I am officially in the home stretch. I’m whale huge and uncomfortable and feel so unprepared for this new little one. I mean, clothes are washed and organized, diapers and wipes are purchased. The house is still construction chaos, but we are used to that by now. We only work well on deadlines.
I’m unprepared emotionally. I’ve had to go through all of the baby stuff again. Most of it was hand me downs or from Darcy, so I have to say it’s been fun seeing that again. The stuff that was truly Benny’s though, it sucks. A piece of me dies each time we come across his shoes, or his hats or his toys that have been away. I don’t even know where to begin with this stuff. His dresser remains the same, an untouched mausoleum to a 17 month old boy. I know it’s only things, but they were his things.
I’ve looked at this situation so much from Darcy’s perspective, but now as I get closer to holding this little man in my arms, I’m overwhelmingly sad for him. He will never know his older brother. They will never meet, besides my dreams. They will never play together, or laugh or argue. He will know him only through pictures and stories. I’ve thought so much about what Darcy lost, but never really much about what Fletcher will never know. I’m so sad for him.
I’m worried about how overwhelming it will be to hold Fletcher in my arms for the first time. I’m scared about being in a hospital setting for any of this. I truly hope that St. V’s will honor our wishes for a natural birth. I’m scared for all that could go wrong, even though I’ve had two perfect deliveries. There are no guarantees and that is what frightens me the most.
Day 10 – Month 10
By 10 months Benny was on the move! He was creeping all over the floor, cruising around in his walker and pretty much becoming a challenge. He was into everything!
Parker and I went away for a weekend ski trip with my company and Benny had his first baby-sitters, my cousin and her boyfriend. My easy going, pretty go with the flow dude was not happy to be away from Mom or Dad for 2 days and gave my poor cousin a run for her money. Darcy tried her best to help out, but Benny wasn’t having it. That’s when I first started to notice what a Momma’s boy my little man was.
Where Darcy didn’t cuddle until around 2, Benny was a little snuggle bug and would settle down each night with his paci, blanket and book and relax his little body into mine as we read and cuddled. When he was tired, he was more than happy to be in your arms calming down. For someone with so much energy, he certainly calmed down and fell right asleep, just like Parker.
In the morning, when he would wake up, he would let us know. Darcy was always happy to play with stuff in her crib and chat away for at least 45 minutes. Benny would whine the second his eyes opened. He would also just lay there and wait for you. He finally started sitting up and pulling up in his crib around this time. Still wasn’t happy to be alone and needed to be picked up or entertained by his big sister in his room. It was amazing to us how different he and Darcy truly were.
In true fashion, things in my life have become crazy and I’ve fallen behind. Maybe my life hasn’t changed as much as I thought. I do have to say though, it didn’t stress me out like usual. I know that I am still honoring my son and the fact that I didn’t finish my ’17 Days’ posts by his birthday has somewhat rolled off my shoulders. It is what it is and now it’s time to play catch up.
Day 9 – Month 9
By 9 months we were in the depths of winter and enjoying some lovely New England blizzards. We enjoyed sledding with our neighbors and many play dates to try to keep the kids busy. Being cooped up indoors we had to find new and interesting ways to keep busy.
We borrowed Tara’s walker and Benny started using it to cruise around the house. He was still in the exersaucer and the johnny jumper, but this kid wanted freedom! He took to the walker quickly and in short order he was chasing everyone around the house (much to the poor dogs dismay). We never used a walker with Darcy and it was quite funny with Benny. He would run, run, run and then lift his little feet and glide across the room.
This also meant that he able to reach lot’s of fun and new places. We found ourselves baby proofing stuff that Darcy never even dreamed of going after as a little one. Yet again, he challenged our parenting. This is when we really began to see how much he was paying attention to everything that we did and mimicked us. We also began to notice the difference between raising boys and girls.
Day 8 – Month 8
I think I have been avoiding this one because day 8 would mean that it was May 8th and May 8th would mean that Benny has been gone for 18 months, longer than he was here. A very wise friend recently pointed out that I did carry him for 9 months and he was a part of our lives then too, so maybe May 8th isn’t as awful as I once thought. I won’t even do the math to add on 9 months.
In any case, Benny’s eighth month was December-January and what a fun time it was! He got to celebrate his first Christmas, we traveled to CT and Long Island to see family and celebrate, we were able to go sledding with our neighbors and enjoy his first New Year’s!
Yes, I am behind on my 17 Days of Benny blogging, but there is just so much going on right now. We are ‘attempting’ to finish up some lingering projects around the house so that we have some options in the future. I have been busy with Parker and the business. I am now officially the treasurer for the North Atlantic Packards Club as well. Let the chaos begin.
Then comes Mother’s Day. Right in the middle of it all. Or perhaps just May in general. Last year sucked. I was in a terrible mood all day, staining countertops and just trying my damndest to ignore the whole awful thing. It was bad. I didn’t know how to handle missing my mom and my son.
This year I decided to try something different. We started the day with a yummy brunch with Parkers mom and then headed to the cemetary. It was completely packed! There were tons of people there, we couldn’t believe it. Darcy had brought Benny two pinwheels, so we cleaned up his toys a bit, visited and then walked around. We noticed that there was a new headstone in the baby garden, which killed me. They were twins that passed on Darcy’s birthday last year. It broke my heart.
Parker and I sat down on a bench as Darcy walked around. We were the only ones in the baby garden until another couple walked over and sat down by the twins. It broke my heart again. I watched this newly grieving couple cry for their children. I wanted to go over and hug the momma. I just sat there silently crying for them and everything they lost.
I sometimes forget that it’s ok to cry for us too. It did happen to us too and we’re allowed to be upset. I can’t use housework to cloak my grief forever. I sat there watching that couple, seeing us. I cried for all of us and it felt damn good.
We left shortly after to work in the yard, play in the sprinkler and pool, burn the Christmas tree and just spend the day together. It felt good. I felt like I honored Benny. The day wasn’t nearly as bad as last year.
My heart still misses Benny and my Mom terribly though. At the cemetary I was wishing that she was buried closer so that I could visit and Darcy could sense some physical connection. I hate that they’re not here, hate it everyday, but especially today. It’s comforting to know that they are together at least and that is something that I know with absolute certainty.
Loving and Missing my Mom and Benny always…
Day 7 – Month 7
Benny turned 7 months right before Christmas 2012. He had lost most of his mohawk at this point and his hair was starting to grow longer and longer. He was all smiles all the time and loved spending time with his family.
We did lot’s of fun stuff that December, including riding on the Polar Express at the Ecotarium and picking out and decorating our Christmas tree. Benny was really getting into the baby toys and he and Darcy would spend a lot of time on the floor playing. He also started to sit at night with Darcy and I to read a book. That’s not to say that he was interested, it was more to get him into the routine. We were so excited for Christmas that year!
Day 7 – Month 7
By the time Benny was was 7 months old, we had celebrated his first Thanksgiving, Darcy’s 4th birthday and we were getting ready for Christmas. Parker and I had finally finished splitting the bedrooms upstairs and Benny finally had his own bedroom!
He loved spending time in his johnny jumper and would get the thing going at a good clip while he watched Darcy play. He also loved his exersaucer at this age, pretty much any situation in which he could jump, he was happy. Around this time he was a drooling fiend as we waited for those first teeth to poke out. He went from being the best sleeper to getting up at night from teething pain. I think this is around the time that he really began crying and let us know when he was unhappy.
Empathy cards made by cancer survivor. This is my favorite and I wish this was sent to me after Benny died…
I can say with complete certainty that there are things that I blocked out from ‘that day’. I don’t like to talk about it and a lot of the details have become fuzzy at this point. It’s like watching a movie, like it happened to someone else, because how could that have ever happened to Benny and me?
What I do remember about the hospital is pretty awful, painful and graphic. I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about what I remember that was good. It’s weird to say the word good in the same sentence where I talk about my son dying, but bear with me please.
There was this moment, when I felt that I would shatter, when I was starting to feel something and completely freaked out. Until then I was numb, I went someplace, I was shaking and not making much sense. I didn’t even cry at first because it was all still unbelievable to me. But then I fell apart. I asked Parker how we were supposed to go on, breathe, live.
‘I lost my son too. You will get through this’. Through my hysterics I looked across the room to the nurse that was stroking Benny’s hair who had spoken. It was such a simple statement, but the life raft I needed in that moment. Here was my proof that this was survivable. These words meant everything to me. There were probably 20+ people around us, doctors and nurses. She was the first one to talk to us and she was the one that made the difference. Thank you Donna, 18 months later, YOU are what stands out in my mind from that day and for that I’m forever thankful.