and sometimes you are the only ones on the road.

    To everyone that light a candle for Allie on Tuesday (the official Day of Remembrance) and to everyone who supports and loves us each and every day, thank you.  We have come a long way.  We have even longer to go.  With a still guarded heart, I can't wait to see what route we take next.

    Look how much our life changed in six and a half months.  Amazing.

    October 15th

    Allie "Bear" and Miranda
    Happy baby

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    Are you there God? It's Me, Samantha

    Today I had one of the most unique experiences in my life to date.  Back in March of 2012, my mom and I learned of a Spiritual Healing Psychic that was supposed to be very good.  People raved about her.  We reached out for the first available appointments.  After waiting for a year and a half, our appointments were today.

    We signed up for 2 sessions, but decided once we were there that we shared many of the same people and that we should have our sessions combined.  This was a good idea and a bad one.  Good for my mom who had tons of people that wanted to come through and bad for me who has NO patience and got frustrated waiting.  But in the end, it all worked out.

    I do not know how spiritual healing psychics work.  What I do know is that I believe in life past what I can see or understand.

    Many people from our lives came through to see us.  My mother, who lost her brother when he was just a little older than I am now, came in to say he was ok and that he was sorry he did not get to say goodbye.  My grandparents on both sides came through.  Gary's grandfather popped in to say he is always watching over his daughters and his grandsons and their families.  A husband of a long time family friend stopped by to say hello and asked us to pass on that he is always with her.  A father of another friend conveyed a message.  There was a lot of telling us that this person or that person was out there and watching us and loving us from afar.

    Miranda came through as sunshine and rainbows which gave me goosebumps.  And then the Medium asked about my other daughter.  

    She did not have a lot to say except that she was with my mother's parents and with my mother's brother and they were watching out for her.  She knew she was loved and she was ok.

    We were there for 2 hours.  We recorded the sessions so we can go back and listen when we are ready to hear everything again. 

    When we left, I felt empty and confused.  A few hours later, I feel joy and light.  I needed time to process it all and writing it down is helping me do just that.

    There were lots of other things that came through that are impossible to explain.  People I have not thought about in a long time.  People I think about every day.  It was comforting to know that all the spirits are together and telling stories and laughing and protecting each other and us as much as they can.

    I am not sure what I believe in anymore.  I have struggled since Allie's death to make sense of everything.  Does everything happen for a reason?  I am not sure I believe that anymore.  Will I one day understand why I carried Allie to term and yet I am not raising her?  To prepare for my session today, I went and looked at Allie's pictures from the hospital.  I saw her perfect little nose and her dark curly hair and her fully formed face and the tears started to flow.  How is it that she is not here??

    Then I look at Miranda and know that if Allie were here, she would not be.

    I do not think we would have adopted a baby if we had a 2 year old running around. 

    I cannot imagine a life without Miranda anymore than I can imagine a life with Allie alive in it.

    So to whomever is out there, please just promise me that you will keep my little girl close to you. Make sure she knows right from wrong.  Make sure she knows how to laugh.  Make sure she knows that she is loved.  Are you there?  Can you do that for me?

    Images from my baby shower - April 2011

    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...