My baby, the one who sleeps in the room next to mine, the one who looks so much like her brothers, is a blessing. When I was about six months pregnant, someone said to me that she would be a blessing. At that moment, still unable to believe that she would even be born, I managed to respond “But… I still wanted my other two babies.” I look at her now though, and see the tremendous light that she brings. Always a reminder of her sisters that came before her, and I will always make sure that she knows that.
It was somehow easy to think “This is it. We made it.” We survived the two worst years of our lives, and now are holding our blessing.
Even though I did not “plan” for her birth in allowing myself to purchase any baby necessities, my mind did wander. I looked ahead to our future. I envisioned vacations with three kids. I speculated how we would make the best use of the space in our house. I thought about the impact on our family spending and savings with another child at home. I wondered which activities she would participate in, like her brothers – taekwondo, or swimming, or something else.
But it occurred to me the other day that we have not passed some threshold of invincibility. Lightning can strike twice. Lightning did strike us twice when we lost Iris. I read the news and see pictures of the horrific aftermath from natural disasters lately and think of the losses of possessions… and the people who lost their lives… and the losses of everything they knew. We could still face some type of other adversity; a loss of a loved one, or illness, or loss of security, or an accident, or a dozen other life-altering events.
In my hormonal postpartum state, I burst into tears that night at the thought of some future, undefined obstacle. Ger held me close and reminded me of the strength of our family. However, I looked back at all of the darkest moments of the past two years and the times when it seemed impossible to move forward and wondered how we would continue to find strength if hit again.
Fall is here. Autumn is here. The weather is unusual in it’s heat for the past few days. Heat always makes me short-tempered and tired. Fall brings changes, but for once I want things to stay the same. The uncertainty caused the shape of myself to shrink and I am desperate to reform myself. “Move forward” as Ger says, but I think I will call it “reshaping.” Taking those crumpled pieces of myself and trying to smooth them into a new shape. A crumpled piece of paper can never be completely flat again, but the wrinkles can be removed.
My wrinkles are my fears. Fears of something will happen to my family again. The way that I functioned “before” was a person who occasionally worried, but they were fleeting moments. The wrinkles are as permanent as the lines that have formed on my face, but I can work to smooth, to ease the fears. To not let the fears cripple me.
It was so dark, for so long. Now light has entered; shining golden Autumn sun. I can stitch together the blessings in my life and let them form a weight to smooth out the wrinkles.