Saturday, September 12, 2015

month eight.

Dear Owen, 

Today you are 8 months old. 

Today you have short, chubby legs, pudgy fingers and toes, and a bright, beaming smile. 

Today your hair is still orange--the color of the sun setting low and fiery beneath the horizon. 

Today you reach for me when I go to pick you up and whimper and cling to me when I try to set you down. Today you nurse quietly in the bedroom while your hand caresses my cheek and your eyes study my features. 

Today you finally take long naps in your crib, but you no longer want to cuddle. This is the reason you spent the first 7 months of your life not napping at all, or only napping in 20 minute increments. I cuddled you to sleep for as long as my worn down body could possibly manage it, and I mourned a little bit when it came time to teach you to fall asleep without me. I knew it would happen like this. I hate that it has to happen like this. 

Today you roll and sit and scoot and wiggle, but you cannot crawl. 

Today you eat everything we eat, and cry furiously if we try to sit down for dinner without including you. 

Today your siblings absolutely adore you and smother you with affection and adoration as they lay on top of you and sweetly call you, "Bowie". 

Today you turn 8 months old and my heart is aching and tearing apart within the walls of my chest. Just yesterday, they lifted you out of me and called out "he has red hair!" Just yesterday, I laid on that operating table and wept soft, quiet tears as I knew my life was about to change forever. Just yesterday, I brought you home to our house on Kelso Dune, and carried you up to my bedroom to lay together under the warm January sunshine and watch your eyelids flutter softly as your chest rose peacefully up and then down. 

I have loved you so intensely these last 8 months, at times it has felt like more than any love I have ever known before. Each time I nurse you, I am reminded that one day I will wake up and lift your soft body to my chest and then I will lay you down and never pick you up that way again. 

One day you will walk, and talk, and run, and climb, scaling your way up the barstool to take your place there, the 4th little seat waiting to be filled. 

What a privilege it is to love someone in this way; to hold you with the knowledge that each moment we share is sacred, and divinely ours. What a privilege it is to experience every first time the last time, with you who has made the last 8 months as joyful as any I've ever known. 

Oh, Owen. You have taught me heartbreak. You have shown me what it is to love someone so fiercely in this one sacred moment that you can't imagine waking up the next morning and finding that moment gone, never to return. How are you already 8 months old? 

Some nights, before we fall asleep, your dad and I open the shade in our big bedroom window so we can stare out at the world outside. The lights from the city below dance and twirl and the stars pulse brightly as they burn holes in the sky. Some nights we lay there quietly watching those twinkling lights and feeling so small, and yet so big, with the whole world stretching out below us, and the knowledge that you can be anything you choose. 

Some nights the sight of it all makes my heart ache a little bit for yesterday, and mourn a little bit for tomorrow. Sometimes I have to leave my bed and come sneak into yours, picking you up quietly, and gently placing your head on my shoulder and your warm chest against mine, knowing in this one moment all that exists in the world is me and you, breathing softly, swaying gently, holding time tightly in your perfect pudgy fist before it has the chance to slip away. 

Tonight, you are still my baby, and I am still your world. It is only us as we dance quietly underneath that bright, bursting sky.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

motherhood to me.

Motherhood is harder than I thought it would be. Like wayyyy harder. It's also more wonderful. When it's raining outside on a beautiful Saturday morning and I get to take my kids out on the porch to smell the air and watch the dark sky, motherhood is so wonderful.  

And it's hard when you're handed things you weren't expecting. Like sweet babies with special needs, and sweet babies with illnesses, and moments of crippling grief. Motherhood brings me to my knees and has broken my heart in half more than once. 

Motherhood has wrecked me. But, at the same time, NOTHING in my life has ever pushed me to be MORE, like motherhood has. I am grateful its not easy. I am grateful it's not what I expected. I am grateful for everything I am becoming in the process of raising my little crew. 

I am grateful for the way they smell when you nuzzle your face into that crevice underneath their chin. I am grateful for little feet in footy pajamas and little words said incorrectly. I am grateful for the way I am completely covered, head to toe, in children the moment I sit down. I am grateful for blonde pig tails, and hands holding tight to mine, and "mommy will you hold me?" as I wipe the counter after breakfast. I am grateful to be needed, cherished, and forgiven by my children time and time again. 

I am so grateful for the chance to try.

Happy Mother's Day, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

of poop and princesses.

Today I found myself being buried alive under a pile of children.

If there are moments in my life when I wonder how the hell I got here, this was one of them. 

Nora was up near my chest, bouncing up and down on my collarbone, Will was knocking the wind out of me as he marched on my stomach, and Owen was resting somewhere in between. 

Later, I found myself sitting on the hardwood floor in our dining room next to Nora's potty as she tried to go number two. One hand was being used to support Owen as he nursed, and the other was holding Nora's for moral support, per her request. Things got complicated when Nora started negotiating the conditions upon which she'd willingly take a poo and I had to find a way to meet her ridiculous terms less she hold that poop in forever and ever, amen. 

She wanted me to sit on her RIGHT SIDE and not her left (the horror!), she wanted William to NOT sit on his potty at the same time as her (and especially to not sit on his potty NEAR her), she wanted to watch Tangled (expect NO SCENES involving Mother Gothel, you've got to be joking), and she insisted that she must have a bowl of taco soup to eat while we waited, chips and guac on the side (you know). 
If there are moments in my life when I wonder how the hell I got here, this was one of them. 

My kids are really afraid of Mother Gothel, you should know. There's this scene at the beginning of the movie when Gothel breaks into the castle, steals Rapunzel, and leaves to go lock the stolen princess away in a tower (I think I just quoted that part word for word THAT'S how many times I've watched this movie) and Will absolutely cannot watch it without me nearby. He runs to hide behind me every single time; his tiny body pressed up against my back, his little arms around my neck, and his face buried in my long hair. Eventually, he'll peek out over my shoulder and ask the same thing each time, "what's haaaapppeening, Mommy?" And then we have to talk about Mother Gothel, and how Rapunzel isn't with her Mommy and Daddy anymore, but she'll be back with them soon, and yes, she's going to be okay, and Flynn Ryder will come soon and then she'll find them again. 

And there's this moment, each and every time it happens, that sort of takes my breath away and puts a lump in my throat. It's something about his little arms around my neck, and his little voice in my ear, and the knowledge that I'm the person who's going to protect him from her. I'm the one he trusts to keep him safe. It's that he finds comfort in the smell of my shampoo, and peace in the sound of my voice, and familiarity in my soft midsection when he lands there...

If there are moments in my life when I wonder how the hell I got so lucky, that is one of them. 

And Nora never pooped. You should know. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

to the mother with the screaming son at target.

noticed you almost immediately. We were browsing the dollar section, looking for something to put in the Easter baskets when I first heard his cries. What you don’t know was that I had fled there that morning. Constant requests and screams for a “CAR RIDE!” from my own little one had driven me to finally toss her in the backseat, buckle her up begrudgingly and hit the pavement in a cloud of stress and frustration. I was feeling sorry for myself that morning. I was wishing I didn’t have to drive all the way across Snow Canyon Parkway and down River Road just to calm her crippling anxiety. I was wishing she wouldn’t scream, and ask me for things ten thousand times in a row, and I was wishing we could just be "normal" instead.

I noticed you almost immediately.

Your son was screaming and arching his back and flailing in your arms. I noticed his dark brown hair and beautiful olive skin. I noticed the chewy tube dangling from his neck, the same one we use, and I immediately recognized his terrified eyes and the way his body was crippling and twisting with crushing panic. I could see my daughter in him. I could see myself in you. 

For a moment I thought about walking away. There were already so many sets of eyes on you, and I was sure you were embarrassed to be wrestling your distraught son into a cart while all of us watched in pity. I am sure you were embarrassed that others pitied you. I know, because I hate to be pitied, too.

As quickly as the thought to 'look away' came, it went, and then I found myself walking over to you, placing my hand on your shoulder and asking you how I could help. I told you that my daughter has Autism too, and although I didn’t know if I could help you, I felt the overwhelming desire to stand there next to you, as all those eyes watched, so they would know we were in this together.

You took his arms and I took his legs and we tried with all our might to get your son to relax his body into that seat. While we worked you spoke calmly to him. You were tender and understanding. You called him “buddy” as he bucked up against your chest and screamed, his fists clenched tightly in frustration. I know I didn’t really get to meet your son that day. I know he was lost somewhere inside himself to a place where we couldn’t reach him. I know you probably wished I could have seen the way he laughs at that one scene in Toy Story each time he watches it, or his quiet precision as he builds a tower of blocks, and then screams in delight as the two of you knock it down together. I know you probably wish I could have seen his sparkle. I want you to know that I imagined it instead.

You don’t know this, but the moment you left the store, I burst into tears for you. I can imagine you walking out of those sliding doors, carrying your son across the parking lot with all the dignity and courage your heart could muster, and then, once you were safe inside the drivers seat, I can see you bursting into tears, too. It's just so damn hard sometimes, isn't it? 

I wanted to thank you for your courage that day. I wanted you to know that I saw it underneath your quivering chin and fumbled words. I wanted you to know that I didn't see you as that frazzled mother you hate to be, but as a mother who would do anything for her child. I saw you as a mother who is doing her very best to build a beautiful life amidst tough circumstances. I saw you as a mother, just like me. 

Thank you for buckling your son into the car, and wrestling him into the shopping cart, and giving this thing all you've got. Someday I might find myself where you were, and in that moment, I will think of stepping forward to stand beside you, and I will know that I am not alone. 

With love,
Evie’s Mom