Monday, April 4, 2011

Transition

My mother & I had the same hands.

I've been called 'Tracy' at least once a week my entire life --- because I resemble her so much. Similar builds, similar mannerisms, similar faces. Lots & lots of resemblances. But our hands ... those were identical. Shape, size, naibeds ... oddly, we even shared the same scar on the webbing between our left thumb and pointer finger. Her scar came from a tin can --- mine from a pesky cat named Nermal. I've often made fun of my sausage-like fingers & man sized palms. Be that as it may, I remember how comforting my mom's hands proved to be a million times over when she'd rock me to sleep after a nightmare or wipe tears off my cheeks when my feelings had been hurt on the playground. Sausage fingers or not, I hope my children feel  as comforted by my hands as I did hers.

It doesn't end at our hands. Or even with our physical similarities.  There are things about my life & the people in it that are eerily the same as the events and people that were significant to my mom's journey. Situations, jobs, even the men we eventually chose to be our partners share/shared some curious characteristics.

People say that time has a way of healing. And though I agree on one hand, I have to wave my 'bullshit' flag with the other hand. Time may have a way of teaching us how to deal with loss in a more socially acceptable way ... but there are some losses that cut us to the core. You don't heal from them. Instead you learn to live without focusing on them constantly & find the time/place to break down every once in a while.

Or ... I don't know. Maybe YOU don't. But I do.

You're supposed to lose your mom. It's the way the world is "supposed" to work. She's older than you & nature's law says she will pass away before you. That's what we expect.

But there are other things we expect too. As young girls most of us had expectations for ourselves & also for how our mother's would fit into our lives ... although, we didn't call them expectations. We called them daydreams and fantasies.

We expect our mother's to be there to help us pick out prom dresses and to help choose our graduation pictures. We expect our mom's to be there for our weddings and to meet her grandchildren. We expect them to be there until they're old & until they reach the age when we can say, "But she lived a good, long life."

This isn't a woe-is-me post. Quite the opposite actually. But some of this sad-talk is necessary to explain this strange transition I referred to in Anna-Kate's birth post. So bear with me. :)

My mother was killed 290 days after her 29th birthday. She was 12 weeks pregnant. Our sweet Anna-Kate was due to be born 290 days after my 29th birthday.

I'm not superstitious. But I do believe in some freaky mix of coincidences, karma, fate, serenditpity ... whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it's tragic & sometimes it's blissful --- but either way, I think that dates, times, and places mean something.

For me, March 24, 2011 was a day I have been dreading for years. The week leading up to it I found myself noticing the clock more often than usual & noting to myself things like:

"She was getting off work for the last time right now."
"She was cooking the last meal she would ever make me right now."

When March 24 rolled around this year I was lost in a sea of visitors --- friends & family --- who were there at the hospital to celebrate the birth of our daughter. I thought I'd be a wreck. But I was too tired to be a wreck. In retrospect, Im glad there were so many people in and out of the room all day long. Though I did find myself watching the clock & thinking about what she was doing at certain times during her last day living .... I didnt have time to give into it. There was company to conversate with. Thank  God for that.

Around 8 o clock I found myself alone in the room with my newborn. Josh had taken Ike out to dinner and all the other visitors had left for the day. It was nice to sit in the quiet. To take in my daughter's scent/features/breath. And I had myself a nice little cry. It wasn't really a happy or a sad cry .... maybe more of a "I'm-so-tired-all-I-can-do-is-cry" cry. Ha.

I went to sleep that night knowing that when I woke up the following day I would officially be older than my mother every had the chance to become. It felt like the end of a chapter. Or, perhaps, the 'the end' at the finish of a 19 year novel. I went to sleep praying that when all the proverbial face-shaping dust settles, Anna will take on some of my mother's features. Her lips, her eyes, her cheekbone ... something for me to recognize. Something that will make me feel like, in part, my mom is still here.

It took me 7 years after my parents were killed to begin grieving. And though I don't believe you ever really 'get over' some losses, I feel like the 'finally older than her' transition has given me some sort of closure. Even if its only temporary.

This daughter of mine is beautful. And she came to me at a point in time that I expected to be painful & heart wrenching. Its possible that I built up 'the transition' in my head too much. Its possible that it was never going to be that hard on me.

But, I'd rather believe that my daughter came to me as a gift from my mother to help me through the transition. That the timing was perfect because it was planned that way. That at a time when I could have been feeling overwhelming loss --- I was instead swept away by more love & happiness than I ever thought was possible.  Anna is my little angel --- my reminder that life is precious & beautiful & fragile & not to be taken for granted.

And that is exactly how we've been living since she arrived. As if every minute matters and every day is a blessing.

Something changed inside me when she was born. Suddenly the world seems slower & simpler. Suddenly the outside noise isn't as loud & my focus is on the three loves that share my home with me. Suddenly the work & the money & the things just don't matter. My world feel complete & right --- with a little girl, a little boy & a best friend who happens to make my heart skip a beat.

I'm tired. I'm floating through that "I have a newborn so I don't sleep more than 30 minutes at a time" fog. I don't know how well this post reads & I definitely don't have the capacity to write an eloquent close to this rant. So ... I think I'll just sign off.

Goodnight all.  -xo-