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course correction

tenderness

tonight, after a particular moment in which my constant frustration over our messy house was not at all concealed, s lay down in bed, and said to me in the very saddest three-year old voice: “Mama, I feel sad when you, when you, when you… when you are sad of me.”

needless to say, i scooped that sweet, vulnerable, tender boy up into my arms and looked him in the eye and told him that i was sorry – that i wasn’t sad of him, and that he always brings me happiness. i told him i always love him, no matter what is happening.

it was a lesson i hope to really internalize, though. of course we all have a whole range of emotions, and i believe that it’s ok to process most of those with the boys.the problem is, we just don’t know how they are interpreting our outbursts and expressions of feeling, and that right there is the caution. to speak more mildly, to react with more measure, to choose words carefully and express myself with kindness and patience, even of things that are happening not from them directly, but simply around them. because even though we hugged and laughed, and snuggled, i know that fear is there… and no one planted that doubt of love except me, and that is indeed really sad.

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in balance, learning, parenting, relationship, spirit

 

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saturday

wall of tattoo designs

today was about a lot of things, but mostly about family. about the family we are, the family we celebrate. it was about being here and now – having two small children leaves little choice but to allow life to flow over and around me, even when i feel like a stone, sunken to the bottom of a swiftly-moving river. it was moments of pause. moments of remembering.

two of three

touching down for a second with my sister, and feeling the cellular changes happening to us without our brother. tears, and pain, and honor, and love.

thinking about my children, and how very tiny and fragile they were, and how amazing, and shining, and wonderful they are now. and how lucky i am to be their mama. every day. every breath.

today

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in family, loss, relationship, spirit, twins

 

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mishmash

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Friday. The boys and Ted and I, all home. Tired in the morning. M, still in his very sensitive place of refusal to comply with any suggestion, guidance, or pleading from parents or brother. Readjusting to being all home together, as we do every weekend. Mama’s brain not yet tuned in enough to make any real plans for the day.
As it turns out, we did pretty well. Managed to get a good mix of being out (breakfast at diner, pm haircut for m), active (neighborhood walk, hot tub time, raking and playing in leaves), and creative (fingerpaint, imaginative play involving pretending sleeping bags were whales eating them, and making collage pictures). We are tired, especially after pushing bedtime late in anticipation of time change, but it was a pretty good day. I even managed to sit and do some enso with the leftover tempera from fingerprinting. Photo forthcoming.
Tomorrow – family portraits in the morn, and I’m getting a tattoo in the afternoon in my brother’s memory.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in balance, loss, parenting

 

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ennui

how i really feel

It was a pretty crappy day. I was alone, which I’d been anticipating, but then quickly became lost in this sea of sadness. When I feel low even normally, my thoughts turn on me, and those horrid inner voices paralyse. I have a list that would take me a year to complete circulating in my brain – thank you’s and heart communications to friends and strangers alike who wrote to us during the time Simon was in the hospital, things to do to support his girlfriend, ideas about what my parents and grandparents must need from me… not to mention all the multitude of things around the house that need attention and the ways I’d like to be better meeting the needs of my kids. When I am alone, every one of these things calls to me, insistently and unrelentingly. I ended up spending most of the day staring at photos on the computer, trying to sew a gift for my parents’ anniversary (then abandoning sewing and putting all the fabric away), then lying in bed. My dad used the word today to describe his own state, and it feels pretty on par.

It was a beautiful afternoon outside – the sun, my boys, my Ted – when I was finally pulled out of these surrounding walls and away from the merciless voices within, it actually felt good. We had dinner with friends, had a funny ride home with the kids, and a nice bedtime with my sister… but inside, that well is still there… cold, dark, and still.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in loss

 

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vascillation

when m was a wee thing

There are times in life when you’ve got plenty of time for indecisiveness, but here I am, about to turn 39, after a long history of infertility and pregnancy loss, and I am on the fence about whether or not to pursue trying to conceive another child.

When Ted and I met last spring, I had just pretty much come to terms with not trying again. I have more sperm from the same donor I used to conceive my twins, but single parenting (even in the context of parenting with my sister) had been much harder than I had predicted, and I haven’t gotten my financial life/ career life on any sort of track since becoming pregnant almost four years ago. I was broke, depressed, withdrawn from my friends, and constantly overwhelmed by the demands of twin toddlers and home life in general. It was clear that adding a baby was not going to be good for anyone. But then came Ted, and with him came this amazing certainty – this perspective on everything that just shifted it all. It felt clear that this family I’d been nurturing was meant to include him – it even felt (feels) like M&S were conceived to be his children – before I knew him, and before he ever knew he wanted to be a father. That’s still how it all is – even the challenges we face in creating our unique little three-parent family (including my sister as the third parent) all seem meaningful, and indeed necessary for all five of us.

Right away, Ted and I started talking about another child – which since we both have fertility issues, would be conceived from the boys’ donor. I wanted to re-experience pregnancy (particularly desirous of a singleton pregnancy!), and I know it will be a source of deep joy for him to have that arc of the growth of a baby. In September, I started calling fertility groups in our city to get pricing and make an appointment for a consultation. Even though entering into that land of hope/ grief/ potentially great outcome or terrible loss/ constant mental and emotional strain really daunted me, I knew that there were really only two cycles, and then that would be it – either I’d have gotten pregnant, or not.  It wasn’t going to be years long like the 15 before my boys came into the world. I could do it; I was getting ready.

But then came October. Weeks spent touching life and the possibility of death. Lots of perspective. Lots of praying and thinking. In the midst of all that, Ted and I had a late-night, whispered conversation about baby. About why it should be important to create a new life for us, when we both already and for long, long years have recognized the great need of parentless children for loving families. It’s not like either of us is attached to genetics – and here we were, losing my brother because of a genetic disease I also have. So in those charged moments, that late and dark night, thinking of my brother, of tragedy, of love, and family, we basically said no, we didn’t need to have the pregnancy experience and all of the stress and risk involved in creating and living that for me – that adoption of a baby as our next step, and not a future post-conceiving and birthing a baby myself/ourselves, was the course of most “rightness” for our family.

That took a lot of pressure off. No more worrying about the impending doom of FOURTY YEARS OLD and the surrounding reality of further-diminished fertility. Knowing that I’d never again have to start down the barrel of the gonalF needle, the trans-vag untrasound, and best of all, the home pregnancy test. I wouldn’t have to worry about preterm labor, of what would happen this time with my ability of nurse exclusively, no worries about how I would care for my boys and care for myself and a new baby…. that was just all gone.

And then yesterday. I was looking at newborn pictures of M & S, and later my sister brought home photos of a wee 11-day old baby… and it all came back. The irrational willingness to put it all back on the table. The longing for the whole scope of it – the first ultrasound, feeling the baby move within my own body, the swell of the belly, the magic of sharing that with my sons, with my partner, with my whole family and community. The potential of having a natural childbirth. Nurse another baby, even if it was again complicated. It all pulled me very strongly back to the table.

There’s nothing to do but sit with it. To be here with this deep desire, knowing that either path is fine. I feel certain that we will adopt, but it would probably take several years to arrive at a point of enough stability to make that happen. Will we try to conceive? I really don’t know. I don’t even know if the risks are acceptable, thinking about me being pregnant again. There’s enough attachment to wanting, though, to be clear that this is not a closed subject.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in relationship

 

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unravelled

last day

It’s still a shock that my brother isn’t alive anymore. I speak about him with the present verb tense even as I talk about his death. We had made a reservation for him and his girlfriend to stay here at the co-housing community guest room this past weekend… when one of our neighbors asked if our guests had arrived, I had to really think about who we’d saved the room for… and then of course there it was…. it was for my brother, who is gone.

Two nights ago, his girlfriend posted this photo, taken on their last day out in the big world together. It came up in my news feed on facebook, and the natural color, his uncensored smile, the beauty of it was just so there, so alive, that it took my breath away. I had a moment of simple reaction, of thinking it was him, alive, real. Then the tears, the heavy reality.

Since coming home from Seattle where he died, I have consumed myself with knitting. The simple repetition, the feel of the yarn and needles, the attention to tension in my hands as they pass the yarn, these all combine to numb my thoughts. I’ve finished three hats in two weeks, and last night started a sweet little button-down vest for Shoghi.

The last time I knit so much was in 2007, during the end of my marriage to D. The day after we separated, I went with my best friend and bought some beautiful yarn — consolation yarn, I think we called it — and casted on for a sweater for myself, which actually I never finished. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, making things when you’re processing such sadness. But now that I’m in it again, I can see it for what it is for me: a buffer, a means for containing my emotions while they sort themselves out from within.

Maybe when I’m done this vest, I’ll actually finish up that sweater I started in ’07. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. I’m just keeping my hands busy while my mind reforms itself around this new and very sad part of my own life – without my little brother.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in family, loss

 

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Passed

Simon died 9 days ago. My little brother, whom I admire(d) and adore(d), is somehow no longer here. I was there – with him for the long days of expectation and determined hope for healing, for the meetings with surgeons and neurologists, for the pronouncement that he would not survive. Along with many others, and as far as I was permitted, I accompanied him on the journey of last breaths, and watched as his body was left behind – as we were all left behind.

Here I am, though, ten days later, and I am lost. I get up, manage the morning with my boys and get them to school (thank god for school), come home and return to pajamas and bed. I knit, watch Netflix, and keep this ocean of sadness at bay with the repetitive motion of yarn around needle, up, down. Rote doing and mechanical being.

I didn’t take a picture of it, but in the hotel room we lived in for nearly three weeks as we kept vigil with simon, there was a lousy corporate “art” thing framed in the bedroom. I noticed it the first night: an enso, open at the top, its inner contents pouring out into the sloppily-rendered sky. I hated that painting, for it’s spirit-less, mass-produced essence, and for it’s symbolism of death, seemingly unseen by the slouch in whatever cubicle who decided it was appropriate for thousands of rooms around the world. I hated ending my days by looking death in the face.

Somehow this blog about certitude got wrapped up in my (so far failed) attempt at developing a daily practice, but really, I migrated here from my last blog because my orientation had shifted and I wanted a new place. So here I am, showing up as-is.

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in daily enso, family, loss, relationship

 

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