Hand in My Pocket

Hand in my Pocket

Standing in the wading pool at the water park with The Peanut is when it hit me. I’ve struggled with the idea for a long time. Playing in the water with her and watching other parents with babies strapped to them was the moment I realized I’ve moved past it. I like the way things are. I like that my kids are becoming more and more independent. I like that they’re getting big enough to do more things with them. Suddenly the thought of adding a baby into the mix just didn’t sit right with me. It was the first time I actually felt like I’m “done”.

I had always wondered what it would be like to experience that thought. I didn’t think I ever would. For a long time I’ve been stuck in this place where I know it doesn’t make sense to have another baby, but I think about it often and feel that yearning for one more. It’s a battle of brain and heart. Heart is slowly getting on board with brain.

So what did that moment feel like?

Relieving… The Peanut wasn’t an easy baby. I’m quick to forget the struggle to get her to gain weight, the unpleasantness of a baby that threw up all day and all night, that she didn’t sleep much until she was 9 months.

Sad… Despite the challenges I loved being home with my babies. I loved watching them grow and change so quickly and come into their own personalities. I also loved the snuggles! Not much beats a baby snuggle.

Excited… Continuing to watch my little people become bigger people is just amazing. They’ve both hit some big milestones this year and I love how much more we can do with them. They are less reliant on me, which is kind of nice. As they become more independent I’m excited to get some of my independence back.

Guilty… Because I’m a mom and having independence comes at a price. I’m working on giving myself permission to not feel guilty, it’s a long journey.

So, it was confusing. I had imagined it to be more of a moment of clarity, like I would just wake up one day and say “yeah, I’m done” and know that I truly felt it and truly meant it.

With a piece of my heart missing I will always feel like someone is missing and I’m learning to be ok with that. It’s ok to make peace with the decision to not have more babies and at the same time it’s ok to give myself permission to wonder from time to time what it would be like to have just one more…

*I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one is giving a peace sign.

 

*Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
Check it out on YouTube !

Four

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Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

Four should be so much more.

Four shouldn’t be another year of wondering and what ifs.

Four shouldn’t be a reminder of the moments we are missing out on.

There will be no last day of daycare picture.

No first day of kindergarten picture.

No backpack full of supplies waiting at the door.

There won’t be a graduating class shirt hanging in your closet waiting for your handprint.

I won’t have to decide what package of first school pictures to buy.

No first report card to pour over.

I won’t be complaining about the lunches I’d have to make every day.

No sports or activities to plan our lives around.

There will be no celebrating you learning to write your name.

No celebrating the first book you could read on your own.

No hurrah for passing JK.

No summer camps to book.

No school friend birthday party to plan.

Four is cruel.

Step by Step

I did it! I hit a milestone!
It felt so good to hear. It felt so good to be around a group of supportive people who cheered me on. I felt proud of myself, momentarily. It didn’t take long before I had to fend off the negative comments. I should be my biggest cheerleader, but I’m much better at tearing myself down than building myself up.

Not long after hitting this milestone I was out hiking with my family. The Boss took some photos along the way. She took the one included in this post. She loves taking pictures of the beautiful flowers. I love watching her take in the beauty in the world that surrounds her.

As we were getting ready to hike back we were chatting about the steps it would take to get back to the truck. She made a song out of it and sang it most of the way back.

“Every single step you take gets you closer to what you want
So if you want something just take a step and you’re on your way”

Emily's Song
Photo and words by: The Boss

Wow. I had to stop for a second and listen to what she was singing. She had no idea how much I needed to hear those words. Maybe she did, she seems to have a knack for this sort of thing. Something about those words resonated deep within my soul.
I sat with that little song for a while and it got me thinking about the way I beat myself down instead of celebrating myself.
Despite hitting that milestone I was upset with myself that it took so long. I told myself I wasn’t trying hard enough. I made myself believe I didn’t deserve to be celebrated. What the fuck kind of reaction is that? Certainly not the kind I would have to anyone else.

“Take a step and you’re on your way”
She’s right. Every single step forward I take is progress and that should be celebrated. Every step I take that helps me deserves to be recognized. And if I can’t recognize and acknowledge that why should anyone else?

I hit another milestone last week. I took my own advice and gave myself permission to celebrate the win. The people at my group were so happy for me and cheered once again. These are strangers I see once a week and they were genuinely happy for me. This time I was too. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. That voice tried taking over again, I have a long road to self-love.
But the difference this time is that when that voice tried piping up I politely told it to take a hike.

This is 35

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My Birthday Cake!

Something about turning 35 didn’t sit right. In the weeks leading up to my birthday I wrestled with feelings of getting older, feeling older, and realizing that I would soon be closer to 40 than 30. For the record, I don’t think 40 is old and that is not what this is about.

For the first time in my life I had a weird feeling about hitting the next number. I hadn’t felt that before. I’ve always felt like your age is just a part of you, in no way does it define you, and so it’s never bothered me – I’ve certainly never had negative feelings about the number on my cake.

I was excited to turn 30! EXCITED!

Why wasn’t I excited to turn 35?

Maybe it’s because there I sensed it wasn’t going to be much fun being 35.

The day of my birthday I forgot my tea on the counter (my fault for drinking tea 😉 ) and left my keys in the lock in the front door. I almost drove away with them IN THE DOOR! Too bad I didn’t realize my tea was on the counter until I was almost on the highway and it was too late. Since then I have forgot my coffee more often than remembered it. Oops. At least I haven’t left the keys in the door again.

I spent most of the last month sick or taking care of a sick kid. We were doing SO good this winter and then the house turned into a germ-factory and it’s been one sickness after another since. I know I’ve been sick the most, thanks 35 year old immune system!

Between sick days and snow days it feels like I haven’t even been at work. I have, just mostly at home. Having the flexibility to work from home is a bonus when these crazy times hit, but it doesn’t make it easier to get work done. Most of the days were harder than they were easier. It was a busy month running between offices and that didn’t help. I didn’t feel grounded. I didn’t feel in control. I have breathed and talked myself out of more than one potential panic attack. I was losing control of work and home. Why wouldn’t those damn germs just die? If they would die and I was healthy again I would regain control!

Instead I could feel that I needed a break because I was breaking. I finally took a break and crashed. Thanks to a migraine I slept for an entire day! Nothing makes you take a break like a migraine. Then I got sick again and then my car went haywire on the highway. Being stranded on the side of the road was a perfectly awful way to end the month and a perfect metaphor for the month. The car had been making a noise and I said I needed to take it to the mechanic and had planned to call that day, but I pushed away the warning signs and boy did that bite me on the ass!

I had a bit of a chuckle on the side of the road when I realized the similarities between me and my car. The chuckle may have sounded more like sobs to someone else, but there was a chuckle in the somewhere…

 

So I think my negative feelings towards turning 35 was more of a sense of what was coming. It was a shitty month. A lot went wrong. I was a wreck emotionally and physically. It seemed like nothing could go right and I was stuck in such a negative place it felt impossible to see the light. It would be so easy to only focus on those things but now that I’ve come out of it rather unscathed, albeit with a lighter wallet, I feel ok about it all. Not great, but ok. Every moment I felt like I couldn’t go on, I somehow did. I didn’t always find the light, but sometimes it found me. And now that I reflect back on the month there are so many more positive things that come to memory. And that is how I keep going.

It turns out maybe I’m not the pessimist I always thought I was.
Or maybe the mindfulness training is paying off!

Patience and Grace

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is here! There’s really no comparison for the joy and good feelings the holiday season brings out in people. I’ve noticed it more so than ever this year. Maybe because I’m paying more attention to it, or maybe because people are jollier than ever, maybe because I’m trying to be more positive, who knows. Either way, I love it. Closing a shitty year on a more positive note is welcomed with open arms.
2018 sucked and I spent way too much time letting the darkness win.

As Christmas has approached I’ve found it easier to find the light. This is the first Christmas since Melissa died that I haven’t been filled with dread. I am more happy than sad. I have been able to enjoy our celebrations without an overwhelming heavy feeling.
Grief is still there and I’ve broken down a few times, but that was inevitable. Grief doesn’t give you a holiday. Instead it usually crashes down harder than ever during the moments that should be happiest. Sometimes it’s hard to predict when, where and how hard grief will hit.

Maybe for you it hasn’t hit and you’re wondering when it will. Maybe it hit harder than you were expecting and you don’t know how to handle it.
However you’re dealing, grieving, or not, I see you. I get you. My wish for you this Christmas season is a wish for patience and grace:

I wish you patience as your grief comes and goes, sometimes without warning.
I wish you patience in understanding that it won’t always be this hard.
I wish you patience with those who may say or do the wrong thing, or do nothing at all.

I wish you grace for the moments when you want to fall apart but instead choose to keep it all together.
I wish for grace for those around you when you choose to fall apart instead of keeping it all together.
I wish grace for those around you who don’t understand grief and won’t know what to say or do.
I wish you grace for the moments you just can’t handle.

If you are missing a piece of your heart this year please take care of yourself and know that however you’re dealing or not dealing is ok.
If someone you know is missing a piece of their heart, letting them know you’re thinking of them is the greatest gift you can give! And it’s free!

*The echoes and silence, patience and grace
And all of these moments I’ll never replace
Fear of my heart absence of faith
All I want, is to be home
All I want, is to be home
People I’ve loved, have no regrets
Some might remember, some might forget
Some of them livin’, some of them dead
All I want, is to be home

*Home by Foo Fighters
Check it out on YouTube – It’s not from their official site, but it’s a great video that captures the raw emotion this song evokes.

The Middle

Lately I’ve been seeing heart shapes in strange places – chicken nuggets, rocks, clouds, puddles, wood chips. It’s getting a little weird.
It probably means nothing.
I’m probably searching for these hearts.
That’s what I thought until last week when I came across this heart in the path while walking the dog.

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Photo Credit: Me!

I stopped in my tracks.
When I saw this heart in the path I felt like I was supposed to be seeing these shapes. I wasn’t looking for them, they were looking for me.
Now that butterfly season has passed I can’t help but feel that this is Melissa reaching out to me. At a time when she knows my heart has been heavier than usual, she’s been trying to get my attention. I think this is her way of reminding me she is still with me and sending her love. A comfort I didn’t realize I needed until I felt it when I saw that heart in the pavement.

Whatever the reason for all the hearts, I’m thankful for the moment of reflection they brought. I was overdue to take a look inside and reflect on what’s been weighing me down, what I can and cannot control, what I can do to help myself. I was overdue to take stock of all the love I have in my life.
Sometimes I feel so stuck and it seems like the scary part of the ride will never end.
Sometimes I need a reminder that everything will be all right.
So, Melissa, thanks for the reminder and thanks for the hearts ❤

*Live right now
Just be yourself
It doesn’t matter if that’s good enough for someone else

It just takes some time
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right
*The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
Check it out on YouTube!

Three

Melissas Birthday Candle Holder

Three is full of sass and attitude.

Three is full of the best bear hugs that get stronger and better each passing year.

Three is for discovering more and more about the world around you.

Three is for more independence.

Three is realizing the terrible twos were just the beginning.

Three is amazing, frustrating, hilarious, hard, fun.

Three is too long to be missing you.

Enough

Have you noticed how different you treat yourself versus those around you?

If you’re like me, you try to support and lift up those around you, but are so harsh on yourself, even when it comes to the same situations.

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Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

 

Recently I had one of those “a-ha” moments when it really hit me how mean I can be to myself. Being so hard on myself was beating down my confidence and taking a serious toll on my overall happiness. The only one in control of that was me and that needed to change. When I first thought about how much harsher I judged myself, I started noticing it more and how natural it came. It became even clearer when I started asking myself what I would say to someone else…

New Job – I started a new job a while back and was getting down on myself and thought about throwing in the towel because I wasn’t picking everything up right away.
What I told myself: I was no good. I would probably get fired because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was a fraud and would never figure out what I want to do with my life.
What I would tell a friend: You can’t compare yourself to your colleagues who have been doing this for years. It’s only been a few months and look how much you’ve learned already. Celebrate the wins you’ve made so far. Believe the positive feedback.

Parenting – Sometimes I worry I’m not good enough and my kids deserve more than what they get from me.
What I told myself: I’m not present enough when I’m with them. I’m too short-tempered; I don’t do enough; I should feed them healthier foods than I do.
What I would tell a friend: They are fed and clothed, and they like the choices they have and feeding a picky kid sucks. Kids are great at pushing buttons, especially when they sense stress. The kids are happy, look at how they look at you – they love you. Take time for yourself, you need and deserve it!

Body image – No matter what I do or where I am this will always be a tough one.
What I tell myself: I will never look good enough. Stop being so lazy. Stop letting emotions control what/how I eat. How did I let myself get so fat and lazy.
What I would tell a friend: Don’t let yesterday dictate today. Celebrate every win, no matter how small. Don’t expect results instantly. How can I support you? You’re beautiful, even when you don’t feel like you are.

It’s so easy to genuinely react in such a positive way when I hear friends talk negatively about themselves, so why is it so hard to react the same way with myself?
I’ve been working really hard at treating myself better. It’s working. I feel much happier when I’m not so critical of myself. I’m finally starting to believe the things other people tell me. I have more moments when I look in the mirror and don’t fixate on all the things that need fixing.
While there is always room for improvement, I am finally starting to feel like I am enough. All it took was asking myself “what would you say to a friend in this moment?”
 

*So can we break this mold
And set in motion something new
Forgetting what we know
An evolution overdue 
Fight the current
Pull the ripcord
Get away!
Are we not good enough?
Are we not brave enough?
To become something greater
Than the violence in our nature?
Are we not good, good enough?

*The Violence by Rise Against
Check it out on YouTube!

15

Nova Scotia - On The Rocks
Once you get married that original anniversary date doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. What is more important: the day our relationship started or the day we made it “official” by signing a paper and partying with family and friends? I think both deserve to be celebrated.
Today is our 15th anniversary. 15 years sounds like a lot, but it really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long – our relationship is almost old enough to drive!
To celebrate our 15th dating “anniversary” (as I apparently put it into my phone’s calendar) I have compiled a list of 15 memories that make me smile.

  1. That first time we hung out and our coffee date lasted for hours because I couldn’t get a cab. I didn’t mind because I kinda liked you 😉
  2. That time we went to a haunted house and you made sure I ended up in a room by myself and only slightly terrified…
  3. Those times we went to Detroit to see the Bears. Remember the turkey leg? The amazing hotel with no hot water, no heat, and no sound barrier? The parking attendant who knew we were “not from around here” while wandering the streets of Detroit at night? The excitement of my first football game?
  4. That time I dressed up as a beer wench (and ended up quite literally being the beer wench) for the best Halloween keg party ever! That band!
  5. That time you made me trudge through the snow (while wearing shoes) to find you because you found the perfect place to propose.
  6. That time we drove to Nova Scotia to visit friends and the car stereo broke so we got stuck listening to CCR way longer than anyone should be subjected to. Remember walking along the rocks while the tide was out? The Tim Horton’s where no one was rushing or being rushed?
  7. That time we got married!
  8. That time you dressed up as a wacky-inflatible-tubeman for Halloween because I’m terrified of them. That’s *ahem* love…
  9. That time we moved into our first home and we ate pizza picnic-style and slept on the floor in a sleeping bag. ← THAT is love
  10. That time I had my friend bring over a dog that needed a home and said dog and I convinced you our home needed him.
  11. That time I convinced you our dog needed a feline friend and she turned out to be the devil! Oh the damage she did in such a short period of time.
  12. That time we went to the Grand Canyon and you convinced me to sit on a horse. It wasn’t as scary as I thought, but I was way more nervous than comfortable.
  13. That time I woke you up way too early on a Saturday morning to tell you I was pregnant because I can’t contain my excitement. You went back to sleep. I did not.
  14. That time we brought our first baby home from the hospital and had no idea what we were doing. I still feel that way most days.
  15. That time somewhere in the last 5 years when we enjoyed a cup of coffee together in peace. I don’t remember that one either…

    So, wanna grab a coffee and reminisce?

Broken

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I am 1 in 4. I have lived life as a loss Mom for a little over 2.5 years. I made it through a pregnancy after loss. I made it through 9 months of sleeping not much more than 2 hours at a time (thank you, Peanut). I made it through going back to work.

Life was starting to feel good again. I was really starting to feel like more and more of the old me was coming back.

And then I became 1 in 4 again…

I didn’t have to wait the 2 minutes, the line showed up instantly. Pregnant again. Number 4, here we go!
Before I had time to start celebrating things got serious. I had a lot of bleeding and some pain. I had no bleeding in my first 3 pregnancies so this was worrisome for me. Two ultrasounds and a few weeks later and everything looked good. The bleeding had stopped, baby was where it was supposed to be, was on track with growth, and my hormone levels were good.

I cautiously started celebrating and planning.
I shared the news with a few people – I’m not good with secrets and I knew I wouldn’t hide a loss if it did happen.
I had shirts made – I haven’t even picked them up yet.
I wrote the news in birthday cards I was getting ready to send – sorry, those cards are probably going to be late.
I even gave the baby a nickname – Little Bean.

Despite having 2 ultrasounds I didn’t have a due date so I went back for another. This time everything was different.
She didn’t mean for me to see the screen, but I did. The dates didn’t match, they were 2 weeks apart.
She told me to wait for the Radiologist to come talk to me, but wouldn’t say why. Then she told me to go home and call my doctor later. I pleaded with her to tell me something. She gave me a hug and told me there was nothing she could say. Her eyes and her hug told me all I needed to know.

It felt like forever, but I finally got a call from my midwife confirming the news. Little Bean had stopped growing at 8 weeks and there was no heartbeat. I should have been 10 weeks along.
She went over the options, none of them ideal.
We headed to the hospital to get medication to move things along since my body hadn’t responded to the loss. My body is stubborn and even with medication it took a while before anything happened, but after 24 hours the physical part was over.

The emotional part is going to take a lot longer to get over.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
I wasn’t ready to break again.

Though I didn’t get a chance to know you, Little Bean, I promise that I loved you, and I always will.
Goodbye, Little Bean.

*’Cause I’m broken when I’m open
And I don’t feel like I am strong enough
‘Cause I’m broken when I’m lonesome
And I don’t feel right when you’re gone away

*Broken by Seether
Check it out on YouTube!