A kindred spirit

It is so rare that I get to sit with another parent (other than Ted) who has lost a child. Max is always on my mind in one way or another and I still talk about him a lot - I just don't often get the chance to talk about how I feel without him very much. I sometimes wish I had more bereaved parent friends - which is obviously insane because I hate that there are actually people who share this status with me. But parents who've lost children are the only people who really get it - and so they are, in many ways, the only people who really get me.

My friend Molly has been in LA for the past few days and made time yesterday to come visit me. Even though we've only met in person once before, she is definitely a kindred spirit. She knows the subtext of my story without my having to spell it out and it makes me feel at ease and true in a way I can't feel with most people. There is no time when Max and Lucy aren't in our conversation, even when they aren't actively in our conversation. If you've lost a child, you know what I'm talking about (and I'm so sorry that you know what I'm talking about).

To be able to have Max so present through an interaction with a fellow human being is uplifting. It squashes the loneliness that I have felt with even my closest people ever since Max died. It makes me feel normal and reminds me that I am part of a community - one I never wanted to be part of but one full of people I love and understand and who get me. To tell you the truth, I wish we could all run away together and I could be surrounded by bereaved parents all of the time and I'd never have to explain why I'm still fragile, why sometimes big things feel really small and small things feel really big, or why every experience I have and decision I make is colored (for better or worse) by the fact that Max died when he was nine and half months old at daycare.

Whether she really understands this fact or not, Molly's loss of beautiful Lucy has lit a path to healing for me.  I'm grateful to know this amazing lady!


Ted and I are in an ongoing conversation about when the right time will be to "put down" our dog Jake.  The tumor in his mouth is the size of a large lemon.  His nose is all dried out and being pushed from the inside of his mouth to the left side of his face.  He can't eat everything he used to.  Something is wrong with his right eye.  His breath is terrible - like he is rotting from the inside out.  He isn't himself anymore - even though he still loves to be rubbed, still loves to run around, is still wagging his tail, is still sitting under the kids chairs during mealtimes - hoping to catch a fallen Cheerio.  After particularly hard days (and we can't really figure out what makes the hard days hard), he lies perfectly still, his eyes glazed over, his breathing labored and slow.  On those days, we say our goodbyes- convinced that this will be our last night with him - and then wake up to find that he has recovered somewhat by the next morning.  I am not sure how much more I can take of the whole thing - and at the same time, I kind of feel nothing.  The death of this dog - who I have loved so much, with all of my heart - feels almost like nothing - and that in itself is something that I can't take much more of.  When Jake was healthy, and especially before I had children, we would snuggle on the bed or couch....I let him drape his whole 70 pound body over me.  I loved his smell even when he was desperate for a bath - the raw doggish smell of hard play and happiness.  His intense doggy breath didn't even bother me - it was Jake and I love everything about him.  Before losing Max, I honestly dreaded the day that I knew would come when we'd have to put Jake down.  I figured it would be one of the hardest things I'd go through.  It isn't....and I wonder if that means I am too broken and too cold to care.  I hate it.  And it isn't that I am not feeling the impending loss - I am.  But, I want it over with.  I don't want to prolong this anymore....and I can't imagine how I could possibly not want to prolong the life of my animal best friend.  I don't know.  Part of my heart seems to have turned cold....and that scares me.

Mace One Month

Our Macie is one month old as of yesterday. I thought I had easy babies in the past - they've got nothing on Baby Mace. He is so quiet, we sometimes forget he's in the room (which can actually sometimes be a little scary - for me at least). He is really cute and mellow. We are happy that the cross eyes he was born with are now in focus :) He nurses like a champ - sometimes cluster feeding for hours at a time. He is loved (sometimes a little too aggressively) by both his older brother and sister. And, although nobody else might agree - he reminds me of Max so deeply on a soul level. It's something I can't explain, call it mothers intuition - but there is some Max in Mace. I feel it. Still, he continues to look most like Mo. We can't wait to see who this little guy becomes. He's just dreamy!!!

Here is the terrible one month photo I took earlier today and below are BEAUTIFUL photos taken by my nanny (who doesn't know yet that she has a children's photography career in her future)!

Macie's Bris

It definitely takes me a lot longer to post about our experiences these days. I see this as a positive - that my life is actually SO busy and full that I have less time to focus my attention on the blog. I know I've said it before - but I never could have imagined this much activity and this much joy coming back into my life. As hard as this new chapter is (logistically), I am beyond grateful.

Mace's bris was last Monday. It was such a special occasion for SO many reasons. First of all, it was our opportunity to introduce Mace to so many friends and family members. It is a nice way to celebrate this new life and for people to come see the baby and visit us without everyone we know trying to find a time to come over. Not that we wouldn't want to have special time with everyone BUT, it just isn't practical. And the event is much more festive than just sitting around in the living room while we feed kids and change diapers. 

Macie's bris was at my moms house. Since we've been living here, it just made sense to do it here. I love my moms house and it is a great place for gatherings and parties. We were really happy and so appreciative to do it here. And since my dad hosted Maxie's bris, and we had Mo's at our house, I think mymom was actually happy to have a turn herself. 

Another really special piece of Macie's bris for Ted and I was having the same Moyel who performed Maxie's bris. Dr. Shpall talked me off a very scary ledge before Maxie's bris. The whole practice of a bris felt very ancient, unnecessary and barbaric to me and I was dreading the deed. He sensed my apprehension and spoke to me about how the tradition would link our little boy to our heritage for thousands of generations backwards and forward in time. He told us to really pause and let the moments of the event sink in and to remember that it was special and worth being present for. I have felt so grateful for that reality check in the years since losing Max. There is no way we could have known that it would be the only opportunity in Maxie's short life that we got to celebrate him with him, since he never had even one birthday. I almost let the event be something that I just "got through" but it ended up being something I relished. I will be forever thankful for that. He (the Moyel) wasn't available for Mo's bris. We were so glad he was available for Mace's.

We also were excited to use the opportunity of Macie's event to celebrate Myla. We didn't do a "baby naming" for her because she was converted in the mikveh, where she was also named. The mikveh is in a small room and so we really only invited our close family to that ceremony. It was cute having her "introduced" along with her younger brother. Ted and our Moyel incorporated her into the ceremony along with Mo. One of the most special moments of the evening was when Mo grabbed Myla affectionately during a blessing and started speaking baby talk to her. You could feel the love that they have for each other. It was really sweet.

Lastly, and oddly enough, this was the first bris that I had fun at. I was too postpartum overwhelmed to have fun at Maxie's bris (even if I did really appreciate the moment). I was too deep in grief at Mo's bris to feel celebratory - too worried Mo wasn't going to live to be able to fully celebrate his arrival. But this time, I felt relaxed and happy and celebratory. I think by the fourth child, newborns just don't feel that daunting anymore......Or something.

Anyway, as I said at Mace's bris to our guests, "Have girls". The brises of my boys have been special for sure, but are definitely something I am glad to never have to experience with my own children again (bc we aren't having any more).

Myla Ten Months Old

Myla was 10 months old on Sunday. She's growing up so quick. She gets cuter every day. She has been kind of uncomfortable lately - she just got her first tooth and the second is coming through. She also wants to crawl and move SO badly and is constantly frustrated that she can't do much more than roll on her own. This all makes for some sleepless nights and a lot of squirming and fussiness. I haven't had a baby that has had it all at once like this before. It's hard to see her so uncomfortable. I'm just praying this stage passes quickly and that next month I'll be reporting on her crawling all over the place. Generally she is a very happy baby. She's really into daddy right now and I'm pretty sure she's been saying "Dadda" a lot. We adore this little girl.

Here goes it:

*We are temporarily living at my moms house and so not only could I not find my usual blanket, but the lighting is also much different for our photo shoot.