Fear

When Lucy was around 9 years old, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s.  We didn’t believe the diagnosis, and subsequently went to a total of 3 psychologists to confirm.  All of them agreed.  There is no gray area – Lucy has Asperger’s.

The last few years have been tough.  At first, there was a lot of denial.  How could her doctors not have noticed this for so long?  9 years old is a really late diagnosis, and we had such a hard time wrapping our minds around it.  She was an only child for so long, and we simply didn’t know what was “normal” and was wasn’t.  We thought she was just a “difficult” child.

After a lot of therapy, we began to truly understand.  We still struggle, but Lucy has made leaps and bounds of progress.  She still has 2-3 meltdowns a week, but this is a HUGE improvement over 2-3 per day!  We still have a ways to go in other areas, but we’re getting there.  Lucy still struggles greatly with self-esteem issues and has such a hard time keeping things straight in her mind.  She forgets things very easily – which makes school difficult (although her she has a gift for rote memorization when it’s something she is interested in).  She’s still ridiculously smart (She tested beyond measurable grade level on her beginning of the year reading tests), but it is still a fight to keep her grades up.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I have a huge amount of mommy guilt on my shoulders, and just came to the realization that I am grieving.  Not Lucy – because I have accepted that she is who she is, and she is exactly how she is supposed to be.  I know that she although things will be more challenging for her, she has the capability to overcome those challenges, as she’s shown over the last 3 years.

I’m grieving Emma.

I watch her now, and I wonder how long we have.  How long until she loses focus?  When will the meltowns start, and the screams of how much she hates me?  When will she start hating herself and noticing the differences between her and the other kids?  She is already showing some little signs of Autism, although they could just be normal kid things.  She can’t stand to have her food changed.  For example; don’t even think about cutting a sandwich in half if she has already seen it in it’s whole state.  That begins a tantrum (I’m trying hard to save the term “meltdown” until I absolutely have to) that lasts a good 20 minutes.  Actually, she can’t stand change at all.  AT ALL!!  Also, she has the same gift for memorization as Lucy.  She watched Frozen maybe twice before she had it memorized verbatim.  Like, she quotes the entire movie – even vocalizing the instrumental music between lines.  It’s ridiculously cute, but at the same time, it makes my mama heart worry.  She toe-walks, which could be totally “normal”, but what if it’s not?  So many of these things seem so small, but remember – no one had a CLUE that Lucy was autistic until the end of third grade.  Lucy did not have the typical indicators.  No delayed speech, above average intelligence, incredibly social, and even makes eye-contact (most of the time).  It could be the same for Emma.

I know that no matter what happens, we will deal with it as a family, and will love her no less.  But, I am scared.  The fights with Lucy have pushed me to the brink of my abilities on more than one occasion.  I can’t even tell you how many tears have been shed wondering what I could have done different.  What can I do to make her happy?  WHY CAN’T I FIX THIS!!  I am so scared, you guys!  I don’t know if I can go through it all again.  Also, I don’t want to see my darling miracle baby struggle in the same ways as Lucy has.  I’d give anything to have Lucy have an easy life, where she can seemingly skate through everything.  She is such a beautiful girl on the inside and out, and it about kills me to watch her struggle, especially because she just doesn’t understand “why”.  She thinks there is something wrong with her and no amount of reassurance has been able to take that thought from her mind.  How do I protect my child from herself?

For now, we try to work through the issues we know about, and brace for the ones we don’t.  With Emma, I’ll just soak up every worry-free moment she has, and pray that they last.  I know that these things that make me worry could be nothing, but I can’t make my heart relax.  Waiting has never been my strong suit.

Anniversaries

One year ago today, I photographed my first session with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  I cannot tell you how much the last year has changed my life for the better.  I have met some amazing families, and have been so incredibly touched by the love I have witnessed.  And because there is power in names; To Isaiah, Jane, Paloma, Christian, Joshua, Joslyn, Elias, Beck, Josh, Dustin, Davin, Sayler, Anthony, Oliver, Jaxsyn, Michael, Xander, Kruz, Anthony, Monica, Amanda, Jonathan, and Bryan, I am truly honored to have met you.  Thank you for blessing my life so immensely, and for teaching me what perfection really means!  You are so very loved, Little Ones!

Bet You Thought I Fell of the Face of the Planet , Huh?

Nope.  Still here.  Just kind of lost in my own little  world.

This last year has been hard.  Like, really hard.  There hasn’t been much to talk about that didn’t paint a dreary picture of my life, and that is not what I wanted to share.  Family drama, money trouble, health issues, and more.  BUT, just because it was hard doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy.  So I am going to skip the hard parts since the majority of them are over, and just move on.  There is no use focusing on the negative, right?

 So, remember when I told you that I was considering joining that volunteer group that photographs angel babies?  Well, the organization is called Now. I Lay. Me Down. To Sleep, and it has become a HUGE part of my life.  I jumped in with both feet.  My portfolio was accepted with my first submission, and within a few months, I had become an Area Coordinator.  I slowly cut back my professional bookings (I only take 3-4 a month now) and began to take more NILMDTS sessions.  Sadly, there is a great need and we are terribly short-staffed.  It has been so fulfilling to give this service to these families.  

Each session gets a little easier for me.  I have yet to walk into a room and fall apart.  Usually, by the time I get there the family has had time to process what has happened and is just focused on loving and savoring every minute with their baby.  It is not a place of overwhelming, crushing grief like I thought it would be.  It is such a peaceful experience.  I am so humbled that I get to meet these Little Ones.  Each of them has such a unique beauty to them.  Each of them have something special about them that leave an undeniable mark on my heart.  One baby had the most perfect toes I have ever seen.  Another had a face that showed so much wisdom, it was captivating.  One session that will stay with me forever was that of a perfect baby girl.  She had older sisters that lovingly painted her little toenails as I photographed.  I wish there was a better word than “beautiful” to describe that experience.  Although I can understand my initial apprehension, I am so glad that I was soooo wrong about how these sessions would be.  They really are wonderful.  I sincerely cherish the responsibility that I have taken on.  For me, it is so much more about the baby’s life than their passing.  I do this to honor the fact that they were here.  They made a difference in the lives of every single member of their family, and not one of those people will be the same again.  These babies change the course of history, and that MATTERS!  Although it is an extreme tragedy that these babies are lost, I am so honored to be a part of their short lives.  It has helped me so much with dealing with my own grief of losing my babies.  It is unexplainable, but I feel them with me more now than I ever did before.  It has taken that sense of “loss” away.  I realize now that I never really lost them.  They are with me every minute of every day.  Perhaps I have just become more sensitive to them?  I don’t know, but I’m certainly not complaining.   

On a personal level, things are settling down with my own internal battle of whether or not to try for baby #3.  I can say with certainty that the plan was always to have another baby, but just the thought of stepping back into the TTC arena terrified me beyond measure.  I had to ease into the idea, and it took a lot of tears, deep breaths and long talks with Evan before I felt comfortable even discussing it.  I don’t know if I will ever be to the point that I talk about it very openly – even to my closest friends,  but we have officially started “trying”.  We aren’t being crazy about it, and if we miss a month it’s not a huge deal.  I am trying to keep things very laid back.  I went to my RE a couple of months ago and did all of my testing to make sure I could actually get the green-light to try on our own, first.  We came up with a very manageable plan that I am comfortable with, so we’ll see what happens.  For now, our snow babies are our back-up plan.  We’ll see how long we go before we need them.  For my IRL peeps, please just pretend that you didn’t read this part of the post.  It truly gives me anxiety to talk about it, so let’s just pretend we didn’t, k?

Okay, I had intended to fill you in on so much more, but since this is already a novel, perhaps we shall save those updates for another time.  To those of you who are still reading… thank you.  I have missed you.

 

It Just Gets Weirder…

Seriously… I’m moving into an isolated cave somewhere.  My life is just to dramatic these days.  I’m so over it.

Here’s a little tidbit of info that I don’t really discuss much:  When I was either 6 or 7, my mother placed a baby for adoption.  He was adopted by a couple in our same state, and it was to be an open adoption once he turned 5.  When I was 16, he came and stayed with us a couple of times.  First with his mom (his parents divorced), and then once by himself.  It was really weird for me.  The second time he came, I was actually living with my dad so I didn’t spend any time with him.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago.  He contacted my mom out of the blue and told her that he wanted to reconnect with us.  He told her about some pretty awful things that happened to him when he was growing up, and that he had actually been accused of some pretty terrible things himself.  I know he even did some jail time (juvenile detention) in his late teens.

He has contacted me a couple of times since I have been married, but everything was really distant on my side.  I know it sounds heartless, but I never really felt attached to him, and honestly he has always made me uncomfortable.  The last time I talked to him was about a year and half ago.  He called to tell me that he thought he was bisexual and was worried that I would hate him.  I told him that it didn’t really matter to me, and that it didn’t bother me at all.  We moved past that part of the conversation easily, and we talked about our families.  He always asks about my kids, and has a really good memory.  He asked about Lucy, and asked about my (at the time) new baby, Emma.  Just general stuff… nothing too deep.  He always tells me things that are HIGHLY inappropriate, and make me really uncomfortable.  I really dread his phone calls, but feel obligated to talk to him.  I know he is just searching for a connection, but he always tries too hard.  He works really hard to try to impress me, always telling me about his new possessions and how he makes so much money, etc., etc.  It makes me feel bad, but I don’t know what to say.  I just listen.

So… today.  Evan’s brother called me to ask if I knew a “John Doe” (of course I’m not going to tell you his name…).  He had gotten a voicemail from him – on his cellphone – explaining that he had been looking for me for 3 years and was Evan’s brother-in-law.  My BIL didn’t return the call, but just texted his phone number to me.  I was at a birthday party, so I didn’t really do anything about it at the time.  As I was leaving the party I noticed I had a FB notification for a friend request.  When I pulled it up, it was from “Lucy Ann Doe”.  I recognized the last name, and thought how weird it was that it was the exact first and middle name of MY Lucy.  I thought maybe John got married, and how strange it was that she just happened to have the same name.  When I got home, I looked a little closer… IT WAS HIM!!!  He was in an awful wig and makeup, and had changed his name TO MY DAUGHTER’S NAME!!!!

I am completely in shock, and honestly… VERY creeped out.  If he wants to be a woman – fine – I don’t care in the slightest… but when I saw his pictures it really freaked me out.  He doesn’t look sane.  Like, not even a little.  And to change his name to Lucy’s?!?  And then to try to track me down again?  So, SO creepy.  Usually, he has called my mom a couple of times, and even my brother before he calls me.  But to be solely looking for me… so weird.  I am wracking my brain trying to remember what photos I emailed him and his wife a few years ago before they divorced.  I know I sent one of Evan and I, because he very rudely commented on Evan’s weight gain since he had last seen him (Yeah, who DOESN’T gain weight between being 18 and 30?), but I can’t remember if I sent him any of Lucy.  I know he hasn’t seen Emma.  I am really worried about this.  Every alarm in my body is going off.  Given his past criminal history (it was a molestation charge against him) and these current changes, I know he is not “all there”.  I also know that at one point I gave him my address so that he could send me a Christmas card (that I never got).

What would you do?  This is not okay, right?  Am I totally over-reacting?  Does this not sound a little horror-storyish?  Long lost brother, desperately seeking a connection, criminal history, assumes Lucy’s name and becomes a woman… Um, freaky, right?  OH!  And he drives a truck for a living, and has told me before that he comes up this way a couple of times a month.

I’m trying not to vomit, but I am really freaked out.  Someone calm me down!  (Or at least tell me I’m not crazy, and panic is justified!)

Hmmm…

Anyone want to guess what pissed me off about this article?

A solid 8 on the irk-o-meter.

I don’t care about the point of the article, it’s not the issue.

Commenting Sucks.

Okay, well not actually.  But leaving comments has me pretty pissed off.

Maybe you guys can help me out.  I have been keeping up with all of you, and when I try to leave a comment, wordpress asks me to sign in.  When I do, it tells me that I am not the owner of this identity (or something like that…)  What am I doing wrong?  

I swear I’m here!!