Mother’s Day when a Friend is Struggling

There are many reasons why Mother’s Day can be difficult for some.  In my own experience, it was the double-edged sword of being appreciative of the mothers in my life and what mothers do for others, and feeling sad and isolated at the same time.  Unless you’ve felt alienated by a Kay’s commercial, then you just don’t know.

I have a friend who is struggling with infertility and loss.  I sent her the same Mother’s Day card that I sent to all the mothers in my life along with the following letter.  I am sharing it here in case you or someone you love is stumbling along that same path.  Perhaps I can shed some light on what to say, or how to help.  Even better, I’d like to think that by sharing my words, someone else might feel a little less alone.

Dear Friend,

I sent you this Mother’s Day card to let you know that I have been thinking of you in these days leading up to Mother’s Day.  I have been in your shoes.  I know how hard it can be when you have to put on a happy, brave face for other’s while you feel broken inside (don’t even get me started on pregnancy announcements and baby showers.  That’s another letter entirely).  It’s one of the most lonely feelings I’ve ever experienced and my heart has hurt for your over and over again.  I am sending you the strength and resilience that you’ll need to continue on this journey.

Your hubby shared with us (because he knows that we’ve been there, I hope you don’t mind) that you have experienced a pregnancy loss.  I am so sorry to hear that.  I have had three miscarriages, during the last of which I made it to eleven weeks when I was carrying my twins.  I remember feeling overwhelming sadness.  I had to have a D&E and I remember crying uncontrollably when I came out of anesthesia.  I wanted it so badly to have been a bad dream, yet it was all too real.  The nurses in the recovery room avoided eye contact with me as I shook and sobbed for what seemed like forever.  I think that my raw and exposed sadness was uncomfortable for them.

It’s hard for people who haven’t experienced this type of loss to know what to say that will be of comfort.  Nobody wants to say something that was meant to be comforting to come across as idiocy.  My mom sat by my side occasionally saying she was sorry and rubbing my hand, arms and shoulders with tears in her own eyes.  It was all she could do.  She certainly couldn’t bring my babies back and that was truly the only thing that could have taken away my pain.  For our husbands, families and friends, this must be the most difficult part of our journey.  The helplessness can be overwhelming for them.

What I will say to you is that you are a mother.  Your baby was real and will always be remembered.  Your body and heart nurtured that little life the best that it could.  The saddest part for me was wondering if, some way, some how, that my babies knew that they were loved.  I will also tell you that I believe that they do know and that I have lots of love waiting to greet me on the other side.  I join hands and hearts with you and I hope that you find comfort in knowing that I promise to never forget your baby.  I will always think of you as the mother that you are.

I can’t tell you where this journey will take you.  I can’t claim to know how your baby will make his or her way into your arms.  I certainly can’t tell you when (this might be the toughest part of all, if you at least knew WHEN it would happen, all the waiting would be a hell of a lot easier to bear).  I do believe that if you are open to your baby, no matter how he or she comes to you, you will be a mother.  I am not suggesting that you “just adopt” as that would make me a complete douche bag.  Everyone who has explored her options for family building knows that nothing about adoption is easy.

What I am suggesting is that you do whatever is within your control.  Do what you need to do to make you feel like you are actively bringing that baby right into your arms.  Take a mental break when you need to and then keep fighting.  You can overcome this.  I became a mom in the most unexpected way, after ten years of struggle.  I am not suggesting that your road to motherhood will be as long as mine was (dear Lord, I hope not!).  I just want you to know that you have what it takes to pull through.  You are stronger than you could possibly know.

You have so many options.  If you ever want to discuss any of this, whether it’s the nuts and bolts of your options or an invitation to a baby shower that you are considering using as toilet paper, I am here.  Call or text me and I will arrange to meet you immediately (or as soon as I can unload my toddler) with a bottle of wine and an experienced perspective.

Happy Mother’s Day to you.

Please do something special for yourself, you deserve it.

Sincerely,

Lacie

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Friday Phone Dump: Happiness is in the Moments You Take the Time to Appreciate

I love cell phone photography.  Sure, its nice to get out the big camera, dress up the little ones, try to capture the perfect spot with awesome lighting and do a lil photo shoot now and then.  Those are always great but they require work and time.  You’ve got to find someone to help you corral said tot(s) for the perfect shot.  When you are working with a toddler or multiple toddlers, this is like wrangling cats.  Then, of course, there’s the uploading and editing.  For me, this always takes as much time to edit as it does for me to shoot.  I haven’t even finished working with my Babies First Birthday pics.  Sigh.

These days, I’m lucky if I get to pee alone and my toenails are in desperate need of polishing so I can wear sandals.  WHEN will I squeeze that in plus dry time?  You see my point.  With cell phone photography, it’s instant.  There’s no plugging in and uploading, no long editing process and no big camera style photo shoots.  It’s real life, not staged.  It’s capturing the moments that we don’t want to forget as they unfold.  That’s really what makes pictures great, isn’t it?  So here I am with my first Friday Phone Dump.

1.  Baby’s First Motorcycle Ride

2.  Swinging with the Boo:  I captioned this one on Instagram with the title of this post.  Happiness really is in the moments that you take the time to appreciate.  It’s not a destination, rather a choice.  I have always tried to look for those moments every single day.  Some days, indeed, are harder than others.  But when we look, we’ll find them.

3.  Tricked out New Ride:  The speakers, cooler bag, cup holders and beach tires were for us, I mean, him.

4.  They See Me Rollin, They Hatin’:  I used to go to the grocery store and be sad.  Sometimes I would even buy pregnancy and baby magazines and price baby food and organic baby wash.  Why?  Because I felt it was all I could do.  For a minute, I wasn’t on the outside looking in.  I felt that all of my positive thinking and mental preparation might just pay off.  It comforted me.  Now?  I have the cutest shopping partner in the store and a guaranteed meltdown at the checkout.  It’s all good.  I appreciate all of it.

5.  He Has my Hand and my Heart:  Forever and ever, amen.

6.  Sleepy Boy:  This was what I saw upon arrival at Nanny’s house two weeks ago.  I could kiss that face a thousand times and it wouldn’t be enough.

7.   Robot Shirt, Leg Rolls, Converse, No Pants:  Not everyone can rock this look.  I know I couldn’t pull it off.  Please don’t visualize that.  I’m sorry.  On him?  Can’t even stand the cuteness.

8.  Selfie:  He gets this face pretty much every time I turn the camera around he can see himself.  He sticks his tongue out when he concentrates just like my Pop did.  I love it.

9.  Big Boy:  He’s standing, he’s walking, he’s here, there and everywhere.  There’s no stopping him now!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!  Take time to enjoy the moments.

Posted in Photography | Tagged | 2 Comments

In the Zone Part I: How I Got My Groove Back

I posted this photo on Instagram (I’m lacie_b in case you’d like to connect there) with the following caption.

“Happy First Day of Spring!  I don’t know about you, but I’m using this day as a perfect opportunity to refocus, renew, and re-energize myself.  If you didn’t keep up your New Year’s resolutions, no worries.  Resolutions don’t work.  Permanent lifestyle changes do.  Why not hit the ground running today?”

I am finally in the zone again.  The zone is when I am feeling good and consistently making choices to help me reach my fitness goals.  You know when you’re in it because you feel energized and excited.  You KNOW that it’s possible to meet your goals.  You’re doing right by your body and soul and it FEELS GOOD.  You have energy and focus .  You’re on fire.

Sometimes the hardest part about trying to find your way back into the zone is actually convincing yourself that you can be successful, that the sacrifice of your time, energy and thoughts will be worth it.  Ladies, it’s worth it.   Period.  Here’s how I found my way back.

It was a slow progression.  A few years I lost over 60 pounds.  I did Weight Watchers and worked out regularly.  In fact, when I saw how spin class really helped me tone up and slim down and completely change the shape of my lower body, I became and instructor.  At the height of that particular stint in the zone, I was teaching spin three times per week.  I was a rock star.  I was strong and I was in control of my body.

Enter the stress of embryo adoption, multiple failed transfers, the injection of hormones into my body month after month and the miscarriage of my twins, and I was thrown from the zone right onto my rotund ass.  I no longer believed I could do it.  I couldn’t keep up with it.  My mind was too occupied with being depressed and wondering if I would ever become a mom.  It all seemed so hopeless.  I was in the throes of mourning a loss like no other I had experienced and infertility.  I HATE infertility.  It does these things to you.  It chips away at your soul, your self-worth, and your happiness.

Then, I had the very real possibility of finally becoming a mom on the horizon.  The anticipation of adopting Rocky brought all that stress that comes along with adoption into my life.  The anxiety of the adoption process consumed me.  There were equally wonderful and amazing parts of the experience, but it all takes its toll.  Add a newborn and adoption finalization and adjusting to a completely different life, and the zone seemed so far out of my reach.  I was surviving.  I was certainly happy to finally be a mom, and that was good enough for the time being.

Throughout all of it, I remained active.  I walked regularly and sometimes even did my Couch 2 5K running program.  Rocky was right along with me when the weather was good, chilling in the B.O.B.  The problem was, I had no solid eating plan and my exercise was just moderate.  I was a Weight Watchers dropout.  I was sick of paying for what I already knew how to do and choosing to not follow the plan faithfully.  I was sick of paying for a gym membership that I hardly used.  It wasn’t working for me any more.

Little by little, as Rocky got bigger, my weight started slowly creeping down.  I honestly attribute some of my initial weight loss to the size of this kid.  He’s like a little bull-dog.  He’s a solid 24 pounds and compact.  I have no idea how many times I’ve held him while going up and down steps, squatting to pick things up and rocking him in my arms.  It all adds up!  I was too busy working and being a mom to very active baby to worry much about my nutrition plan.   It just seemed to be one more thing I’d have to keep track of.  No thank you.  Last fall, people started noticing that I was losing weight.  By Christmas, I was getting questions like, “How much weight have you lost, you’re looking really good.”

My self talk started to change.  I started thinking that I might actually look good.  I started looking forward to changing my looks, my clothing, my hair!  Armed with renewed confidence, believing that I could do it, and no longer dragging around the hormones and depression that infertility comes with, I was ready to jump back into the zone sporting cute workout gear, a spring in my step, and a smile.

Up next:  The Zone Part II:  My Nutrition and Fitness Plan

Posted in Fitness | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Talking to Children in our Family Part II: The Lunch Date

Upon arrival at the restaurant I noticed the girls were dressed all cute and sassy for our date.  I noticed a ballerina dress, sparkly shoes and fancy scarves before we even got our coats off.  They came with my cousin, Lisa who was gracious enough to help me make this happen.  Lisa’s pretty much had my back since we were kids.  I would intently watch her in complete awe as she expertly applied purple eyeshadow and lip gloss with sparkles when she was a teenager.  She was pretty much my idol. The girls are as follows.

Chelsea:  Super cute and sweet college freshman who loves babies and pretty much came along to see Rocky.  I’ve painted her nails since she was a baby.  She baby-wrangled for me throughout our date for which I am truly thankful.

A: Spunky and creative eleven-year-old who doesn’t miss a beat.  She’ll keep you on your toes and smiling.

K:  Sweet and smiley ten-year-old.  She said to me two years ago at a church picnic, “Lacie, you are going to be a wonderful mommy.”  I’ll never forget it.

As we entered the restaurant the girls were calling dibs on who got to sit next to Rocky.  I   loved hearing that.  They each had their booklets with them and right after we gave our drink orders A looked at me and asked, “When are we going to talk about our books?”  Like I said, she doesn’t miss a beat.  There was no need for me to worry about an awkward lead-in to the topic of our luncheon, Miss Thang had it covered.  I replied, “Well we can start talking about them now.  Do you want to just talk about your charts and your questions or should we talk about every page?”  They all chimed in, “Every page!”  So, we got started on page one.

The charts asking them to describe “what babies and kids need” and “what parents do” were the first topic we discussed.  They all included things like babies need diapers and love.  What was great was that each girl had something that was unique to her on the chart.  Little M wrote that parents “buy lots of toys.”  A stated that parents “have to pay for college.”  The first thing that K pointed out as a parental responsibility is to “keep their kids away from drama.”  These girls know what’s up.  Clearly.

The rest of our talk flowed as we flipped through each page.  Having the girls spend some time with the booklet before our talk was a great way to give us a framework for our conversation.  They came to the table with background knowledge of some details that may have been foggy for them before.  With the booklets in hand,  we could focus on clearing up things that they were still wondering about and strengthen what they already knew.

It was easy and natural and really informative for all of us.  There were some interesting questions and ideas that came up.

A asked, “So did Marco and Maya want to have Rocky?”  I understood this as “Did they plan to have him?” and I answered, “Sometimes babies come as a surprise.”  Seven-year-old, M yelled, “A really GOOD surprise!”

A also asked, “Why didn’t you have a baby before you adopted Rocky?”  She knows that I wanted a baby for a very long time.  I asked, “Did you know that a woman has eggs inside of her and she needs those eggs to have a baby?”  She said, “Yes, I know about that.”  I explained, “Well, my eggs are broken.  They don’t work like they are supposed to so I didn’t get pregnant.  I am actually fine with that now because I have Rocky, the best baby in the world.”  Everyone seemed fine with that response and pretty much agreed that Rocky is the bomb.  A was also wondering (before getting the booklet) if Maya could ever take Rocky back.  She was worried because she loves him.  She said that she now that she read the booklet, she understands that she couldn’t do that and,  because of our talk, she knows that Maya and Marco are also a part of our family.

K was wondering about different types of adoption.  She said that she has a classmate who was adopted from Guatemala but didn’t understand what that meant.  She also wanted to know why some children who are adopted don’t get to see their birth parents.  I did a quick, age-appropriate overview of international and domestic adoption and explained a few reasons why some adoptions are closed.  She said that she was glad that we talked about all of it and that she understands adoption a lot better now.  She explained with a smile, “I thought there was this big store you could go to that had all kinds of babies there and that you could just pick one out.”  Wow.  I truly didn’t realize that she thought about adoption that way.  I was glad I had this opportunity to explain things to her.

Each girl also drew completely different representations of what our family looks like.  I loved seeing how they chose to represent us.

We wrapped things up by sharing dessert and agreeing that the booklets and our lunch was a really good idea.  The booklets served as a template for our discussion as well as a way for each child to make a personal connection to our adoption story.  The specific time set aside for our talk allowed the girls to ask questions that may have either come up at an inappropriate time, or may have never been asked at all.

Our lunch date was awesome and I am so glad we did it.

Posted in Adoption | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Talking to Children in our Family about Adoption Part I: The Booklet

Over a month ago, we hosted Rocky’s first birthday party.  It was a super fun celebration for friends and family that deserves its own post.  I was tearing up the baby dance floor with my Boo in my arms to some Yo Gabba Gabba tunes, “There’s a party in my tummy!  So yummy, so yummy…” when my friend’s little girl asked me a question.  ”Lacie, so Rocky is your baby, right?”  This child knew nothing of the adoption, she was just ripping up the dance floor, trying to put everyone together.  I replied, “Yes, you are right.  Rocky is my baby, the cutest baby in the WORLD!”  We laughed and kept on boogeying.  Then, my seven-year-old cousin chimed in, “Well, he’s not her REAL baby.  He wasn’t in her tummy.  His REAL mommy is over there![insert the startling sound of a record scratching and my heart beating out of my chest]  Maya, Rocky’s birth mom was standing right there snapping pictures of all of us.  Luckily, we have an awesome relationship with her and she didn’t seem to be phased.  I explained, “I am Rocky’s real mommy.  You are right, Maya is his birth mommy. He was in her tummy.” Then I swiftly steered the conversation in another direction.  Some things are just too heady for the dance floor.

I kept beating myself up.  I was rattled in the moment.  But the more I thought about it, the clearer the real issue became.  The children in my family love Rocky as much (or more because he’s a super cute baby) as they do any other member of our family.  My little cousin just didn’t have the vocabulary to express what she was thinking.  Why hadn’t I had this discussion with the kids earlier?  As we all know, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

I contacted my cousins (the mothers of the girls with whom I needed to talk) and we set up a lunch date.  Then,  I went on a mission to create a tool to help me talk to the kids in my family, and eventually our son, about adoption.  Good teachers know that kids learn better when they are actively engaged, therefore I needed to create an interactive tool.  I also wanted to start with what they already know, another teacher tidbit.   Plenty of pictures were also a must.

Here are the results.

I uploaded the booklet and had a copy for each girl and for me printed at our local UPS store. I put the girls’ booklets in the mail so that they can go through them with their parents before our lunch date.  They each got their own special package, all decked out with stickers.  Kids of all ages love stickers, it’s a known fact.

I wanted to keep it as a Word document so I can change it and update the pictures depending upon my audience.  It will be nice for each child on our family to have a customized book where they see themselves as an important part of our adoption.  I also included a final page where they can write any questions they still have and a place to write a special message to Rocky.  It will also be good for Rocky to be in on these talks.  He’ll be able to answer questions as he gets older and his adoption story will always be an important part of who he is.  The more we practice this, the more comfortable we will all be when spontaneous situations arise.

We are having our lunch date on Saturday.  The girls will bring their booklets and we will read and talk about each page.  They will be able to ask questions and enjoy our time together.  It was important for me to set apart this special time for them and not pull them aside at a family event.  I didn’t want them to feel like they were in trouble for something.  I am looking forward to our date.   I am really excited to see the pictures that they’ve drawn.

We strive to have an open and respectful adoption.  If I want all the members of our family to be as comfortable talking about our adoption as I am, then it’s my job to give them the tools that they need and to open up the lines of communication.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

*As always, click on the images to make them larger.

*I got the idea for the chart in my booklet from the following, very informative link from Adoptive Families magazine.

http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/talking

 

Posted in Adoption | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

I have so many blog posts running through my head.  I need to pick one and just start writing, even if I write for five minutes at a time, it would be better than nothing.  I feel good when I write.

  • I’ve continued to read blogs and I’ve made some awesome discoveries over the past year that I need to share.  Seriously awesome stuff.
  • I want to tell you about how I threw a rockin’ baby’s first birthday party.  We had SO. MUCH. FUN.  Well, at least I did.
  • I want to tell you about my experience with open adoption and just how wonderful it can be when everyone does what feels right.
  • I want to finish up my Road to Rocky series, because it gets better.
  • I want to share with you how I approach talking about adoption with the children in my family.
  • I want to tell you about the twins in my life!  I am an aunt to TWINS and it is awesome.  They are adorable, like living doll babies and I don’t have to get up with them at night!
  • My niece, Button is growing and growing.  She loves Rocky but she loves Sesame Street more than anything else on the planet.  She calls it “Sunny Days” and that makes me smile.
  • I want to share with you how overwhelming it can be at times to work full-time and be a mom to a little one.  Nothing can really prepare you for the intensity of the pace that life keeps bringing.

But, for today, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope that you have someone special to love today.  Whether that someone be a child, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a parent, a cousin, a sister or brother, a niece or nephew a neighbor or friend, may they be your perfect valentine(s)!

PS.  For his protection, please don’t use Rocky’s real name in the comments or elsewhere online.  Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Gifts from Miss Rose

When I dropped Rocky off at Baby School, Miss Rose had a gift bag waiting for me.  It was on the shelf, under his cubby.  It was an unassuming brown paper bag, decorated with glitter and a green bow.

When I reached into the bag, I pulled out this.

And this.

I had to hold back the tears when I saw the snow globe.  The picture on the left was from his first day there, when I had to go back to school.  It was a hard day for me.  I had a broken heart.  The picture on the right was taken recently.  How thoughtful is she?  I was able to blink back the tears and thank her.  I took out the snowman and beamed over how adorable it is.  His little foot as the body of the snowman is precious!  I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated those gifts.  I wished her a Merry Christmas and kissed Rocky good-bye.  Then, I headed down the corridor and began to cry.

I’ve tried to hold it together all morning.  I’ve never been so excited for a Christmas in all of my life.  I am overwhelmed with the anticipation of Baby’s First Christmas and being in the planning stages of Baby’s First Birthday.  I am looking forward to the weeks to come yet want to some how put on the brakes.  This is happening too fast.  I’ve heard all along that I would feel this way but didn’t expect it to smack me in the face.  I won’t ever again have these firsts and it feels like they are slipping through my fingers.  I am feeling equal parts happy and sad today.  The tears keep coming.  Happy and sad tears rolled into a snotty, puffy-eyed ball of gratitude, that’s me today.

Happy Friday!

Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Gifts for Birth Parents

I knew I was going to make photo albums for both of Rocky’s birth parents for Christmas.  I get to see those little moments every day that make him who he is, but their time with him is more fleeting than mine.  We have an open relationship with both of them.  We see Maya pretty often.  She is part of our family.  She asks me about my experiences in college and how I became a teacher.  She sings in her school chorus and I was in the audience clapping for her during her holiday concert.  I love that we can see her blossom.

We see Marco, too, just not as often.  It must be hard to be a teenage birth father.  I would image that things feel awkward to him at times.  He must struggle with where he fits into the equation.  He is a good guy and I am sure he wants to do right by all of us.  I try to make things as easy as possible for him.  He texted me earlier in the week asking for Rocky’s sizes and wanting to know if there is anything in particular that he needs.  It made me smile to picture him and his mom picking things out for Baby Boy.  So sweet.

I made Marco a simple photo album for Christmas.  I send his mom and him links to my online albums pretty regularly.  They’ve also gotten prints and cards from us as well.  But, I thought that an album containing favorite pictures of the last year would be a nice gift for him.  I did the same for Maya and I put it all together scrapbook style with lots of captions.  For Marco, I wanted it to be something more fitting for a teenage boy.  I chose a small album and searched for the perfect quote to put on the inside cover.  I wanted a quote that said something about sacrifice and love.  I wanted the quote to be from an athlete because Marco is a sports nut.  I settled on one from Michael Jordan.

“There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and
never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to
sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in
the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual
goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest
is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades
will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and
intelligence win championships.”
- Michael Jordan

 There are so many ways I feel that this quote can relate to not only the role he plays in our adoption but the role that we play as adoptive parents as well.  ”If you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves.”  

Perfectly said, Mr. Jordan.

If you’d like to read more about the amazing role that birth parents play, you should check out this post on Maggie’s blog, A Pair of Pink Shoes.  Her entire blog is an incredible resource for adoptive parents, birth families and prospective adoptive parents.  It’s a true testament to what open adoption can be.  She is an amazing ambassador for open adoption and her daughter, Georgia has the best hair, ever.  Seriously.  Check her out; she’s been such an inspiration to me.

More to come later on why I can’t stop crying today.

Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christmas Letter to Rocky

It’s been hard for me to know what to write these days.  On one hand, I feel like I need to share, over and over, how grateful I am (as shown by some of my recent posts).  On the other hand, I don’t want it to be overkill or in any way upsetting to those who are still waiting.  I am not sure if “Daily life with baby” type of posts fit into what my readers are looking for when they come to this space.  I just don’t know.  What I do know is how I feel about my son.  I am going to write him letters, print them out, and give them to him some day when the time is right.  Here is the first one.

Dear Rocky,

I have waited for a very long time to experience Christmas through your eyes.  I have always been a bit of a Christmas nerd (if I am being honest, your dad used to say that it looked like Christmas threw up in our house.  I’ve toned it down.  I’m trying to keep it classy, these days).  Our family has always made a big deal over Christmas. Growing up, Gigi would decorate our house for Christmas every year and sing songs with us.  I have pictures of your Uncle Adam and I in our little bathrobes and jammies by the Christmas tree in our old city house on Pearl Street.  The rust colored carpet and walls with mustard trim was old school seventies at it’s finest.  But the wonder in our eyes is unmistakable.  Your Pop-pop would come over Christmas morning and bring the presents that Santa left at his apartment for us, so he could see us experience Christmas morning.  I remember laying under the Christmas tree at night and staring straight up.  It seemed to take forever for Christmas to finally arrive in those days.  We insisted that Gigi pile on as much tacky silver tinsel as possible on that tree and the blinking multi-colored foil star at the top was really something to behold.

My Pop-pop would cut fresh Christmas trees and in the weeks before Christmas, he would deliver them to each grandchild’s house.  He was something special and he would have really gotten a kick out of you.  Nanny would make as many cookies as you can imagine and they would be waiting for us to eat in tin cans.  She would tell us that she was going to wait up to kiss Santa Clause when he came down the chimney.  That would make me mad and I would tell Pop what she said.  He didn’t seem to mind.  Santa would always come to their house, too.  I think it was because they came from so little, it was important for them to do Christmas really big for us.

This is why I’ve always loved Christmas.   Every year, since I got my own apartment, I would decorate and do it up the best I could.  Every year, I would decorate the tree (My Pop-Pop even brought my own first tree to that apartment!) and put a little Christmas in every corner.  Your dad would make a special meal for us as I decorated and your sister would come over to help with the final touches on the tree (just like she did this year).  We would eat dinner together, by the light of the tree while we listened to old christmas songs sung by the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and Lou Monte (it’s really not Christmas without Dominic the Donkey, is it?)  Your sister’s favorite part is always when we enjoy your dad’s homemade white chocolate cocoa complete with a candy cane for dipping.  She even called him this year to tell him to make sure to not take any shortcuts.

After dinner winded down and it was close to bed-time, I would turn out all the lights and enjoy the sparkle and glow of the tree and beauty of all of our hard work.  Then, even though I would try really hard to fight it, the sadness would creep in and I would cry.  It would start with a slight quiver in my chin and tears in my eyes.  It would turn into the type of cry that only people with broken hearts know.  While I did my best to put on a brave face and enjoy what I had in my family and friends, there was something missing.  There was no baby who I could show the sparkle of the tree to.  No amount of wishing, hoping, praying or Christmas tradition could bring the baby I was missing into my arms.  That was until this year.

You are my Christmas miracle, my sweet, sweet boy.  You have helped to mend my broken heart.  Your perfectly kissable baby cheeks and the way your eyes twinkle when you smile have been medicine for my soul. There is nothing that can make my heart swell like the sound of your laughter.   I am feeling the joy of this Christmas deep down inside of me this year and I have you to thank for that.  When I hold you up to our tree, you smile your perfect smile, tug on the branches, and say something that sounds like an excited whisper.  Words can’t express how your whisper feels when it quietly fills my ears.  It’s a sound that I’ve waited a very long time to hear.

You are why I had to wait.  You, baby boy, were worth it.

Love,

Mom

Posted in Letter to Rocky | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sleep Update

Wow.

Ask and you shall receive!  You guys came through like champions with the sleep training suggestions.  My sister-in-law sent me 273 texts on the matter and the comment section of my last post has a wealth of information for any fellow zombie moms!  Thank you, Rockstars!

I took Julie’s suggestion and borrowed the book Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old.  (I need to flip through the rest of it because it belongs to my sister Brittani, who’s twins will be here any day now!  She’s been wanting these babies for YEARS, so we are extra excited!)  What I’ve implemented from the book so far is to try to get him on an “eating every four hours” schedule during his time awake.  What’s been different from what I have done is that he’s never been a morning eater.  Why would he have been hungry after housing bottles like the Cast of Jersey Shore guzzles cheap well drinks and shots all night long?  I have been getting him up, dressing and diapering him and then giving him a bottle.  It seems to be working a little better for us!  Thanks Julie and Brittani!

My “Dr. Sears quoting” sister-in-law Jill suggested that I turn the sound off of the monitor in case it was causing me to be extra vigilant.  She also suggested waiting a little longer to go into the room rather than running to his rescue like I’m saving him from an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (like I’ve been doing since birth).  I can’t tell you how many times this particular advice has worked over the past week.  I wasn’t letting him learn how put himself back to sleep.  Thanks Jilly!

I am holding my breath while I say this, but for the past four nights, he’s only gotten up ONCE.  He’s had his 1:00 am feeding (which will become water tonight), and that’s it.  I can’t tell you how much better I feel without the constant interruptions to my sleep.  It’s amazing.

As with anything, this will certainly be a learning process for both of us.  I expect there to be bad nights and good.  What I do firmly believe is that if a baby is a needy sleeper, there are bad habits (on parents’ and babies’ parts) that can be worked through with a little patience and persistence and a lot of love.

Karaleen summed it up nicely, “Slowly give him the tools he needs and the love and compassionate guidance you would for teaching all other tasks in life.”  Well stated, Karaleen!  You entire comment was awesome!

Thanks again to each of you who reached out!  You are an amazing group of ladies!

Gotta run so I can answer Snooki’s text.  She wants to know what product I am using for Rocky’s faux-hawk.

 

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments