Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scream of Joy

My mother and I went to a quilting show this past weekend. It was fantastic. I had such a great time looking at the fabrics and imaging all the quilts I would make. I took William with me in his stroller and all the ladies enjoyed his chubby legs and big smiles. We were gone for about 6 hours.

When I got home I decided to take all the kids to get take-out for dinner. I had really missed them and I just wanted to be with them after a long day without them. They climbed into the car where William was already buckled. And I heard a scream. It wasn't an owie-scream or a leave-me-alone-scream. This one was of pure joy and it came froom tiny little William. He has found his siblings and was screaming because he was happy to see them. It just warmed my heart. At just 7 months old not only does he recognize his siblings, but he misses them when they are gone. In that moment I wanted to have 5 more kids, just so I could create more of those relationships of sibling love.

Twin Strollers - the enemy

I can spot them a mile away; twin strollers. This one was a tandem Babytrend Snap 'n' Go, blue, with two matching car seats, blue with green animals. I could tell from the door as I entered McDonald's. I stopped dead in my tracks, but my children bounced into the playroom hollering about food and playing first. I didn't have much of a choice except to follow them and prepare their meals. The kids scrambled to their seats and I plopped William into the highchair. I unwrapped burgers, squeezed out ketchup and opened containers of milk. I settled down to start spooning orange goop into William's open mouth when I realized I was staring right at the stroller and their mother. They were baby boys about 5 months hold. I couldn't see them very well except for the fuzzy light brown hair, chubby little legs, and the occasional arm swiping at their hanging toys.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dear Abby Original Text

Photo creates awkward situation

Published February 5, 2007

Dear Abby: I am writing on behalf of my friends at work. We have a co-worker, "Madge," who had a stillborn baby last year. It was tragic. Our problem is, she keeps a photo of the deceased infant on her desk in plain view, so that if we must interact with her (we have an open cubicle layout) we have to see it.

Is this appropriate? Ninety percent of the employees here are women. Most are appalled. Others say, "Well, it's all she has."

Madge is expecting again, and we are rooting for her and the baby. However, in addition to all this, she is mean and gossipy. Madge tells everyone what to do and how to do it -- which is not in her job description. I hope that when the baby arrives she will soften and not be so bitter. But, Abby, how on earth do we blow off that photo.

-- Appalled in the Midwest

Dear Appalled: While a person's desktop is usually private territory, I agree that the photograph you describe is inappropriate in an office environment. Because Madge feels the need to keep the picture of her stillborn baby close, it should be kept in her purse with other family photos, or in her desk drawer.

How very sad that poor woman must be. The person who should deal with this delicate problem is the boss or the supervisor.

For the complete text click here: Chicago Tribune

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dear Abby II

This was written in response to a Dear Abby letter in which Abby suggested the coworker speak to a supervisor about a lady who chose to display a picture of her deceased child on her desk. Abby mentions that it is inappropriate to have such pictures displayed at work.

Dear Abby,

I am writing in regards to your February 5, 2007 response to Appalled in the Midwest. Personally, I am shocked and appalled not
only by the ignorance of the writer, but by the fact that you have written a response that was so inappropriate and so hurtful and
harmful for the millions of families who have suffer a pregnancy or infant loss.

Years ago it was socially acceptable for people to ignore the loss of a baby. In fact, the thinking of the time was it would be best
for everyone involved to forget about the baby and move on, if you ignore what happened, all the pain would go away. We now know that type of thinking was not only wrong, but caused great damage and suffering for everyone involved. This type of thinking, along with the ideas of the writer and your response, are long outdated, and again, hurtful and harmful or the millions of families who have suffered a loss.

I get so lazy

With my daughter I was compulsive about babyproofing and cleaning, by the book. I obsessed about how many inches apart the slats should be on the crib. I refused to use baby equipment that my husband had used as a baby, the concerns of lead paint and safety rang clear in my ears. I wouldn't let my daughter in certain rooms of the house because I didn't feel they were clean enough. When she was placed on the floor it was on a blanket rather than on the dirty carpet.

Funeral, Burial, Cremation, Oh my!

These are your babies. You must decide what to do with them. No one would admonish a wife for choosing how deal with the remains of her husband and the same should be true for a mother. You must choose what is right for your family.

We chose to cremate our sweet sons. I don't know why. But it seemed right. It didn't cost us any less since we still had to buy a casket and it got cremated too. The plot wasn't any smaller. I don't know why, but it felt right. My mother-in-law offered to let us use the plot next to her husband. She purchased a double plot when he died. And then we could bury her with the twins when the time came. But we visited the infant/child section of the Catholic cemetary and it felt right. There were beautiful trees and statues. It seemed appropriate that all the young children be together.

How Many Children?

It used to be such a simple question. Akin to regular or decaf coffee, cash or credit, paper or plastic? Now a whole debate occurs in my head in the seconds between the question is asked and when I answer. A series of qualifications go through my head; will I ever see this person again, what do I gain in telling this person my story, am I strong enough today to get through the story, do I want to watch this person's face go from inquisitive to sympathy, how much time do I have to explain my story?

Today its the grocer and I smile politely, "3, 2 boys and a girl". But yesterday it was a fellow twin mom. I knew I couldn't ignore my twin sons with a reminder of what they would have been staring me in the face. I answer, "3 living children, and twins sons in heaven". I can't be this woman's friend with a lie between us. I must acknowledge my sons. Another day friends are talking about their pregnancy and I say, "when I was pregnant with the twins . . . "

Another day its a stranger in Target. I was feeling like I needed to aknowledge them that day. So I answer again, "3 living children, and a set of twins in heaven." Her reaction is obvious. She is so upset by this news. Now I am consoling her. Why do I have to console this woman? I find myself saying things like, "its okay, it was last year. I am alright now."

Now I am so careful when asking women seemingly easy questions. I know how much pain I endure with such a simple question. No one knows the debate in my head as I remember my sons and pray that they know I have not forgotten them when I answer, "just 3".