Monday, April 16, 2012

rainbow 4.16.12

As I sit here typing, a rainbow falls across the keyboard - coming from the light beaming through the prism that hangs in our window.

As I sit here typing, my beautiful rainbow boy is desperately trying to get himself to sleep in his crib for his morning nap. (This is HARD.  Sleep training SUCKS, no matter how gentle the methods are, as our pediatrician said, "It kind of all comes down to some crying, unfortunately.")

As I sit here typing, so many of you, my dearest BLM friend,s are awaiting the births of your rainbow babies, and I wait almost as impatiently as all of you, desperate to meet these oh-so-wanted, oh-so-loved little brothers and sisters.

I listened to a podcast with Anne Lamott the other day as Owen and I were out walking.  She wrote Operating Instructions (a must-read for all new mothers, I think) and has a new book out, Some Assembly Required (which I have yet to read).  She is one of my favorite authors and I loved so much of what she had to say about parenting and, now, grandparenting.  I highly recommend you go check out the podcast link and listen to it if you have a moment.  It's not directly related to the grief aspects of parenting after loss but I still found there to be many nuggets of wisdom in there.  It also inspired me to want to write more to Owen (Operating Instructions was written as a journal to her son, and he calls it "the greatest gift he's received") I haven't done a decent job of documenting the first half of his first year of life, and it's passing so quickly and I can barely remember that he hasn't always been just as he is today.

For example, my mom was over yesterday, and remarked on how he was passing a toy so adeptly from hand to hand (and pausing to put it in his mouth, of course).  "Well, of course," was my response (or something of that sort...) And she reminded me that it was not that long ago that he could barely hold on to a toy.  It seems like a vague and distant memory.

Similarly, the days of colic and crying fussy baby seem like such a vague and distant memory.  We are just now getting a handle on the sleep issues, yes, but the inexplicable crying has long gone.  The fussy no matter what we do has long gone.  He is such a cheerful little guy, it's a little confusing to remember that he hasn't always been that way.

So I'm going to attempt a project of sorts, writing him a note at least once a week (start small, I vote) and track what he's doing, loving, working on during that week.  Tell him what we did, blah blah blah.

I can't decide if I want to post these letters here or not.  It's easy, and it's a familiar way for me to write.  But at the same time, I kind of want to keep them all as separate word documents on my hard drive, and I'm just not efficient or organized enough to type it in word and then come to blogger and repost it. (I know that sounds crazy lazy, but for some reason typing on a word document feels quite different than typing into the blogger text box.)  And of course, this is Otis's space, first and foremost.

But there is no delineation anymore, really.  Otis's space, Owen's space.  They both fill my heart.  They both fill our home.  They are incredibly separate, my two sons, and yet they are so intertwined I can't untangle them.  Owen is now growing into sizes of clothing that we never even had for Otis.  New purchases, new gifts, no more hand-me-downs from his big brother.  The playthings in our home are no longer the ones we planned to use with Otis, as Owen has outgrown so many of them.  Even his infant seat is likely not going to be used much longer.  We are talking about moving Owen's crib out of our bedroom and into his own room, which requires a rearrangement of that room (currently my office/Owen's "playroom").  We are finally nesting, setting up a nursery for a baby that is almost 7 months old.

In many ways, I feel like my feet are finally getting under me again.  The ground is feeling a lot more stable.  I trust and believe that this beautiful boy is going to stay with us, grow with us, challenge us and teach us...Setting up his room seems to be a tangible sign of that belief.  Finally.

And as things with Owen settle into a calmer place, I realize this has created more room for me to remember Otis, for me to grieve him, and also for me to honor him.  I was finally able to get out to his garden patch and pull weeds this weekend.  I feel inspired to do some planting again for him.

It is so strange, for lack of a better word, to have a son that will forever be a newborn, and to have another son that is growing in leaps and bounds every minute.  It still boggles my mind, and breaks my heart.  My words to Otis are repetitive, stagnant almost: "I miss you. I miss you.  I miss you. I want you. I want you.  I want you.  I love you. I love you. I love you.  I miss you.  I love you.  I want you.  I miss you. I miss you. I wish you were here." (repeat ad infinitum)  My words to Owen are ever changing, reflecting the crazy trajectory of both his learning curve and growth, and my own. Underneath both sets of words is the same ferocious love that a mama has for her babies, of course.  But somehow that's not much consolation today...


SG said...

I like your idea of writing letters to Owen very much (whether you post them or not). Maybe - hopefully - I'll try that in the future, too.

Maddie said...

After Matilda died for months I missed and imagined a tiny newborn in my arms. After Max was here I realised how quickly she would have changed and just how much more we had missed. It was hard. And yes once things calm down, suddenly there's more room for the grief and missing and longing to return. I remember more tears and grief when Max was about 3 months old.

I blogged about how it's all mixed up at our house - on our fridge, we've got Matilda's picture held up by an immunisation schedule magnet and breastfeeding helpline magnets near by. Max's picture is under a grief magnet.


Renel said...

The last part repetitive, stagnant: got me all choked up: I miss you, I want you, I love you, I wish you were here...Oh goodness yes.

It is so wonderful that you are in a good breathing space. It fills me with joy to know that you can love Owen and that it gives you more space to love Otis. How lovely.

I know what you mean about this space being both Owen and Otis's space. I never appologize, or preface posts with *living child mentioned* etc...this is your space and like you say, both children fill your heart. This is your space to write what you want and need. What Owen does for your heart, Kai does for mine...he was just born first, but both of our living children help soothe the burn and torture of our tragedy.

I am sending you so much love and loving your note idea for Owen. Hugs.

Brooke said...

I love the idea of you writing to Owen regularly. You were coping with so much grief and so much stress when Owen first arrived. You have no idea how happy it makes me feel to hear that he's cheerful, that you're feeling settled.

And yes, to loving and missing Otis forever, on repeat. Oh how I wish our first babies were here.

æ said...

Yes. I love you. So beautiful in your mama-ing

Hope's Mama said...

Agree with all you've said and all the other wonderful commenters. Too tired to articulate any more than that, little miss not napping well, toddler driving me bonkers!

Tiffany said...

what a great idea of writing to Owen.

i understand how you feel. it really is hard to parent after a loss. but i think slowly our hearts start to open to the possibility that our rainbows are here to help us, and to stay. i pray everyday that i start to believe that.

Anonymous said...

Hugs and love my friend...

brianna said...

This is beautiful: "My words to Owen are ever changing, reflecting the crazy trajectory of both his learning curve and growth, and my own. Underneath both sets of words is the same ferocious love that a mama has for her babies, of course. But somehow that's not much consolation today..."

I totally understand how you feel.

Sarah said...

I love you beautiful mama.


Renel said...

Just thinking of you.

Jenn said...

Yes, we have not fully setup nursery space for B, either. I have been thinking about that lately - that before L and Micah were born everything was done, but before B was born we washed clothes and brought out the cradle and that was pretty much it. I really need to get on with fixing her a space in our home.

Writing to Owen regularly will be so good for you, too, because as time goes on it will be hard to remember all the little things, all the little changes, going on with him. I've written to L (each month as a baby, every 6 months as a toddler and now every year) regularly and I love to go back and read what she was doing when she was smaller. A wonderful way to secure all those sweet memories. xx