Sleep Baby Sleep

Sometimes the quiet, unpronounced moments are the ones that teach us the most. As I have recently shared on Facebook, I am thankful for Dolly Pardon’s Imagination Library. What an awesome program – encouraging children to develop a love for reading and learning early on, and making this easy for their parents to promote and practice.

I have also commented before how some of the most important things we learn in kinder garden. I am finding this is similarly true with children’s books. If we need a reminder of the basics, just pull out “Sleep Baby Sleep” by Maryann Cusimano Love. It is my new favorite, hands down. In fact, I bargain with Violet every night to read it. We can read “Where Is Spot” first as long as Mom can read “Sleep Baby Sleep” afterwards (compromise anyone?).

“Sleep baby, sleep, snuggled like a sheep. Be always like the lamb so mild, a kind and sweet and gentle child. Sleep baby, sleep.”

Having a tender heart is not a flaw, rather strength. Be kinder than necessary, and love with your whole heart.

“Rise baby, rise. Wipe the sleep from your eyes. Be like the chick that leaves her shell to toddle over field and dell.”

Get your rest and then work hard. It will pay off in the end. I promise.

“Soar baby, soar. The whole world you’ll explore. Fly like the goose who climbs and roams yet always knows his way back home. Soar baby, soar. “

Do not be afraid to try new things or take risks. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. But no matter what, I will be here for you.

“Laugh, baby, laugh. Frolic like the calf, nose tickled by the grass and rye, eyes twinkling at the beaming sky. Laugh, baby, laugh.”

Enjoy yourself. Let your hair down. Don’t take life too seriously.

“Look, baby, look, surprise in every nook. Be like the hawk who trusts her sight of canyons grand and feathers slight. Look, baby, look.”

Be open-minded, but also trust your intuition.

“Climb, baby, climb, one step at a time. Be like the cub who scales great trees to peer above the canopy. Climb, baby, climb.”

Do not underestimate yourself. No matter how big the dream is, if you truly want it, go for it. You will get there, one step at a time.

“Sail, baby, sail, calm in the windy gale. Be like the duck who paddles through the storm to glide in waves of blue. Sail, baby, sail.”

Practice grace under pressure. Allow your inner peace to guide you through life’s tough storms.

“Splash, baby, splash. Stand tall as the waves crash. Be always like the hound who dares to find adventure everywhere. Splash, baby splash.”

Be silly. Have fun. Set your own trends. Try new things.

“Grow, baby, grow. From our arms you’ll go, unfurling like a butterfly, cocoon opening to the sky. Grow, baby grow.”

Continue to evolve into this beautiful little human being. You never cease to amaze me.

“Hush, baby, hush. Growing can’t be rushed. Be always like the newborn foal with whispered wind songs in his soul. Hush, baby, hush.”

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up. Although adulthood is appealing, many adults long for the simplicity of childhood. Trust me on this one.

“Shine, baby, shine, graceful child of mine. Be like the firefly who flows no matter how the darkness grows. Shine, baby, shine.”

Be who you are, confidently and with integrity. Don’t let others dim your light, no matter what.

“Peace, baby, peace. All your cares release. Be always like the snowy dove who spreads her wings and sings of love. Peace, baby, peace.”

Find what makes you truly at peace, and hold onto that wherever you go.

“Dream, baby, dream, rising like moonbeams. Be always like the dragonfly shimmering in the misty sky. Dream, baby, dream.”

Envision what would genuinely make you happy, and strive for it, my sweet girl.

“Sleep, baby, sleep. Our promises we’ll keep. Be the miracle you are, a wish come true on a shooting star. Sleep, baby sleep.”

Rest and rejuvenate, tucked comfortably in your bed tonight. I promise to love you for all you are and all you become. You really are a miracle—I know this for sure.

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A World Shaken and Perspectives Altered

I think we all have pivotal moments in our lives which have a tendency to reshape our perspectives—the way we view ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. 

When I reflect on my life, but especially my adult life, I can vividly recall a handful of these times. I have shared the obvious positive ones—my wedding, marriage, and the birth of my daughter.  But recently I personally had two of these pivotal “moments” if you will. They were not actually moments, but events that slightly shook my world. I think about these as gentle shakes, not enough to knock me down and then kick me while I’m down there…but enough of a shake to grab me by shoulders, hold firmly, while forcing me to look at my life differently… a large dose of perspective. For those of you who have been forced to swallow a dose of perspective may agree that it can be hard to swallow, may even get stuck in your throat and cause heart burn, but ultimately know it will make you feel better and thus make you a better human being. Perhaps that pill can come in the form of tough love, bad luck, or natural consequences. 

I will start with the first. As I have written about in the last few months, the day I discovered I lost my (second) pregnancy was a day I will never forget, nor will I forget the day five days following when my body expelled the “products of conception.” I write “products of conception” for a few reasons: 1. This is the term the medical community uses to describe this biological event. And 2. It is somewhat difficult to describe what I witnessed as a “baby.” Truthfully, I felt it was shocking and gory. But in all reality, it was a baby that was just in formation a month prior…in development…with a beating heart. And it no longer was. So while “products of conception” sounds medical and technical, it is easier than calling it a baby. It makes it less personal, less sensitive….less painful. 

That entire experience did shake my world. It made me realize that I was not immune to tragedy or grief, and that it can happen to me and not just “other women.” It allowed me to read, to research, to blog, to reach out, to engage, and to relate. If writing has done one thing for me besides allowing self expression, it has allowed me to relate with others, which is  incredibly gratifying and fulfilling, even if what we are relating about is painful and difficult. 

 It taught me how fragile life is. Granted this little life was short lived from conception to death, but it was the loss of a dream and loss of a little person that could have been that compelled me to take a new perspective. As I expressed through Facebook on the 7th day of November in words of gratitude for the month, “Today I am thankful for the miracle of life. The intricate inner making of a baby blows my mind. Scientifically and biologically, everything has to be just so for a child to enter this world safely. I will never take this for granted again.” I know I have been thankful for my first born since the day she took her first breath, but if anything could make me even more thankful, this experience could. Although I would like to have more children, it showed me that my current family is not incomplete. In fact, it is bursting and full. If we did get blessed with a miracle again one day, then our hearts would expand even more to accommodating the growing love. But to be clear, it is full now on this very day, this very moment, and this very second. 

Then shortly after this pivotal event, I was gently shaken again. I had an argument with a lifelong friend. I initially thought it would be a falling out and yet another loss. I was preparing myself for the worse, just as I did when I was lying on the cold hard exam table in September. This “shaking” was a version of tough love that I normally do not respond well to. I have always been tender-hearted (to a point where I begged God for a little tougher of a heart), so when others communicated things in a way that was somewhat painful, I tended to internalize it and make it much more personal than necessary. Through this argument with this lifelong friend, I learned something about myself and about her. I learned what her “Achilles tendon” was…the part of her that was extremely sensitive and should be handled with the greatest of care. At the same time, I realized that although I always prided myself in being kind, respectful of others, and a high communicator, I did have times when I did not practice these traits. The “shaking” was a bit of a wakeup call, yet another dose of perspective that was hard to swallow but ultimately made me a better human being. Who knew that after almost 30 years, one could learn more about herself and her best friend? 

So although the last few months have been trying and difficult, I have a new found sense of inner strength. I have always heard the motto, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” and I can say that’s how I feel right about now. Granted there are times I am unkind, but I do plan to reflect on my actions and behaviors more closely so that I can be my best self. 

Today on this 10th day of November, I am thankful for those mild earthquakes in life that gently shake us and compel us to look at our world differently and to perhaps swallow a pill of perspective that will make us healthier in the long run.  Here’s to our health—mind, body, and spirit.  

Lack of Immunity to Grief

I am not immune to heart break and grief.  On September 14 2013, this became clear to me. Bad things do happen to good people. Good people do get hurt. 

I spent one month coping in ways that were most comforting—indulging in fat laden comfort foods, trying to sneak in extra sleep when I could, reflecting/writing, reading about other woman’s stories in blogs and books. 

After this month passed and I was dusting myself off, I came upon some events that caused me to stumble a bit. My pregnancy “partners” (those due very closely to my expected due date) were starting to share their wonderful news to the world. The 12 week mark when it’s generally “safe” to announce…20 week mark and half way point…having the opportunity to find out the gender if so desired. That was supposed to be me too. I’m not half way to seeing my baby. Instead, I have a little Angel clip with a March birthstone on the wall in Violet’s room next to a photo of me, very pregnant with Violet. Perhaps I placed it there so I will never forget what could have been. 

Time does heal. It does not heal completely, but with each passing day, it helps the sharp pain fade into a dull more tolerable ache. Although it does cross my mind at least once a day, it’s not debilitating. 

I was in a horrible car accident the day before Thanksgiving in 2007. I never have driven the same since. For months, I would think about it daily and replay the scene in my mind…from the intense impact of the cars smashing into me, to the sound of the window glass being intentionally broken by a good Samaritan so I could crawl out…it replayed until my mind did not have to replay it anymore. 

In a similar way, I keep repeating the doctor’s words in my mind, “You’ve lost this pregnancy…that’s what’s going on” (referencing my bleeding)…the ultrasound tech’s silence..the torturous wait to see the physician once again…it continues to replay until one day when it does not have to replay anymore. All this replaying of this very sad tape in my mind is just that—in my mind. I tend not to talk about this anymore, and most people don’t ask. But not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I reminisce about the morning I saw the two pink lines, July 25th, 2013. 

I did get a dose of perspective recently, when I heard woman I once knew delivered a stillborn baby (full-term). It rocked my world once again. How can I feel so sad for a loss of what could have been when this baby WAS?  I tried not to minimize my own feelings but it made me again think of all the “what ifs” in life that I’ve touched on before. It’s quite amazing and miraculous how any baby makes it from conception through delivery, unscathed, healthy, intact…well, perfect. Everything has to be just so…the stars have to be aligned or something. All the intricate inner creations of the baby in the womb utterly blows my mind. Life is miraculous…and fragile.