What We Keep In The Corners

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Tonight my oldest son and my husband went to the Bull’s game, so I did what any person with an ill-formed sense of judgment would do, and took my four-year-old to Chuck E Cheese’s.

In all seriousness, we had a lovely time. I watched Silas kick a much older child’s ass at a snowmobile racing game. The older boy spent the first half of the race taunting my sweet-hearted 4-year-old… and the second half of the game chewing through his bottom lip as my angel formed the older child’s taunts into a laser beam of drive and ambition with which he would calmly destroy all that the older child had ever held dear.

When he emerged, victorious, he simply looked at his nemesis the older child, pure innocence beaming from his little aura, and said “Fanks! That was fun!

Oh yes, he is my child. *evil grin*

ANYWAYS. Before we went to Chuck E Cheese, I took my little date out for dinner to Noodles and Company (his fave). Over pasta, we discussed the various ways that apples can be sliced and the way we like them best (thin slices, but not too thin). We discussed the many merits of Chapstick. We talked about Super Why and Eye of the Tiger. It was during a short discourse on Survivor that he, rather loudly and distinctly, interrupted me by saying, “Mom, it’s sad that my baby sister died.”

You could have heard a noodle drop.

I recovered myself from the land of montage music and replied that yes, it was sad and that it’s okay to feel sad about it. I wasn’t sure what else to say. It isn’t the first time that he has randomly brought up Clara, and it’s evident to me that he’s still working it all out. What struck me, though, was his okayness with the topic. Of course, he is simply too young to know that it is taboo. Too young to consider that talking about it might upset me, but I don’t see this as problematic. Instead, I am in awe of the way he lives his life completely out in the open. There are no dark corners where he hides things deemed too painful to discuss.

I love this about him. I am certainly not known for my lack of candor, but even I have a tendency to hold things close when I think they’re too messy for the world to see. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this and people should never disclose more than makes them comfortable, but I’ve always found comfort in communicating pretty much all. Once you learn to live with the vulnerability which is inevitable with this way of being, it’s pretty damn freeing.

What’s more, I’m proud AF of the fact that we have handled Clara’s loss in a way that Silas feels comfortable bringing it up over buttered noodles in a very public forum. That tells me that despite our unimaginable grief, we have kept our experience with losing Clara from being pushed into the corners. It is not a taboo subject in our home. This not only feels like the healthiest way to handle it with our children, but it feels like the best way to honor her.

We will talk about her. She is part of our family. And, just like I told Silas tonight, it’s totally normal to feel sad about her not being here.

I feel sad about it every day.

But, I also feel happy every single day about having him, and Daddy, and Caiden in my life.

Life is dark and light. It is gains and losses, gratitude and regret.

And while tact and timing are social lessons that he will need to learn, I hope that he can continue to live a life with no dark and dusty corners.

…I also hope he continues to sweetly destroy anyone who tries to knock him down.

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Heart Monitor Chic

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Soooo, I have to wear a heart monitor for 30 days. I’m FINE, but I been havin some weird funky heart beats that my doc wants to get to the bottom of. (She did not accept my suggestion that perhaps I am just funky to my core.) It only happens every other week or so, which is why I have to wear this confounded thing for so long. SO, if you see me in the next 30 days, YES I am excited to see you, but it’s actually a heart monitor in my pocket. ❤

Also, those of you who know me well, know my love for naming inanimate objects and I am now taking submissions of names for my new friend. Go.

Capture Your Grief, Day 27 – Self Portrait

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Life is a series of moments, and this is one of mine.

When I look at this photo, I see an invisible battle being waged.

I am living with an anxiety disorder, and every day, in almost every moment, I am fighting. I am fighting my anxious brain with my intellectual brain. I am fighting the terrifying voice which tells me that I have to use a certain coffee mug every morning, or say a certain phrase at bedtime, or else my child will die. The voice which somehow turns the most benign of tasks into life-altering decisions.

I see a woman falling through life, somehow managing to look like she generally has her shit together. On closer inspection, though, I see the chipped nail polish. I see the breakouts on her skin. I see the bags under her eyes. I know the larger stories these small details tell.

I see eyes which have known great loss, and great fear.

But, I see something else, too.

I see a woman who, despite the daily battle, works hard to advocate for women’s health issues, both mental and reproductive. I see a woman who has decided to own her story, rather than hide from it, because there is a chance that it could help someone. I see a woman who went to work today, who went to therapy today, who adulted pretty damn well on all fronts, despite the endless barrage of triggers that she has experienced in the last 3 weeks. I see a woman who swallowed her pride, and then swallowed her meds, and did her best to get back to the business of living.

I see a mother and wife who loves deeply. A love so deep that, in the darkest moments, it was the only thing that kept her here.

I see the battle. I see the pain. But, one thing I do not see, is shame.

Keep fighting, friends, because every day you are a freakin’ hero.

Drumroll Please…

Introducing…

Motherhood Misfit!

That’s right!  As you may have noticed, we’re undergoing a bit of a makeover here at the space formerly known as Grief to Growth. A total makeover, as a matter of fact!  The entirety of this makeover isn’t complete yet (I have some more fun stuff in the works), but the name change is officially in effect!

So, why the change? Well, in keeping up with the momentum that has been happening here on the blog, I thought it was time to purchase a proper domain and tweak the identity to better match what is actually happening in this space. While this blog was born out of my grief, the content is not limited to that topic. In fact, all kinds of things come up on this blog- Whether you are a mom with a postpartum mood disorder, navigating grief, parenting after bereavement, or you’re just plain marching to the beat of a different drummer, we’re all misfits around here!

If you’ve been here from the start, thanks for sticking around!  You won’t notice anything different in content. It’s still the same old me, writing about the same old stuff!  If you type in the old address, it will automatically redirect you here. You will notice some visual and aesthetic improvements happening here and there, and some other fun things will be rolled out in the near future, but the heart of the blog is still the same.

One final note – some people may associate the term “misfit” with a negative connotation, but that is definitely not how I see it. My “misfit” qualities and interests are what have allowed me to meet and connect with the most important and impactful people in my life. When misfits get together, it’s a powerful thing.

Sending all you misfits some serious love. Thanks for being along for this crazy ride!

P.S. – I hope you all don’t mind, but I skipped today’s Capture Your Grief prompt, in order to be able to roll out the name change today.

 

 

December Reflections, Day 1 – Sparkle

This year I’m participating in a photography/journaling activity, called December Reflections. This activity, created by Susannah Conway (seriously, go check her out, she’s fabulous), is intended to help you reflect on the past year and begin the process of choosing a word for the upcoming year. The activity itself is a list of 31 photography and writing prompts, one for each day of the month. I’ll be posting my photos on Instagram, with the #decemberreflections tag, as well as posting them here, accompanied by some writing.

My word for 2015 was Linger, and I do feel like keeping my focus on living more slowly, and with more enjoyment, was a lesson that I needed. The ability to stay with the good moments, to really ride them out, has been essential as I heal my heart.  I have not spent any time reflecting on 2015 as a whole, since the year seems to be consumed by the events of September, so I am glad for the opportunity to review my entire year. Additionally, I have spent no time whatsoever thinking about my word for 2016. Susannah Conway hosts another journaling activity called Find Your Word which is, as you have likely guessed, a little more targeted at the actual choosing of a word. Still, reflecting on where we have been often aids us in deciding where we would like to go. And with that…

December Reflections, Day One – Sparkle

Today, I went with a couple of coworkers/friends (I am fortunate enough to work someplace where there isn’t really a distinction between the two) out on a lunch break shopping trip. Each of us needed something to wear to our work holiday party, which is this Saturday. I hadn’t spent a lot of time planning a look for the party, but (ironically, considering I hadn’t yet seen the list of DR prompts) went in knowing that I wanted something sparkly, and I found it. A lovely, mermaid colored, sequined mini skirt, and the perfect top to go with it.

The thing is, I am not a sparkly dresser. I favor simple shapes, lots of layers, and comfort above all else. Why then the sudden sway towards sequins? I have a theory… It’s no secret that my year has ended rather poorly. Don’t get me wrong, things could be so much worse and I am more grateful than I ever knew I could be for the charmed life that I am still very lucky to live. However, the truth is that I don’t feel sparkly. I feel like old yoga pants. I feel like curling up on the couch and binge watching Harry Potter while pounding hot tea and eating dry cereal straight from the box. But I don’t want to feel like that anymore. I’ve mentioned previously that I am weary of the sadness that I seem to carry around with me, though I haven’t been able to shake it. Maybe I want to wear sequins because I hope that, somehow, dressing sparkly will make me sparkle again.

Even just for one night.

Sparkle on, friends.