I have to admit. I’ve had a really hard time focusing lately. I thought I could blame Kyle’s staycation and his messing with my rhythm, but the truth is, my house is just as messy, or messier, than what it was when he was here. I’m still struggling to reply to emails and be a gracious person and I’m constantly forgetting things like putting Owen’s eye patch on…or bigger things…like feeding him. (Okay, before you go calling CPS. He is getting fed. But not always on schedule. I’ve been needing to do some catch up overnight lately.)
I thought it was “just a funk” with Those Anniversaries…and it probably is to some degree. There is also the weather. We got another 6 inches of snow yesterday. Yes, April 18 Blizzard. Even Pollyanna might start cursing the clouds at this ridiculousness…and we all know I’ve never been accused of being Pollyanna. (Maybe more like Pollyanna’s brutally honest and often sassy big sister…did she have one of those?)
After a lot of personal reflection and writing and talking to whomever will listen…I think I’m starting to figure out what my deal is. My issue is my thoughts and emotions are as scattered as the clothes strewn throughout my couch. The problem is trying to figure out how to get the combination of celebrating and healing right.
I know a lot of people are thinking, “well, Tatum, there is not ‘right’ to healing or celebrating”. And I agree with that statement. However, it sure seems that people, including myself, have a lot of tips on what I’m doing wrong in the process. You know…
You can’t worry too much about the future, it will all work out, no matter what it is.
And then there is:
You have to go ahead and let yourself feel what you’re feeling. If you push the feelings away, they are only going to hurt more.
And, I’ve also heard:
The past is the past. You need to let yourself move on.
The advice, I am also guilty of giving is:
Just try to be present in what you’re feeling in each moment.
The problem is not being present in the moment. It’s with WHICH feeling in each moment am I supposed to be present? Because each and every moment, I fully and justifiably feel each of these emotions.
- I’m amazed and astounded at how far my children, and our whole family, has come.
- I’m jealous of those who have no idea what this path is like.
- I’m joyful for Owen’s beautiful smile and Kellen’s contagious laugh.
- I’m grateful for and deeply in love with my husband and really miss spending more time focused on us.
- I’m conflicted in finding the balance for myself and the boys/man of our house.
- I’m concerned with the increasing signs of anxiety that Kellen has been showing and unsure of how to best help a child as young as he.
- I’m nervous about sending Owen to school but am also committed to giving him the most well-rounded experience that we can.
- I’m full of guilt for the times I’ve lost patience and yelled or slammed the soap dispenser on the counter or stomped my feet like a two year old in front of my kids.
- I’m excited watching Owen use more words and Kellen mastering writing his own name.
- I’m proud of the life we’ve been able to give our kids.
- I’m so sad for the babies who aren’t here.
- I am grieving the perfect pregnancy that I didn’t get.
- I am horrified by and numb to what we all experienced in the NICU.
- I’m angry and I mean, royally PISSED OFF that these things happen to innocent babies…to anyone…to my kids…to me.
- I’m ashamed that I’m so angry and lost as to what to do with it.
- I am humbled by and deeply thankful for the overwhelming support from my friends, family, acquaintances. And this online preemie community? It’s surpassed anything I’ve ever imagined. I have so much gratitude.
Then there are all the other feelings that I don’t even know how to put words to yet. Some are good and some are bad.
And in it’s entirety, it is beautiful. I know this; this life of mine is – and these lives of all of ours are – beautiful. But some days…sometimes some weeks, it’s all really overwhelming and confusing and looks more like the scattered laundry accumulating on my couch than the mesmerizing pattern of a zebra’s stripe.
Those Anniversaries, that’s what they do, they amplify everything, make each emotion so big, that I can’t always pick out which one is my focus for each moment. I truly believe, each emotion I feel is worth acknowledging and valid. I deserve to give each feeling the time it deserves, but I also have to give myself the power to step back and see the the beauty of the bigger picture.
And when I do that, do you know what the essence of the big picture is?
I’ll try to show you what I mean…
I’ve been waiting to show you all this gift until I could get a real photographer to capture it , but sometimes, timing is more important than the perfect shot. Owen was given this amazing costume by an ANRC reader. She’s on my ever growing list of moms I want to visit one day…a stranger who I love…who, based on nothing but words on a blog and shared experiences, loves our family.
Another preemie mom I plan to meet some day (I know a mutual friend will get her to Minneapolis soon), she created another image of love. I think hers is pretty right too.
I will never be the person who says that these things happen for a reason or that it was for the best. I would definitely give my son a different experience if I could. However, I will say that many of the emotions that I feel are because I love so deeply. The hurt, anger and the pain are because I care and had hopes and dreams for another road. My son didn’t get what I hoped for him and I didn’t get the memories just as I envisioned them but I did get love in many, many beautiful ways.
Thank you preemie moms. Thank you friends and and family. Thank you for helping me see the big picture when I sometimes get too overwhelmed with the pieces.
Owen’s birthday is going to be better because of all of you.