Saturday, August 27, 2016

Point of Fact

My dad used to say that all the time. "Point of fact". What does that even mean?

Point of fact, when you commit to becoming a writer, you are forced to look at a lot of things that sometimes are better left hidden. Writing has caused me to dust off the cobwebs of my memories and decide what might make a good "story" and what is better left unwritten. 

I started writing as an outlet for my grief and it slowly turned into something more than that. Five years later, I still write to deal with my loss and sadness, but I also write as a way to feel satisfaction. I feel good when a blog post is getting a lot of attention and now that I have the publishing bug, I feel tremendous. Reaching audiences has always been a goal but it's an even bigger goal now as more and more people read my words.

Point of fact, websites want personal stories. They want your unique perspective. That is wonderful. It's also painful. I am in the process now of living though events for a second time that I did not particularly want to live through a first time. I am doing it, though, because I think my experiences will help others. If not help, than at least entertain!

Point of fact, writing is an outlet for me. The more I do it, the better I feel. I used to write once or twice a week. Now I try to write daily. Even if it's just a little bit. I have a computer in our home office and a laptop that I can move around with me downstairs. I want to always be able to write.

Point of fact, Miranda was playing on the iPad this morning and she saw a game with a butterfly that we had downloaded for her. She got so excited (as she always does) that the butterfly must be a sign from Allie. Then she told me that Allie is her best friend and her sister. None of that is unusual for her to say. I know she sees the reactions she gets from Gary and me when she says things like that and it encourages her to repeat them. Today, though, she asked when Allie could come over to play.

I explained (as I always do) that Allie is is heaven. She can't come play with us. She lives in our hearts and that has to be enough. She pouted and said it's not. She is right.


Point of fact, parenting after loss is hard. Parenting in general is hard! It's all hard. However, writing is my outlet. I did not turn to a snack or a treat when Miranda and I just had that conversation. I showered her with kisses, told her our plans for the day and then picked up my computer. I already feel better.

Point of fact, one day this might all make sense. For now, I just wish it wasn't so damn hard.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Rainbow Connection

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with a bunch of moms just like me. Moms that talk about their babies in terms of weeks that we had them growing inside of us because that is all we  had with them.

37 weeks...42 weeks...39 weeks... 

It does not get any easier to hear the tales of loss. In fact, it gets harder. How can it be that this many people have had babies born still? And how can it be that we are just a fraction of the parents out there?

Many of us are in the "5 Year Club". Our children should be begging us for new backpacks and pencils and other back-to-school items and yet they are not here. It just so unfair.

There is a silver lining, though. We are not alone. While many of us have terrific spouses and support systems, there is something almost poetic about talking to other mothers who know the agony of a delivery room that echoes silence. Who don't hate the stretch marks on our bodies because they are a sign that our child was in fact once here. 

We are alive. The rainbow babies that came after them are alive (and loud!). As long as we are around, so too will our friendships be. It's too important to not have these women in my life.

It's also important for Miranda. She needs to know these kids are just like her in some ways. They have siblings that they cannot play with but still very much love. They have parents that get sad from time to time but can't really express why.

I am so grateful for what I have. I am so grateful for what I am. To the other moms out there (and dads!) thank you for helping us break the silence, stand together, and live our lives. #time2momup


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chapter Ten

During this time, we called a funeral home and made arrangements for them to pick up our daughter. Gary and I had never talked about funeral arrangements for ourselves and now we were faced with what to do with our baby. I am Jewish and Gary is Catholic, but we were planning to raise Allie in the Jewish faith.  We were in touch with a family friend who called a local rabbi looking for guidance. Neither Gary nor I wanted a funeral so we decided on cremation. I think funerals tend to be for the living and I wanted the people in our lives to remember our daughter as we had talked about her for the past 37 weeks - with excitement and joy and wonder and love. I did not want anyone to think of her and think sorrow and caskets and misery. I wanted the love we had for her would be what everyone would remember.
____

When I decided to turn my "story" into a book, I did not realize how painful it might be for me to live through my tragedy all over again. I also did not realize how much love and laughter I would have when I got up close and personal with that time in my life and the person I was then.

Allie made me a mother but I did not feel like a true mother until we had Miranda. Looking back now, five years later, I see how silly that was. I was a mom the day I knew Allie was in my tummy. It's as clear as day to me now.

I sometimes forget how much excitement there was around my pregnancy. I was creating a life and that was nothing short of a miracle. To have that life taken away for no reason whatsoever, ughhhhh. No wonder I grieved the way I did.

If Allie were here, we would be shopping for back-to-school items as she would be starting kindergarten this year. That's a big girl! She would be potty trained (unlike her stubborn and sassy sister) and she would be ready to ride on a school bus. She wouldn't need me to brush her hair but maybe she would want me to anyway. She might not need me to pick out her first day of school outfit, but perhaps she would allow me to anyway. I will never know.

It's the unknown that haunts me. I miss her with a part of my soul that is so deep. My longing for her has become a basic need like eating or sleeping. It's just a part of who I am.

Miranda often tells me that Allie is her best friend. When she sees a butterfly, she squeals that it must be Allie. She does not understand death but she tries to process our grief in her own way. Soon we will have to explain more to her, but I am not sure she is ready yet. Or is it me that is not ready? 

One day I will have it all figured out. Maybe. For today, I will keep being a mom, writing our story and doing the best that I can. That's really all I can do.

Olympic Headband - a sign of things to come?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Prologue

I have always wanted to be a mom.  It was my deepest desire to be a mother. I pictured myself with a little girl (always a little girl) sitting on my lap, cooing and smiling.  I imagined a child that looked just like me with curly hair and eyes that changed from blue to hazel and back again. I was all about mommy & me groups, parenting circles and endless hours on the playground.  People would stop me to say they had never seen a more beautiful child and behind my back, they would whisper about the amazing mom that had it all. I could not wait.

WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!  

The only exciting thing to me about motherhood was that when I was pregnant, I could eat whatever I wanted.  For 40 glorious weeks, I would not have to count calories or points or carbs. Sure, I would have to give up wine, but I could eat cake all day long! Pizza Hut buffet? Bring it. Ice cream by the tub? Why are you not already in my freezer? Chocolate by the pound?   Sure. Why not? I was creating life for crying out loud. That’s hard work! 

I do not like the heat so outdoor activities were not high on my list. Diapers are gross followed closely by snot. I like “me” time and “me” things and was not really prepared to not be first in my own life anymore. 

I enjoyed date night and sleeping in. I longed for vacations and dreamed of adventures that my husband and I would plan. 

I never gave much thought to what would happen once the baby was here. I knew my life would change, but I did not really know how. I just thought we would live happily ever after. My husband, our perfect baby and me. 

I did not have a plan for what actually happened. Looking back now, it would have been impossible to have one.
___________________________

So there you have it! My prologue! I have decided to make my story half-memoir / half-fiction. That way, I can be creative with my characters and have the freedom I need to write the way I want to write. I can use my life as a shell but also use my imagination. This will probably be the last time I use this space for my creative writing as I want to save it for just me until it is complete. Then I will need to get it edited, proofed and probably partially rewritten.

I am ordering some swag with #time2momup to start to get the word out. For a free water tumbler with my new logo, what would you name my main character? I am open to all suggestions! Leave it here, text me, Facebook me or call. All entries will be considered. Contest will end this Friday.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. xo

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What Would I Give?

We are in the midst of potty training. It is not pleasant. It is not fun. The cute little girl panties are not even that cute to me anymore as I keep having to wash them over and over.

Everyone has an idea on how it should work. We are learning that the only ideas that really matter here are Miranda's. She will do it when she is ready.

We are close. Dare I say almost in the home stretch. It's rough, though.

This morning I started thinking about what I would rather be doing than potty training. I would rather have a mammogram. I would rather run in this humid and soupy weather. I would rather wear pantyhose. 

In a magical world, if I could give something up, what would I give up to make my daughter instantly potty trained?

I would give up eyebrow threading and go back to tweezers. I would give up mani's and pedi's and go back to doing it myself like when I was a poor college student. I would give up my favorite shoes.

Wait, what?? Are you kidding?

How can I compare my eyebrows with my daughter? How can I compare pretty toes with a child?

The truth is, one thing has nothing to do with the other. Raising a smart, independent, funny, (and hopefully) potty trained girl has nothing to do with how my eyebrows look. Giving up something that makes me feel good is not going to make her a better person in the long run. There has to be a happy middle ground. 

Luckily, there is. And I think we found it. Gary and I both take turns with the potty training and help each other out. We play good cop/bad cop. We balance each other out with discipline and punishments and rewards. We are doing our best to raise a good kid and I think we are doing a pretty good job.

Now if only we could get her to use that potty!!!! #time2momup

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

#time2momup

We were away this past weekend for a family wedding. Miranda had her first ever sleep over with some of her cousins. She did very well without us and we, in turn, did pretty ok without her, too. Both Gary and I have left her before, but never at the same time for more than one night.

After a very long drive north, we checked into our hotel and went to dinner. There was no kids menu and no diaper bag - just two adults going out for a meal. Over a nice glass of wine, Gary and I started to talk about the past week.

Going "viral" was a game-changer for me. Deciding to be a writer, a (hopefully) published writer, is a big deal.  The plan was to start this week. But how?

My original outline was almost comical. Way too many topics - many of which would only be interesting to those that know me. How to I grow my audience past this blog and expand my world? I still want to keep my blog as this is my sacred space, but can I do both?

Turns out I can. 

Thus #time2momup was born. I have my very own hashtag! This week I will buy the domain and make sure it's mine. Then the magic can begin.

Time To Mom Up will be my story of becoming a mom. It will be my story of what it's like for me to be a mom. It may also include stories from other moms. It may also be about my mom. My target audience will be mostly women. After all, we all either have moms, are moms, know moms, love moms, can't stand some moms and/or can relate to one or more of those groups! It will be for the mom who struggled to conceive. The mom who agonized waiting for the test strip to turn pink. The mom who had to survive her world without her baby in it. The mom who carried a child to term and placed her with us to raise. The mom who feels blessed every day to raise her child.

I have two daughters. One is flying outside my window the very moment that I am typing this blog in the form of a monarch butterfly. One is at camp today with big girl panties on for the first time and hopefully not making a mess! Both girls have shaped me in ways that I do not fully even realize and I want to share some of that with the world. I want to share what it's like to be a mom to these amazing girls.

Here's to the future of my literary career! #time2momup

All good ideas start on a bar napkin!

Learning to Love Yourself No Matter What

One of the problems with being a writer is that I use words as therapy. By writing my thoughts and feelings, I can often make sense of the w...