I've put a pin in writing this post, and hoped and prayed my collection daily mental entries wouldn't escape me when I finally had the time and emotional space to do so. I intended to dive in right after reading Angie's entry. I'm so glad she's hosting this again. I felt a RWIA post brewing in me for the past few months. I needed something to get me back into my blog, however, I make no promises or commitments to regular posts - though I'd like to be doing so. This project seemed like a good reason to try to sort some of the entangled emotions I've been living with.
I haven't read any entries from anyone this year, nor have I re read my own from previous years. I wanted to really feel where I am right now... and going back to what I was feeling months out, and then just over a year out... well, I know it would cause me to reflect rather than just take in and let out what I'm feeling now.
Theodore is 15 months old now. He's been "sleeping the night" (a whooping 8-9 hours uninterrupted) for a little over a month now. It's been a needed and welcomed change. I still only get roughly 5-6 hours of sleep every night plus a bit of a cat nap in the early morning hours... and it's my fault. I put Theo down for 9:30-10, and I stay up. I read blogs. Catch up on IG. Watch a bit of TV. I feel like it's the only real time I can check out freely from my responsibilities and relax. When Theo naps during the day, it's often random and feels rushed when I try to do something I'm really interested in finishing. (I'm writing this now as he naps, and I'm feeling the pressure). It's a little bit of "me" time, and I get to shake off my day. I've always been a night owl. I've been staying up late since high school. But I need to change my natural tendencies, because sleeping in until 8 or 9 AM isn't realistic at this point in my life.
I finally drag myself to bed around 11:45-12 midnight. Sometimes I crash right away, and other nights I'm up thinking about the future or the past. Theo wakes between 6-6:40, and I nurse and try to get another hour of solid sleep if Daniel is up (and willing!) to take him downstairs for the day. All that being said, I'm doing much better with sleep and functioning normally these days. I don't miss the nights being up 3-5 times tending to an irrational baby who just.wont.sleep.
That point can bring me to my anxiety regarding having more children. It's a hot question these days. It seems to be the FIRST one from other moms when they meet me and Theo. "So, when's baby #2 coming??" My go to answer is always, "Another baby? Years, not months away... I'll tell you that much."
I want more. I NEED more. But I don't know if I can do it. Maybe my tune will change after we've been in a solid, predictable sleep schedule for a few more months (or YEARS), but right now I'm seriously doubting my ability to go through the trenches of sleep deprivation again.
I do want more children though. I want them because I always pictured having more than one (living) child. I want to have siblings for Theodore to grow up with. And, I want to have more children because I'm selfish, and I need to have another infant to take care of and breathe in. I know I JUST said I cant do the whole sleep deprivation part again, but I need to experience having a baby for the reason of just having a baby. Not to say I'm trying to get back what I lost when Alexander died; but I need to go through a pregnancy, and have a baby for the simple fact that we want to expand our family. Not because our baby JUST died and we desperately NEED a living child to have and to hold.
When we brought Theo home, I was a wreck. I was living in a parallel state for so long. Part of me imagining and realizing "this" is what life was supposed to be like 14 months ago... and simultaneously trying to be present with my new son.. who was RIGHT HERE... in the flesh...crying... nursing...cooing... And it was just such a fucking shame that I had to do both. Because in turn, I felt like I was no where. Not present. Not 100%. Trying for the perfect in between my two lives was such a stealer of real life. 2 babies later, and I STILL feel like I haven't had a "babymoon" stage. Baby 1 - ripped apart by loss and living with a new grief. Baby 2 - in shock and awe of what my life consisted of, and living in a state of what next...? and waiting for the other shoe to fall. I'm really yearning for that normalcy that comes with a new baby. I know I'm reaching. I know I'm in la la land over here. But it's what I feel. It's where I'm at.
These days (similar to last year, but minus the shock) I'm really trying to find a balance between staying in the moment and being present, and letting my mind wander to the land of "if Alexander had lived" scenarios.
Example: When Theo turned 6 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been when we got pregnant with Theo. When Theo was 7 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been at my sisters wedding. When Theo turned 14 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been when Theo was born. My sister had a baby in September 2013, almost 5 months to the day after Theo was born. If Alexander had lived, I would have had a 19 month old toddler (instead? as well?).
I love Theo. I want nothing more of him. He cant be any more perfect. There isn't an aspect about him I wish were different. I'm desperately trying not to make him living proof of all that I once lost.
I am not sad every day like I once was. I am not depressed and down on my life. But I'm also not extremely happy. Like, that extreme happy that just eats you up and makes you want to constantly sing songs from your favorite movie soundtrack. I'm not comfortable or complacent with how everything has panned out. I often want to run away. Pick up and move to the other side of the country... or world.
I wonder about other blm's (and I mean on a WORLD WIDE, EVERY ONE THAT EVER EXISTED type of "other" statement) and if everyone is doing a whole lot better than I am. I know where I get hung up on things. And it's primarily related to family comparisons and timelines [read: should be 19 month gap between my first and my sister's first]. There is still an ugly, scowling, bitter woman who can look at other people with their families and think, that used to be me dammit! I know I need to work on a lot. I was commenting to Daniel the other day that I used to be a person that really wasn't affected by other people and their accomplishments/achievements/life plans ... and the list goes on. I was really walking in my own shoes. My stride felt exactly right, and no matter what pace anyone else was running the race at, I felt just fine with what I had going on. Now? Well shit. Now is when all that bitter, angry, ugly stuff comes up when I catch wind of the latest news on how so-and-so is doing in their pregnancy, or new baby, or first baby or whatever. (BLM'S EXCLUDED)
I'm missing a bit of how easy everything once felt.
I know this is my battle to overcome. No one else's life should have an impact on how I manage my feelings. No one else's life should determine whether I'm able to find a state of being ok with my own.
WAY easier said than done...these days.
I've been having trouble finishing this post as Theo has been up for the last few paragraphs. He plays behind me, and makes his way over and reaches for items on my desk. He chatters and brings me things. His little doe eyes stare up and beg for interest and response into every item he evaluates. My heart explodes and my chest feels so achy I could cry. I love him. I am in love with every cell in his body. His essence and around-ness brings me a comfort I cant put into words. He saves me every day, over and over with his simple existence.
And I know my love for him is different because his older brother isn't here. I know the feelings I have for him and the role he has in my life are complexed by the tragic fact that my first born child died.
I know nothing will ever be better because of Alexander dying. But I hope that my love for my living child(ren) is only ever richer because Alexander existed.