I have to say, it’s been far too long since I’ve written on this blog.
The other day at church, I had a hard time concentrating (which seems to be a theme). I decided to write on my iPhone all the different blog subjects I had “written” about in my head at least partially, but haven’t yet put to screen. I listed 14 different posts.
This past week, I’ve been working hard at my business and ramping it up. Which for a short time has been good, but it’s meant I haven’t had the time or the energy much for the blog.
So tonight — even though I should be asleep — I’m making myself write through the yawns (and there will be many.)
I’m not even sure where to start. Other than simply admitting that since we lost Olivia, I have been
of losing Madelyn.
Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m just grieving Olivia — I’m grieving a world where babies die. A world where there seems to be no rhyme or reason. A world where bad things happen, and while God might use them, there doesn’t seem to be any POINT. A world that no longer feels safe.
When I first got pregnant with Madelyn, I remember not being sure I wanted kids. Because having kids opens you up to losing kids. And I imagined that to be the worst kind of pain in the world. It’s so scary to open yourself up to pain like that!
Over the last 3 years, I convinced myself that I really wouldn’t ever lose Madelyn because there is no physical way I could ever endure that loss. It would be way too much to handle — so it just won’t happen, right?
Nope. I found out recently that’s not how life works. I really could lose Madelyn. Or Ryan. Or my parents. The list is endless.
Before you believe I’m just looking at the glass as half-empty, let me assure you that I understand that I need to be grateful for every single breath they do take. And I am. very. very. grateful.
I often sneak into Maddy’s bedroom at night. And after making sure she is, in fact, still breathing, I lay my hand on her chest, kiss her sweet, sweaty cheeks and offer a silent thanks to God for this day that I had with her. And in that same breath, I beg for God’s mercy on us that He would grant her a full, long life, and spare us the pain of losing her.
I go in and check on Maddy a lot more since our loss. I hold her tighter. Kiss her more. Let others babysit her less. And I have a hard time letting go.
The truth is, I’m this close to becoming that mom . . . .
. . . That mom who goes in and checks on her kids if she hasn’t heard a squeak come out of their child’s mouth for a milisecond. The mom who is terrified to let her child munch on anything unless she is right there, armed with the instructions on CPR in one hand, and a phone with 911 on speed dial in the other, just in case they choke. The mom who sees a few bruises on her child’s legs and assumes her child has some rare uncurable disease that will steal away the life of her precious baby overnight.
Ok, maybe I’m not that bad. But I feel myself slipping ever so close toward becoming a crazy mom.
When we went on a hike, I had a hard time relaxing. I kept picturing her slipping down the steep side to the river. And the worst was when we were on the bridge over the waterfall. I had to keep my hands on her at all times, even though there’s no way she could fall off unless someone picked her up and tossed her over. (The thought of that just made my blood pressure rise.) I eventually had to just take her off the bridge because I couldn’t deal with it.
On Saturday, I had a mini-revolt against crazy mom. Maddy was begging to go the the kid’s playland at our local grocer. The room looked clean enough. The woman looked sane, even nice. (Is that possible??) But still — had she been trained in CPR? Does she care if my child is safe and happy? How will she respond if Maddy throws a fit? (In case you want to know the answer, I learned that they page you. I guess they thought through that too.)
We walked by, Maddy asked to go in, and I promptly said, “No . . . maybe when you’re older.” In my head, I added . . . “Like when you’re 16.” Later, we pass by again, and she asks again. And I hesitate. And the internal debate begins . . .
“So, Rachel. It makes more sense to have Madelyn miserable and complaining in the cart while you fill 20 bags in the bulk section . . . instead of letting her play for a few minutes in a fun-looking, toddler-themed play area? Is that right? The whole room is made of plastic, and there are no other kids in there. So — how do you propose she might get hurt? Jump off a 12-inch chair and become paralyzed from the neck down?Maybe you really are a crazy mom.”
In the end, I gave in to logic and let her play for 20 minutes while I filled my cart with weird things like oat flour and wheat bran. And it was actually nice not to have to worry about her “jumping cart” or throwing a fit. Although it still felt weird. And I missed her for those 20 minutes!
I just think about death and accidents more. When I say goodbye to Ryan, I wonder if years down the road, I’ll remember this as our final goodbye. I struggle to let Maddy go to swim lessons with her grandma because I’m afraid she might go under and I’m not there to watch her. While Maddy sleeps, I check in on her more now than I did when she was a baby! I’ve actually considered installing the baby monitor again!
Recently, I drove across the narrows bridge, and this weird thing happened. I don’t know how to describe it, but life just felt so tangible, like it was moving and pulsing around me, and I could feel myself move through it. I just felt so ALIVE. “Is this what life feels like before you die? Like you are totally alive . . . and then, you’re not?” I wondered. I think I half-expected to immediately get in a car accident and die. And I was surprised (and happy) to make it home safe and sound.
I totally freaked out when my parents told me about a test my dad would have to take, even though they didn’t expect a single bad outcome from the test. But immediately, my mind jumps to worst-case scenario.
I wish I weren’t this way. But I feel like my loss of Olivia has served to heighten my fears about almost everything.
One thing I don’t fear anymore is ruptured organs. Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt (or rather, the hospital socks.)
Now that I have survived both ruptured organs and the loss of child (and have the socks to prove it), I need to figure out how to really live and not just survive.
How do I attain that healthy balance between holding on and letting go? How to make the world as safe as I can for Madelyn, who needs me to encourage her to step out a bit more on her own, while not protecting her from every little ouchie?
I guess the playland was the first step on a really long journey. A journey away from crazy mom to healthy mom. And, fingers crossed, healthy mom = healthy Madelyn.
Anyone else ever turn into crazy mom? Please tell me I’m not alone. 🙂