Friday, October 2, 2009

Five Things I Love About My Big Kid

Thanks for your patience during my long and unannounced hiatus. Normally I do a "Dear Kid" post every weekend recapping the week's events in a letter to my daughter. Since I've been away for over a month, consider this post both an explanation of my absence and my usual love letter to the girlie girl.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my husband and I have been trying for a second baby for about two years. The first year, we just didn't have any luck and, frankly, weren't too terribly concerned about it. Life was good, we were busy, our toddler was a handful... we figured things would work themselves out later. Starting about a year ago, though, things got a little more complicated. I miscarried first in September, at about six weeks, and then again in November, at about seven weeks. We started getting worried and sought medical intervention, but there wasn't anything obviously wrong with me. "Keep trying," said our doctors. So we did. In March, I miscarried again at six weeks.

When I got pregnant for a fourth time in August, something felt different. I told myself, "This is it." I was in great shape, had been training for a half-marathon, had been eating well, felt emotionally healthy again... and our early lab work confirmed that all was well. Unlike previous pregnancies where hormone levels had been questionable or symptoms mild, this time I immediately began to look and feel (very) pregnant. But at eight weeks, we went in for an ultrasound and, although there was a perfect little teeny-tiny-almost-person right in front of our eyes, they couldn't find a heartbeat. I was devastated.

I did what you do in these situations. Cried, yelled, withdrew... and then eventually, quite recently, emerged from my cocoon and started coping. Because, really, what choice do you have?

As a side note, despite what you may think (after all, I'm a blogger and Twitter addict), it's an odd feeling to be so open about such a personal issue. It just doesn't come naturally. I'm perfectly happy to share with you my struggles as a mom, my shortcomings as a wife and/or friend, my inability to dance or odd fashion choices... But tell you I'm sad? It's not something I do. So why be so public about such a private thing? Because I'm trying to teach myself that it's OK to feel things - right there out in the open where somebody else might see. And that asking people for and allowing people to help, whether it's emotional support or babysitting or dinner or WHATEVER, is normal and expected in this situation. There's no reason to be a superhero. So... there. I've said it. I'm sad. I'm OK, but I'm sad. Not because I'm weak or needy or crazy, but because something sad happened to me. Now - on to the good stuff.

There is nothing like trying and failing at having a baby to make you appreciate the one you already have. She's not a baby anymore, though, as she'll be the first to tell you. She just turned four and, dare I say, though she's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (wouldn't life be boring if she were?), she's a pretty cool kid. Over the last few weeks, in between lamenting my circumstance and feeling like a pathetic invalid, I found myself celebrating my "big kid" in ways that seemed new and unfamiliar. So I wanted to take just a moment to share with you five things I dearly love about my big girl.

1. She makes me laugh. Hysterically. Even when she's being awful, she's funny. And the fact that she gets so much pleasure out of making us laugh makes it even more satisfying. My husband and I believe in laughter as a way of life. We're loud, we love to top each other, and we have the most ridiculous senses of humor. Until now, our daughter has largely been left out of the loop. But lately she can hold her own, bringing her own brand of wit to the table, and we're absolutely eating it up. That's our girl!

2. She makes me stop and smell the roses. Not because I want to, but because she's SLOW. And now that she's too big for a stroller, there's no getting around the limitations of her short legs and ever-wandering gaze. Because she's slow and all over the place, she forces me into a more relaxed pace. And since I've pretty much been in a hurry since the day I was born, that's a pretty odd feeling. A good one.

3. She's not me. And she's not Daddy. In fact, she's so fiercely "herself" that it's infuriating at times. But finally realizing that she's going to be a completely separate creature from me, who will be who she is largely despite what I do as her mom, has been a very liberating experience. We're still finding our way, as I suspect we will be... well, forever. But I'm so glad to have figured out that I'm "guiding" her, not "making" her.

4. She brings music to my life. This child sings from the moment she gets up in the morning until she falls asleep at night. Mostly theme songs, little riffs she makes up, songs from "Rock Band," just whatever is in her head. Because I spend so much time with her, her music has become the soundtrack to our lives. To anyone else, it's noise. To me, though, it's this comforting, sweet, reassuring background music that lets me know she's happy, she's safe, and that everything's as it should be.

5. She's an eternal optimist. Despite a tendency to be rather dramatic (which includes pouting, sulking and the occasional "I don't have to!"), she generally expects good things out of life. She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and a plan for the day ("Mom! Today's the day of our big talent show!"). She has no reason to expect that her plans will be in any way derailed or that something might happen to make her cry. She's always looking forward - to her next day of preschool, to Christmas, to her next birthday, to the day she can finally "be a TV star!" There's something about being around that kind of optimism that makes you hopeful. Like there's no reason to expect anything but the best. In her own special way, she reminds me that there's no reason not to celebrate today and look forward with optimism toward tomorrow. And which of us couldn't use a little more of that in our lives?


Lorissa J. Longfellow said...

First, I'm sorry to hear about your lost and wish I could do more then just write you a little note. You sound like your dealing with it wonderfully. They say there are reasons for everything, and I believe that.
Admitting your sad is a very positive step, and your readers should all be honored that you have chosen to share it with them.
Secondly, your daughter sounds wonderful and it is great that at a time in your life that you could easily get overwhelmed by sadness you have found in her things to celebrate. Yea for you!

NCavillones said...

Beautiful tribute to your kiddo. Sadly, your news is something I'm hearing all too often from my friends lately. My heart aches for them, and for you. Thanks for sharing both the happy and the sad with us.

Kati said...

so sorry to hear about your loss! i absolutely love this post though and hope you share it with your daughter some day. it is very beautiful.

Heide said...

I'm so sorry for your losses. But that big girl of yours is such good medicine, thank G-d you have her to keep you laughing through the hard times. xoxo

NeverEverEmma said...

Kelly, this is so brave of you. I follow your tweets and your blog posts almost purely because you have such a bright, hilarious, and positive look on life, and it is a joy and a laugh to see your little quips pop up. Now that you have shared this other side of yourself, it has shown me that everyone has a private side - something that I also struggle with as a blogger and tweeter!

Thanks for your courage and my best wishes for you and your family.


ElegantSnobbery said...

First of all, that picture up top is the cutest picture in the world!!

Kelly, so sorry for your struggles and losses! I can't imagine how much sadness you've gone through! And you are so brave to share it with us.
Glad you can celebrate the awesome little missy in your life.... she is such a character. One of these days, I'll have grab my own girlies and meet up with you all in Dallas!

Michelle said...

Oh, Kelly I'm so sorry to hear this! I follow you on Twitter and I didn't even know it :( Take care of yourself and your little one. I've always loved your posts and this was just as lovely. If you're up to it, I hope you'll continue with us at Creative Bloggers :)