We went to the Children's Heart Network Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning and it was a bit of a gong show for Lauren from the get go. She is starting to be more vocal about what she wants in the form of crying, becoming human spaghetti and just plain losing her mind (the terrible twos are hitting a few months early. Ugh).

For Lauren, the highlights of the day were getting to ride the escalator, wandering through the ballroom and sitting in other people's chairs and eating mini Oreos. Her lowlights were all of the typical breakfast with Santa things: the fancy dress, the breakfast... and Santa.

She only kind of liked Santa at the end when he gave her chocolate (though, come to think of it, I don't think she got any of it, did she, Matt? Hmm, I wonder where it went). It was an exhausting morning of chasing Lauren around, but overall she had fun (I think).

It was also interesting to chat with some of the other moms there. There is a sense that this breakfast with Santa is different than others because there is a common thread that links us together. While we all share the joy of our children and their present health, everyone slips so easily into talking about our children's conditions that it made me very aware of just how much that is a part of my life. We act like normal moms and dads, but we carry the weight of the fragility of our children and the knowledge of what it is like to fear for their life like a cloak.

When I talk about Lauren, I have a way of sounding positive about what a miracle it was to be at the hospital when we were, that she didn't need a transplant but could keep her own heart and about how, even though she has a pacemaker, she can run circles around "regular" kids. Yet, even when I speak like that, I am always aware that I am holding back from recognizing the weight that I am wrapped in that is stitched together from fear, loss, grief and sorrow. Besides, no one wants to hear me constantly going on about stuff like that. It was so long ago and I should be over it by now. But unfortunately, I am not.

Right now I'm struggling. There are triggers in some of the strangest places that make that invisible cloak that I wear something that can seem too heavy to bear. I feel like I always need to be strong, like sharing this makes my faith appear weak or that I'm not over something that happened a year ago. But I'm just trying to be real.

Today, I spent much of the day crying. Lauren has a bit of a cold and I wasn't feeling awesome so I decided that we would watch A Muppet Christmas Carol this morning. It was fine until Tiny Tim came along with his sick little self. Yes, he was a muppet. Yes, I know it is a movie. But I also know the feeling of almost losing a child. I know Tiny Tim doesn't die in the end, but again, I know that story all too well from my own life with Lauren. Sometimes I get lost in my tears and the crying seems to go on forever. At times like that, it can help to hold Lauren close and, while I would rather that she didn't see me cry, she sits in my lap and wipes away my tears while giggling at the water that comes from my eyes. She will gently hold the sides of my face and it helps to feel her presence in my lap. I know that she is alive and well, but that doesn't stop the feelings from becoming overwhelming.

I hope this next baby is super boring. I don't think I can take any more excitement. I think that the baby hormones are helping to trigger all of this crying, but I also want to make sure that I don't slip back into depression, which I know can happen easily in times of stress or change. So I'm going to work on consciously fighting back against these feelings. That doesn't mean that I can't cry or I have to stop experiencing feelings, but it means that I need to work hard to live in the present and not allow triggers to have that power over me. I guess that I will be watching A Muppet Christmas Carol a bunch over the next few weeks. It's a good thing that as soon as it finished, Lauren started doing the sign for "more"! Yes, Lauren, you'll get to watch it much, much more.

In just a few days, it will be exactly a year since her final surgery. While I know that the date will bring up those fears and fragility that I hate to feel, I also know that it will be an important day in our family. What an exciting day that will be! I'm sure that on that day I will shed a few tears, but I think that most of them will be tears of thankfulness. Lauren can laugh with/at me as I cry for joy.

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about how to comment. Some how it doesn't seem right that you are so vulnerable on your blog and for me not to respond. You are in my prayers. I pray that this season of celebrating the season of Emmanuel - God With Us- will bring you comfort, peace and joy. A Blessed Christmas to you, Matt and Lauren.


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