Okay, so right after Brooklyn was born I felt like I should write a heartfelt, touching, tear producing post about the instant joys of becoming a grandparent. But as wonderful as this week has been, the truth is, I felt a little numb, almost like I was stuck in a dream and any minute I’d wake up, and poof! Meagan would still be pregnant and we’d still be waiting for a baby. I was feeling kind of bad about the way I felt, like I was already failing as a grandparent until Doug expressed the same feelings. I’m not sure why it affected us like this. We’re guessing it may be because we’d been waiting for Brooklyn since the kids lost unborn baby Kiley last spring. Basically this child has been anticipated for eighteen long months, during which time we also lost my mother to a terrible, year long illness.
Years ago, Andy once told me how to remember which direction tightens and which one loosens things; righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Now when I go out to water my flowers and I turn the hose spigot on and off, I often say it silently to myself, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey and I’d begun to wonder if it was possible for our emotions to turn on and off in the same way. I suppose I was expecting a lightning bolt of happiness to strike me the moment I held Brooklyn for the first time at the hospital, that my newfound love for her would wake me up, would fill me up and make me believe that I actually deserved to be happy. But Doug and I both left the hospital the day she was born in a bit of a daze.
Today we had to go over and babysit Brooklyn so that Andy could take Meagan to the doctor’s for complications from the epidural. At one point, I took the baby into her room to change her. After she was cleaned up, I swaddled her in a blanket so that only her head was peeking out and I picked her up. She started to fuss so I began rocking gently back and forth and talking to her in that instinctive, sing-song mommy voice women seem to be born with. Brooklyn quieted down. She began to study my face carefully and then she smiled, the sweetest, purest little smile and that was my moment. It didn’t happen in a brightly lit, crowded hospital room, but alone in the silence of a darkened nursery. And it was not so much a bolt of lightning, but a gentle lefty-loosey, a gift from the tiny pink lips of my first grandchild that went straight to my heart.
Last year we spent Father’s Day at my sister’s house. My mom was still here, very ill and struggling, still hoping that her battle with lung disease would have a happy ending. My son and daughter-in-law were reeling after losing their first unborn daughter to kidney disease, and my one year old niece Aryielle was just home from the hospital after becoming critically ill and having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. A year later we are going to brunch with Andy and Meagan, the onesie in the photo is for our son who is expecting a daughter any day now. This afternoon we’ll go to my dad’s house, barbecue some chicken, and watch two year old Aryielle run around the backyard, healthy now but forever dependant on finger pricks and insulin to remain so. It seems that time really does fly, whether you’re having fun or not. Happy Father’s Day:)
Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. I’m reading The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks. I won the book at a giveaway from the book blog Reading with Ti as well as a pretty shawl like the one on the book cover, thanks again Ti! It’s about a woman whose life is turned upside down when her boyfriend dies in a mysterious accident. She takes off in an attempt to reinvent herself and begin a new life. My book club just finished Paul Auster’s, The Book of Illusions, which is a much darker take on the same theme. A character leaving a life of sorrow behind, isolating themselves from their grief and from other people. We had an interesting discussion in book club about this, about how we deal with what life throws at us and about identity, who we would be if you took away our families, jobs, and friends. My two sentences from this book are from page 282, I feel disorientated, one foot in Aromina, the other in Harmony. And the memories will be back soon enough. I did the photo-mainpluation a while ago and thought it illustrated this idea perfectly!
I took the photo above on the patio this morning. We’re in store for another beautiful spring day around here. Yesterday, Meagan and I had fun shopping at garage sales and a resale shop for Brooklyn. I must say, that’s the way to go, especially for toys and clothes that they grow out of so quickly. It’s starting to seem real for all of us, that this new little soul is going to come into our lives very soon. And yet we often seem to add, “if everything goes all right” at the end of a sentence when talking about the baby and the future. We’ve tried to stop feeling that way, tried to assume that everything will be fine this time, but I think the truth is we are all balancing precariously on our own individual emotional tightropes. Going through each day eating, talking, working, pretending everything is okay all the while afraid deep down that one more heartbreak may be one more too many. Sometimes I worry that we need this little girl too much, is it really fair to expect one small baby to heal so many bruised and battered grownup hearts? Then again, maybe we’re already falling. Maybe we’ve been falling since we lost my mom and baby Kiley, maybe the moment we hold Brooklyn for the first time each of us will finally find that soft place to land.
Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. ~Henry Ward Beecher
I wandered over to the fishing pond across the street to take a few pictures and two swans were conveniently floating around enjoying the bright sunny day. It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here. I must admit to feeling a little blue today however, it was a year ago this week that we lost our first granddaughter at only five months gestation. Last spring was tough with my mom being so ill and then the baby’s death. Thinking about those days and weeks reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for; that Meagan is pregnant again and doing well, that my mother is no longer suffering and my dad is adjusting as well as can be expected to living alone.
I suppose what they say is true, time heals all wounds. Or perhaps it just puts some much needed space between you and the pain. And in that space, if you are lucky, you may find a little peace. Near the end of one of my books I write …when the earthly lives of my daddy and brother had safely made that transformation from flesh and blood to mist and memory, when the grief had finally settled itself comfortably into the undercurrent of my days and nights, my voice came back to me. I wrote that not long after losing my beloved father-in-law Hank, and I was remembering that shift, that soft gray place where grief slips quietly into the background and we begin again. That is the joy and wonder of spring too, and it is here at long last.
I strong-armed my son Andy and my daughter-in-law (actually, it was my son who needed the coaxing) to model for some iStock pics this weekend. Before we got started I offered to do some photos for them of Meagan’s growing tummy. So far, everything is going great with this pregnancy. When they first got pregnant again we were all so guarded, trying to push back our emotions, afraid that…well, just afraid. Some of Meagan’s friends, when trying to comfort her after she lost the first baby, told her that everything would be fine this time because they already had a heartbreaking event. And as we stumbled through the baby’s loss last year and my mom’s progressing illness and difficult death, we sometimes told each other the same thing. Sometimes. Most of the time we knew the truth. That pain and heartache know no boundaries. That they will come into every life, even when we think we least deserve them, even when we think we just can’t take any more. But we have also learned another truth. That hope is not just a word. It is a light that can lift you up off your knees and carry you into a tomorrow where broken hearts are slowly mended – where joy replaces fear.
I couldn’t bring myself to post another snowy, barren winter scene… I am sooo over winter. My poor backyard is all brown mud and pools of gray snow, it’s covered with sticks and dried leaves and ringed by wilted and neglected clematis vines. I’m feeling a bit wilted and neglected myself after a long, cold winter (and a long, grief filled year) and I need a dose of color. So here’s my little park across the street before the snow and cold swept in this year. Happy SkyWatch Friday everyone!
So it’s been kind of a long road, but it was a good journey altogether. ~ Sidney Poitier
At my mom’s memorial two weeks ago my cousin Julie and I found a quiet corner in the living room and talked for a long time about aging parents. She was worried about her own mother and wondering what is was like for me having to say goodbye to my mom. Julie and I were very close growing up, more like sisters at times than cousins. Yesterday my aunt called to tell me that Julie’s husband Rick Bach died suddenly Monday night of a massive heart attack. Me and Mr. B just got home from the service. The chapel was packed with friends and family who spoke lovingly of Rick and his passion for life and sports, one of The Four Tops sang a beautiful a capella song, and my little cousin Jules is simply crushed. Before she left the day of my mom’s party we all promised to get together soon for dinner and Julie gave me a CD of a band that records at the studio she manages. I found one of their videos on youtube, hope you enjoy it.