There comes a day when you wake up and you’re happy. You don’t realize in the moment how breath takingly beautiful that feeling will feel to you and at the same time trigger guilt and pain. The guilt and pain comes from the surprise of such a distant feeling that you had long ago accepted you would never feel again. After losing Maxwell I had whole heartedly accepted that I would never be able to feel happiness at the level I once did. Having Emery, of course, helped this feeling and I found myself having snippets of happiness because of her. My happiness revolved and focused solely around her, which isn’t necessarily fair to a 2yr old. I realize. But she was all the happiness I had. So for a period of time I found myself forcing a lot. I forced my smile, my laugh, me getting out of bed,conversation, me thinking I was happy, my thoughts of hope, the person I used to be but didn’t know anymore, and just my overall outlook on life. All of this and more, I forced. I’m not proud of it because I know I have much to be thankful for, but when you lose a child, you lose yourself in more ways than one. You lose parts of you, you didn’t even know existed until having a child.
I’m only able to put this in words today because I went to a bridal shower where my patience was running thin. Emery was choosing this day to test me at every turn and throw a 45 minute, ugly cry fit, which made us late to the shower. I found myself feeling guilty (common theme, I know). Guilty that I lost my patience because I should be thankful for getting to see and experience her everyday, in every way, shape, and form because I don’t get to experience Maxwell this way. Then it hit me that for the past month, give or take a couple of days, I’ve been incandescently happy. My aunt and cousins must’ve noticed the change and felt compelled to ask me, what was new in my life. After talking to a couple of my family members separately I noticed the same reaction in all of them. They teared up. This made me realize a couple of things. 1. I’m not as good at forcing things as I thought. 2. People haven’t forgotten Maxwell or me. 3. They have longed for me to find happiness again as much as I had believed I never would.
As September comes into view I’m reminded of a lot of things…some happy and some sad, but at every turn I’m reminded that I have so many people who love and care for me and those same people love and care about Maxwell and Emery. That feeling alone gives me strength and helps me to remember there is always hope and I am never alone.
Until next time
Three of my girlfriends and I went to Vegas to celebrate our 30th Birthdays the other weekend. It was my first trip there and we had such a great time. It is true what they say, great friends pick up right where they left off, as if no time has passed at all. The issue with that, for me, is that time has passed and not so quietly. I have looked forward to my 30th birthday for quite some time because in my mind it’s the start of a new decade, new beginnings, and new possibilities. What I found instead, is on New Year’s Eve watching the ball drop, I was sad and mad. Sad, that another year had passed so quickly and mad that I was getting closer to Maxwell’s anniversary and further away from him. 3 years. I can’t believe it has been 3 years since I had to say goodbye to my baby.
Sad that I was happy another year had past, mad that it had passed so quickly, and the inevitable guilt for feeling both. I want time to pass slowly so that I can take in every moment I get with Emery and in that same breath I find myself wishing time away because I long to see and hold Maxwell again. It’s a constant tug of war. I feel like one keeps me closer to her but neither one keeps me closer to Maxwell. I feel as if each passing day I get further and further away from him and the reality of him. Vegas seemed to amplify that reality, but it wasn’t until after the trip when I was sitting in the airport that it hit me…I had to go back, back to my “real word”. Being with 3 of my best friends I have known since college just took me back to a simpler time, a time I wanted so desperately to stay in and honestly in that moment (3 days) thought I could. It wasn’t something I was conscious of but sitting in the airport Monday morning waiting to board my flight I realized more than just a part of me didn’t want to go back. I wanted to stay in my simpler time with no responsibility, doing whatever I want when I want, not having to worry about if anyone or anything is depending on me, and also not constantly struggling to find happiness knowing a part of me is forever gone. I allowed myself care free happiness for 3 days without guilt until it was time to go back. Please don’t misunderstand, Maxwell and Emery are the two greatest things that have ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change that for the world, truly I wouldn’t. I wish there was a way for Maxwell and Emery to exist together, with me, in this lifetime. I’m aware that is unrealistic, but try telling your heart that. So every day is a struggle for me, on one end I get to watch my beautiful daughter grow, challenge me, and look at the world with such wonder and on the opposite end I have no idea what it would be like watching Maxwell grow. Would he be as challenging and head strong as Emery, who challenges me at every turn ( and I secretly like it) or would he be more laid back and just take mommy’s “no” to mean no?
Of course the day to day struggle lessens the more you get up and go thru the motions. Just like with anything else you continuously do over and over, it becomes a routine, muscle memory if you will, until one day it doesn’t feel like you’re just going thru the motions, you start to feel like you’re actually living and participating in life again. Unfortunately for me routine also brings guilt and makes me feel as if I’m forgetting him. Everyday that passes I feel further away from him it I try to convince myself that is just in my head…
Until next time
As I lay my head on Emery’s back and listen/feel her breathe I’m filled with so much love and happiness knowing I made this beautiful and sweet human being. At the same time I feel anger that it didn’t turn out to be so easy for Maxwell and it pains me to admit I check on Emery breathing more than I should. I find myself waking up suddenly and then freaking out because that’s the same way I woke up before touching Maxwell and realizing…well, you know. Then I HAVE to check on Emery and only then do I realize I had been holding my breath until the moment I feel her breathe.
I also never realized how beautiful the sound and feeling of breathing was until it stopped and ceased to exist. Not once, in his four months, did I check to make sure Maxwell was breathing because there wasn’t a reason to. Of course he’s breathing. Why wouldn’t he be? There was no warning from the pediatrician and they didn’t even consider him a premie since his 2 month checkup because he was doing so well. I play that night over and over in my head, even when I don’t want to. I have more nightmares then I care to admit and I have yet to let go of the guilt. Guilt from not waking up earlier than his usual feeding time to check on him…maybe I could’ve saved him? I think guilt is an innate feeling for me and I can’t shake it. I can’t shake the guilt or the blame. I’m trying…or maybe I’m not….more on that later.
There are so many things in life that I have taken for granted and still do. I took breathing for granted because it seemed so simple, inevitable, like the sun rising and setting, I never realized it could be difficult.
This weekend Emery was very whiny and needy. She wanted me to hold her all day and anytime I put her down she would start screaming and through a fit, so by Sunday I was frustrated, losing patience, feeling very overwhelmed and tired of hearing my name, mommy, in a whining tone. By her 3rd timeout, for hitting mommy in the face after being told not to, she comes running to me with a smile on her face and a snotty nose, trying to calm herself down and I started crying as she was hugging me because I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong for her to be so needy/whiny. Then I felt enormous guilt for ever letting the thought creep into my head that I was tired of hearing her say mommy. I remember being so upset that I would never get to hear Maxwell say mommy or tell me that he loves me and in that moment while I’m holding Emery I felt like such a terrible mother. I was taking something so simple for granted instead of being thankful.
Ever since Maxwell passed and I found out I was pregnant with Emery, I’ve held myself to a higher/unrealistic standard. Higher because I know how quickly the love of your life can be taken from you and unrealistic because at the end of the day I’m still human. I’m still just an exhausted mother trying to raise, love and teach her daughter all of the greatness this world has while hoping that Maxwell is looking down and proud of the mother I am to Emery and the mother I would’ve been to him. I realize I need to ease up on myself and not feel guilty for feeling the same way I’m sure other mothers have felt from time to time. It’s just hard to shake the feeling that I should be held to a higher standard since losing him….One thing is for sure. I will never give up or stop trying to be the best person and mother that I can be.
Until next time
I’m currently sitting in what’s to become my new “master closet” enjoying a beer, the view (yes, there’s a window in my closet), and this new chapter that’s about to start in my life. I finally own a home with a yard for my daughter and Baxter to run to their hearts content. A place to call my own, a place where I feel I finally belong. Since Maxwell I haven’t truly felt like I belonged anywhere. The loft we were “renting” from a great, great friend was ours for as long as we needed it but it never felt like home. We didn’t hang any pictures and we’ve been there for 2 1/2 years. Just blank white walls. Now I have painted walls and there will be pictures of Maxwell, Emery and anyone else I love and see fit to put up! 🙂
Even though I traded in the white walls I now have a guest room that I walk passed everyday and try not to think that it should be Maxwell’s room. Or the sweet thought goes through my mind that Maxwell and Emery might “fight” over their room…part of me thinks Maxwell would pick the room Emery is in now because it has 2 windows instead of 1 and I like to imagine he is a very curious boy with a big imagination. This bittersweet feeling seems to trump my excitement at times but my saving grace is that I hope Maxwell is looking down on me and proud of the things I’m doing for Emery and for him. He’s forever in my thoughts and when I’m thinking of what’s best for Emery I’m also hoping it’s the best for him. I also imagine Maxwell having this grand idea to chase the geese that are in the field behind our yard and tricking Emery into following him. I’m laughing now just thinking of their smiling faces as they run towards the geese in triumph.
As all these thoughts pass through my mind it occurs to me that the last time I found myself sitting in a closet was after I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with Maxwell. I felt as if the stick turned blue as soon as I peed on it and I instantly ran to my closet and sat Indian style while crying. I called the first person that popped in my head, Kelly, and she calmed me down and asked me what I wanted to do. At that moment it hit me I “had” a choice but as soon as that was made apparent to me I realized I didn’t need the choice…this baby was meant for me and mine from the beginning. This clarity instantly stopped my tears and calmed my nerves and for the first time in a long time I was sure of the direction my life was going and coincidentally it was the same direction I wanted to go. Maxwell was and always will be a blessing and even though I feel as if I’m forever missing apart of me, I’m reminded in times like these that he, alone, helped me find who I truly am, and who I’ve always been. Since losing him that girl is hard to find, but I catch glimpses and its reassuring that she isn’t lost forever…
Until next time
I’ve been working on my new house a lot and I took a break to go get my dad and I dinner. On my way back I saw this little boy with only his shorts on running towards 3 ducks by a pond and I started laughing but couldn’t take my eyes away and before I knew it I was almost stopped on the side of the road just watching what would unfold. Sure enough that sweet little boy caught one of those ducks but quickly released it into the air and the duck flew, then landed in the water where the other ducks had scurried into to get away from the little boy.
I found myself in tears. September is Maxwell’s birthday month and it has surprised me how quickly the month has come back around. I remember thanking God when April finally came because I felt as if I could relax without any looming anniversaries or Holidays to come. But here we are 6 months later…where does the time go?
I’ve been asking people around the office what theme their 3 yr old had at their birthday parties. I was thinking about doing a Mickey Mouse cake but wasn’t for sure if that was too “childish” for a 3yr old. Everyone I talked to said no, it wasn’t too “childish” so Mickey Mouse cake it shall be.
Seeing that boy today made me wonder if Maxwell would have ran after them or been afraid to get too close and what he would’ve done if he, in fact, caught one. Would he throw it in the air and watch him fly? Would he try to convince me to keep it as his new pet? The possibilities of what he would’ve chosen are endless and I hate that I have to try and guess. I hate even more that I have to ask people what a 3yr old boy would like for a birthday theme, but how else would I know if I didn’t ask? I would like to think that he would run to the ducks without fear and once he caught one he would quickly release and let it fly, then come running to me to make sure I saw what he just did with a huge accomplished smile on his face, and I would say, “Good boy. That was so sweet of you to release the duck after you caught him.” All the while letting out a huge breath that I had been holding ever since he caught up to that duck and praying for the little ducks safety lol. We all know how kids can be a little too aggressive with animals. 😉
I will wait a lifetime to find the answers to all of my sweet baby Maxwell questions but I will never stop imagining the kind of boy and man that I would’ve raised and how happy I’d be just watching him grow before my eyes. Maxwell, this is your month and you have so many people who love and miss you! Your birthday cake will be amazing!! I love you so much! 🙂
Until next time xoxo