Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Sammy McSam

Sam, Sam, My Sam I Am......Happy First Birthday!!

(And first, may I say, I am sorry to you, my third child. I feel I will perpetually be behind on things for you. I apologize for it in this instance and for all future occurrences.)

What a truly amazing year this has been. Amazingly fast, crazy, emotional, wonderful, challenging, and rewarding. And you, my little munchkin, are amazing in and of yourself.

It is hard to believe that a little over a year ago our lives were absolute insanity. And then you came along, and it got a little less insane. Oh, it got crazier for a while, finding a way to fit a whole new person and routine into our lives, but because it was YOU, it was also calmer.

Sam, you are truly a miracle for me. In many, many ways. When I got pregnant with you, I was so nervous. Having just been through a miscarriage, I was terrified that something, anything would go wrong and I would lose you. I didn’t feel at peace until you were born and I was holding you in my arms. Only then did I believe that my body was okay, that it wouldn’t necessarily fail me forevermore. That maybe I was healed. Miracle.

Then there is your totally laid-back personality. You could have been a colicky baby, one who never slept, one who needed to be held all the time, one who would have thrown this home (and this mommy) into complete chaos. But you weren’t. You were the baby that makes people want to have ten more babies, that thinks they CAN have ten more babies. You didn’t even cry during your diaper changes in the hospital. You would sleep peacefully in the kitchen while your brother and sister ran by screaming, or singing, or banging a drum. You are the only one who will sleep anywhere, anytime. In the car, stroller, my arms, my bed, naptime, after skipping a nap, late bedtime, whatever. Nothing phases you. And a couple of weeks ago when I decided to see if you would be okay without a bottle, you gave it up without even a peep. So now we are done with bottles. Easy-peasy. Miracle.

Sam, you are evidence to me that there is a God out there, and he or she really doesn’t give you any more in life than you can handle. With all of the craziness and uncertainty that we already had in our lives, I don’t know if my sanity would have survived a so-called “difficult” or “high-maintenance” baby. I really think I might have cracked. I got so lucky, I had a baby that barely even cried. Miracle.

So Sam, for your first birthday I say thank you for the amazing gift that you have given to me. You. You came along at exactly the right time, showing me that maybe there was a little lemonade to come out of all those freaking lemons that life was hurling at me. You’ve been so easy, so low-key, taking whatever comes your way. Maybe you just know that, as the third child, this is your place in the family. You will forever be following in the footsteps of your bossy older sister and very loud and always running big brother.

Maybe one day you will find your voice and start telling me, “No” and hitting your siblings. But maybe, just maybe, you will stay mellow, quietly observing everything and everyone around you. Looking up and giving me that sweet little grin before going back to playing with your blocks, or other favorite toy. Only time will tell.

But for now I say Happy Birthday Sam I Am.....thank you little man for being the most amazing gift I could have ever received. I am eternally grateful to you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Georgia!

My Georgia,

This letter is in honor of your fifth birthday. FIVE! You are finally five, and you looked forward to that day for so long. Like something magical will happen over night and, suddenly, WOW! life is totally different, perfect. At least for a five year old.

You are such unique and truly magical girl. I love every little thing about you. You are so smart, crazy smart, and I have no idea how that little brain is able to come up with the questions and things that you say. You make me have such a great sense of humor. And you are kind, even to Noah, as much as he drives you crazy. I see how much you love him, and know that you would do anything to take care of him and Sam. You are a wonderful big sister, and both of your brothers’ eyes just light up when you are around. They want to be just like “Jaja.”

I can not believe it has been 5 years since you were born and I set off on this wondrous journey of motherhood. They have been 5 unbelievably amazing and challenging years, ones that have taught me more about myself than I ever thought was possible. When you were born, I was so excited to be a mommy, to bring home this little girl and give her all the love in the world. And oh, how I love you.

Georgia, with this and every other birthday you have had, YOU have given ME the most precious and unexpected gift. You have made me a mother, mom, mommy, momma. I thought I knew what that was before you were born, but I really had no idea the depth of meaning in that title. And what an honor it was to have it bestowed upon me. You are my first child....the one who has to figure out this motherhood thing with me, who has to put up with my learning curve, my mistakes, my fumbles. And for that I apologize. You deserve a mommy who knows all the answers to the mind-boggling questions you have, who doesn’t yell, who can handle whatever life throws at her without freaking out.

But I also think that our relationship is so special because we are learning how to do this together, stumbling down this mother-daughter path, holding onto each other, and trying not to get too lost. When I think of us, I often go back to the word of a song that I listened to when I was pregnant with you, imagining what was to come.

My First Child by Nil Lara

I have a song

Growing inside

I've seen the response of God in me

Coming to life

Kicking me strong

Draining my blood

You're my first child

I'll show you no harm

I'll teach you my love

Waking at night

Wanting caress

I'll keep you warm beside my bed

Together we'll rest

Deep in your sleep

My body's your glove

You're my first child

I'll show you no harm

I'll teach you my love

Smelling my skin

Feeling my face

I'll feed you each and every time

You cry into space

Holding my hands

Clutching my heart

You're my first child

I'll show you no harm

I'll teach you my love

Growing away

Taking my soul

You're my first child

I'll lose you someday

To some other love

Oh, how true these words are. I will savor each and every day that we have together, before you grow up too much and realize that your mom is not cool, you want to be dropped off down the street, and you are texting on your cell phone non-stop. Those days will come too soon, and I am sure they will make my heart ache.

But right now you are still my little girl, my FIVE YEAR OLD little girl! (FIVE!!) And I will continue to treasure you and all that you still have to teach me about being a mom.

Thank you Georgia, my first child, for giving me the most important job I will ever have. I love you so much.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Gone Baby Gone

I have officially lost my mind. Lost it. It is so far gone, I have no idea where to begin to look for it. I truly discovered this fact this past weekend when I was out running errands with my daughter.

I wasn’t feeling great, it was ridiculously cold outside, and they were calling for snow. But I promised Georgia I would take her to the party store to pick out stuff for her birthday parties. So off we went after lunch to pick out Barbie everything for the glorious bounce-fest we are hosting next weekend. We went through the store, got what we needed, and walked outside to find cars and road covered in snow. I was desperate for a cup of coffee, so I decided to go to the Starbucks drive-thru on the way home.

Now since it was snowing pretty hard and colder than the tundra, there was quite a line. Fine, I could wait. I was not getting myself and Georgia out of the car for coffee when we could be cozy and warm. So after about 5-6 minutes I am the next car to pull up to the pick-up window. I see the cashier hand a cup to the driver in front of me, and suddenly I have giant brain fart. HUGE! What did I order? Did I order? Do I just order and pick up at the same window? Mind you, I have been to this one before so I am familiar with the process......and it is the same as EVERY OTHER FREAKING DRIVE-THRU ON THE PLANET!!!!! It isn’t rocket science, right? Pull up to Charlie-Brown’s-teacher-sounding speaker, tell face-less voice what I would like, drive around to funny folding-door window, give cashier (who now has a face) money, and receive hot caffeinated beverage.

But somehow that was WAAAAAAAYYYYY to complicated for my brain that afternoon. It hit me that I never put down my window to order anything. I sat in my warm car, mindlessly staring at the menu, trying to figure out whether a grande coffee with non-fat milk or a tall skim latte was better for me (by the way, there’s an app for that), and then I just drove on by. It didn’t hit me until I was about to pull up to that window to NOT receive my drink. And I was so flabbergasted that I just pulled out of line and headed home. Without the necessary caffeine, and now wondering if I had the brain capacity to operate heavy machinery.

There are all these articles about “baby-brain” and how new mothers walk around in a fog, forgetting little details, No one tells you that when that child is pulled out of you that it is COATED IN YOUR BRAIN CELLS!!! Yes, COVERED! And you will never, ever get them back.

This is all well and good for people out there with one child. I have three......THREE! Which means I am about 10 brain cells away from a paramecium. You know, those single-cell organisms in your 6th grade science books? The ones that never did anything but waddle around covered in tiny little hairs?

That is me.

So I guess what I need to know is if anyone out there has some marbles to spare, cause I seem to have totally lost mine. Anyone?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hello Old Friend.....

So it has been quite a while since I have written anything about my life. It has been a crazy 5 weeks since my Noah's birthday, and while I have often wanted to sit down and blog out some of the insanity, I just haven't had the time or energy to try to think in coherent and complete sentences.

But now I am getting back there. I know a few people who blog, and who really love it. Their blogs are like a part of them, another child in their lives, something they care about. I never really got it. I mean, I felt better after writing about all of the craziness, but I didn't care if it had been a while since I had written. But after this drought I finally understand. I missed writing. I missed the catharsis that comes from purging your mind and heart of all of the crap and insanity that life brings on a daily basis. I missed it so much. I tried so many times to sit down and start writing, but I just had no idea where to begin.

So here is a quick synopsis. My mother-in-law fell and fractured her ankle on the day she was to fly to our house from London. Fractured it so badly that she needed surgery and had to fly back to her home and miss Thanksgiving and celebrating Noah's birthday with us. My grandmother lost her year-long battle with cancer. We came together as a family and celebrated the amazing woman that she had been, all the wonderful memories that she left us. We celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas together, watching our kids have so much fun enjoying the lights, candles, presents, and time together. We had 2 weeks off from school, during which we all got completely sick of each other. We took Sam to the ER after falling off of the exam table at the pediatrician's office, during which I came as close as I can imagine I could to a complete nervous breakdown. I was literally hysterical, but Sam was smiling through it all, even the CAT scan. Thank God everything was perfectly fine. We had a great New Year's party with great friends, old, and not-so-old.

So here we are.....a new year, a new decade, the time to start anew. So I will be making more time to write, among other things that make me feel better. In fact, I have a little project I just started working on. I am hoping to work up the confidence to share it (all) publicly, but I will be putting it into writing so that I can hold myself accountable.

I have decided New Year's Day is the universal equivalent of the Confession booth. You can either stay up till midnight and drink champagne, or say 3 Hail Marys and a Our Father: either way you come out with a clean slate and a chance to do better this time.

Here's to a clean slate for us all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Noah

My Dearest Noah,

Tomorrow you will be three years old. I can not believe how fast the time has gone by. I still remember holding you in the hospital after you were born, marveling at the amazingly fuzzy little head you had. I remember Georgia meeting you for the first time, holding you and trying to feed you a bottle.

And now you are a truly amazing not-so-little boy. In so many, many ways. You are, of course, adorable. Your blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and eyelashes that are a mile long help you charm your way out of almost anything. I also love, love, LOVE that you are a cuddle-bug. You could sit in my arms all day long and cuddle, and sometimes that is exactly what mommy needs. You have always been a lovey-dovey little guy, and I hope it never changes. I hope in a few years you are still asking mommy to "give me a cuddle" in that cute Noah voice.

You are also unbelievable smart. Seriously. I can not believe some of the things that you know. You not only know all of your letter, and recognize upper and lower case, but you also know all of the letter sounds. You know what vowels are. You are starting to sound out 3-letter words! Really? You are starting to read! At THREE!! You also know numbers and shapes and colors and patterns and basic addition. And the vocabulary that you have.....well, sometimes I wish that was not as good as it is.

I love that you adore your older sister. And I am sure she is the reason that you have learned so many things at such a young age. You have to keep up with Georgia. You follow her around and want to play with her all the time. You are happy to be her "student" when she is the "teacher," as long as she is nice about things. But you know how to stick up for yourself when she is just being plain old bossy.

I love that you are so sweet and caring with your little brother Sam. You love to hug and cuddle him, and especially to make him laugh. And he loves to laugh with you! I was very worried that you would not take well to a new baby in our family, as you quite enjoyed being the baby for two and a half years. But you have been a wonderful big brother, and I am sure you will continue to take care of and watch out for Sam for many years to come.

I love that you love cars (or any vehicle, really.) I mean, LOVE cars. You can entertain yourself for hours with a box of matchbox cars, trains, trucks, etc. You have a tremendous imagination, and you make up the funniest little stories about your cars. I love to sit in the kitchen and listen to you play in the other room, making your cars and trucks go on all sorts of adventures.

Noah, I am so lucky and blessed to have you as my not-so-little boy. You have certainly challenged me as a mom, especially during the past year, but you have also brought me such happiness and joy. And you have made me laugh. Oh, how you make me laugh!

You are a phenomenal boy. I am so excited to celebrate your birthday with you and our family this weekend, and to celebrate many, many more birthdays down the road. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for you in the next few years.

I hope you know how much you are loved and treasured.

Happy Birthday my buddy.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Unspeakable Loss

It is that time of year when we start taking stock and thinking of the things that we are grateful for in our lives. Over the past few (insanely stressful and psychotic) weeks I have been thinking a lot about about how lucky I am, and in so many ways. So I do have many things that I will be thankful for in a few days when we sit down around our dining room table to have a wonderful meal with our family.

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that we remember things and people that we miss, losses that we have had. I have spent just as significant an amount of time missing many things this past month or so. Due to our living situation I missed the birth of my niece, my baby sister’s first child. I have been missing my grandfathers, who have both passed away. I have been missing the time I am unable to spend with my grandmother, who is on hospice and has very little time left with us. I am also missing the amazing woman who she used to be, and is no longer. But one loss has been creeping around in my head for the past 18 months, and it rears its ugly head now and then with enough emotional force to make me sob. It is a loss that seems to be something unspeakable in our society, yet so many people experience it. So now it is time for me to talk about it, and try to exorcise this demon that has been haunting me.

I had a miscarriage.

There. I said it. No, wait. It should be said again, shouted even.


It is something that is only talked about in whispered voices, if it is even talked about at all. And it should be talked about more, it NEEDS to be talked about more. So that is why I am talking.

I found out I was pregnant in the first week or so of May 2008. It was my third pregnancy, we were excited and we shared the news with our family members. I had had two healthy and uneventful pregnancies before, and had no reason to think anything might go wrong, so why not tell everyone. I was 5 weeks along. I went about my business, we traveled to a friend’s wedding, same old same old. When I was 9 weeks, and a couple of days before my first OB appointment, I started spotting. I called my mom, a nurse, and told her. I called the doctor on call who said to rest, drink lots of water, and see how the evening went. The next morning things were worse, and I went to see my OB. The worst part was that the staff treated me as a new OB patient. So here I was, freaking out that I might be miscarrying, and they were (innocently) handing me welcome bags full of pre-natal vitamins and pregnancy magazines. I was sent for an ultrasound (alone, which was a huge mistake in retrospect), by which time I was fairly certain I had had a miscarriage, and it confirmed my fears. I had lost my baby. And I started to cry, uncontrollably.

In my head I couldn’t understand why I was SO upset. I mean, I was only 9 weeks along. I hadn’t felt the baby move, I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, it was barely the size of a peanut. But I WAS upset, broken-hearted even. I was extremely emotional about it. I felt liked my body was aching. It was awful, and something I hope to never experience again in my life.

Now, it was perfectly normal to be upset, and I knew this. But for some reason I felt ashamed about the whole thing. I remember that there was something going on that next weekend where I was going to see a lot of my family. And I was so ashamed of myself, felt so stupid that I had told all these people that I was pregnant and now I had to tell them that I wasn’t. My mom and my sister had let a lot of people know, thankfully, so I was spared the agony of bursting the happy “oh, you must be so excited!” bubble. I just remember dreading seeing everyone, and having to feel like a fool. But instead, something very surprising happened.

One by one, I began to find out about all of these people, both family and friends, that had been through the exact same thing. Some lost a baby earlier on, like me, and some had to endure the unbearable trauma of losing a child at 14 or 16 or 19 weeks. I knew about a couple people, but most I didn’t. How on earth did I not know any of this? Well, I think all of those people felt just like I did. Because they didn’t tell me what they had been through in a conversation. They told me in hushed voices in the corner of the room, or whispered it in my ear when they hugged me a few minutes longer than normal. They also felt like it was something that shouldn’t be talked about.

I went on to get pregnant again about 3 months later, and then to give birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy in April 2009. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. I can’t imagine if the baby I had lost had been Sam.....or Noah....or Georgia. But it very easily could have been. And that baby would have been just as loved, just as special, just as amazing as they are. And that is what I mourn when I start to feel that ache creep up inside me. I have such conflicting emotions about it, too. If I hadn’t had a miscarriage, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and had my Sam. And he is such an adorable, edible little guy. He is the baby that makes you want to have 10 more babies, he is THAT calm and easy-going. But I often wonder about that lost child. What would he or she have been like? Was it a boy? Was it the little sister that Georgia longs for? Would he have looked like Alex? Like me? Would she have been colic-y? Calm? What would we be doing for his or her first birthday that would have been right after this coming New Year’s?

It is such a tangled up mess of emotions that it literally paralyzes me sometimes. I still feel like it is something I can’t, or rather shouldn’t, talk about. I feel like people will think I am crazy to still be so easily upset about it so many months after it happened, and especially after going on to have a healthy baby. But it still hurts. I still feel like there is some missing piece of my heart that is gone forever. I ache when a new doctor asks me how many times I have been pregnant, versus how many children I have given birth to, and the answers are not the same. I still find myself asking, “what if?”

So please, let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about the fact that 25%, that’s 1 in 4 (!), pregnancies end in miscarriage. Let’s talk about the very real grief that all of those women have experienced and continue to feel. Let’s stop feeling guilty and ashamed about losing a baby, wondering if that cup of coffee, glass of wine, hair dye, etc. caused our bodies to fail us. Let’s support each other and speak out about this unspeakable loss.

I will continue to be grateful for all that I have in my life, especially my 3 beautiful babies that I get to tuck in to bed every night. Because I know that given any number of things that might have happened in my body, I could have lost them as well. And that thought will stay with me forever. There is nothing that could make me more thankful for what I have, than knowing that it, too, might have been lost.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Okay, I have been crazy busy the past few weeks since we got home from vacation. It seems like the whole world has just exploded and I can barely find the time to pee, let alone sit down at the computer and write. But something happened to me yesterday that I have to put into words before I lose the emotion of the moment.

I went to the grocery store yesterday. WOOHOO!!! Nope, that is not the part I am fired up about. It was 11:00 on a Sunday morning, and I didn't really want to go since I figured it was going to be busy. But seeing as I had nothing in the house to feed my kids for lunch, off to the store I went. Noah wanted to come with me to have some "mommy-time" (yeah, he LOVES grocery shopping.....go figure!). So we get in the car and head out.

Now the shopping part was fine. Uneventful. Pleasant even. There weren't many cars in the parking lot. I didn't have to wait in line at the deli (thankful for the small things, I am.) And there was even minimal whining, aside from a totally amusing tantrum from Noah over the fact that the store was out of blueberries. The amazing part started when I was walking to the check-out.

So I am not a huge fan of this grocery store, but it is the closest one to my house, and I happened to see a lot of things in their sale flier that I needed that week. One of my beefs with them is that they never have enough cashiers open. It was a revelation when they put in the self-checkout machines last year. But this day, there were 5 cashiers working, and no one in line for any of them. So I walk up the one closest to me where a gentleman is paying for his groceries and get in line. But then I hear this God-awful noise come from somewhere behind me. It was sort of like, "AAAAAAUUUUUUUUWWWWWWWWWHHHHHH!!"

What, do you ask, made this noise? I'll tell you. A 70+ year old woman who was trying to butt in front of me.

Yes. It is true. Unbeknown to me, this woman was actually trying to beat me to this cashier, hurrying along carrying her 5 items in her arms. And that sound was uttered when I arrived before her. Now, this is the same noise that Noah has recently started to make when I tell him anything he doesn't want to hear. I know this noise. It is a childish, irritating noise. So I turn around and look at her for an explanation. You know what she says to me?

"Well, I just really hate waiting."

Really? REALLY? Cause I LOVE to wait in line. LOVE IT!!! Especially when it is 11:50 AM in the grocery store with an almost three-year-old who is hungry and wants his damn blueberries that they don't have at this store. Waiting is just FABULOUS for me.

When I continue to stare at her in disbelief, she goes on to say that she doesn't like the self-checkouts because they are just too hard to use, and she really just doesn't like to wait, and she only has a few things, and it is just so frustrating to have to wait. YEAH, I GET IT. YOU DON'T LIKE TO WAIT! Welcome to the club sister.

So I found myself in a dilemma. Do I let her go in front of me? Or do I make her wait some more? I know many people would say, "Screw her, let her wait." But I let her go in front of me. Mostly because I didn't want to have to listen to her complain and whine the whole time I was trying to check out of the grocery store. But I wish my mind would've thought just a little bit faster, because about three minutes after she left I had a millions zingers for her. You know what the worst part was? She didn't even have the decency to say thank you. Just went on and checked out and left.

All I have to say is, "UGH!"