We drop Jonah off at Hebrew and take Rachel and toddler Isaac to the park. There is time to fill and there is energy to burn. At 9 AM on a dreary Sunday, it is empty. Wet leaves blown into piles, puddles gathered in the low spots. It smells like autumn. Damp, dank with a sweet smell of rot.
The metal gate creaks as we enter and Rachel squeals for Ike to follow her. They go up and down the playground ramp, cajoling Ike into sitting first before he goes down the slide. She admonishes him for stepping off an edge that drops him sharply to the ground. Isaac is angry that he falls, not understanding how gravity could possibly let him down.
Just as we got in the groove, it was time to bring Rachel back to the synagogue for her class. Isaac cried and wailed. It was too soon. He wasn't done. How dare we?
While Joe walks Rachel to her classroom, I sit in the back of our car, feeding Isaac honey bears. Eventually I unbuckle him and watch as he climbs triumphantly into the back row bench, with a smug look. Its the row he stares at from his rear-facing car seat. The empty space.
Once Rachel is situated, we pile back in to visit the cemetery. I think about going often, but try not to go frequently. Nothing really changes there except for the season. The trees grow, the leaves fall, the snow returns. And then it melts back in.
I spend a few minutes unearthing the rocks that have fallen off her stone, returning them to the top. some are gently buried; they have been sinking into the soft soil. Many are gone and I wonder which tiny child may have pocketed the blue piece of sea glass, or the fossil from Lake Placid? Where do those things go?
Joe says its okay that they disappear. You don't leave a rock on top of a grave and expect it to stay. After all, time passes there too. And at four years out, the grief still fits in all the crevices, even when you can't find exactly where it has gone.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Rachel, like many little kids, mispronounces words. She often drops Rs and Ls and replaces them with Ws. And some of them are just deliberate changes, like refusing Ms and Ns for words with long U sounds. Noodles are Yoodles. Music is Yoosic.
Add this to a family that loves nicknames and you get silliness. Funny ones, rude ones. Ones that we grow into over time. Wachel WooCHEEah. Loo. Looch. Sounds like a character from Dr Seuss!
Sarah, on the other hand, never really had any nicknames...until yesterday. While working with Rach on various tongue twisters, Sarah Tzipporah came out as Carrot Tzipporah.
She giggled. I giggled.
And it was good.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I just watched the season premiere of Scandal. Olivia is no longer going by "Olivia." She is now "Julia." And Mellie is mourning the death of her son. Her entire demeanor has changed, from prim and proper to flamboyant and flippant.
In a poignant scene, she and her husband visit their son's grave. She is at the foot of his stone, laying down in the grass and staring upwards.
It takes me a moment to process it. I think about how sad it must be to lose a child. And then I remember a split second later that I know how it feels.
I wear so many hats during the day. Mom, sister, wife and daughter. There are times where I forget who I am. Who I have been. And I don't get nearly enough time to think about who I want to be. There are diapers to change, tears to wipe and Legos to step over.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Just over three weeks ago we welcomed a healthy baby boy into our family. He is warm, fuzzy and smells like butterscotch.
I was relieved that labor went so well. Several days of maybe, followed by a morning of "go wake up the midwife NOW!" It was a planned home birth and he arrived in the water, just like his biggest sister.
As a family, it's been a welcoming period of adjustment. I feel like I've been holding my breath for months. And now that he is here, it feels surreal.
There's an incredible mount of healing that comes from nuzzling his sweet head. I can't help but think about how all our lives would be different had Sarah lived. And now our path changes again with this little dude, our Isaac.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Home stretch of this pregnancy. I'm not quite as much a wreck as you might expect, but like every pregnant woman, I reserve the right to freak out and change my mind at any moment.
I can't say enough things about surrounding yourself with a village of good, supportive people. My midwife, who has caught all my babies, is still at my side. I've been seeing a counselor who reassures me that my emotions are normal, valid and expected. I've got friends who msg me on FB and check up on me at 3am. And the one who says "Can I take your kids away all day so you can rest?"
My husband is my number one rock star these days. I'm not always sleeping well or very long. He's sending me back to bed, pushing me to nap whenever there's a pause. Good rest has been key to managing my stress and anxiety.
Little boy Otter has been doing a fantastic job of kicking me frequently and passed his biophysical profile with flying colors.
I'm still having a hard time picturing what life is going to look like after this little dude arrives. With Sarah, I was worried about parenting three children - a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn. But our family looks so different today, with a 7 year old feeling confident about entering second grade and a 4 year old about to begin preschool.
I can only hope that the next few months are filled with more love and laughter than tears.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
We did our "official" Father's Day celebration yesterday. It was difficult, but not nearly as raw as the first one, post-Sarah. Lunch and a street festival, kids climbing all over the place.
Our family has grown in so many ways over the past year, and that's not including the baby on the way. Jonah sat down in the restaurant and started reading items off the menu. Only 10 days or so left of first grade! Rachel and I visited the preschool where she will attend in the fall. Rather than try to talk me out of it, like her big brother, she immediately started gathering her belongings. "Let's go, Mama! I don't want to be late!"
Perspective and time have helped me realize that so many things in life are temporary and often too brief. When things are good, you need to slow down and make them last. And when they are bad? Realize that it only makes the good things that much better.
There's an episode of The Hive (a British animated series about silly bees) where everything is blamed on "the baby." It's become the running punch line to all of our days. Legos disappeared? "The baby did it!" Can't find your shoes? "The baby did it!" Jonah even ran up to me, and planted a big kiss on my cheek. "The baby did it!"
I'm looking forward to when the new baby really does cause so many antics.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
It's the second Mother's Day since Sarah died. And the first one with a new little baby, still inside me, waiting to meet us. The combo is a stunning mix of emotions. All of which I'm trying to embrace, rather than push to the side.
Husband and kids made it a very special day. Original art, an illustrated bound book by my first grader who is proudly boasting about his ability to read chapter books.
And a beautiful necklace. A mama, holding hands with not just two kids, but four: a Jonah, a Rachel, a Sarah, and a wee-one who has yet to reveal his name. A blessed reminder that I'm not just a mama of the two who bounded through the park with me today, but an extra one in my heart and another one who is close to earthside, kicking me in the belly.