>> Monday, April 28, 2008
I have been a bit bloggy-absent again lately. Life has been quite complicated the last month or so. But I am starting to come out of my fog and life is beginning to feel a bit more manageable again.
I have lots of posts running around in my head. But until I have time to nail them all down, I will bring you some amazing sling pictures taken by my friend Drea. She was so kind to take some pictures for me and they turned out amazing!! Thank you Drea! She is an awesome photographer and just an all-around-gem of a person.
>> Tuesday, April 22, 2008
As I sit and write this, Lucas is ripping reading a pop-up dino book at my feet and baby next is doing sommersaults in my abdomen. But all I can think about is my son who is not here - the one I can't experience physically but that is all my mental reality can focus on today.
I don't know what to say, what to do. I want to go to the cemetery but I can't decide if I want to go alone or with Lucas or have someone meet me there. I have this sick dysfunction where I feel like people are watching me grieve today and I worry about what if I can't do it. You would think by year four I would have this a little more figured out but it is such a different beast every year. I have several people waiting in the wings, friends who have offered to be with me or watch Lucas so I can be alone. I so appreciate people wanting to be with me or help me and I want to be able to involve those I love in this day. I don't really know what I want. I feel paralyzed, like there is too much pressure to mourn Micah today but today is the day I am supposed to do it. What if I can't do it today? Is tomorrow just as appropriate? Will people be watching then or still waiting?
My friends tell me that there is no pressure for me to live this day in any particular way. But I still can't help but feel if at the end of this day I haven't given myself the opportunity to grieve that I may have to wait another 364 days to fully do it again.
I totally get why people elope. The pressure for a certain day to be meaningful can be intense.
I want to be alone. But I want hubby here. Or maybe I need to be with my friend who has experienced a similar grief. Or maybe with my friends who actually got to meet Micah and see his golden hair and chipmunk cheeks with their own eyes. Or maybe just spend the day enjoying Lucas and being thankful. I really don't know.
It is almost 10am. There is rain forcasted for this afternoon so I should get my day going. Only in what direction?
I just miss him. That I do know.
>> Monday, April 21, 2008
>> Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today is Micah's birthday. My first son would be four today. I don't really have words for my emotions today except that it has been a very bittersweet kind of day. To celebrate and mourn simultaneously is a tricky task. We chose for today to be more of a celebration of all three of our boys, but it leaves me tonight feeling that maybe that is not quite enough. There has to be a good mix of both for me to feel I have remembered him well. I think today has mostly been a good mix, but I have two days left in this process. And I have the feeling that the mix may shift a little more towards mourning as we move towards Tuesday, the anniversary of his death. But, for today, we celebrated. We had a wonderful park picnic with some of our greatest friends to give thanks to God for giving us three sweet boys. And although we haven't finalized a decision on a name for this third boy, I feel closer to him today having celebrated his brothers' lives and his healthy existence too. (Does anyone know a name that means "loves to kick his mother's bladder" because that would be the perfect name for this boy?!?!)
Mourning a loss is complex, especially mourning a child because it is more of a forward mourning of memories never made than of memories in the past. But celebrating my three boys makes the picture feel a little more complete, even though I will always feel the hole in my world where Micah should be. But, as I said, today we celebrated. And it felt sweet and true and real. The mourning is all those things too. I am truly blessed to be the mother of three amazing boys.
Celebration cupcakes!! (B3- three Brown boys)
>> Saturday, April 12, 2008
*Disclaimer: This post is full of thoughts from a proud mommy. Continue at your own discretion*
It is innate in all mothers to think their child is a genius. "You should see little Johnny color a picture....he is an art genius." "You should hear little Mary say her ABC's... what a whiz!" If mothers did not think their children were the center of the universe, would we continue to pick macaroni up off the floor and wipe dirty bottoms and put away the same toys for the millionth time? It is one of God's ways of continuing the species. He gives all mothers the ability to see their children for the great things they do and the great things they will do someday. All mothers think their children are cute and smart and destined for greatness. But what if they really are? How do you know?
All children, all people have their own areas where they excel above the general population. I am not gifted in art, but I have a very talented friend who is. I have another friend who always has something witty and thought-provoking to say, but that is not me. One kid may be really good at math while the next is a football star in the making. I have always known that one of my jobs as a mother was to discern the areas in which Lucas is naturally gifted and encourage his growth and development in those areas. I also think it is my job to expose him to lots of different things, some that he may not have a natural aptitude for, so that he can grow and learn and be well-rounded. But that being said, I am right now pondering the former mommy responsibility more than the later.
Lucas is a whiz at puzzles. He really is. I don't know when or how it started but for at least the last year, one of his favorite activities is to sit down with a puzzle and just figure it out. He just turned two and can sit (almost) independently with a 24 piece wooden jigsaw puzzle meant for ages 4+ and figure it out over the course of just a few minutes. It is kind of amazing to watch. He also seems to have a knack for language. He is far advanced for his age in terms of vocabulary and ability to construct sentences. He could spell his name at 18months and already uses more abstract words/concepts such as "backwards" and "probably." When I tell him the plan for the day he says, "Good idea, mommy. Sounds good to me."
Here is the dilemma: How do we as mothers draw the line between natural mommy-pride and legitimate potential for genius? How do we determine if it is truly an area of giftedness or just an aspect of his development that occurred at a faster rate and will level out at some point? Are the areas of "faster development" actually areas of giftedness that if nurtured could become something truly great? Should I be figuring out ways to nurture whatever part of his brain it is that makes him good at puzzles at such a young age?
You hear of these violin prodigy children that can play in world class symphonies by age 5. Those mothers started their children in violin training from the first day they could hold the bow. Or those kids who finish Harvard by the time their peers are starting t-ball. How did that mom know her kid was gifted in that way and how did she nurture it? I am NOT saying I think Lucas is destined to finish college before puberty or play in a symphony by age 10. But, I am saying I think I am getting a glimpse of his area of giftedness and I want to know where to go from here. I don't want to miss this chance to help him develop this natural strength and have it possibly turn into something really great.
It is not easy to ask your friends for advice on how to nurture a gifted child. People often laugh it off as "of course she thinks he is brilliant." But maybe he really is. Maybe he is destined to win the Nobel Prize or become an architectural genius. Why not? And how will we ever know unless I give him that chance? But how do I do that?
What is your child great at and how do you nurture that in them? I would really love to know.
Cross posted to the Chicago Moms Blog.
>> Friday, April 11, 2008
It is now 5:30pm. Time to get dinner for my toddler and my unborn child (aka- I have to find something to eat too that does not involve ketchup). This is the second night this week hubby has gotten home way after bedtime (due to his job). Lucas will definitely be getting a bath tonight just to have something to do. I think I only have two diapers left.
>> Thursday, April 10, 2008
OK... so I am probably joining the ranks of many bloggers who will write on this topic by throwing my opinion into the ring, but here I go anyway.
I am a BIG American Idol fan. I always watch every episode from the first audition to the finale. I vote, I participate in an online voting game, I obsess about David Archeleta just like the rest of the world. But as I watched the results show tonight, I felt a little upset.
The top 8 finalists last night at "Idol Gives Back" and then again tonight sang a very well-known worship song, "Shout to the Lord." It was disturbing to me, unsettling. I don't get it. I don't understand why Idol would choose this song. I don't get the connection with this week's Idol theme of helping the world's poor and giving money to the underpriviledged. Except that there is a huge connection between the real message of this song and giving to the poor....Jesus. But I am almost certain it was not the intent of the Idol producers to spread the word about Jesus being the answer for the world's poor and hurting. It was emotional manipulation and I don't like it. For the same reason, I don't like shows like "Extreme Makeover:Home Edition." They are using the sincere sentiments of good people to manufacture emotion and make money.
This song is a worship song... meant to be sung unto God in reverence and with humility. Some of the finalists may or may not have a personal connection to this song. Maybe some of them have sung it in their church at home. But that is not the spirit in which the song was sung tonight. It was all performance, meant to endear the contestants and the show to the population of people watching who know this song and have sincere, heart-felt meaning associated with it. It was not meant to lead the audience in worship or give glory to God, even though those are the words they sang. "My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You." Hearing it performed on T.V. tonight felt forced and just plain weird. I don't like it. Not at all.
American Idol, though I love it, is about creating a pop star. And even though this week is supposedly about giving back to those in need, it is still a business - a huge money-making business where those on-screen and off make a gagillion dollars courtesy of faithful fans such as myself. So do this fan a favor and leave my faith out of your money making venture. Don't take songs written and meant for honest, reverent worship and turn them into just another way for you to make money. Jesus kicked people like that out of the temple. People who were using a place (and in this case, a song) meant for bringing God glory for their own personal fianancial promotion.
And even though the producers may not have intended for the song to proclaim the Gospel to the masses, I fully believe that the Holy Spirit can use this performance to speak truth to people who may not otherwise hear and may really need it. For that, I should stand up and say "Alleluia!" And I do. But that doesn't keep me from feeling like the whole thing is a bit weird and uncomfortable.
I may be being a bit harsh, or maybe not. This just doesn't sit well with me. I could go into more detail about my thoughts on faith and it's integration into culture, but that is for another day.
You watch the clip and decide for yourself. Maybe I am off base here. I would love to know your thoughts. Does this feel O.K. to you?
(The clip is from last night where they changed the opening line to "My Shepherd" instead of "My Jesus." But tonight they actually said Jesus. )
>> Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Ring slings are my first love, what I know best. But lately, I have been branching out a little in my babywearing. I have been using a Mei Tai for awhile and I have a woven wrap that I have used a couple times. But being a babywearing-blogger (I think being pregnant makes a difference too) has its perks and lately I have been the recipient of two new carriers that are helping me to break out of my babywearing rut.
I have seriously never won anything in my life. I am notoriously unlucky like that. I entered probably hundreds of contests during both of the Bloggy Carnivals (which are starting again in a few weeks) and I didn't win a single thing either time ....that is just the way my luck has been... until today.
Some of you may know that there is a new radio station in Chicagoland. Fresh 105.9 is like a cross between a top 40 and a lite station. As a way to promote themselves, they were giving away concert tickets to one lucky fan who registered for their on-line fan club. Well, I literally just got off the phone with someone from the station who informed me that I WON!!! I can't believe it. Little ol' unlucky me!! The tickets are to a Dave Matthews concert this summer and I have been a huge Dave fan since I was in high school. He got started at University of Virginia, about 2 hours from where I went to high school. My friends and I used to go see him all the time in little venues where he was selling CDs from his van trying to get started. Now it is like the hottest ticket in town... and I just won two of them!!! Hooray!! The only catch... the concert is like two weeks before I am due to give birth and Dave concerts are not exactly known for their abundance of fresh air (if you know what I am saying...). I may have to get OB approval, or just give the tickets to my sister who is a bigger fan than me. Either way, I WON and I am pumped about it! :)
>> Saturday, April 5, 2008
Spring is coming....in so many ways.
>> Tuesday, April 1, 2008
But that is not how the story ended. And I still struggle with her dream and what I felt I was hearing from God and how that all fits together. I struggle with all the millions of prayers that were lifted for my son, for his healing and his protection. I struggle with my desperate pleas to God to spare the life of my son. Yet that is not how the story ended.
A year later comes pregnancy #2. I was afraid but the fear never really stopped. I went straight from grieving the loss of son #1 to grieving ever being able to have my own children to fearful about pregnancy #2. So when the 20wk. ultrasound told us he looked healthy, I relaxed a little but never fully until the day he was born and I saw him breathe and heard him cry. That is when I exhaled, and cried. Lucas is here and he is healthy and I can put my fears down for awhile. Exhale.
Now I am pregnant with #3. Just when life seemed level again, we take a turn back towards the valley. I had put my fears away, started to be content with life as the mother of two sons. We had decided to put away those "pregnancy dice" and not roll them again. I was content to live life on the level ground for awhile, but then... well now I am 20weeks exactly and the truth of this baby's identity and fate is already true. I just don't know it yet. If I am having a boy with the same complications, that is already true. If I am having a healthy girl, that is true too. And all the possibilities in between. But while God can see that truth, and has been able to since the beginning of time, way before my friend's dream, I still wait. And the waiting is hard. Very hard.
Waiting. Isn't that what pregnancy is all about? Nine months of growing and nurturing this life inside so that at the end he or she can be born and begin their own journey. Nine months of cleaning out closets and arranging furniture so that your home will be ready for another person to share your space. Or 20weeks of waiting to know if this baby will come home with me at all or if I will have two little angels in heaven. Waiting. Waiting to bond, to love, to connect with this baby in an attempt to spare myself some of the heartache that may be up ahead. But would it really? Waiting until none of my pants will button to pull out maternity clothes because that would be admitting that I am actually on this journey and I am not sure I can handle that.
This particular waiting will soon be over. Our level 2 ultrasound is in two days. Then we will know more about what path we are on. But that doesn't make today any easier. This morning I sat in the freezing wind at the cemetary, hearing some very familiar words come out of my mouth. "Lord, please don't make me do this again. Or at least carry me through if You do." I prayed those same desperate pleas during both previous pregnancies with very different answers. The first time, He walked with me through the valley and the second time He walked me out of it. What this path holds, I don't know yet. More valley? A glimpse of the sun? I certainly hope so.
I don't profess to know what happens when we pray, if our prayers have any bearing on the outcome in God's larger plan. I don't know what my role is in prayer- if we petition to change God's mind or just know it better. I still struggle with those things. I guess all I do know, is that my doubts thus far have not stopped me from crying out my desperate pleas before God. Pleas for my waiting to not be in vain. Pleas for mercy and healing and a show of His goodness. He hears me, I know that. But will he change my path or just make me content to be on the one He has placed me on? For the answer to that, I wait. And though after Thursday I may know more, I will still have to wait until he or she is born and beyond to fully exhale again. And I will wait beyond that to someday see God's full plan for me and all of my children. Waiting.
Will my friend's dream end up being reality but just not how we first thought? Maybe it was meant to be a dream of hope just farther down the road than we envisioned. Will God's words to me be true but just longer in coming to be? It has been a long journey, and maybe it will all be ok. I just don't know what "ok" looks like yet. For that, I wait.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 from The Message Bible:
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.