Communication

We are deep into the second week of school.  Darcy has very hesitantly entered the third grade.  I’m not sure how she grew up on me so quickly.

School scares me. She’s had good teachers and she’s had great teachers.  She’s not just another kid in that classroom, but someone that needs extra attention.  We’ve struggled with our love for school when her teachers just don’t get it and her emotional needs are not being met.

I understand that classroom sizes can be huge and with IEP’s and grading papers, there is a lot of work for teachers to deal with.  What I don’t like is an unresponsive teacher and a child who doesn’t want to go to school.  A child that I know is hungry to learn and create and become a part of her classroom community.

Darcy’s a great student, a huge classroom helper and takes direction well (from her teachers), so all that I ever hear is what a joy she is to have in class.  She’s one of the easy ones and sometimes that causes her emotional needs to be overlooked.

So I am sitting here right now with the HUGEST feeling of relief because we are 8 days into the school year and I have heard from her teacher twice already.  Nothing bad, just trying to test the waters and see where Darcy is at with things.  There’s nothing better than knowing that she is willing to reach out at the slightest bit of trouble.  This woman has no idea how much better I already feel about third grade.

And guess what?  This must translate into her teaching style because Darcy is LOVING school!  She comes home happy, excited to share stories and of course some drama from her day.  She’s feeling confident again and it’s so nice to see her excited for school.

And all it took was a little communication.

10 Years

‘Parker, when I first met you, I knew that you would be a good friend, but I never dreamed that we would be standing here together 7 years later.  I know that I’m the lucky one in all of this because I get to spend the rest of my life with you.  You, who have become my very best friend and the one person that I know I can always trust in.  You, my little Packard freak, that I’m so proud of.

I have never felt the way that I do today, a mixture of hope, excitement, love and happiness.  Today is really about making new memories and reminiscing in the old.  You are my future, my heart and my life and I have never been happier than I am at this moment right now.  I love you and know that this is an amazing new beginning for both of us.  I’m so lucky to have found my one true love.’

‘Sheryl, who ever thought that when I met you 8 years ago that we would be standing here today.  You are the most generous, loving, caring, unselfish person I know.  I promise to love you, respect you, laugh with you and cry with you.  You are my best friend, my better half and from this day on we spend the rest of our lives together making memories of us.’

-Our Wedding Vows

9-30-06 3652 (2)Ten years ago Parker and I made promises to one another and shared our love with our friends and our family.  We vowed to always be there for one another.  We promised to love one another.

One of the last songs we played at our wedding was ‘Better Life’ by Keith Urban.  When you get married you have these preconceived notions about how your life is going to be.  Hell, as a child, I dreamed about this.  Everything is always so perfect in your visions for the future.  Sure you talk about ‘sickness and health’ and ‘better or worse,’ but on your wedding day you only expect positive things to happen in your future.

I never expected my future title to be ‘grieving mom’ when I wrote those words and made those promises.  No parent does.  I never expected the last 3 years of my marriage to be filled with PTSD, counseling and grief.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have to call Parker sobbing uncontrollably and tell him to get home right away, that something horrible had happened.  I didn’t expect that we would say good-bye to our little blue eyed angel just as his life was getting started.

We were numb for so long.  Both of us just absolutely terriffied, looking to each other to make it better.  Both suffering with PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares.  Clinging to one another trying to figure it all out.

Parker would cry in the morning and I would cry at night.  It worked for us for awhile.  He wanted to be surrounded by Benny’s stuff while I needed it shut away, with a few minor exceptions.  No two people grieve the same way.

With a ton of love and support, we survived that first year.  Then the second.  Then the birth of our second son.

Now it’s getting tough again as Fletcher creeps ever closer to eighteen months.  How did time pass so quickly?  How are we here again?  How come he looks so damn much like his brother?

We are struggling.  Parker handles things very differently that I’m comfortable with.  We’re working on it.  I guess that’s all we can do.  That and hold our breath until we cross that eighteen month threshold.  That’s marriage though, working through the tough times.

I read these vows now and I’m trying to remember those two people that wrote them.  They had so much hope for this amazing life together filled with happiness.  I miss them. I miss their innocence.  More days are happy than not, but there are just some days that are tough.  When just existing feels hard.

On September 1st, we celebrate 10 years as a married couple.  I had no idea what the future held when we made those promises all those years ago.  I don’t know what tomorrow brings for us and our family.  I do know that I love that man more today than when I wrote those words.  I’m lucky to still call him my best friend.

Anxiety

Living With High Anxiety

A friend shared this on FB.  So much of it rang true for me and so mich of it used to be because I was ‘too busy.’

Now anxiety is different.  It changes once you’ve lost a child.  Now it centers on my children’s well being and less on me.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I care a little too much what people think.  It’s just different now.

It’s the anxiety I used to have over the kids x 1,000.  Mass shootings, bacterial infections, accidents, etc.  My brain can come up with any set of circumstances.

It’mothering to exhaustion.

Grateful

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!
Attachments area

Overwhelmed

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…

 

You’re Here

Even though you’re gone, I can feel you.

You were a part of me for nine months, and I watched you grow for seventeen, that doesn’t just end.

I feel your happiness in the sunflowers that now fill my home.  I didn’t intentionally add them, they just started showing up as gifts through others, probably your doing.

I see your face, from baby to toddler smiling back at me from our walls.  It’s as if you are watching over us with those bright blue eyes.

I touch your blanket and surround myself in its warmth.  It reminds me of your snuggles.

I see your name, just about everywhere, from tv credits to magazines.  It is still in block letters in your room and now your brother’s name has also been added to your wall.

I see your likeness in your brother and sister.  Both physically and emotionally, they have little pieces of you that they will carry on.

I hear your crazy laughter still in my memories.  I’ve never met a happier boy.

As much as I miss you, I know you’re still here, all around us.  That doesn’t end.

 

Pause

Fletch is not feeling well.

CAM02025

He’s whiny (more than usual) and running a slight fever.  It’s most likely teeth, but now I panic.

He’s finally sleeping AND napping and doing it well.  It’s like he’s a new baby.  He won’t settle tonight though and is uncomfortable, which tells me he’s not feeling so hot.  That and he really didn’t eat much at dinner.

I’m scared.  This is the first time that he’s really been sick.  I’m writing this with him in my arms as I try to convince myself that he will be ok tonight.

No one likes seeing their child sick.  I don’t like where my thoughts go, how paranoid I get.  This is what happens.  There’s no trust that something awful won’t happen.

I think it’s become worse now that he’s older.  Every day we creep closer to him hitting 17 and a half months.  I cannot bubble wrap him and stick him in a helmet.  He’s going to get sick, he’s going to get hurt, it’s just so tough not to completely fall apart when it happens.

It’s time to pause and just breathe.

Mother’s Day History

So I did some googling tonight as to the history of Mother’s Day because I was curious how it all started.

A woman by the name of Anna Jarvis held a memorial ceremony in May of 1908 three years after her mother’s death.  She wanted to celebrate her mother’s life and all that she had done for her children.  She was honoring her late mother.

Anna’s mother Ann Reeves Jarvis had had thirteen children over the course of her life.  Seven of her children had died before Anna was born.  Seven.  She was a bereaved mother.

Because of a lot of hard work on Anna’s part, the US recognized Mother’s Day as an official holiday in 1914.

For those of you missing your moms today, this holiday was started for you.  For those of you missing your children today, this holiday was also started for you.  It was grief that brought forth this effort to create a day just for Mom’s.

So when you think of Mother’s Day, don’t just associate it about being for those that are here.  It began for those that are not.  Happy Mother’s Day!