Macie 10 Months

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

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

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

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.....