Thursday, August 25, 2011


I am not, nor have I ever been a religious person.  I do believe in some semblance of order in this life.   There is too much symmetry, too many infinite patterns, too much perfection, for me to believe any differently.

I cringe at phrases such as " all things happen for a reason", in part because I feel it is a copout, in part because I believe it is true, and in part, because I know it isn't, but desperately want it to be, need it to be.

What good can possibly come from anyone with cancer, a child who never makes it through childhood, or is robbed of it,made to grow older than possible in a short life.  Or one who is fated never to make it even to birth.  How can we hide behind a mysterious "reason" for any of that?  How can we justify the worst things that can happen with an assumption that there is some entity, some power choosing this?  Some order we know nothing of but must accept as fate?  Is there a lesson in all things tragic?  Are we supposed to find a glimmer of hope and happiness in all things that devastate us?

Maybe we are.  Perhaps it is our responsibility, to our own selves, to find that reason in every instance of sadness.  To create a place where we are safe, even if we can not see, or feel it.  That reason, behind all things, being something we create ourselves.  Is this what I am to teach my children, to find the good in all bad, the wonder in all things sad, the beauty, in all things that make us cringe with discomfort, and to use their own minds to create happiness, and contentment?

I don't know.  I haven't a clue, except, perhaps..., well, yes, I think it just may be.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blind Hope

My children amaze me, everyday.  I never thought I wanted my babies to be this close in age, never planned on this, but life changed my mind.

It really is literally indescribable, how much I love my babies, but I will try to do so, after all, this whole blog thing is for my babies.  So that they might know one day, maybe when I am gone, how very much they filled my life with love, happiness, and a desire to give up everything I ever thought I wanted in life, to watch them enjoy theirs.

I never understood.  I couldn't.   How a mother could become hypnotized by a toddler's babbling lips, the blue crescendo of a newborn's eyes, the glow of satiny skin that disappears into deep crevices of soft flesh, only to mound up again into hill after hill of chubbiness.  The effortless beauty and innocence of a child.  Absolute perfection, so far from what I have become, so much potential in this little life.

I long to replicate the feeling of the all consuming embrace of warmth I felt the first time Jada's sweet, chubby face curled into a smile so big her eyes disappeared beneath folds of soft, smooth brown flesh and her little noise wrinkled up into her downy forehead.  Her black-brown hair refused to stop at her forehead, and grows sparingly, but steadily down her face, combining into her eyebrows and connecting her temples.  The small swirl atop her brow, a genetic gift from her auntie.  The way I have to slide my hand up to the knuckles under her chin to reach her neck..another signature of my Italian family.  My husband's genetic contribution, a completely contented personality, and one very distinct eyebrow that rises slightly only to give way to a concave curve, rise up to the summit of the brow and crash down again.  Only hers is on the opposite side of her father's, so they match up as they face each other.  Incredible.

The way my children came from the same two people, and can be so completely different.  Di has translucent skin, so light I can trace the paths of her veins from head to toe.  The one trait from my bloodline, a quirky pinky toenail that grows straight up from the tip of her toe, just as my mother's does.  That nail is impossible to paint.   She is going to hate that nail when she's older...I will always love it.   Her wispy blond hair, so fine and feathery that no clip or ponytail holder can manage to contain it for more than a minute.  Her hair rejects all accessories and styling efforts, curling and twisting in different directions and ways throughout the day.  I don't have the heart to cut it, even a little bit.  I want to let it be free and wild and natural, as she is.   Her blue eyes actually taper to brown at the border of the pupil, spiral out in flecks of yellow and green to the sapphire border of her iris.  The whites of her eyes are blue tinged as well, and the corners turn down, which certainly works to her advantage when asking her parents for a treat.

J's eyes are blue as well, but distinctly different.  The blue is lighter in the center, without a trace of any other color, and light, early morning sky blue which ascends and descends simultaneously around her inquisitive pupils to a thick, deep sapphire ring.  That ring holds her big eyes in place beneath her slanted, almond lids.  I get lost in her eyes.  The way she stares at me, and returns my admiring gaze with a huge, toothless grin.  She even stops suckling on me for a moment or two just to let me know she sees my face, she smiles at me and I know, despite the fact that it will be many months before she and I can converse in a traditional sense, these moments are our very first mother daughter "talks".

Pretty basic.  Me: "I love you baby, you make my world everything I could ever want, and I can't believe you are my baby"

Her: "I like boob".

They astound me.  Every moment of my day.  How much I can love, how happy I can feel, how little you really need to make life worth living.  How they can fulfill my life to absolute completeness and contentment.  How they could replace any other dreams and aspirations I ever had, because they are more than enough to satisfy any aspect of my life.  I could give up eating and be nourished with their smiles and laughter.  (Well...for a few minutes, anyway).  I could give up television and internet and be perpetually entertained by their antics, they way they eat food, read books and interact with each other.  Of course, my children sleep, and I do not find my husband eating quite as intriguing, so I utilize the DVR nightly.

"Love" doesn't seem strong enough.  I can't replicate with a word the warmth, the joy that effervesces from every part of my body when my baby laughs with me, or my big girl asks to hold her sister, or kisses her when she thinks I am not looking.  When her baby sister cries and the look on her face is pure concern as she rushes to her sister's aide, not a hint of annoyance or irritation.  Just love.  "Amazed" doesn't ignite nearly the same feeling I get as I stare at them, asking myself and them, "you do that? when did you learn to do that? Are you really mine?"  Even photographs, they do not do my babies justice.  A moment, captured, still forever and even that, it can't give me the same feelings I get when I hold them, smell them, feel their skin on mine, their hair in my nose.  I need to memorize them, they way they smile so purely, from only joy, not obligation.  They way they smell of natural sweetness, like a breeze on a summer night, not of perfumes or colognes.  They way they are so breath-takingly beautiful, without a touch of makeup, hair dye or skin product.  They way they are perfect people, who use their bodies for what they are designed for and don't question any of it.  The way they live recklessly and love unconditionally.

My children have so very much to teach me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Year

One year.  Yesterday was one year from the day I found out about my mother's cancer.  One year, from the day my world as I knew it, crumbled before me and my mind raced as I scrambled to cling to the pieces.  Denial, a wonderful defense mechanism, which at first feels good.   To have a belief in waking from a nightmare is possible, though denial only truly disguises another gut wrenching, heart dropping reality.  One year.

In one year, my mother had discovered her cancer, had surgery, chemotherapy.  Her hair has fallen out and grown back, erasing the scar.  With the growth of hair, comes the growth of new hope.  All the useless, and now potentially deadly organs that once housed myself and my sisters, created and gave life to, gone.  Diseased and useless.  The first time I ever had to see my mother sick, lying helpless in a hospital bed, too weak to move, wondering if this was the first of many nights I would spend there.  Now, my mother calls me daily, breathless as she manages to hold an hour long conversation while exercising rather vigorously between her full time job and countless errands and phenomenal grandmothering.  One year.

In one year, my Jada was dreamed of, conceived, carried in my womb, delivered in my car, and is now the amazing little smiling creature before me.  One year.  My baby girl, my first born, has transformed into a little girl, from a baby who could barely crawl, to a child I can barely run after, speaking in full sentences, caring for her new sister, painting pictures, signing and singing about a hundred songs I never knew she knew.  Just one year.

One year.  We made the move from Massachusetts to our dream life in Connecticut.  Bought the house we loved in the town we adored.  Painted the walls with my own two hands and started our life here, planted the roots of our young family, among the roots of the many trees that have been hear for decades, some maybe for a century.  All this, in one year.

So many amazing moments, most that I will vividly remember all my life.  From that terrifying night I realized my life would never be the same again, all security ripped away, to now understanding that same terror is liberating.  Because now that you are here, cancer, we can fight you.  It is the unseen enemy I fear most, and I see you, clearly.  I do not fear you now.  You have been revealed.  And we have conquered you.  All, in just one year.