Holding on for dear life

Last night my daughter stayed up until 10 p.m. AGAIN.  Thankfully her father was home to rock her to sleep or I would have Lost. My. Mind.  The good news is that the glider company finally contacted me this morning and they're sending us a new base!  If that doesn't fix the problem … well, let's not find the poopie lining.  And pretend as if surviving the two weeks they're telling me its going to take for the thing to get here ISN'T the poopie lining.

The good news about Syd staying up so late is that, not unlike me, she needs 12 hours of sleep a night.  And so?  She slept in UNTIL TEN O'CLOCK THIS MORNING.  Awesome!  Right?!  It would have been awesome if I hadn't woken up at 7:15 and wondered until 10 (while lying in bed with my eyes closed) if she was ok.  More like obsessing about whether I should chance waking her to go in and check on her and reminding myself that she usually goes to bed around seven and then wakes up at seven but then again it was SO QUIET on the monitor and this alarms me and OBSESS OBSESS OBSESS.  I was so relieved when she finally started hollering at me (while holding onto the rail and jumping on the bed) to come get her.

This whole freak-out thing is not new for me.  I often can't restrain myself from checking on her at least once between the time I put her down to sleep and the time I go to sleep.  When she naps longer than her normal two hours during the day I start to get antsy that something's happened to her (instead of being relieved that I get more time to get things done around the house).  Now that she's mobile, everything seems like a death trap.  Even the 6-inch string on her little play telephone can be mentally worked into a strangulation hazard even though I'm sitting RIGHT THERE WATCHING HER. 

I think a lot of this is how parenthood goes.  Our worst nightmare is that our children would be harmed somehow … no matter how slightly.  Bumps and bruises are just a part of the transition little ones make from wiggly baby to mobile toddler.  It's part of the growing process for them to experience things and sometimes?  Experience hurts.  THIS KILLS ME.

Yesterday Sydney was taking a late afternoon nap – which is why she went to bed so late – and I once again got caught up reading a terribly sad (albeit inspiring) blog written by a woman whose unborn child had been diagnosed with an unsurvivable condition.  In incredible steps of faith this family decided to allow the pregnancy to run its course and the baby to be born.  She lived two hours.  I sat there at my computer yesterday quite literally sobbing.  I can't even count the number of times I have done this.  These stories matter.  They need to be told so that people don't have to go through it alone.  But should I be reading them?

In some ways I think I'm so sensitive about loss of this kind because we lost a baby in a miscarriage before Sydney.  I have not discussed it much here because I don't know how to … I guess I should say that I'm afraid to.  Do I really want to be like the blogs that I weep over on lonely afternoons?  The blogs that make me look up close at the sadness that being a parent sometimes means?  The ones who took the same risks that I did and have lost?  The ones that remind me of the horrible possibilities?

I have carried two babies and so the question about when life begins is moot in my mind.  How else would my daughter recognize her father's voice and turn her head to look for him in the delivery room?  How else could the stopping of the beating heart of our son crush us so desperately?  

And this is the nightmare that parents live with:  There is a possibility that we could outlive Sydney.  There is a possibility that if I become pregnant again that I could have another miscarriage, that some accident could happen during birth, SIDS, and then there's this cruel world waiting for them if they make it past those dangers.  I sometimes wonder if it's worth the risks.

And then? I open the door to her room and there's the little soul that I hold so dear.  She reaches out her arms for me because I am her Mama.  I get to be her Mama.  It strikes me that not everyone experiences that.  I realize in those moments that however long I get to be a part of her life is something that I was given, not something that is my right.  Every breath she breathes, every day we spend with her is a reminder that we were trusted with something big.  It is wild and uncharted territory and it is the adventure of our lives.  Even if I knew what the future held, I would not trade a single moment.  I will not stop trying.  I will not stop trusting.  I will not stop hoping.

Because this journey has changed my life – for the better – forever.





"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing
is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -A.


3 thoughts on “Holding on for dear life

  1. morgan s. says:

    Great, Manda. Now I am crying at my desk!

    Little ones are so precious and we are lucky for each moment with them, even the grumpy ones when they just will not Go To Bed.

    And nothing gets your fears and anxieties FLARING RIGHT UP than when you contemplate how even pregnancy, once you manage to get pregnant, is fraught with “ifs” and “what could go wrongs”…40 weeks is a looooooong time to try and hold down the worrying and then they are born and it multiplies by a jillion.

    Just hug and kiss them like crazy every day. I love the photos! It looks like Sydney gets lots and lots of kisses.

  2. Nora says:

    When I begin to freak (which is all the time) I try to remember that the kids are not mine… they’re God’s. He’s entrusted me to be their mom and care for them, but He made them, He knows what will happen every single day of their lives, and He knows when He will call them home. I don’t… and I have to believe He knows better than I. That doesn’t mean I don’t GASP every single time they start to fall, but I don’t worry as much. Mommyhood is TOUGH!

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