Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sacrifice & Dreams

First, just had to point out that my neighbor just put up 3 foot letters of JOY on her lawn. Great. Can't wait to stare at those for the next three months of my pitiful life. Okay, it's not all pitiful. But really? November 16th is jumping the gun just a tad there, lady.

Kids are trying to touch my belly now and I'm not too big a fan. For the most part, I also pretend like Andrew is alive as many who don't know me well (and newish teachers) ask if this is my first. Nope, have a son. How old his he? Almost one. In a dream, he is. In a perfect, lovely world, he's almost one.

Onto the topic of sacrifice. We're giving up a lot for this baby. Mainly a trip to Florida and Hawaii, all-expenses paid in the Chicago winter. That needed to be highlighted. Any of you who've visited or lived here know just how painful and dreary they can be after staring at the same snow that fell in December... in March. But you know, I am not even a little sad that we'd give all that up. Shoot, I'd give up 100 trips around the world if this little peach just freaking lives. Live, thrive, learn, grow, eat, jump, laugh, experience, travel, marry, procreate, succeed, fail, triumph, struggle. We'll weather the storms. We'll get through them and we'll have more opportunities to pay for trips to Hawaii and Florida.

Now that the winter is upon us (with a high of 43 today), we're setting our sights on getting out of here for the most part. It's painful to be stagnant and cramped up (hah, our house is big) in the 'burbs where all of our dreams were shattered at this very same place last year. I heard a woman say today that she's due in 3 weeks. I had to take a very deep breath on that one. D-day for one couple is a joyous and monumental occasion for another. I digress. Any chance we get, we get the hell out of here. I guess our dreams were made here, too. Ray landed his dream job, hence the only reason we settled here to begin with. High taxes and bad weather sure didn't inspire or invite. We conceived our first second and third child here. We planned and dreamt and set goals and milestones and all that jazz. We bought our first house. I don't quite believe in this magical "American Dream" that's somehow been planted into our minds from the start... because I wouldn't say there is much attachment to our house in general. We only bought because we wanted our children to have a great school district, room to grow, and a safe place to call home. Otherwise, we'd have purchased a condo somewhere in a more modest zone with lower taxes. It's not really a fulfilled dream until we have little critters flooding our floorspace. I don't have to remind you all we sacrificed in our hope to have children... as any parent or wannabe parent can understand. And obviously there's the sacrifice that we involuntarily gave when saying goodbye to our little boy. Sometimes I think of that story with Abraham and Isaac and think about how he attempted to sacrifice his son. Except, I surely wasn't giving Andrew up and definitely not that soon. And Abraham didn't actually end up sacrificing his son, but a stupid animal instead. Wish I could've stole someone's cat for the ransom. Just sayin'.

Onto dreams. We're starting to dream. We've always been dreamers. We dream about the past just as much as the present and future. I think about our travels we were so fortunate to take throughout Europe and all of the places we've visited on a daily basis. Life is indeed about experiences, because nothing I own even compares to the experiences we had overseas. I was reminded of this once again today when students were searching on laptops for Transylvania. We never visited Transylvania, but we did visit Romania and were awed by the beauty of a country many people don't even consider visiting, based on Eastern European history. When a student came up in wonder and asked, "You've been to Romania? Wow!" And the art teacher commented about how she was "envious of our travels" earlier in the day. We are indeed, so thankful and so blessed with wonderful experiences and resources.

But even further, we're dreaming about this baby boy. I have to admit that many of these dreams are just the same as we had with Andrew. How can they not be? Gender is the same. Parents are the same. Home is the same. Nursery items are the same. It was only a year ago, after all. And every once in awhile I go to say Andrew's name and am quickly taken aback by the very thought. Has my mind not yet processed that this is a new and different baby? Or is it that starting a pregnancy with my first pregnancy still so fresh in memory too difficult for my brain to separate? I'm not fooled. I know they aren't the same and I won't even expect or hope that they would be. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want this baby to resemble Andrew's beautiful face just a little. His long eyelashes and gorgeous fingers and toes. His button nose and perfect lips. But I won't be fooled to assume that they are the same people. No replacement, two individuals.

Dreams of having a boy had always been in my future. I just knew I'd be a boy mom. I was worried that once Andrew died, I'd lose that chance. I know two separate women who had stillbirths for their firstborns and then went on to have three of the opposite gender to follow. I was nervous I would never get my chance to have a boy again. Not that my dream has been fully achieved-- as I'm merely pregnant, but I feel like I've been given a second chance card. Not one that replaces, but one that fulfills a fraction of my vision for messy cleats and train sets. My dreams have also changed. While I wouldn't say relief was the word that struck me when finding out this little one's gender, it was a question of how people would react (oh good, 1-for-1 type of issue) and how I would be able to process another boy. A girl would dynamically change my dreams of what type of lifestyle we'd have. It might have been easier. Maybe not. At this point, I don't think about it that much because I know that in addition to the health and heartbeat, it's out of my realm of control.

We do dream about lacing up our little guy's sneakers and taking him to the park. And we even went as far to dream that if things work out, we'll plan a long road trip and take our little guy along. Something totally out of the plan that we originally envisioned for Andrew. Our thought of family has evolved. We'll still be the family that sits down to dinner every night with one another, but also the family who really, truly maximizes our time together. I think we were always set in that mentality, but it seems to have amplified our desire considering all we've lost. The dream of two children has died and been reformed. We already, technically have two children. We're now shooting for three live children. I say that having never changed my own child's diaper in my life. But yeah, being pregnant three flipping times.

I could attempt to tie in our sacrifice and dreams, but I would prefer to see them as separate entities for now. So much sacrifice has been given so we could dream of children. That much is true.


Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Well there sure was a lot to what you wrote. I love that your dreams have stayed the same and changed. I think it is important as humans to be able to shift and change what we need and desire as our life evolves. I too have traveled quite a bit and I think it has really shaped me. I would love to travel with my son but with children increases in monetary needs and the way we spend money has also shifted and there seems to be less money for some of those dreams to take fruition. I Love being a mama to a boy. It is amazing! I often have gotten overwhelmed by the idea of a girl...Until I had one. I didn't know Camille was a girl until I gave birth to her. My sweet daughter...the one I didn't know I would have and now I want a daughter SO bad. I want Camille but well it just isn't possible. So I think if I got pregnant I would really hope it was a girl, although we all know that is secondary to ALIVE. I also know we always want the one we get. It is strange how that works. We get the one that we are supposed to have. They are just all supposed to be alive. I just know that now I have these dreams of our family with a girl and I hope that someday I will be able to live some of them. I am glad you get to love your boy dreams through this new little guy. I think that helps fill one of the cracks in your heart. Notice I say crack and not hole or heal you. Sending love to you....If you have a dog, a lawn with a giant JOY sign on it seems like a mighty good place to take a poop...Just saying.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Love this are one wise lady!
I'm dreaming with you (not the laying in the same bed and dreaming together kind) :) but my dreams if the future are SO there and SO real! I desperately want our miracle babies, husband back, home, travels, conversations, walking hand in hand together....these dreams and desires will never leave my heart and mind!
Be blessed friend!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I had similar experiences in my pregnancy with Finn, where I'd rub my belly or talk to him and think in my head Cale. And of course I'd get emotional, feeling I was betraying both boys, but then part of me didn't mind mixing them up like one does with living children. I found this to happen a lot in those first few weeks after we brought him home - other people would accidentally call him Cale. Lots of mixed emotions but mostly just love for both my boys.

lissasue3 said... [Reply to comment]

Don't feel badly about calling the little one Andrew, its bound to happen many more times too. I now have 3 girls plus a girl cat and wouldn't you know I run through all those names before I get to Alexa.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

It's hard to look back on all these sacrifices and still have nothing left to show for it, I think that's part of what burns me up inside.

I still can't fathom how this baby isn't going to be Jack. I'm not sure I'm prepared for it. yikes. :(

Nic G. said... [Reply to comment]

Technically speaking then, I guess I have 4 kids.. yikes!