There’s a reason why I don’t write as much anymore, although I’d really like to.  His name is Fletcher.

He’s just exhausting.  I’ve never met a more tempermental, strong-willed individual.  We thought that Darcy was our tough one until we met Fletch.

He screamed for his first hour of life, completely inconsolable.  The nurses said they’ve never had a louder baby in the nursery.  It hasn’t stopped.  He’s a screamer.  Don’t mistake that for crier or whiner, SCREAMER.  It seems as if everything is world ending to this little guy.  I would probably find it funny if it wasn’t ALL DAY LONG.  It’s to the point where we are trying to just ignore it so that he doesn’t learn to use it as a means of communication.

He’s also a hitter and hair puller.  When he wants to nurse (which I’m convinced will NEVER end), he comes over to me and starts hitting my chest.  I’ve tried several different ways to correct this, but he’s damn strong willed.  Then when he does nurse, he pulls my hair.  Not just pulls, but rather yanks at it.  I have short hair all around my face from this and now wear headbands to keep it out of my face.  It’s a lovie to him, so it’s a hard habit to break.  Oh and there’s the whole screaming thing again.

And don’t get me started on sleep.  I’m not sure I even know what that is anymore, unless it’s curled into a little sleeping person.  If I’m being honest, I do love snuggling the little guy, but not every night, every nap.  And naps?  It’s a war of wills until one of us breaks (lately it’s been him giving in around 3 PM because he’s so damn tired).  I fight and fight for an hour plus just to get 45 minutes out of the kid.  What can you really get done in 45 minutes??

I’m pretty sure Fletch’s middle name should have been ‘indifference.’  He’s seems to have gotten a little better, but I’m pretty sure this child spent the first year of his life enjoying being unhappy.  Or bored.  Or whatever his issue was.  There was one night when my husband said to my daughter, ‘uhoh, I think Fletch broke Mommy.’

I’ve never been more challenged in my life.  My old job was nothing compared to parenting this child.  And I haven’t even hit the true toddler stage yet!  I’ll be over here waving the white flag when that happens.

Is this what a stressful pregnancy creates?  Did I do this because I was so freaked out?  Or is this just the cocktail of DNA that we got?  Maybe I should have done more yoga and taken up meditation.  My therapist kept warning me to calm down.

So I’ll publish this, and about 5 minutes later the guilt will sink in.  I’ll feel terrible for committing any of this in writing.  For allowing it to seem like I’m frustrated (even though I am).  I say these things and then I think about how lucky we are that Fletch is here.  Not everyone gets a rainbow.  And I feel just ungrateful.

I remember what it was like wanting another baby so badly.  I remember how excited we were when I was first pregnant.  I remember how lucky I felt that I was able to have a baby again.

It’s like a tennis match back and forth in my head all day.  It’s hard to feel empathetic and selfish at the same time.  I never felt this way with the other two.  His life is so tied into Benny’s death and it complicates everything.

So for the moment I will try to feel grateful, until the screaming starts.

Please Stop the Judgments – From a Grieving Mom

Copied from my Huffington Post article:

Our 18 month old son died when my car hit him and myself in my driveway. The easiest way to explain to people is ‘car accident’ even though he was outside of the car upon his death. As a family we just refer to it as ‘The Accident.’

     It was a very public story in New England when it happened. Family and friends alike saw pictures of our house, my car and heard my address through the news and social media before we even had a chance to contact them. Almost all of the information that they portrayed was incorrect and conflicting, but the fact remained the same – our son had died.
     People showed up in droves. Neighbors we didn’t know wanted to hold a candle light vigil. More food than we could eat in 6 months showed up at our doorstep. Cards, books on grief, very personal letters began to pore in from around the region and even across the country. People donated money, meals and their time to us.
     There was a theme here. In the darkest moment in our life, humankind was beautiful. Strangers banded together to support us. It was like what you saw in the aftermath of 911, except it was happening to us.
     As a grieving mother who was frantically trying to figure out what exactly happened, this was healing. I suffered with ‘what if’ scenarios where I convinced myself that if I had just done something differently, reacted quicker, etc. my son would still be alive. Truth be told, I still do over two years later.  I harbor so much guilt over what happened, even though it was an accident.  Knowing that we had the support of so many people behind us made it a little easier to breathe those first days. And not a single person blamed me.
     No one asked why I wasn’t holding my son tighter, or why I didn’t run faster or why I left the car on? Not even my husband, who I thought was more entitled than anyone to understand what occurred. These are all questions that I asked myself anyway. I didn’t need anyone pointing a finger at me. Condolences came in from all over and showed up in various places on the internet, all saying the same thing, ‘I’m so sorry. You’re family is in our thoughts and prayers.’
     It’s taken me and my family a long time through therapy to get to where we are now. We’ve worked very hard on ourselves and coming to terms with what happened to our Benny. I think that one of the reasons that we have done so well with the hand we’ve been dealt is because we have had the continued support of so many people. So much love was sent our way when we needed it most.
     I don’t know what I would have done if I had been blamed. I don’t know if I could have handled it if the internet turned on me and demanded to understand why my child wasn’t alive, why I wasn’t being charged. It sickens me to think about because we as a family have come so far, most in part due to all of the love from strangers, what if it had been hate instead?  How would we have coped?  How could my daughter get through that on top of the loss of her only sibling?
     I’ve watched in horror the last few weeks as parents that are suffering tragedy have been viciously scolded by an unfeeling mass of internet users.  Going so far as to form petitions for DCF involvement and ask over and over why they weren’t watching their children. I’m here to tell you that what you are doing is causing more harm to these families that have already been through so much. How can you cast judgment on a situation that you weren’t involved in? I can also tell you firsthand that the information that the media provides isn’t always accurate. They are working so fast to get a story out that they don’t always have their facts straight when they hit the air.
     Please stop the blame. I’m begging you to open up your eyes and realize that these are human people that you are hurting. They are hurting enough and don’t need your opinions or judgment.  Unless you have stood where they stood, you do not have the right to sit behind your keyboard and judge. I beg of you to find your humanity and try to realize what these families are going through.  Accidents happen, they’re called that because there’s no one to blame!  This is how I explain the word to my seven year old child, how come grown adults cannot grasp this?
     During an accident, the police are always involved.  If there is someone to blame they will in fact be charged. The lynch mob that sits behind their computers and condemns these families need to leave that work to the investigators involved. When a tragedy occurs, we should always lead with love. You never know how that words that you type might affect someone that’s already gone through the worst. I can only imagine how these poor families are coping given the judgment placed upon them.
    Please think before you type. Make a point to ask yourself if you would be willing to say what you type to the persons face.  Don’t jump to conclusions and depend on the media for your information. As someone that has been in this situation, I’m begging you to please stop the judgments!
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Ever have one of those days where your support system bails for whatever reason?  Maybe they’re sick, perhaps busy.  Whatever the case is, they’re not there.  And you’re all alone.  Overwhelmed.  Slowly going crazy.  Maybe they’re right next to you and just completely clueless.

I’m in one of my moods where I just want to hop in my car and drive.  I don’t necessarily have a destination in mind, but just want to get away by myself.  Feel the wind in my hair and sing along with the radio.

I want to feel connected to something.  I want to be able to feel something beyond crazed and harried.  I would love to take a deep breath and feel silence around me.  I want to step off the perpetual roller coaster that has become my life.

I want to sit down and think.  I want to wrap my mind around Benny and his life and marinate in that for awhile.  I want to pay him some much deserved attention and spend some time with him.

I want to hold my daughter like she hasn’t been held in what seems like too long.  I want to snuggle her and breathe in her scent and memorize every detail of her smile.

It would be so nice to have all the time to just sit and play with Fletch.  I wish that I could devote hours to reading and ball and floor play.  I wish I had more patience when he pushes me just over the edge like he does so well.

What I wouldn’t give for some sleep.  In a bed.  By myself.   I’m not greedy, a four hour stretch will do.  To be asleep before 3 AM would be a dream.

I know it’s just a moment in time right now.  This too shall pass and things will calm down.  But just for a moment to dream…