I gave myself permission to lose it for just a moment today. I have to remind myself that it's ok to be present in my emotions, it's ok to be gentle with myself and acknowledge when something is scary. I don't get much time to myself these days but I knew it was important to feel, so while it was only ten minutes, it was long enough during the drive home to compose myself before the transition from teacher to mama.
Reid has had a fever for four days. I hate it. Perhaps this is normal in the early years of building immunities, a child of a teacher who brings germs home each day, a toddler who loves playing with kids while putting every toy in his mouth. However, it doesn't feel normal to watch your baby be sick. Once again, I remind myself to be present. I remind myself, not all "sick" babies die. I use quotation marks because Ruthie Lou wasn't "sick" she was born without all her chromosomes. She was perfect. She also died from pneumonia. Now of course there were underlying medical conditions and many other parts to that but on her death certificate (which I have looked at one time and never again) pneumonia is the listed cause of death.
So today when my husband, who is so wonderful and took our boy to the doctor while I was working, told me that our son has pneumonia my stomach rose to my chest and maybe more realistically, into my throat. I know babies get sick, I know pneumonia is an umbrella statement for fluid in lungs, I know I get walking pneumonia near every cold (once a year) but to hear those words in which I haven't thought of since staring at a paper that held my daughters name, I wanted to cry. Now, I know all parents worry when their child is ill, I am not trying to negate that very real feeling but the post traumatic stress of saying good bye to your baby is something you never get over and it will show up at a moments notice. My fear is real.
In the ten minutes that I drove I let it all out, then put my car in park and entered our house ready for him, ready for the night, ready to be his mama and be present for whatever this evening would bring. I sit here next to him now as he lay sleeping, hearing the raise of every breath and I am so grateful. So grateful for him and his wonderful light that he brings to our home and our hearts. And I miss his sister so. There are so many moments that I get to be Reid's mama, the mama free from worry and the terrifying thought of him leaving me. I stay present each day because I choose that to be my only option, I want to live life fully for him and being in the moment is the safest way I know how. But, there are these other moments, mostly that come later at night when the house is silent and he's asleep that I am reminded, the house is too quiet, as if I need a reminder. Yes, I am surviving, we have survived, but man it is still exhausting.
I couldn't love this boy any more than I do, I would burst. I want to keep him always. I know it's such a silly thing to say, of course we all want that for our children but I pray for that every single day. I know in my heart that he will be ok but I hate waiting for my boy to feel better.
Today was scary.
I learn so much from Reid in his innocence. Toddlers can teach us such sweet lessons. In their eyes, everything is fresh and wonderful and dramatic, the laughter is pure and hearty, the tears are large and loud. Toddlers li ve in the moment. I think the best lesson I can learn from Reid is to always be present, laugh when it's funny, cry when it hurts and when the exhaustion is too much to hear, go to sleep!
I have never felt such joy as to watch my son grow. I felt this same joy the moment my daughter was born but it was coupled with such fear, worry and anxiety that it was never allowed to just "be". But now, with Reid, it just "is". He just "is". He is wonderful, curious, contagious, joyful, energetic, mischievous, entertaining, loving, funny, playful, innocent and amazing. He is everything I wanted. He is my everything.
I have never felt such joy coupled with such longing grief. I hate that it can't be pure joy for life but that the grief is forever present. I wanted all these things for Ruthie Lou, too. I wanted her. In whatever capacity that meant, healthy, sick, able, disabled, special, special needs, I didn't care. We didn't care. We prayed for something she could live with, anything, we didn't even know what we were asking for but just something that would allow us to bring her home. We have watched, over the years and admired my brothers parenting and relationship grow with his son, my nephew. We LOVE my nephew. We prayed that we could have that, too. Language, no language, walking, wheelchair, fertile, infertile. We made plans to adopt our next child when there was a moments thought that the worst case scenario was RL's reproductive organs were incapable of reproducing. We were going to show her that your child is your child is your child, it doesn't matter if you birth them or not, you always LOVE your child. We wanted her. We will always want her. She is our child. She is perfect. Period.
I have never felt such joy. I have also never suffered so much pain. I wish I could say the pain has lessened or time made softer, but it hasn't. I have learned to live with the loss of my greatest love while mothering her brother, my greatest love. My heart has never been so full yet so empty.
I am a mama of three beautiful babes; two boys I have the honor of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.