It’s been an ODD week….not in any events that have occurred or how our daily lives have gone…but an odd week within me.
It is odd for me to feel as…lighthearted as I have this week (especially given how sick I have been!). I feel…happy. I feel…content. (What are those recurring “…”‘s all about? Well, they are there because I’m almost afraid to put it out there in to the universe how content I am; lest the universe laughs, much in the style of some villain from a vintage horror flick, and sends a lightning bolt to strike me down from my happiness pedestal) For once, even if just for a few days, I do not feel as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop (a state which I have felt myself suffocating regularly in for too long to keep track of).
I wonder WHY I have been feeling this way… I mean, it feels great, don’t get me wrong! But it’s not as if we have any more information bringing us closer to a diagnosis for Evrett….quite annoyingly, actually, we still don’t even have the results back from the second round of genetic blood tests that we had done nearly 3 weeks back…so WHY do I feel something akin to a sense of relief when there is no concrete reason for it?…
I suppose it is likely because of my conscious decision, resolve, AND effort to live in the NOW. None of us EVER knows what tomorrow will bring….and that is not at all meant to sound morbid! Quite the contrary!! It’s just that life can change on a dime!! So a couple of weeks back, after quite a number weeks of alternating between sadness, anger, and denial in the stages of grief, I told myself that dwelling in those stages (longer than is emotionally necessary) serves no one. Acknowledging my feelings instead of squelching them down is one thing, and a very healthy thing, too! But swimming in a sea of gloom & doom? Getting swept up in to a vortex of <what is to come?!> is never a good way to go. That is just damaging. In fact, it could potentially hinder and hurt our darling Evys development, and obstruct our happiness as a family. Now that is the LAST thing I would want to do to him, or to our family unit.
Something needed to change in me.
I resolved to develop a NEW habit of dwelling on the beauty that is Evrett. And not only Evrett, but all THREE of our little ones! (Afterall, all I had ever truly dreamed of for my life was to be MOTHER. I have my dream, I need to REVEL IN IT.) And my husband, aaaand our pets. Oh, and our home. Let’s not forget Myself. Our extended families. Basically, I set about developing a new facet to my identity that finds & focuses on the JOY that is all around. I have become mindful of re-framing the tough moments of daily “mommy life”. (Do you ever “reframe” something? For those who aren’t aware: reframing is a method of choosing to look at something in a different way. Not just once, but in a more habitual sense. With practice, it can be used to turn a stumbling block in to a stepping stone, or even happy place!) For example, when Lydia crawls around the house after me whenever I leave a room she is in lately, squawking at the top of her lungs, instead of thinking: “goodness child, can’t you just let mommy go to the washroom alone for 2 damn minutes?!!”, I honestly think: “aw, she won’t ALWAYS want her mommy like this, and she is my LAST baby, I had better SOAK. THIS. UP.” Or, when Cody loses his cool because a math question isn’t going the way he wants it to, instead of thinking: “for God sakes, calm down and think kiddo! You know this one!!”, I think: “how lucky am I to have a little guy who cares about his academics at such a young age? In a year or 2, he may not care to put so much effort in, so I had better SOAK. THIS. UP.””. Even the moments when I feel blue that Evy cannot yet verbally articulate all that he wants to yet, instead of letting my heartache take over, I think: “how lucky I am to have this sweet little man who almost eternally happy. One day he will have all sorts of words, so I had better SOAK. THIS. UP.”
At first, re-framing such daily moments took MUCH conscious effort and energy. But after some consistent practice, I find my temper and emotions flaring up less & less. These thoughts of gratitude are becoming my default mode network (“DMN”, as we often call it in anxiety recovery), and that is a LOVELY thing. This kind of default thinking frees my conscious mind up to focus on the absolute beauty in our seemingly mundane daily lives, even in the trying moments. Our days sparkle a bit more now. If you were to take a snapshot, it wouldn’t just be in color, it would be VIVID, or ENHANCED QUALITY.
Cody: We have affectionately nicknamed him “spunkin” since he was tiny; this somewhat odd sounding name came from a combination of “spunky punkin”. He was a baby full of opinions, he liked to run on his own schedule, and god forbid mommy or daddy ever veered from that! He had a lot of “spunk” right from the get-go (he had to, to live through the traumatic delivery that we had!! That is a story for another time…) And we called him our “punkin”. Eventually, the two morphed in to “spunkin”, and it has stuck all these years later. Our Spunkin has become such a strong-willed little boy of 6.5 years old. He feels things so deeply; he can be ear-piercingly loud when squealing with joy, or heart-breakingly sad when things don’t work out the way he hoped, with huge tears falling from his big blue eyes (framed with the lushest lashes you have ever seen!). He absolutely ADORES his baby sister, he would already do anything for her. He would move heaven and earth for her. The way he stops what he is doing each morning when Lydia awakens, and his eyes light up as he runs over to her, saying “Good morning, my baby girl, how’s my sweet baby today?” is almost more sweetness than my heart can handle in one moment!! She will be incredibly blessed to have him looking out for her in life. I am incredibly blessed to have him as my first born son. His new thing with me this week is that when he leaves the house, or I do, that we tell each other: “I love you 99,000 minutes!!”. (My own mother & I STILL use a line from the old sitcom “Frasier”: “YA. Ya, I love YA!!”. Or, “I love you more” vs “I Love you LONGER!”. So the fact that Cody started his OWN little love language with me is sooo amazing!!) He started that on Monday, and it has continued each day. I hope it sticks for years to come. My, how my heart jumps for joy when he tells me he loves me a whole 99,000 minutes….
He is all I could ever have hoped for.
Evy: I could write a freaking novel about the sweetness that is Evrett Harley Wood. And this isn’t just because I’m biased (which obviously I am, ha!!), but he really is the happiest & sweetest little ray of sunshine around. A few months back, he began trying to give me the odd kiss here & there (something he had NEVER successfully coordinated before), but after only a couple of days, that new morning tradition stopped. I was so sad when it came to an abrupt halt so quickly! Somehow this week, it has come back!! He has begun making a smooching sound, and giving us kisses multiple times a day!! Not just when daddy or I try, AND say “kiss?”, but HE actually does it of his own accord! I can be doing something as simple as putting him in to the vehicle to take to take him to daycare, and he leans forward, puts his lips together, sometimes even grabs the side of my face, and makes an “mmmmmm” sound to give me a REAL kiss. Oh my heart, my sweet little Evy-Bug loves me!! And talk about patient; this little angel will sit beside his big brother while he takes his turn on iPad and wait for as long as he needs to. No fussing. No pulling at the game. No frustration. He is simply content just being with his big brother. And oh my, when he uses new words, my heart melts!! Just before suppertime today when he wanted my help to reach something, instead of simply coming to grab my hand a drag me & direct me to it (as he most often does!), he took my hand, pointed up with his other hand and said a new 2-word phrase: “want that”. Then, when I brought it down for him, he said “my turn” as I handed it to him (yup,I’ll totally admit that it was the iPad. I’m that mom who uses technology as her strategic tool once in a while, such as when the ground beef might burn if she doesn’t finish it for supper, lol!!) But oh goodness, those were TWO new 2-word phrases in the span of 30 seconds, and my eyes welled up with happy tears. Then, he successfully fed himself yogurt with a spoon for the 2nd time EVER in his life; what a day!! So much promise, so much happiness, so much progress, & so much sweetness.
He is all I could ever have hoped for.
And who could possibly forget Miss Lydia: We affectionately call her “Missy-Loo”…not %100 sure why…but she is so exact in what she wants & does NOT want that the title “miss” seems very appropriate for this 9 month old little bundle of rolly-polly-baby-girl-joy!! She does not enjoy being put down or left in a room alone at all, not even for 5 seconds almost EVER. She wants every food that we have; screw the “baby food”, she wants the pork chops right off the grill man! For real!!! She hates to lay still for a diaper change, to be buckled in to her high chair, and most of all, to be strapped in to her car seat (you would think it’s a strait-jacket!! She despises that thing!!!) As Scott and I say, she is our little “firecracker”, and you know what? After wondering nearly the entire time I was carrying her during pregnancy if she would be healthy & strong afterwards, if she would thrive, or even come out ALRIGHT (or even make it through that brutal pregnancy at all)….we could not be happier that she is not only ok, but is the STRONGEST PERSONALITY in our household. She rules the roost, and we could not love her more.
She is all we could ever have hoped for.
I have become SO accustomed to waiting for the other shoe to drop (whether that be with Evys’ diagnosis, or Lydias silent reflux, or after all of my OWN health after all the s%#* that went down in 2017) that this feeling of just ENJOYING THEM and ENJOYING LIFE right now, as they are, seems almost defiant of the laws of the universe. Isn’t that strange? It’s almost as if I am fooling myself that “magic worrying” will help ward off tragic events… but it WON’T. I CAN love them right now. I CAN just enjoy this very day, there is no shame in that. In fact, that is true bravery, and vulnerability both at once.
Rejoicing in the beauty of each of them, as each day comes, is thee greatest thing that I can do with my life.
All THREE of them are all I have ever hoped for.