Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Survivor's Guilt

A few months ago, I met a lovely lady who came to visit my dad in the hospital. A couple months later, I found myself reaching out to her after her son had been diagnosed with Transposition of the Greater Arteries. The same heart defect Sadie has. I tried to think of comforting things to say. Tried to encourage her and avoid mentioning the horrors of surgery. Tried to assure her that the surgery was usually successful (it is).

Tonight, as I watched Sadie sachéing across the floor in her first-ever ballet class, I found myself perplexed by the tears that were in my eyes. When I stopped to think about the emotion inside, it was easy to pinpoint its source. Four years ago I would have never fathomed that she would be the happy, healthy, hilarious little girl she has become. I wouldn't dare dream of it. Four years ago I sat in the hospital and was told she was the sickest TGA baby they had ever seen, that her kidneys may be failing, that it was so, so serious. But Sadie survived. Not only surivived, but thrived. And here she was, tonight, the cutest ballerina in the class in her bright orange tutu. And graceful to boot. How could I keep those happy/sad tears at bay on such a momentous occassion?

And then I looked down and saw the text message. Baby Zachary had passed. Only 10 days old. The same heart defect as Sadie. Our same town. At the very same moment I felt tragically sad, unbelievably grateful and incredibly guilty that my child survived yet another did not. It's hard to put words around. I looked back up at Sadie, beaming at me as she learned to plié, and smiled through the no-longer held in tears. I'm sure the instructor thinks I am insane.

I don't know what to do with myself tonight. So, I'm going to go snuggle and give thanks for my beautiful soccer-playing violinist and the prettiest little ballerina ever.  It's the only thing I can think of to do right now. Snuggle and breathe in every moment with them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This New Life...

It's hard to believe a whole month has gone by since my last post. Life seems to move at warp speed these days. Being a single mom takes so much more time and effort than I ever imagined! I have a whole new respect for my fellow single moms to say the least.

Since the last post, Katie turned 8. EIGHT!!! It's hard to believe. I celebrated with my usual tear-fest over her baby pictures, wishing I could turn back time, or at least reduce the speed at which it goes by. I'm so very proud of her - she is an awesome kid. So kind and compassionate, an awesome little artist, very determined and very, very strong. I think people who are close to her forget how very strong she is, in fact. She has gone through a ton of change in the past year - the loss of her favorite pet and a favorite uncle. A family split apart, a grandmother with very grave medical conditions, a grandfather who took a near fatal fall, a daddy who isn't around as much, a new school, a mommy who works outside of the home for long hours. That's a LOT of change in a short period of time, and while others think she's not doing well, I think she's doing fantastic. It's ok to cry, it's ok to question and it's ok to be angry - all natural parts of dealing with change. I still worry and fret over what this all does to her self esteem and self worth, but I think she's getting there and accepting more of it all with every passing day.

To celebrate Sadie's 4th birthday and Katie's 8th, the girls chose to once again have a joint birthday party. This one was held in our home (Dear God!) with more than 20 kids present. I lost track at 20... it's kind of counting guppies in a tank - they never stop moving and they're constantly moving from group to group so you can't get an accurate head count. It was fun for both the kids and adults I think, though as I do every year, I swear not to have another party in the home of that magnitude. Ah well, at least I didn't bring in live animals this year.

The girls' schedules this year are a bit insane. Katie has violin two nights a week, soccer one night and every Saturday and Sadie starts "bawaway" (ballet) tomorrow. Never a dull moment around here. I miss the younger years when activities did not take over our evenings. Our nights off are spent on homework, playing outside with the neighbors and the occassional walk to the park.

In other news, I've started to date a little bit. It's so weird to be back 'out there' at 30-something, and as a single mom. I'm enjoying it thus far, though there are no real connections to be found yet. It's more an opportunity to get out and meet new people, see new places, stuff like that. And it helps me, of all things, to put a focus back on what I want out of life, where I want to go next and who I might be interested in getting there with. If nothing else, I get some great stories out of the experiences, and it's a cheap form of therapy every time you meet a new person and get to tell your life story.

So, that's life in a nutshell at the moment. Work is going really well (I love it!), the girls are adjusting, once again to the latest change that the new school year brought about, I'm adjusting to single mommydom and life keeps ticking by. I'm working on some plans for a (gasp!) vacation early next year I hope - it's long overdue for the girls and I to get away and regroup.