Thinking back on all the time we were spending in hospitals a few years ago makes me realize how time does heal feelings. For a while there, we were visiting specialist after specialist, week after week, not knowing what to think about our little baby who had made The Farmer and I a family. Would she survive? What would she be like? Would she talk? Would she walk? There were so many questions and no answers whatsoever. The control freak in me disintegrated before my very eyes. I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless. All I could do was ask questions, find the doctors I had confidence in and live through it all.
That first year crawled by. It was torture. Still when I see a baby, I don’t insinctively want to grab at it or want to hug it or care for it. Babies just aren’t for me. But then when it was my child, she was there and she needed me. I knew it and somewhere I found it within me to hug her, cuddle her, soothe her. To lie on the couch with her and have her fall asleep on me. To dance with her in my arms to music in our empty house. I remember each moment as if they were yesterday even though those days of being able to lift her high above my head vanished long ago.
Somedays I read the blogs of others, mostly design obsessed blogs written by women who are at least twenty years younger than me. I read them and am interested in what they are liking and shopping for. I follow the bloggy trends. I find them totally entertaining. And then, I get a twinge and I almost feel pity for them, that they are so obsessed with the beautiful, the precious, the perfect. I think to myself, these girls just need something else to do with their time. But then I think, hey, I was probably like that at one point, before life hit me on the head, before my daughter was born. I realize that they too could be going through their own personal struggles – they just don’t chose to talk about them with the rest of the world. Their blogs are about the passions that they share with the world. Or their blogs are professional vehicles to find a job, a freelance gig, a book deal. That’s absolutely okay. It’s just that I have moved past that part of my life. I’m in survival mode, into helping my child find her way, hoping she will find a place in the world. I’ve put my career at the “do what you can, when you can” moment of the day. Take care of the child first – she’ll only be living and sharing our lives for a short time. Do the best I can even if it isn’t the best. Love her and make her feel loved. I know I have been given the chance and it could as easily have been taken away. It’s not that I am “super-mom” – by all means, I am not. I am way too casual for such a role and I know that I can’t control very much and so I go with the flow.
As for the precious and the beautiful…. don’t get me wrong…. I still love decorating with color and design and knitting and stitching. It’s just that it isn’t the be all and end all for me now. I use these loves and passions now as a vehicle to get through my days. I like to be creative. I like the act of creating. But sometimes I can’t see the forest from the trees. Give me a set of watercolors and paper some days and I’ll just stare at them and do nothing. I won’t be able to move a pencil across the paper.
The one thing though that has gotten me through my recent life’s stumbling blocks is my yarn and my needles – whether it be knitting or stitching. I remember one of the early visits with a neurologist in Boston with Julia. Mark and I drove to Boston with Julia and we met up with my friend Cathy who lives in town. We all went to the doctor’s appointment and after a long wait, were ushered into a small room and waited some more for the doctor. We sat in there, the four of us. I had a project going – I remember it like it was yesterday – it was going to be a zippered sweater for Julia in a 2 x 2 rib in a varying palette of odds and ends. I sat there knitting while Cathy and Mark entertained Julia while we waited for the doctor. The doctor came in finally and I sat there knitting and knitting and knitting and listening.
K3, P3, answer a question
K3, P3, answer another question
K3, P3 ask a question
K3, P3 listen to the answer
K3, P3 process the answer and ask another question
I saw the doctor staring at Cathy, then at me, with a quizzical look on her face. I could read it – she was completely confused. How could the nanny with the knitting be answering the questions for this child with the medical condition? She asked who the mother was and I told her. Me, silly, you think because I am knitting means I am not capable of being a mother and answering your questions. I put down my knitting although there was really no need to. The doctor didn’t realize how calm my knitting made me, how knitting gave me purpose to my time in the office, how this brief moment of wrapping yarn around my needles made me worry less. But then a non-knitter will never know this, will they?
It’s a rare doctor’s appointment now that I don’t have some kind of stitchery with me. I’ve just got to bring it and have it in case I get stuck for hours waiting. Most times I don’t have a minute to stitch – I’m too busy entertaining my chatty daughter and meeting other patients in the waiting room. But it is always by my side when I need it – my silent friend, that is.
The other thing that got me through those difficult days was our friends and family members. Every time, Julia was hospitalized, they took care of our many animals – our sheep, our chickens, our dogs. They drove said dogs many miles to stay with other relatives. They stayed away from the hospital and came when needed. They brought me good coffee and food to shore me up as I sat by the hospital bed. They broke up the monotony of sitting next to a small baby who couldn’t express her needs, her discomforts, her likes and dislikes. They got me through all the waiting time for doctors. They helped me organize my thoughts and questions. I can’t thank them enough and I remember every kindness to this day.
I promise you, I'm back to the regular vibe with my next post. I just had to say write these two little posts so I can remember it all. And I can't thank you all for all the comments last week. I thought long and hard about putting that last post up there.