things unspoken

I started my morning with a quick call to my mom. I like to call her a lot even if I have nothing to say. Just one of those voices I like to hear often. We were talking about this blog and she mentioned how my grandma had a sister that passed away at birth. She didn’t know much but remembered hearing that she had clubfoot.

I kept thinking about this throughout the morning. Why hasn’t anyone researched this? Why haven’t I since I vaguely remember my mom saying that once before when I was younger? What if by some crazy chance she had Arthrogryposis too? What if she did and it was hereditary in my family? Would I ever take the risk and have another child?

After wrapping up my work for the day, I made a series of phone calls and found myself at government building holding a book. This was the oldest and most magical book I had ever held. The pages were delicate and yellowed with age. I think the edges were trimmed gold or maybe that was my mind running wild.  The book was in impeccable condition, which reinforced that it was highly protected.  I was holding a collection of stories. Names of people who were loved and the basic details on where their journey started and stopped.  I could have spent a week with this book but I only had a few minutes and our time together was supervised.

I looked at the page belonging to my great aunt. Her name was Agnes and she died on an early spring evening after 2 months and 8 days of life. She was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (and maybe clubfoot but additional symptoms and details were not included).  It was so weird to see. She was my family. No one ever talked about her. If she had lived she might loved my Clubfoot Stinks post and totally related.  I was staring at the dates of her short life, where she was buried, name of the man who buried her. Details no one ever knew…

I got in my car and thought about my great grandma. My heart pounded for the sorrow she must have endured.  It’s not the same but I miscarried our first baby in 2008 and soon after watched my cousin’s wife lose twin girls at 23 weeks. Standing there in the hospital saying goodbye to the sweet little girls we desperately wanted to love and watch grow was horrific.  I don’t even have words to describe losing a baby, no matter what stage in life it happens. Gut-wrenching. Hollow. Unfair. Life changing.

My great grandma went on to have three more daughters, one who ended up being my grandma. I’m sure time and the distractions of six kids softened the hurt of losing baby Agnes.  However, I’m sure she never forgot those two signature days, when she was born and when she passed away. A mom doesn’t forget. In the deep dark parts of her heart I bet she wondered throughout the years what she would be doing or how life would be like with her around.

My great grandma has been gone for a long time. I am not sure if I ever even met her.  I would love to ask her a million questions about life, how things were back then giving birth to a child with a disability and what it was like to say goodbye. Someday, we’ll chat over tea in heaven.

For now I’m feeling pretty grateful, I had the amazing gift of a unraveling a few precious details on the short life of baby Agnes. 

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needing others

Looking back, my life before becoming a mom was pretty easy. I went to college, had an apartment in a fun part of the city, worked, hung out with friends, and married my best friend.

Once my son was born things changed a lot as I’m sure it does for all new parents. The hardest change is that I did not go anywhere unless we all went as a group since I couldn’t carry my son. It did not seem that bad at first but I think by the fourth week at home I started to feel crazy.

I am overly independent (my mom might call it stubborn) and one of those people who enjoys being alone.  Those days were over, if I wanted to go anywhere with my son I had no choice but to recruit someone to go with me.

I would give anything to be able to put my son in the car and spend an hour at Target. Not having to make small talk with anyone, just sharing the moment with him and browsing through all the things we “need” around the house.

If I leave work early and want to get him from daycare I can’t unless there is someone to meet me at the house to help with the transfer. My son started walking at 10 months which was great because I could call him and he’d follow me around the house. However, the odds of him listening and following me from the car to the house with all the fun distractions outside are slim. It feels too risky yet and he runs fast! 

My situation is bittersweet. I am thankful for an awesome network willing to help but so annoyed that I need it.

Today my husband went to a baseball game and my friend came over to help after work. I went to daycare and they put my son in the car. My friend met me at my house and led him from the car to the house and for the next three hours our kids ran around like crazy going from room-to-room having a blast.

I watched them jump, dance and squeal and began to feel really lucky. If I had not needed help, my son would have not experienced a night of giggles and fun. I would have missed an opportunity to catch up with one of my favorite girls. My needing her also gave her a night out of the house and a chance for her daughter to have fun too.

I have been looking forward to the future when I can regain my independence, and maybe wishing away the baby years more than I should. Tonight was a really good reminder that there is a lot of good to be found in my season of needing others.

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three wheels

I like to think that if I were physically able I would run everywhere, dance my way into a room or maybe do cartwheels.  I would take some wild aerobic dance classes and jump a lot for no reason.  I would walk around giving high-fives to everyone, throw out a thumbs-up to anything remotely cool and participate in lots of parades just so I could give the beauty pageant wave.  If you can do those things, please humor me and go do it now, it’s such a gift – oh but wait, read my blog first! 

Another thing in my dream bucket list was ride to a bike. I thought it would be so fun to do evening bike rides with my husband. It is such an awesome way to end the day and get some exercise.  Winding through the neighborhood, soaking in the sounds of kids playing and the glow of lights and flickering TVs in each passing house. 

I had not been on a bike since using a 3-wheeled bike when I was young.  I was not sure if I could handle a regular bike and navigate the pedaling and take-off process without crashing. 

To get me started my husband bought me this bike for my birthday. It was the best gift ever.  We have spent a lot of time cruising bike trails and exploring our neighborhood.  It’s funny because a few times when we were out I heard older folks say things like, “oh I haven’t seen a bike like that in a long time.”  I wonder if they think I picked it because I thought it was vintage and cool? 

I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the guts to try a normal bike, but for now, I love my three wheels! 

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