Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthdays Come But Once A Year...


And We're here Lucy to bring you cheer... But you're not here.

As I look to the sky, searching for you I have to wonder, can you hear me? We are here and you are there?

There.

Where is this there? Your sister calls it Heaven, your brother does too. I am not so sure about this place called heaven that collects our loved ones like some big party in the sky. Is it easy for you there? Do you see me? Is your Grandma Jennifer caring for you?

This is all a very hard concept for me to grasp because this is the place where "they" say my daughter is "living". Which seems completely unfair to a mother who yearns to do the caring for her own daughter, especially on her Birthday!

It's your Birthday, Lucy! Do you know that? We are here to celebrate you, are they celebrating you too in your new home? Your day you made it to your final destination in this "life". Is you soul beaming for joy because today is your day?

Your brother says you are huge! I believe so.. as huge as a spirit can be. Your sister says you are 35lbs there and you can walk now.  Oh Lucy, How I long to see that. 

Today is your birthday. It's my birthday to, yea? That day that I gave birth to you was so much bigger than me and this life. That day was the day I was to meet you and the day that I never stopped loving you even when you couldn't be with me. It was that moment in my life where my work began to keep you "alive" as alive within me as you could be. We kept you with us for 24 hours, Lucy. We kept you with us, to know you. We would wrap you, watch tv with you, snuggle you, and touch your nose. Every now and then, I would unwrap you to remember your features. I slept with you near to keep you warm. All that until "they" had to take you.

Oh that moment, Lucy. That moment I had to hand you off to a stranger (funeral home) might have been the hardest moment I have ever experienced in my entire life. I wasn't ready, but I had to do it. I cried tears so ferocious that I couldn't breathe. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never felt pain to that degree before. I remember trembling and screaming for you. Outbursts that have never left my leveled body before. Being ripped from you... My daughter, knowing I would never see your precious face again, only to settle for memories that we captured in photographs. What misery.

But today, my angel... You are one year old. Although those memories are so recent the haze has settled in slightly of that day. I long to remember your smell, your skin, your face, and oh...that nose. That nose your brother shares with you.

Today there will be a moment; once a year. We will light your candle on your birthday cake and we will send you messages to heaven (where your siblings think you are) from the last place you lived on this earth. I love you my sweet girl. Hear my message. Happy Birthday.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Over The Rainbow And Born Under The "Honey" Moon...


Meet Linus Jay Francis Lawrence. Born three weeks early, precisely when he intended to be. Friday the 13th, of June during the "Honey" full moon. What a magical day for a baby as precious as him to join our world.

"They" say he's a rainbow baby. A term given to children that are born to parents after infant loss or miscarriage. I have been very vocally against this term. I understand the sentiment and I fully get what it is meant to reflect upon. But his pregnancy was less than unicorns, rainbows, and butterflies.

Terrifying times; being pregnant. Especially after a traumatic experience as the loss of a child. Linus was planned yet, not really. Bleeding early on sent me into a familar panic. I had already given up this pregnancy at that minute, terrified that there would be a similar outcome. The panic gave way when every test had been run on me and our newest edition to reveal... nothing.

That moment when a Dr. tells you that everything with your current pregnancy is just fine.... breathe.

But...Lucy's pregnancy was a case of "bad luck". Heart sinking news. You want to know there has to be a reason. Fluke...Bad Luck. Terms used to describe my littlest and I am left numb. Rainbows, indeed.

Every glimpse into Linus's window reassured us that he was perfectly formed just as his sister was. I asked over and over to make sure there were no "bleeds" and that everything stayed normal. I monitored him at home every time I took to worrying about the safety of the life inside me. I tried to meditate to stop me from being neurotic and I kept myself extremely busy. I was pregnant, FOR-EV-ER.

IS this the storm that "they" speak of before that rainbow emerges? Or was that Lucy? Either way, I will leave the rainbows to you.

Linus's entry into this world was very much controlled by him. My body and him struggling to get on the same wave length. After being on the verge of sent home to labor he decides its probably time to start doing something about this "joining the world thing." Virtually painless labor until 45 minutes before he decided to quickly descend. Like Jackyl and Hyde, even I was succumbing to his Gemini ways. Fiona to Ogre in that 45 minutes un-medicated, until I closed my eyes (pushed twice) and opened them to find he made it.

Not a tear was shed. Something I find as a regular reaction for me in birth. The person who cries at hallmark commercials, too overwhelmed to cry? As they put this 8lb 4oz cheesy baby on my chest, I started thanking him. "Thank you for making it, you made it! Thank you!" Was this my rainbow moment, the moment "they" keep telling me will come? I'm reserved. I just haven't gotten there yet. I am smitten and definitely in love. I am sleep deprived and mostly delirious.

But, my "naivete" knows no bounds. Call me crazy, but I was willing to give this little person a life after losing so much. Breathtaking really, how someone is willing to reconcile the past with resilience and put themselves through an experience without reserve. Bravery at it is finest. I pull that bravery from all around me (especially my husband) allowing for my happiest moments. My rainbow moments. Because, I have the courage to let go of what I can not change.

I have a lot to learn in this world which is a magical place to be. I don't pretend to know it all or pour the world with "I told you so's". I don't live like that or care too. I live for the things that I have that are right in front of me. My rainbow moments occur everyday as a wake up in the most secured arms every morning next to the newest love of my life, Linus.

Welcome to our world little man, rainbow baby, my (second) lucky number 13. May I show you that kindness, resilience, forgiveness, and love are always the answers in the world. And... don't ever let someone mistake that for weakness because after all its your happiness, unicorns, rainbows, and butterflies that matter.


Doesn't get much sweeter.


Sibling Love. They are smitten.


Hippy Momma, Baby Wearer. 


Snuggles with Daddy, Pleases Linus. (PRESH!)




Monday, June 9, 2014

Five Senses of Generosity

This weekend I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed in generosity towards me to the likes that made me do some serious thinking. As raw as I may be, I try to speak the truth about who I am and whom I've become.

As a little girl, I grew up properly lower middle class. Having everything we needed but not always what we wanted. Sometimes this fits you like a glove when other times it creates a greed monster of those who know what growing up this way feels like. I was always wanting what just simply couldn't be afforded and looking back, it was nothing that I REALLY needed. Most of the time, I was highly satisfied with the level of "stuff" I had, but hoarded things in my closet, clinging on to "things" for the sake of "things". This is a "side effect" of growing up with just enough and not really realizing that just enough was perfect.

There's a family Christmas video, which I shared with my children so that they could see their Grandma Jennifer (RIP), hear her voice, and connect. What I ended up focusing on was my Mother spending her entire Christmas Eve embarrassed with me and "getting on my case" about my ungratefulness. I honed in on my eight year old self with such precision. Watching my every move, and realized that I was totally a product of my upbringing, however, I was simply an un-evolved greedy child.

I only got worst, as time may show. A greedy and wanting child turned in to an ungrateful and greedy preteen and so on. I decided at this moment, I was to leave this world of just enough because surely, living with my Dad would satisfy this hunger for more. Yes, temporarily... I was the only child he had to focus on at times and the want and greed would subside (I say this with the utmost love and admiration) but, my Dad was an enabler to my want and greed. He was very giving and obliging to my wants for whatever reason and despite being a pretty good kid, I still carried around this feeling of entitlement. I took advantage and was totally oblivious to my behavior.

Fast forward 17 years, and here we are. A new era of Renee with a different feel. An evolved realization of what I had been and how I feel today. Sure, I've been put through so serious shit and really haven't left that tendency to think locally, not globally (Thanks Bio-Dome; yes I love that movie. No shame). But with some serious mindfulness that the world isn't just mine and there is something bigger than me and the things that are created in it. I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED! Living in a one income household with my husband who makes a great salary but funds are allocated elsewhere, it makes for tight living. However, we totally live within our means and discuss everyday how we have what we need and how wonderful our life is with just enough. We have to remind ourselves daily, really. Because the wants are easy to creep into life like a plague of envy and ego that makes you crazy and frustrated. Who wants to live like that? Not me! Not Anymore!

Overwhelmed was the story of the weekend as generosity runneth over. So much so, that it brought me to tears. These thoughts swirled through my head as I was on my way to Linus's baby shower. See, I have had this personal goal for quite some time to explode with appreciation and generosity because sometimes how I am feeling inside wasn't overflowing with how I was perceived. In my head, I rehearsed like a schizophrenic on how I was to make sure that gratefulness flew out of me and enthusiasm was expressed. I feel these things in every moment, however I'm just learning how to socially project that.

To me in the last month, Generosity is more than just a simple act of giving. To me, generosity has flowed through my senses like a river flows over a dam, awaking my need to be grateful and see each moment as pure. Shaking out all doubt of others and seeing everyone and everything right where they/it is. Filling up my bucket of pure appreciation for the people who choose to be a part of my life, as I have chosen them.  The senses of generosity are often numb when not awoken with mindfulness.

This weekend my senses were alive and this is what it feels like to me in a mindful way...

A room full of women and children who smiled largely when I walked into it. It was decorated with blues and greens and bow ties. A melting pot of people that choose to be in my life and came to celebrate a new milestone that will forever change me. A house full of things, given and purchased as a ritual to people having children only to continue this notion that a village is what it takes to keep our spirits alive. Things needed and appreciated as they are because they were given in love.

The laughter of games and jokes that filled a space with love and happiness. Simple and customary words of gratitude, and appreciation. Reading kind words from cards purchased to express how each individual chose to celebrate that day. Reading those words aloud to share each persons world with the next. 

Hugs by the millions in gestures of hello and goodbye, to simply show how our presence is adored and missed. Hands held in recognition to loss but yet, to express joy for the new story being created out of a storm that we had all come through together in our own ways.

The time taken to make meticulous yummy treats for people to enjoy filling up the air and bellies with goodness. The babies clean skin and clothes that give off an aroma almost addicting to the brain.

 And...Food shared together in the spirit of celebration to fill our hearts and tummies.

I've barely even touched the surface of how I am filled with love and admiration of the people who have shown me that I have so much to be grateful for. People who rallied around me during my darkest times when Lucy was born have all become a part of her story too. Lucy being born just precisely at the right time to make the biggest impact in the world... my world. What she has accomplished in this short year since her birth has changed people. Has changed me. Never would I have known a world of such love and generosity if it not for my littlest.

These lessons that I have learn and this love and understanding of being in the place where I am right now, with exactly what I need, is the first lesson of Lucy's legacy that I will pass on to her brother, Linus.





Thanks be to my family, chosen or otherwise for being a part of our day. -With Love.













Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Flying Flags.

When I first met my husband in Kansas, what I saw was a handsome man who was broken. He was TERRIBLY broken and desperate. There was something there that he held inside. Something maybe not one other person would understand, but I did. I could have easily ran the other way. Both were in "divorce pending" status. His a million more times dramatic than mine.

All the red flags were there to look the other way...

As we got to know each other, stories of his life happenings started to unravel from all walks of his life, including himself. None of them held a complete truth. Harsh lies meant to break an already broken man took there toll on him as he was clawing, kicking, and screaming to keep his head above the waves crashing around him. Very much self inflicted wounds of desperation that swirled in his head, as each disappointment he personally caused surfaced.

All the red flags were there to look the other way...

This man, that I spent six short months learning was a vulnerable and small man, (Not in stature or otherwise) but emotionally. He was opening himself time and time again to hurt and disappointment that he had grown accustomed to when he fled his homeland, leaving a trail a scorn, hurt, and vengeance. He was low, unable to find a purpose, a way to make all better. The "better" he imagined it would be the day he naively left his family behind in Michigan. Not in a cowardliness act, but a man of sheer desperation to find more of a life where he was being verbally, emotionally, and physical abused by what life was throwing at him.

Red flags...

A day came where our own mistakes hit the surface of this storm that brewed and I thought I would pack this man's bags personally and send him and his baggage back to where it all started for him. That day I was broken too, like I had never been broken before. That day, this man said. "I don't know what I will do, I don't know where I will go, but no matter with or without you, I am not going back to Michigan. Kansas is my home."

Stand down red flags...

That moment in my life, at this second when my "now husband" was personally drowning further into depths than he had ever seen, I chose to be his mermaid. Together we made plans to get his and our life back on track. This would not be easy. I found myself being a personal cheerleader and life coach to the likes that I didn't always want to be. Because I was not going to back down, I took much flack from the powers that (tried to) be. Together, we held hands tighter and tighter... no "red rover" was getting through this bond.    

My husband fought for his life; employment, counseling, and personal changes. He sought forgiveness, enlightenment, and self worth. He had spent so many years living for the expectations of others and here I am trying to teach him to live for himself.

Burning red flags...

Transition in his life took hold and emerged a man of self-worth. A man that honors his mistakes and choices that he had made in his life and was willing to accept what that meant for him. He stopped trying to make amends after forgiveness and he marched forward into happiness out of the darkness that presented it self as the past. He realized, as a highly educated man and a genuine person that living life for today was what his life was becoming. He motored out of that city nearly four years ago down the yellow brick road to find his brains, his courage, and his heart.

White flags...

The day's after our littlest mermaid was born a micro-preemie and died in our arms, he was the man that never left my side. All he knew from that moment was love-lost, yet was the man to hug me tight as I wailed out for our daughter in the night. He held me up when my knees were weakened, he is the man that works everyday to be the man he was meant to be, for himself, for me, for my children, for us. 

I cherish you, Jeremy. Through our broken times... to our happiest moments. The day that I married you, I made the best choice to look past all those flags. The day we brought Lucy into this world was a day where our love and life was strengthen further even though it could have sunk our ship. We have so many days ahead, where we continue to sail in love and happiness til our sun sets in the horizon.

Today, this man that I married is the man that holds me up by my fins. I, still his mermaid and He, very much my sailor. We have steered this ship around. Flying a new flag.

 Rocking His Littlest...
I've earned my title as Mrs. Lawrence, and I wear it proudly.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Letter To Linus...

My dearest Son whom I've yet to meet...


Not more than five minutes ago I thought to write you. As I was practicing becoming present with myself, I felt you move. In the shower not even five minutes ago, shaving my legs (yes, I can still do it at 34 weeks) I could feel parts of you inside me. A head, a shoulder? I am not sure but, I thought of you. I thought instantly in that moment what it would be like to know you, what you will look like, and who you will become. 

I felt the overwhelming urge to put my words down in a space to recall what that felt like. To know you now is not to know you the same way in just a few short weeks. Will you know me instantly as your mother? Do you already know that?

 I'm still learning you know; this whole parenting thing. I've been a parent for over TEN years and I am still learning. I'm still learning how to become the person I want to become, to be your mother. Bare with me baby boy.

There is one thing as your Mom that I want you to know. Maybe you already do. I'm still working out how this whole "soul" thing works. But, you have a older sister and even though you have already triple, quadrupled her size, she will always be your elder. Maybe you've met her, I may never know. But, I feel you should know her... "Know her."

I've made many mistakes this pregnancy in regards to you dear Linus. I for 17 weeks referred to you as a girl. Grasping on for dear life hoping you would be a little girl that might resemble your sister. I couldn't fathom the thought that you weren't a girl or what this world would be like if you were a boy. I had already named you, held on to this belief. Clouded and grasping at straws hoping that a piece of Lucy would enter this world. What I was missing was I didn't need you to have a Vagina to know that you were really always going to be the one sibling that would carry her same genes into this world.

But better yet, you were a boy! A BOY! I couldn't even handle it. It took me days to find myself feeling remotely happy that you would enter this life with a penis. How silly! Because after all, you were not Lucy. You were her brother, Linus.

As my happiness grew, I started to over compensate for your lack of "girl-ness" by trying to prepare for you in all your BOY GLORY! (Whatever that looks like). See, I felt very compelled to be ready for you early on because I was so unprepared for your sisters entrance/exit into/out of this world. So I made the decision to re-do an entire space for you from head to toe, spending money that probably could fill better use. What do you really know about a paint color called "silver rain" with a slight blueish tint to match the new carpet that just HAD to be replaced?

I found myself being excited for you to come and wondering what you would look like. Talking with Gwyn and Keegan about what you were to look like, I found myself secretly having foot in mouth disease again. As each of your siblings professed what they thought... "I want him to look like J, because he's cute."-Gwyn "I hope he looks like me"-Keegan  "Well, I hope that he looks like Lucy." I said without a blink. Stumbling over the thoughts of what I just said. "I hope he looks just like Lucy."

See I've been putting pressure on you since the day you were conceived or even the thought of conceiving you! An unfair place where you would be born as a "replacement" of your sister. The truth is little boy, that it took me until seven short weeks ago to realize that you were to come into this world as your own soul, your own child, my Linus. It took me to see your profile in sonogram to see a much different face. That face looking a lot like your fathers to realize; I'm suppose to bring you into this world because I was the right person to bring you up, as your own person. Whether you look like your sister or share a piece of her, you are your own soul.

I have come to realize my dearest boy, that you are the vagina-less child that I was suppose to parent. That you may not look a thing like your sister. However, I cannot wait to meet you. The standard that I want to hold you to is the standard that you will create with your own will, being who you are, who you were always suppose to be. Linus Jay Francis Lawrence; My Son, Lucy, Gwyn, and Keegan's Brother, Grandson, Great Grand-Son, and WHOM EVER ELSE YOU WANT TO BE. I love you and ...

"As long as I'm living, MY baby You'll be."-Robert Munsch



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"When you do things from your soul, other people really dig that shit." -Unknown


I have been waiting several days on the exact words to feel profound all week. I really wanted to speak on the last few weeks I have experienced in the life of Ne. I knew that I wanted to give a voice to some pinnacles and although when I think that I have reached another goal and ended there, I created a new dream through these experiences. This is just the alpha...

As I have been waiting several days to find those words, this quote rolls across my timeline and "boom! goes the dynamite."  

I talk to myself much of the day when my kids are school and my nephew sleeps the morning away. This quote hit me like and elephant on my chest. "Renee, each time you choose this path (your soul) people really dig that shit." Not only do people dig it... it makes a difference. 

Really since I can remember thinking about my life all I have ever really wanted to do was to make a difference in lives. I wanted to pollute the masses with hippy love shit and facilitate a place where people could find their own personal utopia. I wanted to selfishly be the reason why people dig my shit! Through these lessons I felt like I could provide what really was for my own personal pleasure and I needed you to hear it! 

I recently, (selfishly) submitted some words to a production in Kansas City and throughout the nation called "Listen to Your Mother." The call for submissions ran quickly past my timeline and I immediately dove into my story. I almost submitted a story that I thought was important, yet I felt was not the selfish impact I felt that it needed to provide for Lucy.

Which is so weird, because here I am thinking only of my self and my daughter to submit something to help keep her alive, yet I didn't know I would be blindsided and brought to a reality that I was oblivious to until this point. 

I switched my story, and briefly edited it. Because, if you read me, you know editing is not my thing. Submitted it. Picked. Audition. Picked. I did it! I.... I DID IT! I ...I...I 

Ego Check! Checked at the door. Things were about to drastically change. This self-serving experience that I had created in my head was about to take a u-turn. Not only was the experience about to change

...my life. 

I missed the first interaction with the other 15 women that belonged in this same club I had been initiated too. So, by the time that I entered the group, the inside jokes were already formed and introductions already produced. I...I...I was now the outsider and unsure how I fit into this dynamic. 

I knew that my story was really the first thing that these other women would know of me and guess what, I picked the number 2. I had to read second. So nothing like being thrown into the trenches of the mother of all wars. Here we were, sharing a table, a space, a time... and our stories. 

One by one, 14 women read their souls. Dropping their hearts out of their chest in a room full of virtual strangers. Sharing a perspective of the life that they have journey'd thus far. Immediate moment where trust was completely enveloping us as we take in each others, triumphs, struggles, and losses.

That day changed me and my perspective on my self-serving place hold that I brought with me. I sat in my car after this interaction for about 15 minutes alone. Taking in all that I had witnessed. It was in this moment that I reveled in every story and realized this was bigger than Me...Me...Me. This life is bigger than me. This is life is bigger than Lucy. But, THIS LIFE was not the same without these two altogether, it was a piece of this world we have created in that room on that day. It was an "Us" world. It was a world that I belong to and although my experiences have no similarities to those other 15 women, I now stood up in their story as if it was mine and supported the message. I now carry those stories as a part of my life that will forever be changed. 

May 3rd came and went. 16 women hit a stage of a venue filled with love. We spoke freely in this "Us" world. We took that next step in this journey of togetherness and took our story to a small mass. Creating more newcomers to our "tribe." We read. We cried. We conquered. and... WE WE WE created an "Us" world. We changed perspectives. We gave life. We gave smiles. We gave love. WE GAVE OURSELVES. 

Again, to strangers, WE gave our soul and other people DUG that shit!

That moment left me without words that I have been working out in my head. That moment is gone, but my new perspective is very much alive. I'm figuring out how to keep Lucy alive and my message is no longer only for me (and her). I take her story with me to continue to create more "us" and less "me". 

Thank you to my new "tribe" for sharing a little of your world, to create a new version in the step of Utopia. Thank you for doing things from your soul. 



To learn more about #LTYM (Listen To Your Mother) : Kansas City Listen To Your Mother

Also, The feature to a follow up about Lucy and my experience since #LTYM : Baby Lucy, A Year Later




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No Promises, No Promises..- Incubus

"I'm on the road of least resistance
I'd rather give up than give into this
So promise me only one thing, would you?
Just don't ever make me promises..
No promises, no promises" -Incubus



No Promises! Not anymore. I can't make them or take them, because they've all seem like false realities. I can't make promises unless I know I can absolutely predict every moment in life that would come between me and that promise. So, really a promise isn't forever, they are not reality, and they are broken, Often. 

Someone once made a promise to me that was maybe the BIGGEST promise in my lifetime. I have been on the receiving end of many broken promises and thought myself to be wise at this point. But, through sheer desperation and grasping to hope; I took one more promise. 

This promise is something that I will never forget, but albeit I have forgiven. It's taken me awhile, but I know that this one promise I can't keep... tucked in my heart because it will make me angry. 

See, two days before I was to deliver a beautiful premature baby girl, I was made a promise. One promise by a very gentle, kind, and loving doctor. He was the neo-natalogist watching over me in the hospital and he came to me at my most vulnerable time. He was there to give me hope, yet help me understand that my littlest Lucy was in grave danger in the time frame and challenge that she was currently facing. But in this brief moment, this man brought me hope and was of impeccable bedside manner. I begged of him to be there when Lucy comes. He said that he would let me make a choice on my daughters life, whether they would be able to save her and whether I would want them to try. 

He said to me "Dear, I promise you I will be here when and if that happens. I promise, I will let you make that decision." 

-3:45 am two days later

There we were in the predicament that we had discussed. There was no Dr. Promises (as I will call him) to be seen and he wouldn't be able to make it. It was all replaced with these "other" people at my daughter birth that didn't know "our" promise! They didn't understand and they would not listen to my pleas. 

"Dr. Promises... PROMISED ME!" and all they could say to me is... I'm sorry. 

-Sometime that afternoon, many hours after Lucy's arrival and death. 

Dr. Promises walks through the door. He looks at me with such sadness in his eyes. We connect not only as Dr. to Patient but in that moment, as human beings. I'm so angry and tears burst from my eyes like I am a cartoon character; flying out the side of my face. 

He offered me a hand, and I begin to yell at him. "You promised me you would be here... you promised me." I shook his hand and would not let go. He sat next to me allowing me to be angry with him. He sat with me and said nothing, enduring all my pains and verbal attacks at him. He allowed me to be mad at him and in that moment made me feel that my anger with him was valid. He was mourning too, but in his "doctorly" way. For I am sure that he has seen this before. 

Before he left, he met our Lucy. He maybe said 2 sentences, he held me, he held my Lucy, and he walked out of that room. I have never spoken to or seen him again. But one thing will always stick with me... His promise.