As an adolescent, I remember reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeliene L’Engle. Although the plot line has faded from my memory, the title stuck with me and many times in my life I’ve felt like I’m standing on land in motion. At times, life swells with great waves and earthquakes of change. The last year is certainly one of those times and I am still trying to find my footing.
Our little family trio went to the zoo a few weeks ago. It was our first big outing as a family. And I was ridiculously grateful for the trip. We’ve visited a friend’s house, church (during the week), and nearby parks, but this was a trip into the city and into a very public place. We orchestrated it as much as possible: Got there early, on a very hot day (okay, we didn’t plan that but it kept the crowds down), and stayed for under an hour, making it back home in time for her morning nap. We survived. And I was so relieved that we pushed out of the tight cocoon we’ve created for ourselves.
When I wrote my resolutions back in March, I’d hoped that the cocoon would be dispensed with sooner. And although I could have written about the daily ups and downs, I wanted to write about progress. I wanted to feel progress. A momentum towards something amazing and new. And, for me, I didn’t feel that click forward until the last month. Now, with a little more hope, a little more energy and delight I can review the goals from many months back.
First, lets’s start with the big one: Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! I can’t tell you she’s a perfect sleeper (in fact, last night was truly awful), but overall she has vastly improved in the last month and a half. Combine that with the end of breastfeeding, and you’re reading the words of a new, improved, caffeinated woman. Cue the confetti!
I assume her sleep has improved because her reflux and her larynx have gotten better as well. She is still on one medication for reflux but we hope to start weaning that in a few weeks. Her larynx is still a bit of a mystery. It is much improved (not as noisy, no apnea) but there is still improvement to be made. I guess. We will take her in to a doctor’s appointment in August, hopefully we will have more information then.
I am reading On Fire by John O’Leary. He has an incredible story about surviving a lethal fire when he was nine. And how he has used that experience to live, what he calls, “a radically inspired life.” That jargon is a little obtuse, but how he breaks that down in his book has helped to clarify issues I’ve been struggling with, no only the last year, not only after Jordan, but much of my life. There’s so much to be said, so much to share from this book, but I will just start with this simple realization: Having Mariana forced me to grow as a person, to stretch way beyond my comfort zone. And with stretching and growth comes pain. So all my complaining, my fear, my second-guessing, my frustration were a result of change. All my times of “Why me?” were opportunities to engage with God and work to be better. Yes, yes, you say, haven’t we already covered that? Yes, sort of. The problem is I’ve felt guilty about the struggle. I thought I should have been immediately joyful and content. But there was (and still is) too much to sift through. Too much baggage and fear of the unknown. It was normal and down right understandable for me to feel out-of-water and uncomfortable during the last year. Having said this, overall I do feel more courageous, and more buoyant. There are still times when I feel a rush of fear wash over me. I want to be the very best Mom! But I am trying to engage with it, and not feel like I am letting everyone down.
I do continue to miss Jordan. Although, I want to run far away from, what at times, feels like an anchor, I have to accept that feeling of loss will be a constant thread in my life. I am grateful for it…most days anyway. It means I loved greatly. That’s pretty amazing.
Lastly, although my husband may disagree (I give him such a hard time), I do feel more grateful for everything in my life. Do I lose sight of it? Yes, probably on a daily basis. But I think I am picking it back up and giving a little tug of gratitude on a daily basis as well. So, although my world has tilted with the arrival of my daughter, I’m going to grab on tight and enjoy the ride as much as possible.