Monday, May 10, 2010

More than what I was looking for

When I married Patric almost 12 years ago, I didn't just marry him, I married his family. A family who had no kids around, had only boys, and was living in the past (his state high school championship in '85 was relived in every conversation.). This was completely opposite of my family--ok, except for the high school glory days part. I only had sisters and my 2 youngest sisters were still in school and my older sister already had a baby. So we were breaking molds left and right in his family almost as soon as the ring was on my finger.

My mother-in-law, having reared two boys, and both of them having waited to start their own families, was very protective of her baby. I often felt like I was not good enough for their son, but this was mostly my insecurities (I promise!). I was extremely smitten with Patric and blissfully in love, but terribly insecure so I did not deal well with his family conversations which included the names of ex-girlfriends.

This all changed when we had little Emma Jeanne. Our firstborn, who took both her grandmothers' names and won everyone's hearts. Patric's mom had waited painfully long for a grandchild and to have a little girl in the family was icing on the cake. She hopped on a plane and visited us (not easy for someone scared of heights) just a couple weeks after Emma was born and spent several days with us. It was my first time spending real quality time with my mother-in-law and it changed our relationship forever. Shortly after returning home, she wrote us letters which I still have and cherish to this day. I was looking for these letters recently because Emma turned 10 and I intended to commemorate our mother/daughter-in-law relationship by sharing the words she had written to me so many years before.

I found the letters today and never expected to find what I did. The letter literally took my breath away when I read it this time. I had read it several times over the years, but this time it meant something different. I showed Patric and neither of us remembered the names we had chosen for the baby in the boy/girl scenario. I just remembered she was either Emma or Madison and it was really a toss up. I had completely forgotten about the boys' names.

It brought tears to my eyes to read this. Sobs, actually. But it made me feel so incredibly warm inside, too. That Emma could have been our little Chase and how much joy she has brought us....and then how much joy Chase has brought us. My MIL also wrote a letter to Emma at that time and in this letter, my MIL tells Emma:
"You do know, however, at this early age, the "feeling" of love as you are touched and talked to by people who love you more than anything else in this world! You've brought so much happiness already just by coming into this big ole' world!"
This warmed my heart, too. Because I knew that Chase, too, could feel just how much we loved him when he was born. Babies really do just know. He knew so much love while we were in the all of us...near and far.

It is amazing, this life of ours. How things change, but really stay the same. I can look at not only Reese and see this little baby boy of ours, but now I can look at Emma, and think so many of the same things. And what is funny is that we really thought just as Karly & Reese look so much alike, that Emma & Chase were bound to as well. You are with us, little man, in so many different shapes and sizes. You are all around us. All the time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A tough week...

It started out with a dream I had Monday night. I dreamt I had my confrontation with my Dr. and it was horrible. It was painful, I was sobbing and it was a very very unsettling dream. I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep. I checked on all the kids, was worried about them for some reason. It was just an awful night.

Tuesday was a sad day. I don't know why really. Why this day in particular. I was just sad, maybe because of my rough night's sleep. I was just sad that Chase is not here with me doing all this stuff I do every day. I am making a video of Karly of old pictures and home movies--it's going to go in her "time capsule" at school--and the pictures of babies make me miss him so much. It's like seeing exactly what you are missing out on. And I miss baby Karly, too. She's all grown up and it's incredible how fast that happens.

Patric was planning on taking the kids to a youth meeting/praise singing/speaker night. I had no intention of going and was looking forward to getting some things done on the computer and around the house while they were all gone. At the last minute he asked me if I would go with him and pretty much wouldn't let me say no. I got ready and hoped the evening would go fast...for a few reasons.

After we ate, they started the band off with a prayer and the woman leading it said, among other things, "tonight will change someone's life here" and those words echoed in my head. I don't remember anything else she said and wondered how that could happen, mostly thinking about the adolescents around me but also thinking if that was possible for me.

The girls loved the music but Reese not so much so I went outside with him. We found his football in the car so he was suddenly a happy boy getting to run around outside and play. We were not alone...a young mother was out on the deck with her baby girl. I am a pretty good guess at babies ages, go figure, and expected her to be around one. Indeed, she turned one last Wednesday, her mom said. That would be 2 days after Chase's due date. I watched her wiggle in her mama's arms and my eyes started getting wet. I realized she was wiggling around so she could watch Reese and it made me smile and get sadder all at the same time. I asked her name and it was Faith. Hmm. Mom was just as cute as Faith was. I told her about the kids and wanted to tell her about Chase....but I didn't want to tell her about him because I didn't want to scare her. She is young and Faith is her first, I didn't want her to know about what can happen.

But then I asked if I could hold Faith. And I did. I was smiling through tears that wouldn't stop. It was so nice to hold her, she was as cute as a button. And I told her mom that Reese has a little angel brother the same age as Faith and I was sorry but couldn't keep my tears in this time. Having a one-year-old on my hip felt so natural. It felt like it was supposed to feel, but it didn't make me feel better about anything. It didn't make it easier, it didn't make any pain go away, it didn't make me think about Chase any less. It just felt right. I was so nervous about asking to hold the baby that I barely got a chance to enjoy it. I didn't know how I would act in this situation, though I had thought about it many times. I gave her back after just a couple minutes and I can hardly explain how I felt ... other than to say it felt like something was lifted from me. I felt clear of mind, fresh, new, okay with a lot of things--though I'm not sure of exactly what. I want Chase so badly, I will never feel differently about that. But I love babies, too. And it's okay to love babies even though Chase is not here. I don't feel guilty about that. I miss him, but I don't feel guilty and maybe I was afraid I would.

So I am thankful for the three kids I have in my arms. I am thankful for the one angel baby I have. And I am thankful that Faith's mom didn't think I was crazy for crying as I held her precious 1-year-old. I feel Chase around me all the time. I know he was there with me helping me through that moment and will be there for so many more.