These Boys of Mine blog

The Hidden Scars of Miscarriage

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I’ve experienced a pain that no mother every wants to endure – an awful nightmare that came to life not just once, but twice in my journey to motherhood. I’m not sure why I was chosen to become a mother to two angels, or why my children were never allowed to know life outside of my womb. Even now, nearly three years later, I think about that question at least once per day. I question the existence of a God that would allow me to go through such pain and not allow a baby to meet his mother and father.

Some say it is time for me to move on with my life and focus on the two beautiful children I do have here on Earth. While I’ll always be eternally grateful for them, I still question and wonder about my other two babies and why they both were given to me then ripped away. That burden is mine to carry until I take my last breath. I wear it around like a giant scar on my chest, similar to an open heart surgical patient, with a massive scar in the center of my chest. As if someone reached into my chest, tore out a piece of my heart, sewed me back up and then came back six months later and did it again. What’s left is a heart that’ll never be the same. It’s been broken, tattered, and bruised too many times for it to ever go back to the way it once was.

This unbelievable burden is not something I would have chosen, then again, who the hell would? Nobody sets out on the path of trying to conceive in hopes of miscarrying. I never thought it’d happen to me. Yet, it did. It wasn’t until that moment when the ultrasound tech told me there was no heartbeat, though there had been just five weeks prior, that I realized how very often it does occur to mothers hoping to have babies –one in four. One in four women that want nothing in the world more than to hold a baby of their own, to rock her to sleep at night and sniff her precious head, or to hear his first cry in that cold hospital room. One in four lives changed in an instant. Hopes and dreams smashed all to hell with a simple sentence like, “There’s no heartbeat” or by simply going to the bathroom and wiping a streak of blood from herself. Just like that, a mother’s life is forever changed. Her soul is instantly tainted for the rest of time and she never knew her heart could break into that many pieces.

Some scars are carried like a badge of honor – police officers that get shot saving lives in the line of duty, though unfortunate they are remembered as heroes or a sister that gave her brother a much needed kidney bears the mark of a heroine that saved her little brother’s life. These aren’t the kind of scars we carry. We have fragmented hearts, stretch marks from babies we’ll never hold, and C-section incisions that will heal with time but nothing to show for them. Most of the world will never see our scars and while most days we are grateful for that it is also insanely tragic. The tragedy is in the fact that unless we speak of our lost babies, the world will never know they were here. That fact alone if perhaps the saddest part of losing a baby – to know that they were indeed here but the only part of them that remains is our memories of them in our hearts and the hearts of a select few others that loved them too.

Although there’s no way of undoing the damage that has been done to my heart or to stop wondering about what could have been, I will hold the spirits of my unborn babies deep inside of it for the rest of my life. There they will be at the center of my thoughts, hopes and prayers each day until I’m no longer a part of this Earth. There they will be safe, loved, and never forgotten.

Originally posted on the Grit & Grace Project

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These Boys of Mine blog

So God Made a Cat

In all of his creations, God had made the worthy, the loyal, the loving, and the hopeful. As God looked down upon the Earth, He decided it was time to mix things up a little bit. He wanted to create a being unlike any other. One that would make his beloved humans question their sanity yet look upon with total joy.

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So God made a cat.

God wanted a being that would be the counterpart of the loving dog He had created for the people of His Earth – where they were loyal, these creatures would be independent. Where dogs were loving to all, these creatures would choose their companions, and where dogs were made to be man’s best friend, this creature would be the apple of a woman’s eye.

So God made a cat.

He wanted someone that would thrive in the darkest of night – with wide eyes that could see more than most in the dark, a true slayer of all mice, and would jump on his owner’s head as he was in his deepest slumber.

So God made a cat.

God wanted a creature that humans would worship, from the ancients Egyptians to the modern day housewife. They would all bow down to her beauty, her gracefulness, and her pink little nose.

So God made a cat.

He wanted someone that could bring a little mischief to the world – a cup tipper, a counter climber or a string chaser that humans would make YouTube videos of their antics and bring smiles to millions of faces.

So God made a cat.

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God decided to give her eyes as big as saucers in all different shades, things called whiskers to help them sense danger and navigate their world, and claws to catch prey and dig at their owner’s new carpet.

So God made a cat.

He knew he needed an animal that could be destructive, vicious and brave, yet could turn even the coldest heart into mush with a rub upon his leg.

So God made a cat.

God wanted a being that was soft to the touch as if made of the fluffiest clouds in Heaven, with young that looked like tiny puff balls and made the sweetest of noises.

So God made a cat.

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God wanted a creature with a face that was not only striking, but also somewhat scary if perceived the wrong way.

So God made a cat.

He knew he needed someone that could sense incoming natural disasters in time to warn their owners and even pick up on their person’s mood and offer a warm friend to cuddle up with for comfort.

So God made a cat.

God gave her a voice that had many different sounds –  one for distress, one to beg for food, and one to warn a pesky toddler that she was about to strike.

So God made a cat.

God gave her the ability to emit a noise he titled “purring,” that would mean she was at peace in her bed, on a windowsill, or curled up on her owner’s lap.

So God made a cat.

He wanted a creature that was a walking contradiction. Somewhat selfish, demanding and indifferent, yet also giving, loving, and kind.

So God made a cat.

God most of all wanted a true companion – someone that could walk through life with men and women for up to 30 years if they were lucky. Someone that would make them laugh with their antics, soften their hearts with their faces, and love them when they were in need of a friend.

So God made a cat.
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For Tabby Jane, Izzy, Penny, Franklin, Panama, Ruff, Boots, Sparky, Nike, Pippy, Luna and Mosley – you are all in my heart and soul forever, my beloved feline friends. ❤

These Boys of Mine blog

I Hope My Kids Find Their Neighborhood Kid Tribe

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We stayed outside until the street lights came on, even later than that some nights. We played capture the flag, road our bikes to the store, and talked about kids at school that we didn’t like. We rode the same bus to and from school. We built forts in the woods behind my house and played Barbies in my basement. We had sleepovers and often ate meals at each others’ houses. It was an open door policy at both of our homes. Your parents knew that when you were with me, you were OK and mine appreciated you being a steady friend for me.

We were the kids of that second street past the high school on the left.

The neighborhood kids.

We met for the first time in my backyard when I was seven and you were five, and since then we’ve had a kinship that has spanned just over 20 years. Our bond was created over summers spent berry picking, dreaming about boys, and camping out in my backyard.

A kind of friendship that stems growing up two houses apart.

We played with the boy across the street, my older sister, and the kids around the corner, too. Endless fall nights playing flashlight tag, riding bikes on the trails next to all of our houses, and swimming in the only pool on the street.

We grew up together. We were all so close in age—each graduating a year or two behind another. We were all early to mid-80s-born babies, cementing the fact that all of our parents had been busy around the same time.

I look back on those days with fondness. Though many of us have lost touch or moved away, the memories of a childhood surrounded by friends on the same street will always remain.

Now that I’m a mom, I want what I had for my own kids. I want them to have friends they can simply walk up the road and knock on the door of and say, “Do you want to come out and play?”

I want them to have friends on the school bus on the first day of school—a familiar face of the kid across the street that will make them feel comfortable on that first journey to school.

I want them to have a place to go if they accidentally get locked out of the house when they are older and get off the bus before I get home—neighbors that I can trust to call me at work and remind him where the spare key is hidden.

I want them to form friendships that will follow them throughout their school years, maybe even ending up in the same class as some of the others.

I want them to know the kinship that exists between kids that grow up on the same street—like how that one neighbor will never buy whatever product the school has them trying to sell for the next fundraiser, so it’s best to skip that house all together. Or which one has the best Halloween candy.

I want them to know the best trees to climb in a two-mile radius and the best place to spot the neighborhood tomcat—all fun things shared between local kids.

I want this for them.

I want them to have what I had. I want them to find a best friend up the street or around the corner. I want them to grow up with neighborhood kids because it can be one of the best parts of their childhood should they be lucky enough to experience it.

This was originally published on Her View From Home

 

Snarkety Snarkness

Two Women at Target Fight Over Last Storage Container After Watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix Show

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A frenzy broke out at the local Target store on Friday close to the store’s closing time. According to onlookers, two women were caught fighting over the last 3 drawer storage organizer left in the store. Reportedly, 35 year-old Cameron Reeves had chased 32 year-old Liz Case through the home goods department and down towards the cash registers in pursuit of the 3 drawer organizer. The chase climaxed in front of one of the self checkouts at the front of the store as Liz tried to scan the bin and insert her credit card. Apparently, that’s when Cameron put at twenty dollar bill into the machine in an attempt to pay for the item herself.

Store manager, Harvey Yelle, told us that it first appeared that the two women may have been playing some sort of game or that they were familiar with one another in some way. However, upon further inspection, Mr. Yelle and some of his other employees were able to deduce that the women were fighting over the organizer.

“They were yelling at each other. Both of them were claiming to have put their hands on the organizer before the other one did,” stated one employee.

Once the staff realized what was happening, Mr. Yelle called in mall security since the Target was is anchor store of the Pinecrest Shopping Mall. When security arrived the women were still trying to pay the remainder of the cost of the 3 drawer organizer. Although Cameron had inserted a twenty dollar bill, there was still $5.00 remaining on the balance with taxes and the additional cost. To which, Liz was trying to pay with her credit card.

Mall security intercepted the fighting and asked both women to please come with him to the mall office for questioning.

When we were finally able to reach each of the women a few days after the ordeal they both had a different story to tell. Cameron Reeves told us that she was, “just going in to Target for a few things before the snowstorm hit the Northeast.” Mrs. Reeves said that as she rounded the home good section of the store she laid her eyes upon the multi-colored storage container and decided to purchase it.

Cameron said, “I had just finished watching Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix the night before and thought I could spend the snowstorm organizing my master bedroom since we’d likely be trapped in the house for a day or so. The show gave me the push I needed to organize, you know?”

She then went on to say that was when Liz Case came barreling around the corner and grabbed the organizer in one swift move. Also, that’s when Cameron decided to leave her cart of other goods and chase after Ms. Case.

“I wanted that organizer and I was like 3 feet away from it, getting ready to grab it and she just swiped it out of my hands basically! Who does that?” stated Cameron.

From the other perspective, Liz Case told us that she had casually walked towards the organizer and was slowly strolling towards the check out when she noticed Cameron was chasing her.

Liz stated, “I don’t know what happened. I had the 3 drawer organizer in my hands. I had went to Target specifically for that because I wanted to get my bathroom fixed up with tips from that Netflix show where the pretty asian woman organizes stuff. You know the one? Anyways, then I was going to try and pay for it but this crazy lady started chasing me through the store. What do you do when you are being chased? Well…you run of course!”

At last report, neither Liz or Cameron were being charged with anything by mall security or local police. Both women were released on their own recognizance but were not allowed to reenter that Target store that evening. When we spoke to the store manager he admitted that with the impending snowstorm and the release of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix the store had not been able to keep milk, bread, eggs or home storage and organizing containers in stock for more than a few hours. He hopes to get a truck in with all of these things after the storm passes.

* This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and Pinecrest mall is not a real place 😉

These Boys of Mine blog

Welcome to Motherhood, Where Friendships Go to Die

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When you become a parent so much of your life changes. Anyone that has children understands what a monumental impact becoming a parent has on your everyday life. It is all consuming from the very first time you hold your new baby. It’s hard to explain it to people that don’t have children or any concept of what it is like to have a tiny, living, breathing soul that is totally reliant on you to keep it alive. Like driving a car for the first time or losing your virginity, it’s one of those strange things in life that you just can’t grasp until you are in the thick of it.

Although motherhood changed me in so many ways, some amazing and some not, I think that the biggest impact it has had is on the friendships I had prior to becoming a mother.

I wasn’t prepared for the total isolation that can accompany the early days as a new parent. After everyone has seen the baby, they don’t stop by as much as they used to before his arrival. It turns out people don’t really love babies as much as the world tells us they do. There’s no offers to help, calls to check in, or free food left on your front porch while you are finally sleeping with your newborn in the recliner in the early morning hours.

Motherhood isn’t like the movies.

As it turns out most of your friends will forget about you. They will come visit you at the hospital to get their token new picture holding your baby and call themselves the child’s aunt or uncle on social media, but that’ll be the last time they’ll make any real effort to get to know your kid. The friends you had before you had your baby, the ones without kids, they will leave you in the dust.

Now, I don’t want to discredit the friends that have already walked the path of parenthood or the select few that actually care enough to stick it out with you through the early years of raising children. Those that have been there will certainly become your new best friends, as you now have the biggest thing in common that two adults can share a bond over. You may even get lucky and meet some new friends after you have your baby.

Everyone who has children has walked this path. There are countless articles that express the loneliness and loss of self that parenthood brings, but also ones that articulate the common theme of people that used to love us before we became parents only to forget that after we are.

Friendships are built on similar interests, fun times and a belief that two people can rely on each other through all of life’s hard stuff. Friendship is meeting another human in the most random of places whether it’s in the school yard, in the college dorm or at your new job, looking at them and saying, “I want that one!” It’s really quite funny how we meet a stranger and within a short amount of time they become like family to us. How crazy is that?

The funny thing about friendship though, is that unlike marriage, if one of you decides not to put the time in then it will die. Marriage doesn’t allow you the courtesy of walking away without some sort of repercussions. While, friendship doesn’t have any legally or spiritually binding obligations. If one friend wants out, they can just dip out the backdoor whenever they feel like it.

Of course the real recourse in doing this is a friendship that is like a house after a hurricane has come through. It’s an empty shell. There are walls still standing, pictures floating around in 3 feet of water and memories of a time that has come and gone. It happens slowly sometimes and fast other times. They end because of distance, differences in stages in life and disagreements over silly things.

The hardest pill to swallow is that parenthood is often to blame for the death of many friendships in people of childbearing age. It is probably the top reason why people lose touch, don’t make time and have their priorities shifted so dramatically and instantly to the point that personal relationships take a backseat because between caring for your kids, your spouse and yourself you just don’t have the time to meet up for coffee every week.

After the hurricane of early parenthood has passed and the flood waters have receded, you are left with something that needs to be torn down or rebuilt piece by piece. You really need to decide if it’s even worth rebuilding or if it’s time to just build something new where the old one once stood.

These Boys of Mine blog

Please Don’t Let Me Forget the Wispiness

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I’ve never been a baby person.
Not when my adorable little brother came home when I was eight-years-old. Not when my sweet baby niece was born when I was 19—and not even either time I became a mama to the world’s two most precious boys.
I think babies are a lot of work and I know with certainty I’m not alone in this thinking. I wished away most of my firstborn’s first two years of life just because it was so darn hard—the colic, the crying, the postpartum. I wished it away. I wanted him to be five-years-old instantly. And today, he is.
Time has a way of sneaking up on you. Tomorrow, next week, or two years from now always seems to be so far away. Our elders always tell us how quickly it all goes by, which always reminds me of that Kenny Chesney song, “Don’t Blink”—we don’t think about it at the time. We’re so caught up in the chaos of our everyday lives as mothers to young babies that we have no way of seeing it until after the fact.
Then just like that—it’s gone.
Maybe it’s because he’s my last that I’ve started to take notice. Or maybe I’m more of a baby person than I thought. But all I know is not a day has gone by in the last year that I haven’t stopped to soak in the wispiness of my second son’s ash blonde hair or the way he greets me with a smile every morning when I lift him from his crib.
And that other one? The one who made me a mama in the first place? I’ve learned to take long moments for him, too. The half-smirk I get when he rounds the corner of the school bus aisle and he tells me about his day as we walk hand in hand up our driveway after school. The way he has started calling me “mama” instead of “mommy” both melts and breaks my heart because I know that before too much longer, he’ll simply call me “mom” and I’ll miss being called by either of the former for the rest of my life.
While most days I go to bed tired and I still wish some of these days away, I am grateful to be conscientious enough to know that they won’t last much longer.
So for now all I can do is ask God to grant me the patience each day to remember.
To remember the way one laces his fingers through his afghan blanket as he sits with me in the recliner.
To remember the way the other one has mastered the art of the perfect pout face that makes me hope he thinks to thank his mom in his Academy Award speech someday.
To remember the way one was the actual embodiment of the cover of “Love You Forever” just the other day.
To remember the way the other one still lets me kiss his forehead before I turn out his bedroom light each night, though it probably won’t be much longer until he’ll think that’s uncool.
To remember the way they both still ask me for a refill of their juice, even though their daddy is standing right next to the refrigerator.
To remember the wispiness of the locket of dark brown hair that resides in a baby book upstairs and also the ash blonde lockets that still sit atop the head of my last baby.
All I can ask of God is to please, don’t ever let me forget the wispiness.

This was originally published on Her View From Home

Published Work

I Thought I’d Have Girls, But I Was Destined To Raise Boys

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I never thought I’d be a boy mom. I never thought I’d hear the words, “It’s a boy!” once, let alone twice, on my motherhood journey. The thought never crossed my mind. It wasn’t that I didn’t want boys; I can’t really tell you why I never thought I’d be a boy mom or why I never envisioned myself surrounded by tiny men, but I didn’t.
I always thought I’d be a mother of girls. I pictured pink and purple dresses, hair ribbons and soft brushes going through long brown hair. I pictured Barbie dolls, dance recitals, and stealing of my makeup. I pictured a younger version of me riding a sparkly fuchsia Huffy down our driveway while yelling back, “Look at me Mom!”
I pictured a bin full of hair accessories dumped on the living room floor, while I sat for her to play beauty salon with mom’s hair. I pictured us wearing matching Easter dresses and toenail colors. I pictured all things sass and sweetness rolled into one cute package.
Life has a way of surprising you. What you imagined your life would be like very rarely is exactly the same. Sure, some of the time it’s not what you had hoped for. Yet, sometimes, it turns out even better than you could have dreamed.
Sometimes, there’s a greater plan than the one we thought we wanted for ourselves. A bigger picture than the one we had always imagined.
I learned this for myself from the moment that ultrasound tech pointed at a penis on the sonogram screen. The life I thought I had wanted changed. All of my plans of having a miniature version of myself shifted. I wasn’t sure what to think then; I was a little unsure of the route. But, once my first baby was born, I was fully onboard with having a son. After suffering two miscarriages on our quest for our second baby, I was sure I’d still have a daughter. So when my rainbow baby turned out to be a boy, too, I was somewhat dumbfounded yet again.
It wouldn’t happen until my second son was mobile that I’d get it. I’d comprehend God’s grand plan for me as a mother of boys.
It took me awhile to notice it. At first, it was in small glimpses at what was yet to come. My older son using terms like “baby brother” with a big smile on his face. Or when people would say how much one boy looked like the other. Or when big brother would pick up little brother’s bottle and give it to him.
As the baby grew and my older son became more interested in him, I really started to see it. The way they would laugh at each other. The look the baby would give his big brother, as if he was the best thing he’d ever seen. The way my oldest would be excited to see his baby brother when he got off the school bus in the afternoon.
I started to realize I was given this job for a reason. I was meant to be the maker of a brotherhood. I was made to teach these future men how to be tender and tough all at the same time. I was made to show them a mother’s grace and what a strong woman looks like.
They were meant to be mine. When I see the connection they share I understand it. Although I definitely would have loved a daughter just the same, and being a mother of boys wasn’t a path I thought I’d follow, I know now it is my purpose in this life. To nurture, love, and encourage these two beautiful creatures into strong, caring, smart men. Is there a greater calling? I think not.
This post was originally published on Her View From Home