Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It All Comes Down to This

Summer is waning, much as I hate to admit it. I glanced at the calendar the other day and realized that, in four weeks, school begins. My daughter starts 4th grade on a Tuesday, and my son begins kindergarten two days later, a shortened week of two 1/2 days before beginning full days the following week.

And I was browsing our community magazine a day or two ago, looking at the library's offerings for children, preschool story times, baby sign classes, and realized: It's over. My boy is too old for story time now, we've left it behind. We've left behind the diapers, first steps, nap times, all those baby things I love.

This is what we work for, as parents, we work to leave behind the baby years, we nurture our children and encourage them to take risks, feed them their fruits and vegetables, push them out and away from our protecting arms because it is what we are supposed to do. They are supposed to grow and change and leave us.

But I don't want them to leave me.

I am just past 40 now, closing in on 41 -- my birthday is in just a few weeks. I spent the decade of my 30s focused on babies -- having them, wanting them, overcoming the grief of losing one, deciding whether or not to have anymore. We first started trying for a baby when I was 29, though didn't manage pregnancy for over a year, along with the help of medical intervention, and my first child was born when I was 31. Three years later, Ben. 20 months after that, James, just before I turned 36. Followed by four more years of wanting another, debating having another, knowing all the while that there would be no more babies for us. (I am not quite reconciled to this decision, nor do I think I will ever be.)

And though there are many years of parenting ahead of me, I am having trouble letting go of that baby-obsessed decade. I'm having trouble letting go of the best things I've ever done, trouble pushing them out of the nest. And this is what it comes down to: letting them go, when I will always want to hold them in my arms like I did when they were born.

There is so much I didn't know: how hard it would be, nor how wonderful. How fast they would grow and leave me behind.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Baby Candle

Some of you may recall that my husband and I light a special candle every year on the anniversary of Ben's birth. This candle was given to us by friends and used on the day of his memorial service; we light it only once each year.

Friends of mine started a company, Luna's Light (there's another link over there on the right), in memory of their sister Shannon, who died unexpectedly in her early 20s. They provide resources for grieving families. Recently (ok, not so recently; a few months ago - I am remiss in posting this) we met up for coffee and conversation, and they gave me one of their company's newest offerings, a baby candle.  (And yes, I totally stole this image from their site...a better picture than I could do! Michele & Kelly, let me know if this is not ok!)

It really is a gorgeous candle and I love having something to light "just because" I miss Ben. His other candle is special, only for his anniversary, while this is special because my friends gave it to me in his honor and I feel free to use it whenever I want. 

Click on over (to go right to their candle selection, click here - they have many more), browse around, place an order if you like or refer a friend. Tell them I sent you - they're great people and are devoted to helping anyone who is grieving a loss.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Go Read This Post

... and see if it doesn't change how you feel about your day.

Jennifer Lawler's daughter Jessica has a seizure disorder. When she was 9 months old, surgeons removed half of Jessica's brain. Her daughter is 13 now and they just received the bad news that Jessica has a hole in her spine, which surgeons hope to fix on August 10th. Jennifer wrote this post over on her blog, Finding Your Voice, which might just rip your own heart to shreds.

Go read it, and send a prayer, or good thoughts, or whatever you believe in, their way.