Monthly Archives: November 2013

Angels and Post-Partum Brain Loss.

When Ian was two months old, I had probably one of the most emotional and horrifying moments of my life. Not many know about it, although I do choose to share the story with people on occasion.

I never knew the Post Partum experience would be so difficult. On top of depression, I felt my brain had vanished, and left absolute inability to function on a day-to-day basis. I felt friends pushing away, but really, I was the one doing it. I just felt “off” for no particular reason, 24 hours of every day.

One lazy morning, I strapped Ian into his carseat for a trip to the café to visit Daddy, and then we were going to head to the store for some groceries. On the way to the café, Ian fell asleep. I brought him into the café, visited with Aaron for a while, and then Ian and I headed out the back door to the car.

I set his seat down next to the car, pulled out my keys, threw my purse over to the passenger seat, and got in.

As I started the car, I had a sickening feeling that I was forgetting something. Seatbelt! Buckled myself in, looked over, purse and wallet were all ready to go, so I put the car in reverse and backed out. As the car moved backward, I heard a scraping sound. It sounded much like a coffee cup being dragged on the ground, so I figured I’d see what it was after I backed out. As I turned and pulled forward down the alley, I looked in my rearview mirror.

Then, I had one of the most significant out-of-body experiences I’ve had in my life.

Twenty feet behind me, I saw a carseat. It was tipped on its side, twenty feet away from the place it started. In it, my child. The car lurched forward as I jumped out and yanked up the emergency brake.

I ran and found my sweet boy, sound asleep, tucked in comfortably under his warm green blanket.

What followed was an idiotic decision to go to the store anyway, then head home. I didn’t tell Aaron right away, yet that should have been the first place I ran. I headed home after the store, and a few family members were working on a backyard project at my house. I told them what had just happened, and they simply stood there in shock. I ended up leaving Ian with them, and going to the café to get a hug from Aaron and tell him what happened.

Honestly, I didn’t tell people for a while. The shock and embarrassment would have been too much to handle. But as the months and years have passed, I realized that the embarrassment was 1) out of pride, and 2) because I never heard any other moms sharing stories like this.

To be honest, as alone as I felt, I knew I wasn’t REALLY alone. And I want people to know these things happen to even the most caring, devoted moms. I’ve heard countless stories about kids falling off the bed or the kitchen counter, being left unbuckled in the car, etc. I often respond with, “Yeah, well at least you didn’t almost hit your kid with your car.” (To which Aaron responds, “Well, you kind of DID actually.”)

Years later, I also had the realization that Ian and I weren’t alone in that alley. Yes, there were plenty of people at the Laundromat, on the streets, and in local shops and offices, but none of them even knew what had happened.

We were both surrounded by an army of angels. Angels who knew Ian’s mom needed a little help. I have this image in my head of their strong hands protecting his head, singing to him to stay asleep, and guiding the carseat perfectly so he would emerge without a single scratch on his frail body. How else would my kid have survived being dragged 20 feet on its side by a car? *Shivers*

Here’s Ian at two months. Yeah, he looks a little chunky here. But when I saw him in his carseat in the middle of an empty alley, he looked kinda small. 🙂

Ian Grin

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Home.

Currently playing through my headphones: George Winston’s music from “The Snowman.” I remember this music from my childhood vividly. Especially the song that plays as the boy opens the music box and the snowman and boy dance as the ballerina spins.

The music brings back a flood of memories of a big red house, forts in the bushes, swinging from my canopy bed with a friend, snowballs to the face, squirt gun fights, and building an ice rink on our deck… all memories etched into my past and so vivid I can taste the popcorn. I can hear the 70’s rock albums playing from my parents’ record player. I still remember the surprise of my Uncle Beard waiting for me after school, surprising me on a trip from California. No matter where I am, for some reason that house will always be what I think of when people mention “home,” even though I’ve lived plenty of other places.

As I reminisce, I’ve realized it is not necessarily the house itself, or the yard, or the forts; its the memories created there that have stuck with me, and the people I love. Its a place of joy and wonder, laying in the grass in the backyard giggling, and the meals and popcorn and ice-water movie nights shared with my family. Its the friends I’ll always hold in my heart, the ones who knew me in my innocence and first joy.

Here we are, doing exactly the same thing. Doing our best to raise our kids and do everything “right.” But our kids don’t care how big their room is, or that we have no garage and absolutely no sufficient storage space. They probably don’t mind staying home instead of being signed up for every activity imaginable. They don’t care about all the silly details we adults focus on so much and toil and stress over.

Us parents spend so much time trying to provide the perfect childhood for our kids that we miss the mark if we’re not watching closely. If we pay attention, we realize our kids just want to be kids. And they want us to join them. They want boundaries, but they also want to hear loving yesses. They want dirt, and they want to be scrubbed down afterward. They want to dance to loud music and not be told to quiet down. They want us to put down our projects and chores to smile and hug and tickle them. They probably want us to invite people over, and host them without apologizing for the messes.

We’re looking to rent a new place, sometime close to the end of the school year. While Aaron and I may have a long list of what we feel are “needs” in a future home, I think I feel a bit more relaxed now. Our kids really don’t care about the details of the home.

All that matters is that we provide a home for them.

Photo Credit: my mom. I’m the goofy one in the middle with the glasses. 🙂 In that mix are some of my all-time favorite people and kindred spirits.

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