Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Love Fearlessly

Today I'm happy. I have decided I don't think I'm made for unhappiness. It doesn't suit me. I just can't do it for long before I have to find a way to laugh or I will lose my mind. My natural state tends towards smiles and laughter and joking. I have been allowing myself my sadness, but I'm also trying to allow myself my happiness and remember that that is a state I'm allowed too. I'm trying to just concentrate on all the love and caring that's been going on around here. Plus, I still have my 2 year old, Lyra, who forces me to laugh and be present and happy. She's pretty convinced I'm the island goddess from Moana, so I do have standards to live up to. My husband, Travis, says I am like the island demon from Moana, but hey, can't win them all. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately in this mood I've been in. If nothing else, through these miscarriages, I've learned some important lessons about myself and about what love means to me.

As I was in the process of adding another child to our family, I thought about what a lot of second go around parents think about; will I love this new child as much as my first baby? The first time I met Lyra, I was lucky enough to be one of those people, and have one of those births, where the immense love I felt for her was immediate and instant, it didn't take any time for that bond to develop in me. It was a weird thing to instantly have that love appear where it hadn't existed a second before. Not that I didn't care for Lyra during the pregnancy, only that meeting her added a new dimension and made it all the more concrete to me. I would say I love her with my whole heart, but that doesn't seem like the right description to me because then there would be no room for anyone else. And there is so much room. I also love Travis, my brother, my parents, my best friends. I guess what I'm getting at is all the reflection I've been doing lately has made me realize I don't have a finite amount of love in me. So it makes me unafraid to keep giving it out. Because love is one of those rare things that always comes back at you bigger and more intense than you sent it out.

I don't mean to sound all, "I'm so much more enlightened than you," or all woo woo "love is flawless and makes everything perfect." I've just been looking for a way to make peace with everything that's gone on in my life lately and a way to live comfortably with all the emotions in my head. It just helps me knowing I can come out of this intact and being able to explain to myself just why that is.

I have different types of love, sure, but none of it takes from another.  Loving my brother doesn't make me love Lyra any less. Just like my parents love my brother and I both, but of course they don't love us the same way or for the same reasons. It was an important lesson for me in sharing, having Lyra. It made me almost annoyed and territorial at first. I had this perfect pure little baby I grew and who was solely mine, physically, the first 9 months. Sharing with Travis came somewhat more naturally, but it was hard sometimes feeling like everyone else was laying claim to my baby just by loving her. I mean, I understood it logically, I always wanted her to love and be loved, but it's hard to let go of someone you never want to be hurt ever. It was like taking my heart from my body and sending it out into the world completely unprotected. I felt like if someone else loved her, it took away from the importance or value of my love for her. If that makes any sense, its so hard to put that feeling into words. And jealousy; I wanted to be the reason for every smile and always the person she wanted. But the reality of watching people love her and seeing her love them back has changed that for me. And being a person's everything is exhausting. I feel like I was only afraid because I didn't quite get the fact that she could love Travis as much as she does me, she just loves us for different reasons and in different ways. Or that she could love her grandparents and have fun with them and that didn't change the fact she'd still want her mom at the end of the day. I've learned to embrace the village as a bonus, not a threat. Because that village is full of the people who love and take care of your baby when you can't possibly manage, when you have another baby who needs everything you have.

Regarding that village too, I've gotten better at understanding how to spread my needs and finding the best way to be supported in those different needs. And I've learned a lot about my friends. I'd call Travis my best friend. But he's not the only one I'd give that title too. I talk to them all and lean on them for different things depending on the situation. Doesn't make any one of them any less dear to me. None of my friendships came about in the same way, so they're all unique now. Jeri and I bonded over school stress, break-ups, and timing (we were both hot messes in the same general time frame). That's a different bond than Emily and I, who bonded over embarrassing middle school moments and mean girls. So now I text Emily more often about parenting stuff. And I text Jeri almost anytime I'm annoyed at Travis and want to complain about him (sorry, Travis). I know who to text when I just need some distraction and goofiness. I know what friends I don't have to talk to everyday but are easy to pick up where we left off on the rare visit we get. I've also learned what friends are unhelpful in some situations and who I should just have realistic expectations for to not end up hurt. The newest thing I've started to really notice is the acquaintances and strangers who surprise me with kind words and gestures. I have heard it said that losing a baby shows you who your true friends are. It's been true for me. I have a lot of true friends. And I have more lifelong friends than I ever realized. The ones who are there for you, year after year, who you can go back to after fights or distance or just when plain old life busyness separates you temporarily.

So it's been surprisingly easy for me to love each new baby without holding back. I knew I could continue to give my heart away, as it were, because it just keeps growing back and then some. I did have a hard time for a bit, feeling like I'm grieving harder for this last baby than my first miscarried baby. But I'm trying to accept that it's OK that this is hitting me harder right now. It's something that's happened twice now, this was physically rougher, and hormones are playing with my head harder. I'm just trying to remember it doesn't mean I loved that other baby any less, just that now I'm grieving doubly. I just love them differently. Plus I had a lot more time to anticipate this recent baby, this one wasn't a surprise. Being sad for this last baby more than I'm sad about that first baby right in this minute is OK. I've also already had time to be sad for that first baby. And of course I love Lyra differently than these babies, I get to see her everyday and I get to know her as a person. I love her without sadness so it will always be different than how I love these babies as just memories.

I'm still struggling with some things. Our baby's remains will be sent back to us sometime this week. I have no idea when. I know that delivery will take me out when I least expect it because when else would it happen? So probably this weekend will be a visit to the funeral home and also Lyra's second birthday. And also the date my brother attempted suicide years ago. A grab bag of emotions right there. Then there's the little day to day reminders. A lady asked me recently if Lyra was my only. I didn't feel like explaining so I just said, "Yes." That sucked.

I keep thinking how true it is the saying, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." For being so cliche, it is still so true. So for all of these thoughts lately, I'm getting a tattoo to remind myself. Love fearlessly. That's my new life mantra, it seems a worthy goal.

I've been listening to music constantly and it's really helping me cope. I'm gonna drop a few of the song that I keep in my head lately. A little playlist for happiness. And I'm gonna toss in my favorite literary tidbits.

The first couple quotes are from the golden compass.

"We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that."

"Every atom of me and every atom of you...we'll live in the flowers and the dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't be able to take just one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight."

"She wondered whether there would come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him-didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish is forever."

And good old Dumbledore.

"Darkness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."

"The ones who love us never truly leave us."

 As for the songs that have helped me pull it together. Here's just a list if you feel like listening.

No Such Thing As A Broken Heart by Old Dominion
The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti and Spearhead
Poet by Bastille
I Lived by One Republic
Life in Color by One Republic
Wash Away-reprise by Joe Purdy (the version from LOST)
Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
Swim by Jacks Mannequin
Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

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