Mother’s Day and other things

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.

14 thoughts on “Mother’s Day and other things

  1. As usual, your posts make me happy. We often ‘critique’ lyrics of children’s songs, even before we lost Sidney. There is a Raffi CD, which Eli loves, that especially amuses us. Highlight: There is a song called Joshua Giraffe, which says. Nothing can go wrong-o. I am in the Congo…..hmmm, yeah. The Congo is the perfect place to be.
    I try to avoid overhearing pregnant/newer mothers’ conversations, especially in my OB’s office because they always annoy me, or invoke anxiety attacks. There are a number of times I have wanted to say, it’s all well and good to wait until 42 weeks, or critique interventions, but you do know your baby could die, don’t you? But I haven’t. Anyways, my students are currently taking a final exam in front of me, so I suppose I should do a better job proctoring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, totally. Absolutely nothing can go wrong in the Congo, only one of the most dangerous places on earth. And, yeah, the people who go to 42 week or think a C-section is the “worst-case scenario”? I just can’t even with them…


  2. There’s so much in here. Just know that I love you.

    This is my 2 year anniversary. I found out his heart stopped beating yesterday, went to the hospital today, and had him tmrw.

    I worked last night but plan on downing a glass of something heavy tonight.

    We shouldn’t have anniversaries of when our babies died.

    And the whole “there is nothing our god can not do” religious song thing–I hear you. When I hear lyrics like that I want to puke.

    Just know that I hear you. I hear you and I understand just a little. You aren’t alone.

    And the image of baby Joel crawling over sweet Matthews grave… oh girl.

    You aren’t alone. There’s always more to say but thanks again for sharing your words.

    And did I tell you I’m originally from St. Louis? Now when I head up there, I try to see Mindy. Next time I’m there, I’ll let you know. We need to have a threesome. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had an unprovoked rage moment in lowes and then cried my way through house cleaning and meal prep. I feel like I did way better last year. Goes to show grief isn’t a linear process.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to read the Going To Bed Book again with this new found enlightenment.

    Ugh about the song. When I hear stuff about God being able to do anything I then think “oh so he could have saved my son’s life but chose not to” which royally pisses me off.

    I have tried a number of things when asked about my kids and what sometimes works for me when I don’t want to get into it is to state the ages and sexes of my LC but not say the number of kids. So it looks something like “do you have any kids/how many kids do you have?” to which I reply “I have five and three year old boys.” It’s tough because it omits their little brother but it’s truthful without me having the pain of saying I have two when I really have three. You could say something like “I have a nine month old boy.” It does get more tricky when you are with your kids and they ask if they have siblings like in your situation with Mr Craigslist. I tend to avoid those potential situations or I just brace myself for the awkward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, please do re-read the Going to Bed Book and report back to me. 🙂 Also, thanks for your advice on the how to answer that question bit. I don’t know what the hell I’ll start saying, but I’m kind of tired of people reacting poorly to my mention of Matthew, and tired of feeling like this dishonors him…


  5. I completely relate with you! Especially on listening to the annoying girl’s conversation. Quite a few of my friends are pregnant and they are so assuming that they will have a child to raise at the end of their pregnancy and it takes me everything I have to keep my negative mouth shut. I generally do however throw in a comment like, well let’s hope he opens them, when they say something stupid like I hope he has my husbands eyes. Of course I say it under my breath, But the assumption that everything is going to be fine and dandy drives me crazy. And a doula for snacks?! WHAT?! Priorities, lady.
    I have never heard of the children’s book……apparently I am out of the loop! I definitely need to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the worst to hear people’s assumptions they’ll have a living baby especially when they say this shit around us after KNOWING what happened to us. It feels like such a slap in the face. And yeah, snacks… (Insert massive eye roll.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So sorry that you had to listen to the pregnant girl on Mother’s Day… sometimes it’s so hard to keep the comments in my head… and why are there so many pregnant ones everywhere?

    When I’m asked how many kids we have, I mention my son to people that I figure I’ll see again. If it’s a stranger that I’ll never see again, I usually lie about it. And then cringe at the comments that follow! Do you want kids? Are you trying to have kids? Why are you waiting so long? You should start to have kids before you get any older. Some people need a filter! There’s no good way to answer the number of kids question.

    Liked by 1 person

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