On this Day

October 15th, 2018

It’s October 15th.

I think blogging on this subject may help me not feel as sad as I might otherwise.

Today is National Infant Loss Awareness day. I’m happy that there’s a day where people everywhere can feel free to talk about the pain that lingers with them over losing a child in miscarriage and still birth. Since miscarriage is statistically one in four, truly every family has this as part of their story. My loss was 11 years ago. Waking this morning I of course remembered the emotional devastation that brisk sunny morning of August 15th 2007, but too I thought of what she’s missed. The baby, I somehow felt that that 7 to 10 week gestation Little One was a girl, would be in 6th grade. She’d be starting puberty, have a best friend and a favorite book series. Maybe she’d be in fast pitch, perhaps volleyball or soccer. The doctor said that losing her wasn’t my fault, that there was nothing I could have done. The amniotic fluid just wasn’t there, the sac had collapsed, there wasn’t a heartbeat anymore and I had two options. I could have a DNC or, “let the fetus pass naturally.” I said I’d go for the second option, I have to admit that I think I felt that way I’d have more time with my baby…I know that’s weird. When the baby did come, two days later, I was alone. I had three contractions, and there was the baby in my hand…so small. I rinsed him or her off and tried to see features but she or he was just too early to make out any details. Perfect though, somehow. I’m glad now to be alone in this moment as my thoughts develop only split seconds before they come out in such familiar form on the dashboard on my blog screen. I’ve sat here so many times. With each long in knowing the taste of my tears over this loss by the day longer ago. I know my heart and am not ashamed of the lingering sadness, indeed, it’s a boost in my desire for eternity where that collapsed amniotic sac doesn’t matter.

She’ll know me, and it will be as if we missed no time together. My baby did not have to experience any of the struggles that her sisters and brothers will go through. Not an argument or feelings of animosity in any form. She or he did not have the opportunity to disobey us or own a pet, or have chores around the house…I miss that, even though it never was. My baby was real, even though she died before she could live.

I miss you, baby, and will see you soon.

Angel Tree: 2018

October 1st, 2018

Today is the day to sign up to sponor the holiday season fundraising for an orphan living overseas to the goal of raising $1,000 to the adoption costs of bringing that child home to a family in either the USA or Canada. I have participated in this fundraiser since 2012, which is quite a long while now. The event is held by Reece’s Rainbow, a non-for-profit program that supports the advocacy and pairing of special needs children overseas with families here. Reece’s Rainbow has a very comprehensive website through which families can find a child of particular interest to them and pursue adoption of that specific child, this is a piece of the adoption journey that I’d never heard of before: not just knowing which country you’d like to adopt from, but knowing the face of a child. Adoption is expensive, the wait is long from signing of initial papers, to visiting and bringing the child home and all the stages in between.

It’s this financial bit that Angel Tree is meant to help with, but I’d like to think that equally is the advocacy…we’re putting forward the faces of these young children which makes them seem so much more real. On sign up day, we usually pick three child that we’re interested in seeing on the Angel Tree and working toward that 1,000 additional funding boost in the money banks available for their future families.

The child I raised funds for (and met my goal) is Scarlet. My draw to her is that, like me, she has a seizure disorder and an older brother. I’m also Scarlet’s, “Prayer Warrior” that means I’m supposed to talk about and pray for her all year. I have her picture up in my room and look at her often. My heart really only feels sadness anymore as I do wonder how she is, while really knowing that there isn’t anything I can do. Truthfully, her face is so familiar that it’s part of my room the environment private to me and indeed I rarely speak of her at all.

The Final Race

August 23rd, 2018

On Death and Dying.

This is unedited

Is dying the gateway to death, or death first and then dying the afterthought..sort of the sadness that is the residual dregs for those left behind to swallow by accident or leave at the bottom of the glass that is now quite half empty. I suppose that the answer is just as allusive as trying to answer what love is, since each case is a beautiful dance of it’s own orchestration, much like the intricate detail in a snowflake’s design…each so similar from a distance yet so unique and impossible to replicate in every measure.

Today was a day in a day, just like any other but so special and unique.
My son returned from a long stay in California to visit my grandma and be with my family. The reunion was joyous of course. While he was gone I came to the solid realization that my heart was not breaking that I was not there, rather, I was there through him, he was living moments for me in a way that I could truly taking in all the precious memories that I took in as a child in my grandma’s house in which so many things have remain unchanged. I know the smells of and serene feeling of sitting out on her deck as the fog rolls in off the bay and all the little details to be experienced in no other home than hers. Through Deed’s, my sweet son, I felt the joy of seeing (though his eyes) my cousin who I hardly know marry. I didn’t miss a thing, because Diederick was there. This is something that I needn’t tell anyone of, it’s mine just to wonder over. It’s a special power that I previously really didn’t realize. It’s a selfishness that truly is beautiful and mighty.

As I die one day, I will not fear that I will miss out. The reason for this is as clear as anything unexperienced could possibly be. As true as any promise that could come from a faultless friend. I live because I have had the opportunity to embrace the most powerful and meaningful essence that ever there was or ever there could be. It’s love. Life is in death. The clarity of this that life is a race, a race not for perfection, but one lived so true and so without opportunity to take back that it is a thrill even in the still moments. It’s an honor, and a privilege, but then too…

The final race is that unto death, because it was for that where there is final quiet.

I know where I want to be buried. Perhaps I’ve always known.

In the cemetery by the small church where I was married. I don’t care that my love might leave me before my life does. I want to be buried there because of the happiness that brought me there. True, pure and simple. What a beautiful day it was. The breeze was perfect, the sun was not blinding, nor the shadows too deep as often they can be. My inexpensive vail, my over sprayed too spirally hair looked lovely and felt incredibly timeless. We were a bubble of bliss: me and my dress, my flowers against the smile that motivates and radiates my world. His smile was of pride, in the best of ways, he admired me and I could see desired me in the beautiful way that two people can want each other when they are yet unfamiliar and have not yet knit the fabric that will either pull them apart or draw then together in the way that everyone wants but so few really obtain. I confess now, as I did then, that I picked that church for a handful of reasons, one of those was that I knew that I would not have many guests. Another was that it was a place that I had enjoyed as a child. Another that the simplicity of it was quite to my liking. It was a place that you would only find if lost or looking for it.

My metaphorical race in life is reaching an important benchmark: 13 years of marriage. The joys, the sarcasms, the comments that cut like little tiny slivers, the itty lies that don’t matter: it’s the love that makes the coffee in the morning, the bonds that make the days long and the years fleeting as we watch our children grow. It’s the lines in our faces, the jokes that we share. It’s the together forever, as long as forever lasts.

Every couple’s forever is it’s own length. At that I do, wherever it is said, is the beginning that covers up some other ending.

I want my death to be like my wedding. Something you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it. Meaningful to me, deep and true just like the day that I said I do.

For me it is is a divide, in perspective, the desire I mean…

As to whether I should like to be there for them, through every hardship and happiness in the flesh or if I’d like to go first so that I couldn’t feel the fear of losing this. While I write these lines though, I feel a peace, seeing through my words that either way I need not fear because they are an extension of me. I will feel through them, anything and everything that I am meant to feel.

We are born to die. Each his or her separate and special way designed my the master and maker. It is for Him to decide when and where each of us no longer will be in the game, where our race folds for the next journey to bloom and unfold. As it was he would formed and designed, it is for him to be present for the last breath.

1Co 9:26
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
unchecked, But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Melancholy

July 5th, 2018

Last night we just arrived home from a long stay in North Dakota. The train ride there was somewhere around 24 hours long, and the time there was three different hotels and hours in the pool. All of this OK, a blessing in fact, because outside the confines of our hotels the air was heavily humid which could quickly translate into grumpy annoyed kids which entirely would not bring out the best in me.

In the end, none of my kids or adults died. No one was lost for more than 15 minutes, yes…there was a close call, and a child who crossed the street before I said so, but it’s OK, because no one died.

We’re home now. I spent four hours vacuming the van, spraying and wipping down the interior and then washing the dust off the outside of it. There’s still sand flecks and dog hair throughout. I’ve done the laundry, and put most of it away. Still I feel scattered and unorganized.

My heart is heavy with an unexplainable sadness. Perhaps it’s the way my book ended. I’m hungry for another one. Audrey Niffenegger’s book “Her Fearful Symmetry” is one of my favorites, and was a perfect companion for the long train ride. I also just finished a Jenny Lawson and Torey Hayden.

It was one of the best North Dakota best trips yet, different than others. This visit had little victories that to me are quite large. The most gleaming of which is that I finally have more pictures from Darren’s youth. I have so many emotions looking at them. Pride and happiness, but that mixed sadness over what seems accidental. The big questions of why we were born in a different time from one another. Should I have started my journey through life ten years before I did, or should he have begun his later than what he did. The truth, as far as I can imagine is that when we came together we created our own time. It’s a special time that has no place in time. A place where we’ve gotten the opportunity to create a life of our own, by our own time frame. We’re not lucky, we’re blessed and brought together in an incredible way that really makes no sense unless you believe in God.

The picture I’ve picked to go for this post is me, not recent, since my phone is being an ass and not transferring photos as I ask it to. Why not a baby picture?! Yes, I’ll put in a picture of me as a baby.

Today I put on an old shirt from when I was like 19. With my favorite pair of shorts. I sweated through cleaning my van and getting through the most obviously needed lawn care. I’ll shower before bed and give organizing my life another hurtle tomorrow, early.

We’ve entered the warm part of summer–where the day starts off at like 65F and reaches up into the 80s by late afternoon.

Tomorrow I’ll transfer a large portion of my photos from the trip to the computer. There are a lot of blog entries to make from those pictures, enough to fill a couple weeks at least.

I hope my sadness lifts soon.
I am missing my cat, I know that. No amount of moping about will bring Tony back, I realize that.

What I need to do is find a book to read. The kind that I can lose myself in. I need to get out early and go for a run in the morning. Yes…that’s what I’ll do.

The hour is now midnight. Goodnight.

Lost In Translation

June 21st, 2018

I’ve sat down so many times over the past six months to try and write a called Lost in Translation. This is the picture that I start with. Sweet Yana. Perhaps it’s the wrong picture though. Because as soon as I change her beautiful face into a file link I just sit here. Perhaps the best thing to do is to just trust my hands.

Over the past few months I’ve been working on learning another language.
In college I read a wonderful book called Train Go Sorry about a woman who lives her life on the border between the hearing and deaf world, fitting in to neither one 100%. She’s fascinated by the deaf community but is not welcome because she is hearing. It did not matter that she has family members who were deaf, that she had grown up playing with children at the deaf school where her father worked. It didn’t matter that she knew sign language extensively; their world is one of silence unpenetrable and carefully caged in self imposed solace.

I think language is like that. It holds us apart. But the fantastic things that can happen when barriers break down and connects are made. When words make sense. When the strangeness of the letters becomes familiarity. The wonder of the letters and formations of sounds come together, it’s like a dance where you see the general sway and hear the tune. You can enjoy the music, even though you know that your ears are not quite tuned yet to hear the voice inflections, so it is with language.

It takes a lot of bravery to pick up a book that’s written in a foreigners tongue and promise yourself that someday you’ll read it.

почему ты здесь?

Because of a little girl named Yana. She captured my spirit and held on tight without knowing it. When I saw her picture it was like I really believed she was to be my daughter. What’s life if you can’t feel something crazy like that? I hope everyone does, at some point in there life. She something or someone and say, that person will mean a lot to me one day. Even if it never happens, you’re different. Yana’s photo came into my life in 2012. In 2013 Russia closed it’s doors to Russian to American adoption.
I really did think that this was like an over night thing. Like it was a halt on adoptions to US families. Not so. It’s 2018 now, and Russia holds a solid ban on adoption to the USA.

My knowledge of Yana did not die there. March 2014 a friend of mine who spend time in Yana’s orphanage and had sent me numerous baby photos sent me more that she was able to receive from the director of the Baby House were Yana had lived. The photos were of Yana now a toddler walking hand in hand with two other children. A nothing photo pictured her with a smiling young woman near a climbing structure. My sweet girl had been adopted by a Russian family!! What a tremendous blessing to see that she was among the lucky few to see the outside of institution walls.

God never gave me a child through adoption, as I’d hoped he would. I have felt sad over that, absolutely. But it’s not about me. The story of Yana is a wonderful one. God had a plan for her. He saw her and knew what she needed and brought the perfect family. I’m sure that she’s doing well, and being cared for by loving people. How pleased I was to hear that she’d been adopted by a family who already had children so that she could have siblings to grow up with!

And that’s it, the beginning of my interest in the Russian language and culture.

We moved into this neighborhood in 2009, only months after coming home from our two years living on the East Coast. The neighbor who lived directly behind us asked if I’d like her to teach me some Russian, just for fun. Of course I said yes!! We dove right in to learning as we drank tea and watched our little kids play on the floor.

Time has a way of folding together. Memories close and the pages that make up the chapters of our lives become sticky and torn with the experiences in life, and that’s just how it is, true as much with language as with anything else.

My first words in Привет(hi), Спасибо(thankyou), пожалуйста(please), пока(bye), and хорошо(good, or ok)

So, I guess while my initial interest in Russian came from an orphan in a beautiful foreign slavic nation, I’m now at a point in my life when my kids are grown up a little and I have a sliver of time to try and learn this intriguing language. I’ll never truly be a part of it, as the girl in Train Go Sorry, I can admire and learn everything I wish, if only from behind the space of true immersion of living inside the culture.

One of my favorite words in вы and Ты. Both words make the sound, and mean “You” but one indicates familiarity, and a status in a relation from acquaintance to friend.

I think that to learn another language is to open a window into another world. It requires intention, and can be a struggle but the view may be pretty amazing if you take the time to apply a bit of tenacity and determination the reward can be tremendous. Even if the reward is just to be able to pick up a children’s book in a foreign language and read a story written for small children. Doesn’t это look so similar to “it is”? это всего лишь небольшая часть …It is just a small part, but I smile that I’m understanding the sounds a bit more.

I’m so often lost in translation, aren’t I? In my daily life making notes of what I need to do. Orange chicken and rice for dinner, or ham and mashed potatoes?

Interpreting what’s really behind what my children are asking for or sad about requires translation, as nothing is quite as it seems. Why not mix in with that wanting to learn an actual foreign language. I’m game.

I choose русский. If you ask me why, you’ll get a really long answer like this. My answer changes based on who I’m talking to perhaps, but this is the reason and story that I’m putting forward today. What’s here is Life According to Laura, my story.