"Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn."
Here it comes. I'm sitting down to write now with the kids dreaming in the slanted daylight of midday nap time, and I'm just going to let it flow. I'm not sure exactly what will come out or what I'll type, but I do know this, it will be real. Real life. It's easy in this culture to share, and to over share. And though I don't always like to "air my laundry" per se, I like to be real. I love to meet people who inspire me and hope to inspire others as we all live this life together, and share. Share our ups and downs, share joys and fears. And this space here? While I share recipes we've tried and loved and clothes that the kid's want to live in, it's also a place for me to sort thoughts and emotions, to fold them and knead them until something beautiful happens. Until everything mixes together and after some time and some heat, what's pulled out in the end is a delicate balance of hard edges that are made better by a soft and tender center.
So I'm about to share, and mix in thoughts and feelings, and in the end we may have a mess or we may have the perfect loaf to share together. Let's see.
(End of a very long disclaimer.)
It was the perfect setting for the announcement, just before Father's Day the one test I took gleamed with pink lines. Two of them. I cried and I smiled. I felt my stomach and said hello to the little gift of life that I had the privilege to carry. I'd been extremely tired, and now I was so happy to be tired. Car rides made me queasy, and now I welcomed the queasiness.
I marvel at the beauty of women's bodies, at the way just a seed can bloom into life and grow. How our bodies become nutrient centers and give life to something, to someone, that otherwise couldn't sustain it.
Plans were already being laid for a fun "last" Christmas with our two littles and a big belly promising a third. January 28, 2013 already had a countdown running with apps on our phones and a check mark on the calendar, and the thought of a Florida winter baby had the corners of my mouth turned up. Yet, somewhere deep down, I think I knew.
And just as I'm not the only woman who's gone through this process, this awe, this excitement to hold in your arms what you've been holding for months in a little belly cacoon, I'm also not the only one who's lost. And this time, after almost 12 weeks of giving life, of learning of life inside me and of loving that little precious life, last Saturday night my water broke and seconds later we said goodbye to our tiny one-and-a-half inch baby as my heart shattered into the tears I was leaving on the floor.
Now, one week later, fresh, warm tears still well up as I write.
Though that night it took awhile for me move outside of the solace I felt in the arms of my husband, I also felt peace. I feel peace.
We prayed and we rested and we know that this isn't the end, not even close, but rather the beginning of the rest of our story, of our family's story. Yes we are sad, yes we feel loss and yes I grieve, but we aren't devastated. We're so blessed by the two beautiful children that we're privileged to raise, and though they may not understand fully, they know that this mama's needed some extra love this past week, and they give it wholeheartedly.
Last Saturday, I joined a league of extraordinary women who've felt loss, and many more than once, who crave a little bundle to hold in their arms, who desire the chance to "be with" child or to have another... and together we look with promise to the future. I may not be holding this tiny bundle in my arms come the start of the new year, but hopefully my body will be a gentle home, carrying one.
I know there's comfort in the fact that this happened fairly early, that I hadn't felt movement or kicks yet, and my heart goes out to those who've experienced the true and tragic loss of their loved ones. People who expected nothing but life and had it taken at the hands of another, like in the recent and devastating events in Aurora, people who've loved and held and yet have still lost.
I'm strengthened in knowing that with all of the disappointments in life there are many more opportunities for joy and excitement, for fresh starts and new chapters. And though some days may begin with the corners of my mouth turned down, I know it doesn't have to stay that way. All it takes sometimes is a little smile, a small step, the beginnings of a grin... and it grows.
Yes, it sucks to have to run to the drugstore and choose between packages of Always and Stayfree when I was just recently in the other aisle smelling Burt's Bees Baby Oil. And it sucks when I can't blame the word I can't think of on "pregnancy brain" or when I realize it's ironic that I packed bright red jeans to wear on our trip because I couldn't find that white skirt... and I'm grateful for it.
But those are the days where the seed of a contagious, and somewhat sarcastic, smirk turns into something more, and as the corners of my mouth turn up, so does my day.
We are doing beautifully, we are living in sweet peace and our smiles have been jumpstarted by the outpouring of generous texts, calls, flowers, emails and hugs from friends.
I feel loved, I feel blessed and deep down I know, this really is in fact the beginning. The beginning of the rest of our story... a new chapter. And I will start it with turning the corners of my mouth up.