Mommyspeakshermind's Blog

A mommy finally gets her say-without interruption!

The Deck of Cards 06/21/2010

Life is a deck of cards.  You never know which cards you will be dealt or how you will play them.  Regardless of how many times you attempt to reshuffle them, the cards, good and bad, are yours.

In the  hand of cards life had dealt me was the Joker.   The card called Infertility.  A word evoking many raw emotions that I never knew I possessed.   A word, which  threatened my dreams and made me vulnerable to a broken heart and a broken spirit before our journey ended.  

Our journey to parenthood began with hope and excitement that diminished rapidly with each and every negative pregnancy test and with the realization that our journey was not a simple coupling of egg meets sperm, but would much, much more. It would indeed become an odyssey crammed with victories and defeats, sirens, villains, and heroes.

And the biggest question in my life would be answered.  A question in the beginning of our adventure I would be unable to answer for the longest time. Questions that involved more than a simple yes or no and an answer nobody could give me. There would be a realization of a loss that would need to mourned, grieved, processed, and accepted.  A loss that would be monumental to nobody, but me. 

I have been asked how I write something so terribly difficult to put into words and remain whole and unbroken.  I’ve often wondered where these words come from.

Are these words in my heart or do they linger in the air hung over the silence between each moment just as the snow swirls in the air over the mountain ranges?  Are they the words I yearned to speak but at times, fear, anger, disappointment rendered me speechless? Or, are they the words spun in dreams that chased the shadows and the demons and carried the hope that lingered in my heart like a candle’s flicker.  Or, like a smoldering candle’s flame, did the words singe my heart and blister my spirit all those months of waiting only to return as a phoenix from the ashes?  Would I be a stronger woman?  Would I find strength to continue when all roads lead to failure?

 The words that fill these pages are words filled with loathing and anger and triumphant and hope. Words spoken to no one until now.  To say this is my story is unfair.  We both lived it.  We both experienced it. And, yet in the end, it was I, who found her voice.

 

The Strongest

Filed under: Infertility,Parent — mommyspeakshermind @ 7:13 pm
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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest of souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” 

Kahlil Gibran

 

So, There’s This Boy… 05/24/2010

I remember the day I discovered I was pregnant. After months and months of hoping and praying, the test strip finally showed the most beautiful shade of positive.

However, I had no idea what was in store for me. Oh, I read all the books. I listened to all the advice; including my grandmother’s advice to boil my breast milk, and took such advice with a grain of salt. But, there are things you learn after you’ve been thrown into the perils and joys of motherhood. Each day of motherhood brings new challenges, hopes and the realization that my job isn’t simply to teach, but to learn.

 I wish I had known to buy stock in infant Mylicon. This little bottle of medicine prescribed by Zane’s pediatrician became my best friend. Just like pacifiers, I carried bottles in the diaper bag and I had bottles stashed in the nursery and in the family room. It was the one remedy worked on Zane’s sour stomach almost instantly. I still remember the dosage.

 I wish somebody had told me not to berate myself for allowing my colicky baby to sleep on top of my stomach and in my arms. After walking the floors with my cranky and sleepy infant for three days straight and finally lying down on my bed with my infant on top of my stomach only to slip into the best night’s sleep for both of us in seventy-two hours, I tried it the next time.

 I wish I had known early on to give up on fighting stains. No amount of stain treatment removes spit-up or Gerber carrot stains. Some stains just don’t come out regardless of how many stain sticks you use. I could have saved a ton of money and a lot of time, had I just gone ahead and discarded the ruined outfit.

 For those clothes and time, well, I wish I had understood that overnight clothes get smaller and in a matter of days, feet grow and shoes barely worn are too small. I wish I had realized that feet grow so quickly. I could have spared my little boy some discomfort.

I wish I had known that I would fall in love with my husband all over again. Not because our life was consumed with blissful romance but because of the way my husband swaddled our son so carefully, or the way he warmed the baby blankets and sleepers in the dryer during our son’s bath so they would be warm and toasty.

 I wish I had known then that my son would give up his pacifiers on his own time and not worry because he slept with one in his mouth and one in each hand that he rotated as he drifted into the land of milk and honey until he was three. He gave them up all on his own without any coaxing and cajoling from anyone. He simply climbed into his bunk beds one day at naptime and gave them to me. To this day, I still stumble across one, here and there. Pacifiers bring a wistful smile to my face for I realize he was still just a baby when he gave them up and I thought he was so big.

And, those stretch marks that I spent every night of my pregnancy massaging cream onto in hopes of preventing are now a badge of honor. They are a souvenir of a time when I could sleep past seven in the morning, eat before I fed someone else, or put my own needs before someone else’s.  But, they are also a reminder of a time when my life wasn’t complete and full.

I learned that stretch marks bring a friend with them. Her name is guilt. Guilt because I raised my voice before I took time to count to ten. Guilt because I fed my son cookies for breakfast one morning after listening to him for three hours scream and beg for them. Guilt because I spent time cleaning the house or working instead of playing with my little boy. Guilt is the arch-nemesis of motherhood.

I didn’t understand the smiles of the women I encountered, or even the smiles of my mother, my grandmothers and my aunts when I was pregnant like I do now. But, I learned I belonged to a secret and wonderful sorority. It’s a sorority filled with smiles of women who have walked in your shoes. The smile of a woman who knows why you have spit up on your shirt. A smile of a woman who understands the confused look on your face. The smile of the woman who at one time, forgot to apply her deodorant, too. The smiles are acknowledgement that pregnancy marks the launch of  a wonderful journey and adventure.

However, the greatest lesson of all was learning that my husband would accept another boy stealing my heart. That boy would call me, “Mommy.”

And, so each night, with a kiss goodnight and a warm, snuggly little body curled up next to mine, I whisper, “I love you to the moon and on.”  My little man whispers under a haze of peaceful slumber smelling faintly of milk and little boy goodness, “I love you to the moon and on and on.”

 

Beach Trips: The Local’s Way

 If you close your eyes, you can almost smell it and hear it. The rich, intoxicating aroma of suntan lotion and salt mingling in the air with the tang of idling cars waiting somewhat patiently on scorching hot pavement while the rich fragrance of  our local baja-mex restuarant, Tower 7’s,  Baja Fish Tacos suspends delicately in the air like a spider’s intricate web. Muted music and conversations linger, leaving a faint caress of tranquility on the skin while the blistering and blinding sun shines down and wages war with anything unprotected. All of these are ingredients for the making of a good ole summertime. Complete with heat indexes that soar past the 100 mark and droves of tourists gawking at the many delights of our community, spending the summer in Wilmington as a local is like being on vacation all season long.            

 Last year, my son and I lived in our swimsuits. Just as our morning routine included brushing our teeth and washing our faces, so did applying thick layers of sun block to our skin and diving into our swimsuits before heading to the beach for the day and scouring for a parking space. Our beach chairs, beach umbrella and necessary beach paraphernalia, as well as my son’s entire collection of beach toys, lived in my minivan through the summer. Though I was unorganized the first couple of trips to the beach with my then three year old, after a week or so we were both old pros.  

 After the first couple of trips to the beach and standing in line at the parking machine not wanting to take my dollar bills, I decided to invest in a ParkByPhone Parking Pass. This pass made my life so much simpler. After finding a parking space, I sat in my car, called in my location and paid for a couple of hours. 

For starters, I knew I needed enough toys and activities to keep a short attention span owning three-year-old entertained for roughly four or five hours at the beach. But, I didn’t want to have to lug them from the parking lot to the beach every time. My rule simply became: “If you want it, you carry it.” This was a great way to keep my little one’s  hands busy and ward off the “I’m tired of walking so carry me” monologue that every mom has heard at some point. I had five hours to fill with activities that would inspire my son into wanting to stay at the beach and play. Some days we met friends at the beach, but for the days were we were solo I needed a bag of tricks up my sleeve that went beyond building sandcastles and hunting for seashells. So, in my bag, along with the other necessary beach items, went a plastic magnifying glass, a net and a pair of plastic tweezers. During each trip, we would scavenge the beach for critters and shells. 

We turned a walk along the beach into a search for the biggest seashell or sea glass. With our collection of seashells and sea glass, we took turns sorting them by size and by color. We used some basic math skills to line them up from smallest to largest. We counted the shells and we even used the shells to make letters and shapes. 

My son loved using the tweezers to pick up the various critters we found, mostly little sand crabs, and exploring them. He would place the crab in a plastic bucket and, using his magnifying glass, he would spend a long time examining the critter. Occasionally we used the net to catch the crabs in and sometimes, if we were lucky to find a tidal pool, we could catch little fish. During one of our excursions, we found a crab that had met his untimely end thanks to an overzealous seagull. Using his magnifying glass and tweezers, my son and I spent a lot of time discussing what we thought happened to the crab. It was a great way to lead into an open-ended discussion and explore higher order thinking questions. 

 Our departure from the beach was simple thanks to some preplanning on my part. After lugging everything off the beach and back to the car, I brushed the sand off  my son and myself with some baby powder. Baby powder is necessary for every bag; it removes sand quickly and effortlessly from hands and faces. Though, some parking lots have showers for quick rinse-offs, I have found that the showers are packed with waiting beach-goers, or the water blasts out of the faucet causing preschooler meltdowns in the parking lot. Because of this, I began toting along a camp shower. I fill the shower prior to leaving the house in the morning and leave it in my car. Holding five gallons of water, it was a great way to rinse off squirmy bodies and other sandy items!

As preschool ends and summer begins, we are ready to spend the day at the beach with coolers full of water and snacks and the beach cart filled to the brim with items to ensure fun in the sun!

 

Gut-Wrenching Heartache

Filed under: Children,Parent — mommyspeakshermind @ 3:59 pm
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It’s there. Marked on the calendar. The day I’ve dreaded for the past five and half years. The day my little boy goes to kindergarten.

My heart aches with the thought that some other lady will have him all to herself for six hours a day. My heart stays in my throat these days. And, my eyes fill with tears at the mere thought that he won’t be with me.

Where did the time go? How did it fly by so quickly? Why did time vanish before my eyes?

I question whether or not I have been the very best mommy to him. I wonder if I have prepared him for this new journey we are both about to take. Have I done everything I can to show him how much I love him? How will my life change with him journeying to kindergarten? Will he ever be mine completely again?

 

The Day My Husband Gave Birth 05/17/2010

My husband of more than ten years has always been a surfer. From the first days of wedded bliss, my husband would leave our bed in the hours before the sun rose, slip into the laundry room and change into his wetsuit. After loading up the car with his boards, he would leave the house for the beach in search of the morning glass. After the morning session, he would make his way home bringing with him the scent of the morning tide, salt water, surf wax and a cup of hot coffee for me. It was our little routine.

When I had our son, my husband’s first goal was to have a surfboard made for him. He hung the longboard ( 7 feet) in our son’s nursery alongside the baby monitor. Everyone loved it.

At first, our little one hated the beach. He couldn’t stand the sand on his hands and wouldn’t go near the water. It broke my husband’s heart. Trips to the beach were few and far between despite the fact that the beach was a mere ten minutes from our home.

Then somewhere around the age of three and right at the end of the summer season, our little one began to embrace the beach and the sand and would occasionally go to the very edge of the water and rinse his hands. Wanting to keep the momentum going, we visited the beach throughout the winter (on the warm days) and played in the sand and chased sea gulls.

The following summer, our son began to actually wade into the water up to his ankles and fill his buckets with water. Occasionally, we could get him to walk in the water as we made our treks down the beach in search of sea glass or treasures from the ocean’s floor like the washed up star fish and sand dollars we would find at low tide.

We never pushed going surfing. We never demanded he go into the ocean water. We continued our swim lessons and playing in the pool as much as possible. We would take our son’s boogie board and foam surfboard to the beach and ask if he wanted to play on them. The answer was always, “No.”

This weekend it changed. Leave it to two wahines, a.k.a. girls,  to encourage our little man to take his boogie board and play in the white water washing up on the beach!  After listening to him laugh as he experienced again and again the feeling of the water rushing up under his boogie board, I approached him cautiously and asked him if he wanted his daddy to push him in on the waves. Hesitant at first, my son watched as the little wahines inched further and further into the water and before I knew it, my son was dragging his daddy into the water to push him in.

After four hours in the water riding in on the waves, our son was exhausted and my husband was grinning ear-to-ear. We assessed our little one’s boogie board and the Velcro wrist strap and after my husband looked at it, he deemed it beyond repair. (The Velcro kept slipping on our son’s wrist and coming loose while riding on the waves.) We took off to the local surf shop and purchased a new boogie board. My husband didn’t even blink an eye at the price tag and I could see the wheels turning in his head as he anticipated the next purchase-a new surfboard-for our son.

I watched as my husband’s surfing buddies patted him on the back and shook his hand and smiled at him. One kept saying, “It’s a good day, man. It’s a good day.”  Other friends called and replied to Facebook posts congratulating my husband. It was odd. It was as if my husband had given birth. I expected him to hand out cigars or better yet, surf wax. But, then I realized, he did give birth. Sorta.

He had given birth to a little surfer. My husband had a new surfing buddy to check out the morning glass with in search of finding the perfect wave. For my husband, the morning glass was better than ever!

 

Mommy’s Secret Guilty Pleasure 05/11/2010

Last summer a friend gave me the Twilight book. I started reading it while my child played in the sprinkler, pool and water-table  half-heartedly. Withing several pages, I was hooked. Reading the book became my guilty pleasure. I ran out to Target and purchased some new pool toys and water toys and brought them home, set them up, brought a cooler out on the deck filled with water, Gatorade, and snacks. I sat in the lounge-chair and watched my child in between turning pages on Edward Cullen’s and Bella Swann’s love story.  I finished the novel in a day and half, opting to read rather than sleep and opting to order dinner out than actually cook.

After finishing the complete saga and waiting in anticipation for each new movie to be released, another mommy friend told me about another vampire series on the  CW. The Vampire Diaries is now my new secret guilty pleasure. Thursday nights, hubby is on bath and bedtime patrol, while I curl up with a bowl of popcorn, a blanket and a glass of wine and watch Stefan and Damon and Elena’s love triangle weave itself around the town of Mystic Falls.

After indulging myself, I am ready to conquer my world by cleaning and scrubbing the bathroom on Friday morning!

 

 
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