Sunday, May 8, 2016

to those of you II

to those of you who are curled up in bed with a wet pillow instead of going to church. To those of you who cried so hard last night that their throat hurts this morning. To those of you who just cannot even handle Facebook today.  Whose IVF failed, whose test came back negative, who had a miscarriage, a failed placement, a child loss. I love you. I pray for you daily, and especially today.

To those of you who've cared for me on this day. Who've left me gifts at my mom's, who've boughten me Mother's Day baskets from the Young Women, who've sent me flowers and a card that said, "For all of the mothering you do for our kids." To those of you who've sent me cards and texts and Facebook messages. Who've made me feel loved, special, valued, and like a mom. Thank you. I love you, and your kindness will never be forgotten. You 

to my mom on mother's day

Remember when I was little and we'd play house all day? Remember trying to walk with me literally attached to your leg? Remember going on bike rides with me in a seat on the back? (I could've died!) Remember how you let me sleep with you every night and then you'd make me breakfast in (your) bed and you'd let me watch Days of Our Lives with you? Remember lemonade stands and ice-cream trucks and teaching me to fold laundry and making baby dolls and super hero capes out of towels? Remember how my birthdays were always the best and how you refused to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because it was Chelsi Day? Remember when I was a teenager and we would fight about my hair and how I was ALWAYS late for first period even though I woke up at 5:30 in the morning? Remember how I'd follow you through the house back-talking so you'd fight with me? You'd ignore me and it made me furious.  Sorry for that. Remember how we would spend our summers at Cherry Hill and Wild Waters and Surf and Swim and we'd smell like chlorine and sunscreen and heat?  Remember how when you had to get a job you hired a nanny to take us to those places when you were stuck at work? Remember when you'd get home after working 12 hours and get in the bathtub to relax but I'd come and put my feet in and tell you all about my day and who said what to who and asked if you thought so-and-so liked me because he touched my arm?  Remember when all of my friends abandoned me, but you, my best friend, never did? I do.  I love you. Happy Mother's Day. 
Ps. Sorry for being a little shit.   

Friday, May 6, 2016

to jade on birthmother's day

What do you say to the woman who made you a mother? Who made you whole? Who gave your life purpose? Who healed you when you were broken? Who broke her heart in half and gave one half to you? Thank you? There are no words profound enough that express the enormity of my love for and gratitude to you. I love you with a ferocity that I don't have for anyone else. My love for you is its own. 
When I look at my daughter, I see your beautiful eyes and I see my love for you. I love your eyes, I love your pretty hair, your smile, and that when you giggle your nose scrunches up a bit. I love your strength, your wisdom, your selflessness. I love how I've literally never heard you say a bad word about anyone. Ever. I want to be like that. I love your style and shopping with you. I love our mutual love for makeup and how we are perfectly matched because we are both always an hour late. I love how you love your family. I love your loyalty. I love how you love Jonah and how you love Avaya. I really love you. 
I know today your heart is hurting and heavy. I know you miss our baby girl today. I remember all those mother's days missing her too. We flop places a lot, don't we? There's pain and worry and loss that we've each taken from each other. Truly two halves. Thank you for half of your heart, my sacred vessel. I love you. Happy Birthmother's Day. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

my journey into motherhood

You know all those lists and piles I was making?  I checked them twice and was ready as could be.  We got to the temple and unloaded the car....and I forgot her dress. HER DRESS!  Luckily we have an amazing family, all of whom were willing and ready to go retreive it, and Uncle Brock was driving right by our house when we called. Mercy.  It was wonderful.  The little ladies in the youth center were just as my mom described when recalling our sealing.  They reminded me of Fauna. They just fawned (see what I did?) over Avaya and took such good care of her.  
I got my own escort and got to go in the bride's room to get ready!  How luck am I?!  I don't remember the Bride's room clearly from my wedding day, and although we were sealed in a different temple, I was sure to take it all in this time.  Also different, I was calm and confident, whereas on my wedding day I was unsure of procedure and was a bit like, "What am I wearing..?" But this time, as I put on my veil and tied it, I looked in the mirror and took in my reflection.  I saw a bride that God was proud of who had kept her covenants she made ten years ago.  A woman of God who'd endured and had been made stronger. A woman who had been made more. I saw a mother. I hope I never forget that reflection.
Spencer and I got a few minutes alone in a sealing room and again, looked at our reflections in the facing mirrors. Symbolically, our images go on forever, representing our marriage, but now, also our posterity.  That struck Spencer hard. 
Avaya was wonderful and loved looking around at the beautiful room, especially the chandelier.  The sealer said that one couldn't count the rays of light coming from it, and that is how the light of Christ is.  It's capable of reaching everyone, everywhere. That was about all I remembered him saying because I was too focused on my baby girl.  She was so happy.  Everyone who came was so dear to our hearts and there were a lot of hugs and kisses.
Jade and other family met us outside and we celebrated with dinner at Spencer's and my spot in Ogden.
It feels wonderful to be sealed. But it doesn't feel different. We were always forever, it's just official now.  Part of me was expecting it to feel conclusive. Like an end to our journey.  Our journey continues on, and in some ways it is just beginning.
Our adoption journey was painful and hard, its effects still lingering. But today, I was thinking about my motherhood journey. I'm doing some things I never imagined myself doing as a young girl.  I'm making my own yogurt and having my infant go on the potty, for hell sakes. (If you'd like info on either, comment and I'll post about it.) There are many different versions of "good moms," but in my version, I'm being really successful. (Famous last words.) She ate broccoli without gagging the other night and I almost cried with joy.  She's happy, she's healthy, she's smart, and I'm fulfilled in my job as her mother.  
It wasn't always that way though.  Having to wait so long had its benefits. I had a lot of time to prepare and study and plan.  I knew about post-adoption depression and even discussed it with Spencer before Avaya was born, knowing I had a tendency to become depressed.  This quote from adoption advocate Terra Cooper explains it well:
I think my hardest time was after placement. I didn’t see the guilt and depression that was to come.No one had told me about it and I thought that I was a horrible mom and person for not immediately bonding with my daughter and feeling like an instant mom. I became really close to her birth mom and to see her in pain was really, really hard for me and still is. I try to do anything I can to help ease their pain. My heart was broken the day of placement and has slowly mended...
I knew what was going on, so I wasn't rocked by it, but it was still hard. I felt like I was babysitting for a long time.  I had sooooooo much guilt. "I took another woman's baby" was a phrase that went through my head over and over and over.  Every time I looked at her I saw Jade, and my heart would crumble instead of do backflips.
People asked me if placement day was the "best day ever." It wasn't.  It probably is one of my top ten worst days ever.  There's only one moment that was the best. Jade's mom came into our room and told us that Nate and Jade didn't want to say goodbye and so they were just going to leave.  I understood but I was really sad. A few minutes later they came into our room and Jade and I ran to each other and gave each other the tightest, longest hug.  (They have become a special thing between us, especially on hard days.) I tearfully told her, "Thank you," and she whispered it back.
Bringing Vaya home was so bittersweet.
Spencer was more worried about my depression than I was. I knew I just needed time to work through my feelings. And I did. I prayed a lot, I meditated every night, and as Jade healed, I was able to see Avaya as my own daughter too.
I didn't feel like a horrible mom, again, because I knew what was going on with me and that I just needed time. But I did feel like a horrible person. I had guilt not only stemming from my love for Jade, but also for my tribe. I'd spent so many years in solidarity with my infertile friends. I'd even created a blog support group. (If anyone other than my SIL reads this and is interested in that, please lmk) I felt extremely guilty to be on the other side, now. I felt guilty for being a mom, for my dream coming true. I cringed when Spencer thought we should announce her arrival on FB. I stick to IG so that my friends can choose to follow me knowing that it'll be 95% baby pics and I'm not rubbing it in their faces. And good heavens, I will NEVER EVER complain. Ever. There's still a little guilt there, but by the grace of God, ALL of my infertility friends are becoming mommies! But I still want to be an advocate somehow. Even if it's only to pass the torch to another who has a woe of her womb. 
As for me and baby girl, Spencer went back to work and we immediately settled into our groove of eat, play, sleep, repeat. Everything is fun. I love rocking her to sleep, I love making her baby food and feeding her new things and her little faces, I love seeing her learn about her body and teaching her new things and going on adventures. I love tub time when we both get in and splash around. I love when the house is quiet and we rock in her chair in her room...her little oasis that has become mine.  Just us, and the joy in my heart.
Around two months, I told Spencer she was my best friend, and he was jealous, but said it was his only wish he'd had for me.  Luckily, I have a ton of best friends. But there's nothing like mother-daughter besties.

Friday, April 15, 2016

never be enough

We are going to be sealed as a family on Saturday. Finally. I just want it done. So many of our loved ones can't come, but we feel strongly that we can't postpone it a minute longer. I hope that doesn't mean anything.
After having to cancel, I'm kind of freaking out. Instead of sleeping, I'm making piles in my house of things to bring, checklists on my phone, in my head, so many things in my head. Our recommends...did I put them away after last time? Do I need new slippers? Will she be able to wear her bonnet? Don't forget the bonnet. Or the blanket. Or her headband. Bring the AMMENDED record of adoption, not the original. Stupid attorney. I feel sick.
Vaya got the flu somehow and was sick all last week, then Spence and I got it. On Monday I ended up in the hospital with severe hydration. I didn't feel normal until today, when meanwhile, Spencer had a MAJOR upset at work. He has to work tomorrow to make up for Monday and it looks like my mom can't take me to run errands. (Crap! I need foundation!) Also, I forgot Belle's birthday till mid-day the day of. It's been a bad week. It seems like there's been an unnecessary amount of puke. And stress. I can feel Satan's sneaky pull. I cannot wait for Saturday to get here so he knows he's defeated and backs off for just a minute.
 I can't wait to kneel across the altar with my sweetheart, with our little angel in between us, and say those magic words, those vows, that bind us for all eternity.
Eternity will never be enough with my three goofy babies.