Myla two years old

Saturday, May 7, 2016

This beautiful little girl turned 2 on May 1st. She is really so fun, funny and smart.  She has a really large vocabulary, even if some of her words are only understood by a few of her closest people. She is so super happy almost all of time. When she isn't happy, she is usually sad about not having cookies or more Elmo. The obsession with Elmo runs deep. She has a number of funny routines, including a wild bath tub dance, a meal time balancing of her empty bowl on her head, and a new ability to do somersaults that appeared after a week's stay with older girl cousins. She is fearless and affectionate and we adore her. Happy Birthday Special Girl! We are so lucky that you're ours!

Heavy Questions

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"How are you doing today Mo?", asked his teacher when we got to school the other morning.
"Do you know if someone goes to Heaven that maybe they will come back here again...?" he asked/said.
The teacher didn't quite get it all.
"What?", she asked me.
"I think he might be asking you if you believe in reincarnation." I said.
She looked at him, "I think that is a better question for your mommy", she said.
"I just wanna know if Maxie and Jakey are coming back here", he responded.
She looked concerned.
I shrugged.
"We have these kinds of conversations all of the time.", I said.

Mo is increasingly interested in his big brother.  He asks me about Max all of the time.  His questions are sometimes heavy and they even make him sad when he thinks about them too hard - which he is prone to do. Sometimes, he is sad for long periods of time and gets frustrated that the answers don't come together the way he wants. Other times, he comes up with other things to be sad about because he doesn't seem quite sure himself of why missing a brother he never met makes him feel so sad.

"I miss Max", he says a lot. "When is he coming back?"
"I don't think he is coming back Bubbah.  We won't see him again until we are in Heaven with him", I say.
 "I want to play with Max", he replies.
"So do I", I say.

Sometimes, he comes up with ideas that he thinks will make me happy, "How about I get on a cloud and go to Heaven and ask G-d to give Max and Jake back to us? That's a good idea. Right Mommy?"
"It is a really good idea Bubs", I say. "I don't know how to get on the cloud, but maybe we can figure it out one day".

It's heavy and Mo is already an emotionally mature little boy. He feels things very deeply. But I don't really see the point in pretending I am not sad about it. It has been so awful to have adults pretending like they don't think it is sad or pretending not to feel their own sadness. I am not even sure most of them are pretending, they've just pushed it aside - to make room for talk about the weather or work or common neighborhood gossip. In fact, I think that as a culture, we have been shoving down our feelings for so long that we actually don't feel that much anymore....even about things that are, without question, very very sad.

Like a child dying.  Or a little boy knowing that he almost had a big brother to play with, but that his big brother died before they ever got to play. It's sad.....and he feels sad. I know that many would not agree, but I really believe that his is an appropriate emotional response that I don't feel the need to shut down.

Ted and I have talked about the luxury so many parents have at being upset that the father died in "The Good Dinosaur" or about any character dying in any movie. "I don't want my child to have to think about that", they say.  Though I'm not really sure you have the choice ...because terrible sad things happen in this life and we aren't always prepared for them.

After Max died, friends with kids were always asking me how I thought they should explain to their children what happened to Max.  Many of them decided not to tell their kids, because it was too much and might upset them.  At times, I have even resented the questions: I don't want to be involved with how you tell your child about death.  It's not my responsibility. Just because my child died, doesn't mean I have to be responsible for figuring out how you talk to your kid about death.  Another luxury as I see it.  I don't really want to have to talk to my own child about death.  And, more than anything, I didn't want my child to die.  I didn't ask for this, but since this is what I've got, I'm just going to be open about it.

Mo has a life that is filled with lots of fun and happiness.  He also knows that there is a sadder side of life - and I can't say I am happy about that. As much as I wish that his life would bring only happiness - I know that it won't.  Every life has its sorrows.  I hope that Mo will know that amidst the deepest tragedies and disappointments, there is resilience.  I hope that he always finds the road that feels authentic and true to him.  I hope that he continues to question the un-understandable, the unimaginable and the unfair. I hope that when life knocks the wind out of him, that he doesn't feel like he needs to pretend that he feels anything other than what he feels. And I hope that he remains the beautiful, deeply feeling, loving, empathetic soul that he is today.

My little guys playing together

Macie one year

Monday, February 29, 2016

This post is a week late - but what a week! Two birthday celebrations for Macie - one at school and one with family at our home. Mace is the most fabulous, adorable, easy, happy, mellow baby. He crawls all over the place with a big smile on his face. He loves to pull up on tables and in his crib. He picks up tiny little bits of food with his fingers and makes the cutest "yummy" noises. He loves to be held and cuddled and he adores his big brother and sister, which is good because they are wild about him. We are crazy about this baby! Can't wait to see what the next year brings!!!

Mace 11 months

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Macie turned 11 months old yesterday. He's very grown up! He loves eating with his fingers & making yummy noises while he does, he is the best crawler I've nearly ever seen, and he is just so cute! Everyone adores this baby!

Roll call!!!:

New Resolution

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't assume that you and I feel the same way about life: about pregnancy, birth, or death, or the emotions surrounding watching children grow up, We don't necessarily feel the same about what constitutes a tragedy or even what is worth making a big deal, being dramatic or arguing about. Life looks a whole lot different to me today than it did four and a half years ago.

Trust me - Life looks drastically different to me than it does to you.

I don't care about a lot of the stuff that I was once passionate about and I really don't want to argue with you - about politics, about religion, about manners, or grammar or anything really.  I do not care about any of it. Sometimes I tell you what I think you want to hear - just because I am avoiding conflict.  I have no energy for it. It's the same reason that I laugh when I think you are trying to be cute. I nod and smile but I am dying inside. I'm wrecked and still trying to figure out how to maintain the very delicate equilibrium of my newly reconstructed life.

It isn't your fault that my child died - of COURSE it isn't - but it is your fault if you responded to that tragedy in a less than kind way.  No, you "cannot understand" what it is like to lose a child, but you CAN take responsibility for the way you treat other people in the face of their struggle. I have lived through hell. My idiosyncrasies have been informed by my experience and I am terribly sorry if you don't have patience for them - or for my being sensitive (especially on the subject of the child I lost and the intense grief I feel surrounding his absence). I can only imagine what you've been through in this life that has made you want to bully a bereaved parent.

This year I am resolving to work hard on a new resolution, which I hope will become a new habit and way of life for me. The mantra I keep repeating to myself is: "Just because you acted insensitively or said something inappropriate/mean-spirited/ or offensive, doesn't mean that I have to react."  It occurs to me that you are possibly behaving the way you are because I am an easy target and it makes you feel good to make me feel bad. I feel bad enough without your trying to get under my skin.

Sometimes all of the noise is more than I can bear. I won't make time or space for those who don't make time and space for me anymore. All you will get from me is a smile and a nod. I'm not really listening and I don't really care. Find another victim. I am done.

Macie 10 Months

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Macie turned 10 months old yesterday! He's just such a special baby. He's very even tempered and friendly. When he looks at you, it's as if he is looking into your soul. It reminds me so much of Max. Even Mo's teacher said something about it to me last time she saw him. She said, "I'm not Jewish, but the Rabbi taught us the word 'Neshama' and I think about it whenever I see Mace". Neshama means soul. That's what he is - he's all soul.

He started crawling right at nine and a half months (exactly when I think Max would have crawled, had he lived). He likes pulling up on stuff and playing with his brother and sister. Whenever he sees either of them, he smiles and laughs. They adore him. It's the cutest. We love this guy! He just couldn't be cuter!

Ready for the photos? Here we go!

Backwards milestones

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tomorrow Macie will be the same age Max was when he took his last breath. Tuesday, he will be older than Max ever was. Today is the anniversary, of sorts, of my last perfect day with Max.

It's hard to compute. To anyone who has never lost a child, I sound morbid. To everyone who has lost a child and then had a subsequent child, you know exactly how this feels. It's totally unreal and unrelenting. It's not an anniversary of anything - in the calendar sense. It's the anniversary of a feeling. The anniversary of blissful happiness and love. The anniversary of a time, of a backwards milestone.

When Max was exactly nine and a half months old, he was close to crawling - exactly where Mace is developmentally today. He was eating mushy foods, burying his face in my neck between smiles and snuggles, and watching me carefully as I crossed the room. Same as Mace.

I hate that after tomorrow, there will never be another baby of mine to remember Max by. They will far outlive him and stop reminding me of him, g-d willing. And all I will be left with is a bunch of photographs and fading memories. It breaks my heart. All of it....mostly the part where he is gone and never got to live his life. I'm just positive it would have been special, just like he was.

Macie today - at 9.5 months

Full Hands

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I found this post yesterday on another grieving mother's blog and nearly fell out of my seat as she did SUCH a good job describing what I have been thinking non-stop since Myla came home to live with us.  I am sure there are many grieving parents just like us who are thinking this same thing. Have I written about this before?  I honestly can't remember.

When I introduce myself or meet new people and I tell them about my three children who are 3 and under, I always hear the same thing, "You've got YOUR hands full!"...usually accompanied by an evil little laugh.  "I do", I always respond.  I DO HAVE MY HANDS FULL.  What's so funny to me is that people think that having my hands full is the story that defines me, and of course, it is part of my definition.  But, obviously, what defines me just as much is the part where my hands aren't as full as they are supposed to be.  Also the part where my hands were full and then they weren't anymore for a full year.  Also the part where "having my hands full" is what saved my life from losing my entire full heart and then having it break into 5,000,000 pieces.  

The snickering that comes after hearing that my youngest two are only 9.5 months apart seems to insinuate a "better you than me" vibe and carries a somewhat "sucks to be you" quality.  And, yes, it is crazy hard MOST of the time.  On the other hand - it is exactly what I prayed for when the other thing happened that really made it suck to be me.  And, often, when I am thinking "I can't do this any more because it is too hard", I remember that what I did before this current round of full hands came to be (lying around all day crying, not getting out of bed, wearing the same sweat pants every day for a year, strategizing how I'd make it through the next hour....) and I realize that what I am doing now is actually NOT "too hard".  Too hard was taking my child off life support. I actually don't imagine that anything will ever be too hard again.

My days go by quickly and I have a million things to do.  I am on a constant trip to and from my kids' school in an endless cycle of drop offs and pick ups.  I do 100 loads of laundry a week and that doesn't include all of the laundry that my mother-in-law does for us (the amount of laundry is simply CRAY-ZEE!!!!!).  The hours between 5:30 am - 9 am and then again from 6pm - 8:30 pm are completely nuts and we hardly have time to pause to think about whether we are doing this all right or not.  But, our hands are full again!  

Thank god.

You can't escape from yourself

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I've been going through a weird spell.  And, I know I always say that - so I am thinking that maybe I am now just "weird".  Or maybe I always was.  I will leave that up to the people who know me to decide.  Anyway, as it turns out - you can't run away from your own life.  Being in a new place is a good distraction.  I am not constantly looking for ways not to drive past Maxie's daycare, or the hospital - and I never bump into people who knew me before.  I like driving around in circles in the morning before I drop the kids off at school so Macie can nap and I can learn how to get from one place to another .  I like going to a new supermarket, where I don't have to worry about seeing the produce guy who thinks I am a jerk because I stopped making small talk with him after my son died.  At the same time, I hate that there are no reminders of Max here.  He only visited here once. Sometimes we get bagels after swim lessons on Saturday mornings and I always think about the time that we had bagels in the same place while visiting with Max.  I remember the table we sat at and that Maxie was sitting in his McClaren stroller that morning.  During my drive in the morning, I sometimes drive past a restaurant near the kids school that we had dinner at during Max's visit.  I remember my in-laws introducing him to the waiter. I don't remember much else about the time we were here with Max. We spent a lot of time at my sister-in-law's house and we had a small gathering in her backyard so that Ted could introduce Maxie to his friends.  Her house used to remind me of that visit.  We've made so many memories there though that the ones we made there with him have all but faded.

I had some strange idea in my head that I'd go someplace new and be "anonymous". Not "Anonymous", the jerk that writes mean comments on the blogs of grieving parents, just someone who could get lost in a town where nobody knew me. But, now I realize that I am in a town where nobody knows me and there are aspects of that that really kind of suck.  Don't get me wrong, I know we made the right decision for our family. Our kids are happy. We have more room. Whether I end up enjoying winter or not, I am pretty sure my kids will like it. Ted's commute is short and he is able to spend more time with us. I love living so close to my sister-in-law and her brood.  My mother-in-law is so helpful with the kids and at our home.  I guess I am just a little lonely - or missing some of the people who really know me.  These days everyone I meet is someone that I have to decide whether I can talk about Max with, and when I do, there is no way to either "keep it light" or properly convey the depths to which his not being here is always breaking my heart. I also often feel like I am speaking a different language than everyone else I meet. I am not sure I have figured out Connecticut culture yet.  It is much more different than I ever thought it would be.  I don't really feel like I fit in - not sure whether I ever will...AND - maybe that has nothing to do with the move - although I think I miss Californians.  Maybe having to make all new friends at 42, after the loss of my child wasn't the best choice for me.

Ok, but it is what it is.  I DO think that Mo, Myla and Macie will be super happy here...they already are.  And, change can be really good, right? I have no regrets.  Maybe just a little bit of homesickness.....

Mace Nine Months

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mace was nine months old on Monday but it took until today for me to find five minutes to take these photos. I promise I'm not making it up when I say that Mace is the chillest baby of all my babies. I can take him anywhere. He is usually happy, quiet and smiling. He hasn't started crawling or even really sitting without us worrying that he might topple over - but all of my babies were at this stage at nine months. It must be something I'm doing. Now that I've had four though, I really don't worry. I know he will eventually crawl and walk and talk. He loves his mommy and daddy, his siblings, his family, his teachers and his friends at school. And Macie is a real crowd pleaser - always smiling and laughing with people wherever we go. This is a scary month, but also my favorite month. He reminds me so much of Max - in body and soul. I just keep telling myself that he will be fine.

We love you forever Baby Mace!!!

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