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The loss, love and life of baby J

Tonight I attended a memorial for a baby I never got to meet.

I knew baby J’s parents wanted to share the joy of his life, but I wanted to weep when I stood in front of pictures and keepsakes from that short life.

Two onesies. A pair of booties. A pacifier.

How is he not still here to wear these?

This makes no sense. How is he not here?

How?

My husband introduced me to his friend, J’s mom. Read more…

Casting light over fixing grief

A week ago, my husband congratulated a friend on the birth of her child.

Today he asked me if he should say anything about the baby’s death. The baby had stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated.

“Yes,” I told Anthony, “Absolutely yes. From reading blogs by people whose children have died, I’ve learned that so many people–friends–disappear when a child dies. Don’t do it on social media, either, where we communicate at instead of with each other. Tell her directly. Please.”

Anthony sent her a text message, which set off a flurry of text exchanges. He relayed the gist of some of the messages as I drove, but my mind had wandered far away.

Why do people disappear? Why do we fade into the background when we are most needed?

I don’t believe for a second the answer is Read more…

My last day

Today I say farewell to one job.

I say farewell to the things that frustrated me and the people who made me laugh.

I say farewell richer in knowledge and friendships than when I began. I smile at the goodness of what I will take with me after today, most especially friendships with one of the two best managers I have ever had and the treasure who inspired this post.

I am smiling wider still at the prospect of all that is to come: a little extra time with my babies, whom I’ve barely gotten to see most my long days away, and steps toward fulfilling my own long term objectives that have very little to do with paychecks. I will be pinching pennies while relishing presence and prospects.

It feels amazing to follow my husband’s lead and, for once, take not the safe route but the right one.

I am not my work. Indeed, I feel poised to discover who exactly I am meant to be.

What uncertainty! What joy!

Hand in hand: much better than either in the garbage can!

Onward

The odd ones

I will remember

My baby son sleeps on the floor next to me. I should be asleep, too, but I’m too full of wonder to sleep.

What will my baby son remember about his short first trip to Oregon? Probably very little.

But I will remember.

I will remember standing in the airport security line with him strapped to my chest. Realizing he is the same age my older son was when we flew north to say goodbye to my dying mom 4.5 years ago, and saying thanks that this time I flew for celebration, not farewell.

I will remember sitting in a hotel bathroom and whispering–so as to not wake the baby–about my brother-in-law’s first days of med school.

I will remember trying to wrangle my just-younger sister’s two kids in a strange city.
Read more…

Escape from Terror Teacher

I knew something was wrong with my son’s new school the moment I absorbed the incident report.

My initial response was horror. “My sweet, sensitive son did that? What on earth is happening at the school for him to do such a thing?”

Exhausted from tending to his baby brother and in the throes of post partum depression, I focused my chagrin on him. “I am so disappointed in you!” I told him repeatedly as we drove home.

“But he told me I had to!” Read more…

Sorry, kiddo. Lesson learned.

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