Happy 3!

Dear Glory,

I’m writing this letter to you on the evening of the 24th, 2012.  Today I’ve been thinking – trying to remember my life before you.  It’s hard to remember the days before they were filled with you but…

Three years ago, this very day, we knew you were coming.  We knew you’d be born the very next day, the 25th.  We knew your birthmom was scheduled for a c-section and that we’d be there waiting for you.  What we didn’t know is if she was sure you were ours.

I left work the 24th, a Wednesday, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be back.  That night, your mama and I went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  We made a toast to you – to your safety.  I remember holding her hand the whole walk home – just hoping, hoping, hoping.  And that night, we said a prayer next to your crib – practically begging for you to finally be our baby.

The next day is partially a blur.  I don’t remember any of the morning – only from the time we arrived at the hospital.  There we were, in the waiting room, watching CNN go on & on about how there were reports that Michael Jackson had died.  How could that be possible?  As the reports came in, they were more certain.  50 years old.  He was gone.  And just seconds later, the nurse came around the corner and said, “are you ready?”

We ran in to the NICU just as they brought you through the delivery door.  You were beautiful!  You were goopy and messy and your little fingers were so long!  They layed you on the table and started doing all the things they do once your spirit fully fills your body.  They cleaned out your eyes.  They measured your head and your body.  They weighed you.  And then they let us bathe you.

It’s funny, because looking back, I had no fear.  The rules said she had 48 hours to sign the papers but the moment I saw you, I knew you were ours.  Your birthmom gave her NICU bracelet to your mama so we could both be in there at all times.  I’ll never be able to thank her enough for that.  Knowing that she was just down the hall, but didn’t want to meet us face to face, was hard.  But I also trusted that she made her peace before that – whatever her choice, it was best for you both.

We had a room at the hospital.  They treated us as if one of us had given birth. In our little room, we watched TV while you slept.  It turned out that MJ had really died – just 21 mintues before you were born.  We wondered if you passed each other and bumped hips…or something.  You slept in the room with us all night long.  You woke up every 2 hours.  Neither of us slept at all.  We took turns holding you & feeding you – just staring at you.  We were in love.

In one quiet moment, I remember thinking I needed an escape route.  If, for any reason, this didn’t work out – you were leaving with me and I made a creepy little plan that included paying cash for a new car and a freeway headed south.  I knew I couldn’t let you go – that I could never, ever live without you again.

Three years later, I can’t help but still reflect on those early minutes.  We had just days to prepare for you but once you came, we knew all we needed to know.  We were yours.  And you were ours.

Happy Birthday, my lovely girl.  You are still a dream come true and the story of you is still my most favorite love story in all the land.

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Countdown…

This is it – the very last week that my baby girl will ever be 2.  Can I admit to you all that it’s completely killing me inside?

I had my first baby when I was 30.  Even then, I feel like I waited a long time.  But to count the days waiting for Glory… I simply couldn’t.  There was so much preparation.  – Years of finding the best way to bring her here.  I experienced joy & sorrow in ways I hadn’t before.  & just like with Gracie, when Glory was born I wondered how could ever love another baby the same.

Now I’m more than 40.  Forty.  & it’s quite possible that Glory will be my last child.  Not only will I miss the “baby” parts of her but I will miss the “baby” parts of any baby.

Now I have the pleasure of listening to her talk – watching her run & skip & ride her bike.  She’ll be entering pre-school and I’ll that learning will speed up by eons.  She’ll start building relationships outside her family – asking if she can play with the girl down the street.  I’m not jumping ahead.  I know what’s coming.  And while I mourn those baby things like chubby cheeks & thighs, eating with her fingers, the bottle, pig tails, size 8 shoes… I can’t wait for all the big stuff.

She’ll be entering her 4th years in a 3T-4T.  She wears a size 9 shoe & I’m pretty sure size 10 is coming right up.  She hasn’t gained weight in a while but she’s grown like crazy in height.  She’s taller than any other 3yo we know!  She loves riding her big wheel and we’re planning on a big girl bike (with training wheels) for her birthday – don’t tell.  She’s insanely friendly and speaks practically in full sentences.  She’s still wearing pull-ups but getting closer & closer.  Her teachers say she’s crazy aware & crazy smart!  She is loved madly by our friends and family and I LOVE that she knows it!

It’ll be weird to say she’s 3.  I mean, I’ve been saying she’s 2 for a whole year!  It’ll be weird to watch her keep growing and possibly come to terms with knowing that everything that passes, will really be the last.  But bring it on – because nothing on this planet brings me beautiful chaos like my Glory Ella – the (almost) 3 year old.

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MINE!

Seriously, thank you so very much for the love tonight.  I could feel it.  And all that advice came in very handy when I was feeling overwhelmed and over emotional.

I won’t bother you with all the drama but I can tell you I feel lighter and happier than I have in a long time.  My mom talked about her fears and why she’s stayed so still for so long.  But also that she’s tired of living in “punishment” mode.  She told him she was ready to move on – hoping, of course, he’ll change his mind and move along with her.  I won’t give up on that hope but she told us not to count on it anymore.  My brother admitted he has misplaced anger toward my new family – knowing it doesn’t make sense but just feeling like it’s an easy place set blame for a while.

It was good to hear what they’re feeling.  It was good to just spend time face to face with them.  It was good to tell my mom how much I missed going home – just really miss spending time in her house.  Since she told my dad, I haven’t been welcome there.  If I go to drop off Glory of pick her up, he goes to his bedroom.  I have to call before I arrive or, worse, honk.  I still can’t believe how bad it is.

But I feel like we’re headed to a better place.  We agreed to check in more often – just to talk about where we are.  And in the meantime, get together like we used to.  We still can’t meet at my mom’s but hopefully that will change.

Again, thank you.  Fingers crossed for positive movement.

Family Meeting

It’s tonight.  After my rant (mostly that ugly cry that happens where I can’t speak and the pitch of my voice sounds are bird like) my mom decided to schedule some time where we get it out.  She & my brother are coming over here – because she was worried about us being in public.

It sounds worse than it is.  I think I’ll cry.  Well, I’m sure I’ll cry.  I assume my brother won’t have many words but if I can see his face, I’ll know what he’s feeling.  My mom actually has an “agenda” so I guess there won’t be time for awkward silence.

Wish me luck.  Wish me strength.

And I also wanted to thank you. – for all your thoughts, emails & even phone calls.  I’ve never experienced anything like this and I don’t know anyone else who has either.  Your advice means a lot to me and reminds me to keep an open mind and be thoughtful about the feelings of those I love so much.

2 or 1 – update

So, funny story…

I wrote yesterday’s post last Friday – timing it to go out yesterday morning.  I wanted to get some good advice before I made a decision and I knew I’d get plenty.

Well, Saturday night, my family went out to celebrate my 16 yo nephew becoming an Eagle Scout.  (I could go on & on about how proud I am to call him mine)  But as we were finishing up dinner, I mentioned to everyone to “save the date for Glory’s party”.  I figured I’d get the date out there then have private conversations with them about it being the only party.  But sadly, it didn’t go like that.  My mom looked at me and asked who would be there and the world stopped turning.

The story goes from bad to worse and I’ll just sum it up by saying that both my mom & brother said they’d “never” come to a joint party.  We all said things we regret and stormed out of the restaurant without saying goodbye.

My heart was broken.

And it’s not because they didn’t want a joint party.  I knew they wouldn’t.  I guess I hoped that they would say they weren’t quite ready this year or just ask me to reconsider.  But “never” hit me hard and I just felt the whole world come down.  All my defenses went up because it’s Glory’s birthday – who loves them all so very much.  And I just felt (from them and me) that maybe everyone blames me a little bit – whether it’s spoken or not.  And it just hurts.

As soon as we left, I collapsed in tears.  The ugly kind.  I cried all the way home and then went on a drive just so I could scream a while – without Glory witnessing.  I got a text from my brother that night – telling me he loves me.  And reminding me that it’s up to us to put the pieces back together because no one is going to do it for us anyone.  They’re not strong enough.  My mom sent a text yesterday – saying that the pain is about a lot more than Glory’s birthday and she’s right.  Mostly, I need something to shift.  And to be honest, the little girl in me needs her to make something right.

My brother has also lost his dad.  But he didn’t get a new one.  He stood up to his dad and said, “you can’t abandon your children.  if Keri’s not your daughter, then I’m not your son.”  And they haven’t spoken since.  …over a year ago.

My mom and I spoke today.  She waited too long to give him a choice but once she did, he didn’t choose us.  They’re getting divorced.  It’s not what I want.  Just like having a joint party.  It’s so much more than that.

So while my post went out yesterday morning, the conversation had already taken place.  I hope it’s the start of … something.

2 or 1?

My baby girl is about to turn 3.  I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.  We’ll be heading to San Diego again in July so that’s where the majority if her celebration will take place.  However, before we go, I’d like to celebrate with family.

Last year, around the time, the news of my “new family” was pretty new – atleast to my dad. (RJ)  My mom was still panicked about the whole thing and my brother was beside himself – just trying to keep it together.  It made perfect sense that we hold 2 seperate parties for Glory.  One for my mom’s side & one for my dad’s.

This year, I’m unsure.

I’m blogging because I’m sure I have readers who come from split families.  50% of marriages end in divorce so surely some of you have had to deal with this kind of situation.  What do you do?  Do you seriously have 2 parties every year so your parents don’t have to see each other?  Or do they play nice and comfy and make it work for the kids?

I’m not trying to be difficult and certainly don’t want to push anyone toward a place that feels uncomfortable.  Honestly, 2 parties are hard to plan and because we’re leaving town so soon after, the timing is extra hard.

I’m considering planning one party, inviting everyone, and see who shows up.   But I worry a whole portion of my family won’t.

Thoughts?