Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Child Lost

Shari stared at the stone not sure how to feel. The stone memorial, placed there by a local organization, marked the small mass grave of several fetuses that never made it to full term. One of those babies, plucked from Shari, had died after settling in Shari's Fallopian Tube. Sudden, uncontrollable bleeding, an unplanned trip to the doctor resulting a visit to the Emergency Delivery Room. One day Shari knew she was carrying a child and the next day the child was gone. Before Shari even had a chance to rejoice in new life, it was snatched away leaving a deep despairing chasm Shari was not even aware existed until that point.

The baby had not been planned. It was not expected. Shari and her husband were leading a full, busy life and the thought of a baby never even had time to cross their minds. When Shari discovered the pregnancy she was not sure if joy was the word she would have described it. She was surprised.... maybe a little shocked. That evening, after sharing the news with her husband, they both retreated to their prospective corners trying to make sense of the news. Shari was still trying to process it the next day when the bleeding started. It was over quickly physically but the process still reigned supreme in Shari's mind. The same woman who could multitask several clients at one time while balancing a home life could not resolve this. While she attended the mass funeral of other miscarried babies, she numbly viewed all of the other moms and some dads sobbing over their unborn lives they lost, she wondered why she could not cry. She did not feel glad or sad. She simply felt nothing and the emptiness was eating away at her. Her husband returned to his normal routine leaving Shari to wonder if it even affected him.

Over the next weeks and months she buried herself in mindless tasks she could perform in her sleep hoping to forget but like an untreated wound, it only manifested itself growing deeper and more painful. As the day the baby would have been born approached, Shari's despair deepened. What would the baby have looked like? Was it a boy or a girl? What would have it been like to hold it and have it suckle milk from her? A older co-worker found her one day in her office, tears cascading down her face. Between sobs, Shari finally told someone about her pain. The co-worker gently took her in her arms and told her own story of unborn life lost. She told Shari how she gave the child a name, of how the pain eventually lessened and how what Shari was feeling was perfectly normal. She assured Shari of the shoulder that woul always be there and Shari thanked her for her kindness.

And now she sat with her legs pulled tightly next to the grave and cried tears of sorrow of what could have been...of what she never even knew she wanted until she lost it. She fingered the stone lovingly and then was suddenly aware of a presence behind her. Startled, she turned to face her husband. He pointed to the ground next to her and asked, "May I sit beside you?" Numbly, she nodded and suddenly he was there holding her. "I see the teddy bear is still there." He pointed to a brown bear beside the grave.

Astonished, she turned to him, "You've been here before?"

"Yes," he sheepishly nodded, "I've come a few times."

"Why didn't you ever tell me?" She questioned. "I thought you didn't care."

"But I did care, Shari." He tightened her in an embrace. "I just didn't want to upset you especially since you never talked about it."

Shari gazed at him a few seconds before turning back to the grave. She snuggled into his ams an they sat there in silence. After several minutes Shari announced, "I want to try for a baby." Her husband tightened his embrace and Shari barely heard his whispered reply, "I was hoping you would want that." Tears were flowing down both cheeks and after another long space of quiet, Shari's husband helped her off the ground. As they turned to walk away, she placed her hand on his arm to stop him, "I am naming the baby Jordan." Her husband nodded and then led her out of the memorial garden toward a future together.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Cool Grandma

Who was the cool grandma in your life?In our family, we have two grandmas. At first it was so easy. We called my parents "Grandma and Papa" and my husband's parents "Nanny and Pappap". That served us well for several years. Then, suddenly when my children were 11, 6 and 2 Confusion entered the picture. When I talked about Nanny or Grandma no one seemed to know which one I was talking about. The system that had worked for over ten years suddenly aborted itself. I couldn't understand what had made the difference but now I was hearing, "Which Nanny are you talking about?" "Which Grandma is that?" I was screaming to myself, "The same Nanny we have had for the past ten years! Why do you not understand who I am talking about?!"
After awhile it became, "Is it the grandma with the dog?" or "Is it the one with the dog or without the dog?" A sigh of relief! A distinguishing fact I could cling to. We found a way to differentiate between the two grandmas. Finally everyone was on the same page..... and then the dog died. Suddenly we were without a viable means of identification again.
Then I was struck with a brainstorm, "Hey! How about if we call my mom Cool Grandma?"Basking in the glow of my brilliant idea I was totally rebuffed by my son's skepticism, "But why?"
Undaunted, I explained my logic, "Because she has the gameboys, the game cubes, the playstation, all those videos and CD's and TWO COMPUTERS! She's one cool grandma!"
My kids sat in the back of the van with blank looks on their faces. Finally my son spoke, "But the other one has a trampoline." That was when I realized my brainstorm lacked the brain part and was merely an electrical storm- all spark and no substance. We finally decided to call my parents "Gameboy Grandma and Gameboy Grandpa" and my husband's parents "Trampoline Grandma and Trampoline Grandpa."
Later, when I told my mother on the phone what her new distinguishing nickname was I was met with a rather long moment of silence. Why was I not surprised?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Assembly Required

Tis the season to be weary.......When I think of how I spend the holidays, one word comes to mind....stress! This year my husband hinted that we should have my family for Christmas. I spent weeks planning, gathering needed items and cleaning my house. Preparing for company can be stressful and I was looking forward to when the last meal was out of the way and behind me.
When the evening was over I thought, "Now I can kick back and enjoy the holidays." Yeah, right. There was still last minute Christmas Cards to send (I had forgotten my husband's friends) and last minute gifts to buy.This year my four year old daughter, Nicole, had graduated from Fisher price to Barbie. My husband and I had bought her all her Barbie items: A house, a stable for her horse, nursery school, supermarket and pet store. I didn't rally read the packages as we wrapped them on Christmas Eve. My husband, Norm, has this thing about only wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, so you can understand the added stress when he wrapped two and I was left with a mountain of presesnts to wrap.
Norm had to work the early shift Christmas morning and he decided that we would open presents that night after supper. Nicole was pretty good all morning about the presents. When my husband came home, she was quite eager to open them, but was forced to use more patience to wait till after we ate. Norm, who is also a volunteer firefighter, got a call and poor Nicole was forced to wait longer. I felt sorry for her and allowed her to open two presents. Upon Norm's return we ate and opened gifts. It was only then that I finally started to realize what was ahead for me. Nicole, who had no nap, was to have gone to bed at 7:30. She was quite eager to have everything assembled immediately. Norm preferred that I do that since it was his habit to assemble first and read directions later. I started the house first which wasn't too difficult. Then I tackled the stable where the directions were slightly more confusing. At 8:30 Norm stuck a video in for Nicole while I started the grocery store. Till then I was tired because I had been awake since 5:15. The store shelves which were largely cardboard began to grate on my nerves as they kept falling apart inmy hands. I could either be heard screaming or murmuring about the woes of cardboard under my breath. Finally at 10:00 I decided to finish the other two in the morning and put Nicole to bed. I still had not even looked at my own presents.
As I hit the shower I thought that surely Nicole would sleep in till at least 8:00 in the morning. WRONG! Nicole was routing me from my bed at 6:30 to assemble her school and pet store. I got up but decided to assemble my new portable phone first and then begun her projects. This time i was going to be smart and use glue. At 9:00 I was finally finished. I cleaned up and sat down on the recliner to relax with the directions to my new curling iron."Mom, can I have pancakes?"