It has been the time of Christmas and if you know anything about our last holiday then you are privy to the why I needed to soak this one in. I did it too. I was a sponge. I sopped up all the sights, smells and feels that were thrown my way. The ones I missed last year. The ones that I love so much more now. I was as peaceful as I have ever been with all the Christmas’ing going on around me. I felt an air of easiness as I breezed through even the most tedious of tasks. It was a real live dream. I have locked that memory up tight in a safe. It is tucked away securely, in the back of my medulla, for a rainy day that is not welcome but yet must surely come.
Now, however, it is time to check another good feely out of my mental library. One I’ve been eager to write about and yet too distracted to give proper attention to. I am here now though. I am wearing my smock, my beret and I have my assortment of water colors. I am ready to paint you a most beautiful birthday picture and I am just as giddy to be reliving it myself.
It was just a month ago that the festivities were in full swing for Judah’s first birthday; yet it seems I’ve lived a thousand lives since then. I allowed myself to feel every emotion and with each one came soul searching and resolution. I also just did the same about almost losing my baby last Christmas. All of the reflection and gratitude, all the memories and relived heartache made the journey grand. I feel like I’ve been in Wonderland for forever and have returned to a white rabbit telling me it’s only been 30 days.
So 30 days ago, in a semi fluid motion, I threw Judah the greatest of soiree’s. I chose a Mickey Mouse theme because he’s been known to dabble in a few episodes now and then. Also, because Pinterest’s DIY’s were readily available and doable. AND littles like Judah gravitate to red white and black contrast (that’s how I sold it to myself…. mostly it was about the Pinterest thing.) Anyway, as I gleefully leapt over that hurdle I knew I wanted something else. I knew I wanted his party to be monumental. I wanted it to overshadow any sadness of his birth and put into action all the love that had grown with us over the last 365 days. I threw party etiquette in the trash and did it my way. I wanted to pile up meaning into this birthday heap. I moved it from our house to an establishment that could embrace all the people who held our hands. The ones that held onto hope. The people who immediately fell in love with baby Judah and hugged us. The ones that cooked for us and took care of our hearts with such meticulous mindfulness. That’s who I wanted at the fete….And, actually, honestly, (to new Judah mommy me: unbelievably,) there is no way I could invite ALL the people who did these things…We would’ve needed a grand ballroom to accomplish that( to those of you who I couldn’t invite: who had our back and glorified our Judah, I know what you did, I hold your warmth with immense appreciation every time I see you, and even when I don’t) THIS party was as much for all these people as it was for Judah….and during the countless times I practiced my short little speech and recorded it and replayed it over and over and over (right Bobby?) that is the point I wanted made clear. We had a challenging year and there were so many who lifted us up. I needed them all to know that this day was happy in part because of their care. That was important to me. And the celebration was all that it was supposed to be. There was a sea of grins. There were hugs. There was my token slideshow that I promised I wouldn’t cry at, because I watched it a thousand times before (but did anyway.) There were people who drove hours to be there and ones who ditched their own parties early to be at ours. Kids got messy and sweaty and snuck frosting, as adults clanked glasses in Judah’s name. After a few beverages myself, we left swirling as we soaked in all of the adoration. We continued the festivities in the warmth of our new home as we led our dearest on a tour of our sanctuary… Honestly, the significance of the whole day got to me a bit, and after the kids were tucked in , my beautiful memory became blurry and sleepy.
We didn’t miss a beat the next morning as Bobby and I sipped well needed coffee and commemorated. We relished the opening of Judah’s gifts as I transcribed the long list of people to thank. It was a cozy little Sunday as we prepared for his actual birthday.
Monday, November 30, 2015. One year to the day from my game changer. The day made me smile, it made me shake and I felt a little sorry for the me I was a year before….but there was no time for that. It was time to douse my one year old with loving kisses before I reluctantly headed back to work. The minutes at work were hours and I couldn’t wait to break free. I had flip flopping monarchs dancing in my belly as I waited for Bobby and Judah to pull into the parking lot. It was happening, my dream was coming true. When Bobby and Judah finally arrived we all piled into one car and we were off. A good friend made it happen. She made it possible for us to go back to the room where Judah was born. The room that held so much anguish for me. I went in hot, eager to erase the recollection that brought so much devastation . I wanted this new good memory to trump and replace the hopelessness, fear, and pain that tattered my heart….but when my dear friend Deb greeted us all smiles and led us in the doom room, something changed for me. I didn’t want to erase anymore. I didn’t want to pretend it never happened. I wanted to add to my memory bank… enhance, enhance, enhance. There were so many places that I cried when Judah was new. Places that caught my tears. All of those places, however, also witnessed bliss. This hospital room didn’t yet and we were going to change all that. I no longer wished to negate my heartbreak. Everything that Bobby and I felt in that room had a role in who we are now. How can you throw that away? Joy without pain can only be so sweet. Well, we knew pain alright and now not only do we know pure joy, we’re related to it; we freaking created it.
The nurse that delivered Judah popped by and we recounted the details of that day. A doctor stopped to visit and swoon over Judah. The consensus was that these medical professionals who were now friends wanted more of this. Babies that they helped give life to are rarely back in their sights and they loved it!! So, there was no concern about Down syndrome, these guys were just psyched to see one of their successes! After lots of ogling and sweet, genuine, adoration they gave Bobby, Judah and I a moment…and Deb gave us a letter. We laid on that hospital bed, us three as I repeated “I love you” at least a hundred times in Judah’s ear. Then we read the letter and tears poured. It’s personal and some thing that I want just for us…but Deb’s writing is more beautiful than mine can ever try to be and so with her permission, I leave you with this little slice:
Judah, true to his legacy of JOY that he would soon create, arrived in this world one year ago today, without prejudgment, without a label, engulfed in love and full of potential….he arrived just the same as any other beautiful blessing. I hope his birth story serves as a metaphor for each milestone he reaches…with no need for re-dos…..
No redos indeed. And if there is anything for anyone to take away from our special journey may it be that there should be: no regrets, no redos no guilt. We are exactly who we were meant to be and everyone has a gift to give to us if we are willing to accept it. My gift happens to have taught me about friendship, patience and more about love than I ever knew my heart could hold. We truly are the lucky few. I can’t wait to unwrap all of the gifts that Judah has to give us throughout his most beautiful existence!