Tag Archiv: babies
Yesterday was Palm Sunday. The bittersweet of love and death. The hope of deliverance and the painful roads we walk to get there.
Palm Sunday 2012, we carried a tiny box to church. I had miscarried 13 week old, Francis Xavier. He fit in the palm of my hand. I had spent the night on the couch, not wanting him and the box with the angels on the cover more than a foot from my head. We said prayers at church. The choir sang, “can a mother forget her baby, or a woman, the child within her womb.” Tears splashed my fingers as I played the piano.
Palm Sunday, 2013, we went to church hollow. The choir sang the same song. We had learned the day before that the baby who was healthy inside me at 9 weeks, was now dead, also at 13 weeks. My miscarriage of Baby Grace was a nightmare I try to forget. Nothing beautiful except her and her name.
Sometimes the babies I have lost are far away, not somebodys as much as something that happened and I remember I was sad about it at the time. Other times, Grace and Francis especially, are so close we almost touch. Like I can see a tiny finger reaching out to mine and I put my finger out to meet it. Only the thinnest of cloudy glass barriers separates us. For tiny bits of time we see each other, albeit dimly from my end.
Leading up to Palm Sunday this year, I ached a bit. For the hope that was them. The reality that is me. A nameless grief sang softly. But a sweetness too. I sensed their love. Their prayers. My lost little ones are a secret army fighting unseen on my side. I feel them smiling, hoping for me this week. Little fingers poking out to lift my grumpy chin.
I forget that love is stronger than death. I panic regularly about losing the people I love. But they don’t seem to.
Somewhere in the heavens it was decreed one day, that for me, Palm Sunday would be everything it ever was and more. That it would hold something especially for me. Hidden. Quiet. But very, very real. A persistent cry of Love. Like the daffodils pushing up through ice cold mud, year after year.
I have never been a baby person. My own babies were the only exception. I’m in a strange phase now. I physically ache when I see a baby. I want to run because it hurts. The chances of a baby from me surviving pregnancy are too tiny to risk the battering of my body. It has had enough, and so has the rest of me. I dream about more children anyway.
My brain has informed my heart about reality. I am working to get rid of every single baby thing we own. It is over. Time to move on says my brain.
In May, I called the public adoption agency. I asked if they would even read the paperwork or were we a write off with four kids already in the family. “Definitely not a write off. I like what you bring to the table,” she said. By the time we hung up I was so excited about the possibility of adding a few siblings to our tribe I was dancing.
We filled out forms and more forms. I drove them in so the mail couldn’t slow them down. The next step was an introductory meeting, followed by a course. I waited for a call. I started figuring out our fall schedule so we could attend the course. I called for a date so we could plan our vacation around it. No answer. I drove in to ask. “Don’t worry. We’ll let you know.” I called in again anyway. “Sometime in August. Don’t worry. We’ll let you know.”
We got back from a long weekend and opened an invitation to an introductory meeting that had already happened. I tried not to panic. I called. I left messages with the lady. I drove in to talk to someone. They wrote everything down and said they were sure something would work out. I called again and left a message with the lady’s boss. Then I didn’t call. If God could part the Red Sea, surely He could get a phone call returned.
Every month or so, I want to drive in and make her tell me why. Then I let it go again.
It isn’t meant to be. I try to accept this. Then I hear about a pregnant girl not ready to be a mother and I’m gone. Dreaming. Wondering if maybe this is the child I couldn’t let go of.
I started out to write about forgiving the adoption worker, but I guess this isn’t really about her.
This aching. I hate it. I can’t figure out how to resolve it. I like my life tidy. Dreams exist to be realized, not to gnaw at your insides like a tape worm. Down here, we take medicines to kill tape worms. I want the ache realized or gone. Nothing in between
I am waiting for peace, but it is taking a long time. If you were running a business, you would get hammered on wait times.
I hope the answers and the peace are so good that I forget about everything else once they come. I forgive you for having a different schedule, and not keeping me in the loop on everything. Sometimes it has to be that way with my kids too.
Advent is the road to Christmas. It is my favourite time of year. I love Christmas, but I crave Advent.
I am a woman with many opinions and a well exercised mouth. Or at least I can be. Many times my thoughts come out with a force stronger than I would have wished had I taken a day to think about it. (That counting to ten thing doesn’t work for me and mine. Ten seconds is only enough time for us to rev the engines a little hotter.) The best defense is a good offense came built into my operating instructions. My bold words mask fear and protect against rejection.
Then Advent comes and it all finally looks like what it really is. Utter nonsense. Babies don’t get bravado, they just want you to be with them. Provided I don’t get caught up in lists, the relief I feel walking the path to Christmas is palpable. Very little is required of me beyond what would naturally pour out of me were someone to hand me a baby I long for. My broken tear ducts work for this little one. I can cry just thinking about welcoming the baby in the manger. I want to be ready.
Babies know things without words, and they drink, and poop, and sleep it off. I don’t want my sarcastic, caustic self for a baby. I want soft and warm. A voice that is used to saying kind things. Arms that are accustomed to embracing generously. If I allow it, Advent gives me a break from me.
I don’t float around gently dispensing peace and love in my kitchen or on the street. I try to be a little kinder and I then I fall flat on my face because it is barely December and I already cannot handle the fifty two memos from school about canned food, shoeboxes for seniors, parties, concerts, celebrations and never ending details. I snap at the innocents, feel like a failure and snap some more. I want to go on strike, say choice words, and kick over a few snowmen. Then I remember that it is just about the baby and I go quiet again.
I scrounge around in my heart. Pace back and forth. Sigh. There’s no use telling a baby that I couldn’t think of what to give him, just come back next year. He doesn’t want my stuff, he just wants me and you. Good news that is terrifying.
It’s like the bathroom needs cleaning and the laundry isn’t done, but company I really care about is at the door. I pull shut the laundry room door, and yell for them to let themselves in. I grab a clean hand towel, some disinfectant and a rag for as good as I can get it in 90 seconds.
I’m coming, I yell from the bathroom.
Me too, says the baby.
After two weeks of searching high and low, and following even the faintest of leads, a man is on his way with a trailer to pick up Shorty. Although I have been praying madly, beseeching, growling, and otherwise making a nuisance of myself at the gates of Heaven, I now feel like crying. The horse I thought might want to kill me now looks innocent and misunderstood. I am reminding myself that this is how he looked right before I let him out last week and he turned into Happy Days, Fonzie/Get away from my woman, in 3 seconds flat. But I feel sad anyway and my thank yous that he is going are softer and less festive than I had imagined.
This is what having children has done to me. They have squirmed in when I wasn’t looking and set about enlarging the chambers of this grinch’s heart. The living ones are obvious enough. Having been away last week, the hugs to prove how much I was missed have almost cracked bones (mine, not theirs). It’s the lost ones that teach me more quietly. Maybe because they can’t talk. Years I have prayed for the gift of tears on the outside. Some sort of acknowledgement that the tears on the inside are real too. I wouldn’t have known that lost babies who never saw the light of day would hold those keys. That they would know how to sit it out inside the depths of me, kneading with tiny fingers at the hardness of my heart until it softened.
So that is me now. All those years of lip biting and tough talk and I am ready to cry at the departure of a danger to hearth and home. Albeit hiding in the innards of a cute little 300 pounds of small horse. I am a shadow of my former strength. A whisper only now of togetherness.
Still wouldn’t trade those tiny fingers. For anything.