There is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and I reckon others have thought about it too, but I’m too lazy to google it to find out… So I’m just going to spew it right here, right now. I’m pretty sure that the characters in The Going to Bed Book children’s book by Sandra Boynton are having an orgy. I mean, the book doesn’t say this explicitly, of course. But, basically, the story line is that the sun sets, and all of the animal characters go below deck of the boat and strip down and jump into one big bathtub together and lather up with soap, and then they get out and put on pajamas and brush their teeth and, I quote, “some are on top, and some are beneath.” And then they go “exercise” and then “rock, rock, rock to sleep.” #justsayin
We tried to make Mother’s Day pretty low key, as it’s always going to sear me. We went for an early breakfast at our favorite local breakfast joint and sat outside, and we were feeling sort of tired and melancholy, so we decided to listen to the conversation at the table next to ours rather than have our own…
Seated at this table were this older mother and father with their adult son and daughter and son in law, and they were speaking loudly, and the daughter, who met her husband at taekwondo class, was uniquely annoying, ending literally every sentence with, “Right, Daddy?!” (I mean, do real people talk like this?) And THEN, the daughter started talking about her upcoming 20-week ultrasound and how it will be such a great opportunity to see whether her baby has hair. And being the Debbie Downer I am, under my breath I muttered, “Or fatal abnormalities no big deal.” And THEN, the daughter started talking about how she was going to hire a doula for the birth, because, during the laboring process, should her husband get hungry, said doula might be able to fetch him a snack. (OMFG! Like this is yet another example of why I can’t interact normally with society anymore.)
At Joel’s recent nine-month check-up he measured in the 98th percentile for weight, 99th percentile for height, and 69th percentile for head circumference.
On Sunday we ran some errands and left quite a trail of destruction. First, we went to Home Goods, and we picked out two leaner mirrors for our master bedroom. (We’re doing some redecorating.) We got the mirrors out to the parking lot, and Mark leaned them against our truck, and one of them tipped over into another parked car and shattered into millions of pieces. Mark went back in to return the other mirror, and we left the broken mirror in the parking lot, because it was too effing embarrassing. Then I decided I didn’t even like the mirrors as much as I’d thought I did just minutes ago, so I decided that everything happens for a reason. (Kidding.) Then, for dinner, we went to this local gourmet grocery store, and we checked out at the bar area, and Mark was holding Joel, and Joel grabbed a bottle of red wine nearby, and it came crashing down onto the floor. Then, at Lowe’s I was holding a box containing a new chandelier for our bedroom to replace our weenie chandelier, and I inadvertently threw it onto the floor. (But thankfully this item didn’t actually break.)
There was a religious children’s song playing in our home the other day, and I noticed some of the lyrics were, “There’s nothing my God cannot do for me.” Yeah, nothing He cannot do. Except for save one’s life. #minordetails
Joel is like a different baby from just two weeks ago. Joel’s always been strong and good at sitting and standing. He rolled over a few times here and there, so I knew he could do it, but he generally showed no interest in this skill, so I could count the number of times he did it on one hand. He also showed minimal interest in crawling, so I thought he would skip this entirely, as for several weeks he only wanted to walk with help and had become quite good at it. But now, almost overnight it seems, he’s rolling more frequently, crawling super fast, climbing stairs, pulling up on everything, cruising, doing downward dog, standing alone and even attempting to walk alone sometimes. It’s crazy.
Wednesday is Emily’s last day for at least two months. Holly, our new babysitter, is a future pediatric trauma nurse, and I love her, but I am going to miss Emily so much. She has been with us since Thanksgiving-ish, and she has been a huge part of our parenting village, and she’s basically the only reason I’m still employed and can leave my house for the three to four hours that I manage to leave each week. She’s held Joel for so many of his naps when he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, and she sends me frequent reassuring texts, and she taught Joel how to give a high-five, and ughhhh… It makes us all sad to see her go.
We had an old couch that was just hanging out in our basement, so on Sunday we sold it on Craigslist. I took Joel outside as Mark and this guy were loading the couch, and the guy of course asked me if Joel was our only child, so I of course answered that he wasn’t. When I told said guy that our first child died, he was like, “Oh I’m so sorry. I have four girls. All under four.” And I was kind of thinking, “Fuuuuuck… Thanks for telling me about your close-in-age, same-gender kids who all lived.” And this interaction made me contemplate for the first time that maybe I shouldn’t always be honest.
Until now, being truthful has always made me feel as though I’m honoring my son. But I’m starting to sense a shift. When someone’s reaction is disappointing or flippant, which is the case the overwhelming majority of the time, unfortunately, it feels as though his memory is being dishonored. But maybe this is just another sucky aspect of this loss – I don’t mention him, and I feel as though I’m dishonoring him. I do mention him and receive a poor response, and it feels as though he’s being dishonored. There’s no winning. I guess I can’t take others’ reactions so personally, but it’s difficult not to. Really, I’m just sick and tired of always having to say my son is dead, sick and tired of my reality. If I’m sick and tired of it now, I can’t imagine how it will feel in 20 years.
On Mother’s Day we went to Matthew’s grave. I cried a lot, but I guess I held it together better than I have in the past. Matthew finally has his headstone, almost two years later. It was very difficult to pick it out, and I pretty much had Mark do it, because I couldn’t handle it. I kind of wanted to leave it on our to-do list forever, if I’m being honest. It feels like each time we do one of these things for Matthew, we lose another part of him, because in general there is just less one can do for a dead child compared to a living child. It was heart wrenching to see Joel crawl over Matthew’s grave. It’s an image that, when I first thought about having a family years ago, I never could have dreamed would be part of my reality.
My heart is heavy this morning thinking about the Manchester attack and that many of the victims were likely children. It’s absolutely horrifying, and my thoughts are with all affected.