Valentine's Day brings memories of many happy moments, but it also is a reminder of my one miscarriage that occurred on February 14, 2002.
I began the day preparing to celebrate with a classroom full of first-graders. Candy hearts, handmade gifts, and pink frosted cupcakes covered my desk.
It should have been a good day.
I was 10 weeks pregnant and excited to welcome this new baby boy (I just knew) to our family.
As my students started to pass our their valentine cards, I felt something deep inside ...something that just wasn't right.
An hour later, I was layed out on an examination table. Alone in the room with my doctor, a nurse, and an ultrasound tech, I was told my baby was gone-...The baby whose heart beat I had seen only one week ago...The baby whose sonogram picture was hanging on my refrigerator at home...
I spent the rest of Valentine's Day in bed mourning my unborn infant.
There is a veil of silence that falls over the subject of miscarriage. While I know many women that have experienced them, few of us ever discuss it. Maybe it is because it is emotionally too difficult or maybe it is because miscarriage is so poorly understood. We can just get pregnant again, right?
Unfortunately, miscarriages are often brushed-off as events not worthy of real grief. But, every mother knows the attachment that occurs immediately following a positive pregnancy test. A piece of her is growing inside and when that baby dies, intense and lonely grieving follows.
Over the years, I've come to terms with my miscarriage. The kids and I speak often about the baby up in heaven. They talk about seeing him one day and what they want to say.
I tell them that Grandma is taking care of him while we are here on earth, but that one day
we'll get to meet
...and we'll have lots of pink and red glittered valentines for him.
and hear myself saying, "No, you can't" over and over again.
Last summer, Lance and I saw a movie called The Boys Are Back. We loved it. In the film, Gerard Butler tragically and suddenly becomes a single father and in order to cope, takes on a "just say yes" attitude.
I started thinking about how many times a day I say "NO" to my kids. Sure, it is often for their own good or for their safety.
But, sometimes, I say "no" because it is easier.
"No, we can't go to the park today."
"No, you can't make yourself a sandwich."
"No snacks." "No messes." "No running in the house."
"No, no, no."
Why am I saying "no" so often?
Am I trying to assert my authority? Am I trying to set limits? Am I just being lazy?
One of the changes I am trying to make this year is to say "yes" to my kids more often. I have to admit, it has been difficult.
On Saturday morning, we went to the zoo. I wanted the four of us to just have fun and I was determined to leave my "no's" at home.
I was prepared with a backpack full of snacks and drinks so I could avoid the snack bar begging.
For two hours, I followed the kids.
"Can we climb the rock?" yes
"Can we stay in the petting zoo longer?" yes
"Can we? Can we? Can we? yes, yes, yes
it was hard.
But, the result was great. We had fun. The kids were all smiles and the best part was that they got along so well.
My children won't be small forever. Eventually, they will grow into teens and do anything and everything to avoid spending time with me. But, right now, they think I'm pretty darn cool.
So, if they want me to get off of the computer and play army guys, I will. If they feel like making chocolate chip cookies, but I just cleaned the kitchen...oh, well. There is always time for another book at story time. I can always fit in a quick game of basketball.
After last year, I went into this with little excitement and even less expectations. Max better be making some pretty awesome memories here. Otherwise, this whole pinewood derby thing is for the birds!
Max's "Fire n Ice" creation raced fairly well, finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack. And, I didn't get one dirty look from my little pinewood derby participant. So, that's a big win for me!