March 2021 – I did it. That is how I have felt pretty much since the calendar turned and it said March. Last year at this time my haze was at an all time high….. when will the baby come? Will Danny get lungs? What day should my mom officially move in with me? What about work? How is this all going to happen? The balance between wondering… fear… joy… excitement… worry…. was my neutral and just feeling distracted all the time was how I lived. But I made it.
There are moments both then and now I worry and fear I missed out on the memory or frustrated I could not engage more and yet big picture? I think God was doing it all very purposefully, so I also was not too effected by the really worrisome things. In the same few minutes I would go from my mental target list – do I need more diaper genie lining? To what if Danny’s lungs drop a few more percentages and oxygen doesn’t work. To “oh if the baby comes today I get to see what she looks like and share her name!” – that is a lot of varied thoughts. And then just as I was really hitting the stride of feeling sorta all over the place all the time, the world went ahead and collectively joined in the uncertainty with a global pandemic. And suddenly we all had thoughts that bounced between – do I need to order more groceries to what if I get sick and have to go to the hospital? Mundane, regular life to thoughts of life and death in the blink of a second. Yet in a weird way I felt little less alone in my own confusion.
And truly the start of March 2021 does not necessarily change a ton instantly … but I can’t deny it, feeling like I made it through this year I am freely breathing. The knowledge that things can go completely opposite of how I had envisioned and still have joy needed to hit the year mark for me to feel some peace . That learning to live in the uncomfortable and still find comfort is a good lesson. And that the rough stuff will never truly go away… it will just shift. So learning to adjust and keep going – even if over and over again- especially when the stakes get higher and higher means we are alive and not that we are doing something wrong. In fact we might be doing something right to keep going.
On Monday I turn 36 and I will wake up having celebrated the weekend with my parents and (most of😞 ) my siblings. The group that never once lost their stride this year…. showing up… being supportive… saying it is hard… reminding me what was good… telling me I am strong … we have done some life this group of us and it has been a lot of up and down…. but how many people have unconditional love in this life? And I have it with these 6. It is a huge gift.
I will enter 36 as a mom. This has been a long complicated journey and I am the first to say I am shocked by the how it has changed my life. I was prepared for the hard work part…. I recognized the reality that it would bring a lot of change… but how my emotions would feel. How connected to this little person I would feel and the desire to protect fiercely, just did not feel like I anticipated. I was so certain it would be so many moments of “this is just what I pictured” or “I want to soak this milestone in” and instead it is a strange cocoon that I don’t want touched by the outside world at all. It’s these teeny tiny never seen moments that are the ones I live for. And living for her was the only constant In my world for 365 days. It has created a bond I have been overwhelmed and shocked by. And I say these words with such hesitation… having been on the other side of infertility…. it is just so very strange to have fought for something so hard and it to be completely different than you expected. And unique 100% to me. The pain I felt for years was based often off my wondering if I would ever have or feel what others had and felt…. and it just is not like that. God is preparing a journey for each person the way they need it to be so when they get to each destination, they are who he intended them to be: as a mother and as the mother to your kiddo. So lean into him and beg for the peace, comfort and grace ….. and trust- as hard as it is…. I am praying for you.
My next journey around the sun will begin with my husband alive, but our hearts in the dark. Danny received lungs last May and after a tumultuous 10 months his physical body is starting to stabilize. But the journey to this is still going…. the level of difficulty not even possible to describe….. and the incredible weight it put on our marriage, partnership, friendship – on everything we are to each other has left us feeling like we made the wrong decision all the time. To feel like the last time we were connected was at peace over hospice is hard. The question of fighting to live, if you aren’t even living has become a part of our daily life. But the last two weeks with the right combination of support spiritually, in therapy and stubbornness to commit to it we actually feel hope. If Danny is stabilizing and can start to find himself there leaves the room to then start returning to the couple…. and then a family we know we can be. There is the possibility that living at the hospital is going to become more infrequent and we can actually be in the same place. This is extremely vulnerable, but that is how hopeful I feel that it will all be OK…. God is here. That and I will say right now the world is facing struggle, strain and pain with regards to relationships so I want to include the lesson I am learning: love isn’t a feeling, love is a choice. And if your struggling with it in your romantic relationship or with your family or with your friends …. don’t wait to feel good, just take the actions. A preacher I saw online said it so perfectly well:the greatest act of love was Jesus dying on the cross and do we think the nails felt really good? Do you think he was so happy he could not stand it that day? Nope…. he took so much action to love fiercely he DIED. And if your struggling with what is the right action to take seek the right sort of help. I have gathered this guidance from our parish priest and my long time therapist who is also Catholic. Help is important and help that is rooted in the same morals you have chosen to live your life by is imperative.
And I will welcome my next year still rooted in my faith and stronger than ever. This is no surprise to anyone who reads the blog – or heck even just read this post! But the only way of making it this year was walking with my faith – no matter what. Last year at this time I stood very pregnant at a Sunday evening mass and I actually said to myself “no matter what happens, Shannon and I will always have our home here. We can always come to church… each week we will have one constant in a sea of variables…..” and then this year going to church was not possible. Not without a lot of support from my family…. not without incredible resources… and not without a serious time commitment … but I have been able to grow in faith even when my constants were taken away. And a life chasing Jesus is a life well lived- even when the rest of life is isn’t so well. I had no idea how true that was until I this year.
March 2021, I made it. And yes… there is more to come… and probably things I didn’t imagine or are going to be harder … and keeping Shannon happy and healthy for just one year is God willing, only the beginning of being her mom …. and Danny and I have a long way to go, but holding hands and doing it together feels like progress…. and Jesus I have seen your face in my darkest moments of 2020 and I cannot thank you enough for walking with me.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!