Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What we got.

I wasn't supposed to be here this time. I was going to wait, but then he said he wouldn't be back to celebrate her first birthday, the day of on the 27th or our little party.

So I came to make sure he got something with her. Memories for both of them. You never know when pictures and videos and notes and stories are all someone has left of you. I want her to be able to look back and know just how much love she had in her early life, even the parts she'd never remember.

She won't remember this either. I'll have to tell her about her first trip to see daddy in the hospital. It's her first because it won't be her last. This is her life. Our life. It was just my life, being the one waiting on him, but it is hers, too. She makes everyone happy and he's held her while laying in his hospital bed. He dealt with her when she stepped on his nub, fresh with stitches and wounds. That's his life.

It's just what we got. It's okay.

He was so happy to see us and be surprised. He says he's sorry he can't be her daddy jungle gym. It's like the day we both teared up when we realized he'd never "airplane" her because you need legs for that. These were different days. I've already cried a lot about all the things we're all gonna miss because war came home and nearly half of him didn't. It happens, and I'm over it.

But I cling with my whole self to what we can have, and I'll be damned if we can't have a birthday party for him and her. I will be mom and take bad pictures with my iPhone. He will be dad and feed her the first bites of cake as she tries to crawl through it. Everyone will oooh and ahhh and laugh and talk about how big she is getting. Aaron was gonna miss all that, and I just couldn't allow for that to happen. There is so much already.

There might be things he does miss. It's normal. People travel. Some parents deploy. Others save lives or go to court or sell houses or work in retail. But we live everyday with what we don't get, trust me, so I'll take what we can. I'll steal it. I'll create it. I'll build it or buy it. Whatever it takes to have a tiny piece of normal and nice.

Aaron will be fine. I will be fine. Squishy will be fine. And her first birthday party ever will be in the USO center and I was able to surprise Aaron in the hospital because of Luke's Wings getting me here. I will take "date night" with sushi while sitting on the end of a hospital bed because there aren't legs there and the cuddles as he naps. I got to see him. And he ordered the sushi. My favorite.

It is what we got. And it's more than okay. It's just perfect.

Monday, January 12, 2015

When It Matters.

I never intentionally check out of this space; life just gets in the way and I realize one day I haven't done the thing I enjoy the most. And then I wait until I have to be here, because sleep will not come with a brain still running full speed, even if I am exhausted at 9pm.

We all do our bests as parents. We all feed, clothe, and love them in the best ways we can. One can not quantify being a good parent. I know I do my best. I buy her organic baby food when I don't make it myself. I breastfed for as long as I possibly could, and now give her the best formula I think my money can buy. Her diapers are eco-conscious and low in chemicals. I balance modern medicine with more natural choices; we go to a chiropractor and her well-baby appointments. When she's not feeling well or is restless, she sleeps between me and her dad. Her wish list of toys for her first Christmas was made with development in mind. I ration all medications and read about hexane and DHA and grains and cow's milk and plant milk and and AND. It doesn't matter. None of that matters. Money can't buy love but love certainly is not enough. We have to be reasonable, encourage our children, love them, let them go, push them out, and then welcome them back in. Take them to the doctor when they are sick, raise to be respectful and kind to others, teach them to work hard, to love others, be nice to pets. When they graduate, drive cars safely, help those less fortunate, join the military, become doctors I can promise you it doesn't matter if their diapers were eco-conscious or their formula all-organic or if you breastfed for 22 months or if you went through a drive-thru twice a week.

Squish wasn't herself this past Friday, and we ended up in an after hours pediatrician's clinic, with a diagnosis that probably was right but not severe enough to warrant the antibiotics I gave her four times. Her behavior improved but the side effects of the medicine increasingly got worse. I decided to pause dosing her and called the nurse's line. I know this is risky. But it had been 24 hours since her last dose and the side effects were getting worse, not better. Even though it wasn't an allergic reaction, something terrible was happening to her and I was the one giving her the thing that was doing it to her. I know, I know- probiotic, thick diaper cream, yoghurt. But none of that was going to help her diaper rash stop from getting so bad it did eventually become raw. None of that was going to help her to absorb her food's nutrition faster than she could expel it. I bargained for an appointment, and in the end I learned a very important lesson: I am her mother, and I know when something isn't right, and no nurse's line is ever going to convince me otherwise ever again. Not even for a few hours. She's going to stay off the amoxicillin and we're going to get her gut and little butt healed as fast as we can. None of this would be happening if I hadn't kept calling, kept asking trusted friends, kept listening to myself, although I didn't listen fast enough.

This isn't my fault, but I still feel a ton of guilt. I did the best I could with what I had at the time. In short course, I will have my happy baby back. Her perfect little butt will heal. We will recover from this. She is loved by so many. Her grandmothers have been here to help since dad is off to Walter Reed for more surgery with his father in my place (this was decided months ago, and another source of guilt and concern for me and a separate post). I know it will be okay.

I am sure worse is down the pipeline and this will be a foggy memory soon enough, but I won't forget the day I realized that I might just be a great mom: it's the same day I felt like like an inadequate one.

And that's one thing that matters.