I’ve been wanting to post an update for the past week-ish, but more important things have been consuming my time. LOL Amelia has hit a stage of not wanting to sleep as much (during the day – I’m lucky that she still sleeps well at night), which I admit can be physically tiring, but I wouldn’t trade the smiles and non-stop jabbering for anything in the world! We have had some difficult days (I’ll just say Tuesday’s meltdown in Sam’s Club was SUPER AWESOME… and no, I am not talking about Amelia, although she was crying too :P) but I continually remind myself that these stages are going to go fast. Too fast. She’s already grown so much since she got here and I know she is not going to be a baby for long. Even when I’m tired and don’t know why she’s crying, I look at her and let the overwhelming love that I have for her take over the frustration. I am not perfect and confess that on Tuesday, I ended up hugging her, kissing her cheeks and laying her in her crib to scream for about two hours straight. I laid on my bed and cried while she did and seriously stayed that way for about two hours… but I am still very grateful to be going thru this experience. I’m not saying it to sound all Hallmark-y, I really am beyond grateful. I’ve always wanted to be a real Mom… and this is it… and I love it.
Amelia is now three months old (12 weeks on Mother’s Day, I believe) and she has grown so much, it boggles my mind. She has such an infectious personality. Since I didn’t have a chance to go to Heather’s for pictures (I certainly wasn’t going to ask her to set up all of her stuff while she had our entire crazy loud Kroeber family in her house) I took a few pictures just to mark the age.
The quality isn’t nearly as nice as Heather’s, but regardless, the goal is to save memories before I blink and she’s 20!
So….. I got to experience my very first “real” Mother’s Day last week. I kind of dreaded the day and actually tried to pretend it was nothing significant. Just a Sunday. *Meh* no biggy. Well, the Saturday before Mother’s Day happens to be Birth Mother’s Day (most people don’t know that… Now ya do) and on that day, I found myself thinking about Dustin even more than usual. I thought with a lot of detail about how he might have been as a baby. I wondered if he slept well and how often he’d wake up at night, if at all. I thought about how Amelia is not laughing yet, although most babies her age are… I wondered when he started laughing. I thought about a lot of simple things like that. This of course is not the first time I’ve thought about those things, but it’s a little bit different now that I have a baby of my own that I get to watch change and grow every single day. I wonder if they are anything alike. I also wondered if he’s been told. Granted, I have not yet sent a letter to Magui and Geary updating them of Amelia’s birth (and name, etc.) but I did send them a letter when I found out I was pregnant and another when we found out her sex. I wonder if they told him and if so, how is something like that addressed? This year was different in a lot of ways and one very positive thing was that I didn’t feel nearly as sad as I usually do. The pain is still there, but it’s not nearly as sharp. Amelia has NOT replaced Dustin in my heart. Nothing and no one can fill that space… but I feel like she has allowed the wound to heal just a little bit more. It’s not as prominent.
For the past 10 years, Mother’s Day has not been a good day for me. I generally do my absolute best to set aside the pain and focus on the wonderful Mom’s in my life that deserved to be acknowledged. Although I genuinely enjoy being with my family on this day and celebrating not only MY wonderful Mother, but also all of my Sisters, without them I would not be an Aunt! Despite all of that joy, the pain of being excluded from the feeling of being a Mother was always on my shoulder, whispering that it was not me. I am not a Mom. I am not to be celebrated. I would watch all my nieces and nephews running around, playing with their cousins, celebrating their Mommy’s… and I would see what I was missing. SO many times have I gone into another room to take a deep breath, sometimes let myself cry a tiny bit, before returning to the loud, happy festivities. So many times I’d go home after the dinner and quality time with my family and close myself in the bathroom and cry. Even though I only spent 2 days with him, only knew him for that short time… only kissed him for a few hours, I miss him terribly. I miss all that could/would have been. When it comes down to it, I cry because I’m jealous. I’ve been selfishly jealous of what I didn’t have. But it was my choice. Don’t misunderstand my pain and jealousy for regret. These are human responses that can’t be controlled. I have heard SO many people over the years say (in regards to Birth Mothers) that if a Birth Mother cried about these things (Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, oh hell… ALL holidays for that matter) that they must have been unsure about their decision, or really feeling regret for what they did. I was even once one of those people that thought the same thing. My sister Heidi once had a roommate/coworker who had placed a child for adoption (before Dustin was born) and she told us about how often she cried. I remember saying the same thing. “She must regret her decision.” This is ridiculously untrue. I realize that it’s not anyone’s fault that they see things this way, because it’s impossible to understand from an outside perspective, but do NOT misunderstand my tears for regret. I’m allowed to have selfish emotions. What I do with them however is what makes the difference. I let myself cry a little and then I let go of that emotion and focus on what he gained (and continues to gain) from my pain. That was the price I knowingly paid. That doesn’t mean I can’t let myself feel it sometimes. This year still had those feelings. I miss him. I often wonder about what he looks like and what his personality is like. I often imagine what it would have been like to be his Mommy… but this year, I looked up and saw Amelia. It was almost a tangible thing. I was in her room doing the same daily routine of getting the day started, when I stopped what I was doing and just looked at her. The feeling that came over me in that moment was almost beyond description. It overwhelmed my entire being in that moment and as I was standing there looking down into her sleepy eyes, she looked straight into my eyes and grinned so big her cheeks squished up and I laughed and started sobbing. Like I said, the pain still exists. Dustin still exists. The fact that he came from my body and left with a piece of my heart will never go away… but THIS is my focus. This little girl… she was given to me. I get to be her Mommy. THAT feeling is indescribable. THAT blessing FAR outweighs the pain of missing what I let go of. I let myself stand there and hold her and cry for quite some time… and it felt so good. In 10 whole years, I have never cried happily on that day. I had no real idea how it was going to feel and any feeling I could have possibly imagined didn’t even come close to this.
While Bart was outside doing the regular Sunday routine (mowing the lawn), I continued with my regular things… playing with Amelia, washing some bottles, cleaning up dishes from the night before, etc. Bart came in when he was finished and asked what I wanted for breakfast, just like any other weekend. I was on Facebook for a few minutes and scrolled thru at least 3 posts of my friends, complaining about not getting breakfast in bed, or help with chores, or that their husband’s didn’t even offer to take over baby duties to give them a day off… and it made me sad. Why do people choose so often to focus on negative things? Why do people focus on this unnecessary sense of entitlement? Just because it’s a day meant to celebrate Mother’s does not mean that you and only you should matter. My sister in law posted something in her blog (in regards to Mother’s Day) about my brother apologizing that she had to do so much work on Mother’s Day… you know what her response was? ” What better way to spend Mother’s Day than happily mothering?” How true! Really! Why would you feel like because it’s a day to celebrate you as a Mother, that it would be a day to NOT be a Mother?? How on Earth does that make sense? I refuse to allow myself to be one of these people who gets upset at their spouse because they don’t get everything they put in their own minds. And Breakfast in bed just sounds like a mess waiting to happen, by the way. I’m clumsy enough on a solid surface, thank you very much. Bart did make me breakfast though – comfortably at our dining room table. While he was preparing breakfast, I went upstairs for something and when I came back down, I found this on my place mat:
It’s Amelia’s birth stone. Oddly enough, this is the exact charm I wanted to buy for myself right after Amelia was born. And no I never showed it to him or said that I wanted it. He chose it on his own. He looked at me and said “You didn’t think I forgot, did you?” Of course I cried. I hugged him and cried for at least 2 whole minutes. Cried and cried and cried. LOL (and maybe he wouldn’t like me saying so, but I’m pretty sure he teared up as well.) And I did say, for the record, I knew he didn’t forget, but I certainly didn’t expect a gift in a box. After all… he gave me that little girl. After I excitedly went back upstairs to grab my Pandora bracelet and came back to put my new charm on, he served breakfast and as we sat at the table eating (again – solid surfaces people!) Amelia was asleep in her swing and I just stared at her. A few seconds later, I looked at Bart and he had been watching me and he said “She’s still here.” I continued to cry just a little more as I was eating my favorite french toast, feeling amazed. So… “this is what it feels like”. I am so grateful to have Bart in my life. He is an amazing person, an amazing friend and a beyond amazing Daddy. I’m even grateful for the struggles we have been thru together. We are so much stronger because of them. It’s a comforting feeling to know that no matter what we’re faced with in our lives, I don’t ever worry that we might not make it thru our challenges, because I know that we can and we will.
Later in the day, we went to Heather and Christopher’s as we usually do (we tend to have family get-together’s there). All I can really say is that it was a significantly different feeling as we were walking up to their front door. I could hear all the usual noise coming from inside the house, the kids squealing and playing and everyone talking and laughing… it was the same as every year… except that this year my heart was pumping excitedly, almost as if I was going to show off my beautiful baby (as if they’d never seen her before LOL) but it was such a happy feeling. This would be the first time I walked in on this day and felt like I was PART of the celebration, not just there for support. I admit I felt slightly silly (only slightly) because I’m pretty sure I had a permanent grin on my face the entire time. At least I felt like I did. I am sure most people would just consider it a normal family day, with dinner and conversation and laughs… but it was so much more for me. Not only do I now know what it feels like to be a Mommy, but I get to share it with my entire family, who has been there for me my entire life and has walked thru the pain of placing Dustin for adoption since day 1. When Heather came in and saw that we’d just gotten there, she came up to me and hugged me. I know I have said it many times before in my blog (and even more often away from it), but she has always been a huge support to me. Sometimes she doesn’t even HAVE to say anything and I just know that she is thinking of me, as if she doesn’t already have enough going on in her life to occupy every second of her brain power LOL. I know that she is one of the very few that thinks of me during Mother’s Day and more specifically, on Birth Mother’s Day (most people don’t even know it exists – understandably). I don’t care how often I say it, but I am so grateful to have her in my life. I am so happy that I got to share my very first happy Mother’s Day with her there. I only get one sister in law and I’m pretty sure I got the best one out there. I really do have an amazing family. Every single individual member.
I am grateful for my Mother. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to understand her more and more (not to mention that I become more and more like her). I’ve thought about all that I put her thru when I was younger and it makes me admire her strength so much more. With everything I did to myself, I never once felt her love me any less. I pushed her and pushed her and abused her and lashed at her too many times to count and all I can recall in my mind is her constant hugs and kisses, her tickles and laughs and her never ending beyond unconditional love. She was there for me and took care of me every second of my pregnancy with Dustin and cried the most painful tears when she kissed him goodbye the day he went home with his parents. She has the strongest empathy of any person that I know and takes on the pain of everyone around her so that they don’t struggle alone. I KNOW that she is not a perfect person. She makes mistakes and is aware of her flaws and is self conscious about them. Sometimes she cries when she gets frustrated or overwhelmed (like me) and she talks a lot. She doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and sometimes focuses too much on her flaws. She isn’t very good at Math, is quite scatter-brained and gullible and is not the best chef in the world….. but no one in this world has her heart and I love her exactly, EXACTLY as she is with no edits, changes or additions. Any woman who can carry, birth and raise 5 children and 30+ years later have every one of them feel this way about her…… is nothing but an absolutely AMAZING Mother and no words that can be said or written would ever be sufficient to portray what she means to me. I truly hope to be half the Mother she is.
I know that this is kind of silly, but there have been SO many times over the years that I have felt like the lyrics of this song came out of my heart and was written for my Mom. I certainly don’t listen to them very often, but this song pops in my head more often than you’d think and every time I hear it, I cry. I’ve wanted to send it to her many times, or burn it onto a CD for her to have, but I never do. So, I don’t care how silly it is, but I’m going to share it with her before I let something else get in the way.
(I hope the link works….) Click: Mama I Love You
I love you Mommy. Thank you.