Saturday, November 1, 2014

Four Babies Later...

There's something I like to refer to as the fourth trimester body. In having four kids, I have met the fourth trimester body many times. In my last two pregnancies, there is only three months span between them and my body took a toll. My pregnancy with Linus was not easy on my bod after the trauma of Lucy's. 

Here I stand in the mirror looking at my naked body. I don't feel confident in the fact that I earned this shape. These marks. These hips. 

In fact, looking in the mirror I see worn out and tired mom. The mom who was playing basketball in the driveway with my kids and couldn't go after a ball like I used to. Or chase after and field that ball coming my way. Hips loose. Popping. Creeking. 

I'm only 33, this seems incredibly unacceptable. As I undress, I look at all the angles. I know every curve, mark, pinch. I analyze it with the most judging eyes. I treat it with the unkindness I would never treat someone else's. 

How did I get here? I'm not quite sure where my obsession with me body evolved. I know, I've always been tall; Nearly 6'. I know my weight growing up was always a topic of conversation like it was a "thing", a problem to wear a size 12 girls when I was 8. Or to have developed full cup size C breasts at 12. It's been a long road of being made to obsess and analyze the discussions of others involving my weight. 

It became my story. Still is. A story, I'm constantly trying to rewrite. As a Mom. Especially as a Mom of four, my body should hold so much pride. The life it's given and the life it's sustained should be enough to marvel. 

Marveling is what my husband does best. Marveling over the same areas I'm critizing. The compliments flood at me in mass proportions and as someone as adoring as him, I should be elated, boastful, and want to share myself with him. The body he covets, cowers when he does this. Becomes small. Embarrassed. Shy. 


I take pretty good care of my health and my body. Especially when I was pregnant. With Lucy I gained 9lbs in the 22 weeks of pregnancy and Linus I started at the same weight, only gaining 12. Since he was born, I'm 25 lbs smaller than before I was pregnant. This sounds like a great accomplishment. However, it was another obsession over my body. Being made to weight in each visit. Becoming the focus of my visit. It was torture until I switched providers to allow the tenderness I deserved. 

I recognized this thought pattern is something that needs rewriting. These thoughts were manifesting in my life, my body, and my children. This story that had been created for me as a kid. Turned into a real life thing. An unfair evaluation of my self worth through my size. As that story continued, the more it manifested. 

Now most who know me know... I can be very confident. I am very confident in lots of areas of my life. I'm confident in my marriage, friendships, my abilities, my parenting, and basically everything else. It makes zero sense to me to be so sheepish about my reflection.

A reflection that shows me how beautiful I am. Which I do ACTUALLY believe. I believe in my beauty. Reality and perception play an odd part where one day I'm overly confident and the next day, I'm broken. 

After losing Lucy, nothing could seem more painful than coming to grips with my own reflection. A woman. Mother of a baby who died. Who's body seemingly failed the ability to keep her daughter safe until she could live outside of her. 

In that reflection was guilt, was blame, and was more reasons to self deprecate a body that housed my broken soul. 

Where's the triumph in all this? The Renee that is resilient in seeing everything through to make each day new and better. 

Truth is, I'm finding her. I realized that in having children it becomes incredibly important for me to change my story, so that my story doesn't become theirs. For my daughter but, especially for my sons. 

I'm challenging myself to do some rebirth about my body, the house for my soul. It needs to be treated with care. With kindness. It needs to be treated with respect and love. 

My fourth trimester body, is the temple in which I have life, gave life, and live. I'm gonna start living like intended with a new awareness. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My husband was "Married" when I met him.

This is one of those posts, people, where the raw and forthcoming truth is going to hit like a ton of bricks. 

Lucy's father was married to someone else when I met him. 

And so was I. 


We were both "technically" married. 

Never once when we met did we lie about our terminating marriages being a part of our life. We both had already asked for a divorce prior. Both miserable in our own skin and in our marriages. 

The day I "MET" him. He had already left his family, in Michigan. I had been a HORRIBLE wife to my Husband at the time and ready to find a happy place. But, we no longer resided with our ex-spouses. 

I never spent one day with him as the other woman. Not one. Even though, before our divorces weren't final, I was dating Lucy's father. 

In fact, he was divorced quiet possibly a year before I was. 


Now when relationships end there are two people's stories. I totally get that. There's a "truth" you take with you full of excuses of why your marriage ended. But truth is, your truth is the only one that mattered. 

We carry around our truths, giving them away as we please. Sometimes we give them less frequently as a part of our story, than the truths of the real world. 

I've never lied to anyone about the truth on how my relationship with my husband came about. But, realized I filled the conversation with excuses. Embarrassed that they might view me in an unpleasant light. 

I was terrified of judgement. Terrified of those who take the bits and pieces said here and run with their own truths. I was terrified because of my husband's story. 

But, today. Today that doesn't matter. Today that's all noise in a greater purpose of why I married my husband. There is no excuse I will give, because I don't have too! 

How freeing is that! 

I married my husband because we found each and fell in love. That's it. 


I see muddy tracks where he had been. But, I saw love. 

My mother in law told me a beautiful story about my husband as a small child. When his sister was born, he thought she was brought to this world for him to love. He loved so fiercely, his baby sister. He is still that man. They know. 

Love. This man that fought so hard for his son's safety that he possessed full custody at one point. 

Love. The love written in emails and letters saying how great a father my husband is/was. How his kids came first. 

Love. The love 4 people (us, my ex and his new wife) put into the effort to raise our kids together. In creation to build something unique for the kids we parent on a daily basis. 

Love. The only thing that Lucy knew in this life. Her whole life was summed up in

I get it. You may not agree with me. My marriage. My past. My love. 

That holds no reflection on me. To me. Excuse me , As I proceed in love. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's The Matter...

Lucy's the matter. 

Yesterday was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. For this day, like the last we ran. "Light One For Lucy (and Friends)". A social media campaign to lift awareness on our timelines. 

I'm overwhelmed by the response of over 100 candles lighting up my timeline in honor of the little lives that were so quick to touch our lives and leave us to soon.  

I had been slightly defeated going into Wednesday, for I had been directed to a trolls comments about how little, Lucy's life mattered due to my husband's past. 

To anyone who has experience loss of any kind knows that the pain can be unbearable. Losing a child is no different, except the pain is breakable. 

As all of those beautiful lights were illuminating my timeline, my husband and I became overcome with love. It became apparent to me that Lucy's life mattered so much and Lucy lives in so much of us. Lucy came at the exact time to touch the souls in the most perfect way. Life Changing. 

One tiny little girl has brought so much compassion, so much drive, so much love, and so much light to our world in a life of only 1 hour long. The lessons we've learned from her life have been boundless. 

Often a Mother's struggle in Infant and Pregnancy Loss is to help people understand their baby was life. They were wanted. They are your baby. Imagine that everyday you would have to fight to have someone recognize your babies lived. 

Lucy lives. Lives in Keegan, who was brought to tears over the lit flame for his sister, whom he's cradled in his arms. Lucy mattered. 

She lives in Gwyn, whom screams out for her sometimes in the night. Who sleeps with the blanket that wrapped Lucy 's tiny body as Gwyn rocked her. 
Lucy Mattered. 

Lucy lives in her Father, whom kept her wrapped tight in blankets so she was not to "get cold" as we spent 24 hours drinking in every part of her life. 

Lucy lives and LIVED in me. Where I refuse to let her Life and Death happen for lack of purpose or higher meaning. Bringing awareness and sounding off for mothers like me. 

Lucy lives in those with heart. That understands that her family isn't perfect. Her family was perfect for her. As she watches over, she gives strength to those who are weak. She provides love and she offers forgiveness to those who need it the most. 

I've never claimed to be saintly, but I live each day with Lucy in mind. How can I live in such a way to give her life honor. 

Because through Lucy , We Matter.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Mother's October

A Mother's October is a battle ground. A reminder of the thoughts we don't escape each day. As their mother, you get to have everything that comes with being their mom. Except, we don't. 

The worry, the guilt, the classic "mom" thoughts never go away. Some of us meet our dear ones and some imagine their beauty. Yet we all belong here, This October. 

October comes with leaves flying, pumpkins carved, apples baked, and yet, with all this nostalgia, it could be better. In celebration, we make those aware of our littlest's battle and to keep them living on in thier hearts, as they stay living in ours. Mothers don't let their babies go.

A Mother's October is a battle ground. A war to let us never forget the soul that touched us most, that broke our hearts, that left us with a hole. 

A Mother's October is to remember. 
Each year's tenth month will come, like the last. Just like the one before and before that. A whole month to encompass our love for our littlest's soul. 

Here were are, October. The month we were given. The month we gather to remember our babies.

31 days of awareness for their fights, and their lives. 31 days in this Mother's October where you, and her, and I stand up for our babies to remember that tiny heartbeat. The first sonogram. That booming kick. I stand before you on this October, with you, and as you. 

Our babies are bigger than October. Surely their lives can't be summed up by a month. But, here we are. Celebratory for the lives we grew and the angels we gained. 

A Mother's October is a peaceful place where her baby lives and their soul soars. 
This October, while we remember our babies, honor their Mothers. For her heart is where her baby lies. 

For anyone who has Lucy's friends with her in heaven. 

All I can think is love.

I formulated an entire blog post in response to some comments brought to my attention in response to love celebrated for Lucy, just Lucy.

As I was writing I realized, release it. Write it out and release it. So I wrote it, than erased it.  Injustice and untruths really bother me. 

I'm protective of all that I love and especially, my family. I try to understand what it's like to be a sociopath by understanding how when someone envelopes themself in lies to hurt someone else, they can truly become the lie. 

Many have refered to it or them as "evil". But, I know that people have a story. Hurt envelopes people in different ways. Some are able to cope in a pleasing manner, while others can't. Everyone has a story, everyone deserves to be heard, loved, and cared for. No matter their story. These are exact words I say to my husband when he faces conflict. 

 As the case keeps building, I'm allowed to learn forgiveness.  

The comments are from those who do not even KNOW me. My story. Know my life, my love, my thoughts, my actions, my worth, or who I am. They may never get the privilege. To me that is sad because, generally those who know me, know me. 

So let me introduce YOU to truth, I am Renee. Renee, a woman who lives in Kansas with her family. I love. I breathe. I laugh. I cook. I bake. I advocate. I'm a liberal in a highly conservative state. I'm a college graduate. I'm a family studies developmentalist. I'm aware. I'm psychic. I'm beautiful. I'm clever. I'm a writer. A teacher. A speaker. A mother. I'm flawed. I've made mistakes. I'm free. I like carbs. I love bacon (which wasn't always the case). I love yoga. I swim. Sports is my thing. I paint. I walk the walk. I talk the talk. I still believe that albeit your story, love is always the answer. I've never been skinny, not that I care. I love my curves. I advocate for the side of these untruths more than realized. My marriage is not a product of divorce. My divorce is not a product of my marriage. I parent my children with three other parents, whom created a loving bond for all, no matter how our marriage/divorce came to be (Forgiveness works).  I've supported the unpopular decisions and actions within my own family. I've thought. I've acted. I've forgave. I research. I keep spirits alive. I'm the calendar that remembers every birthday, including yours. I'm the reminder to send that gift. That card. I'm the ally. I don't keep enemies. Words don't bother me. Lies do. I'm a Leo. I have 4 children. I have 4 step children, I may never meet (I hope that's not the case). I don't know them, but I know their father talks of them everyday. I know the circumstances to which my husband left his family. I don't praise his decision. Never have. I support his effort to do the right thing, in fact, encourage it. I don't believe the slander. I'm on top of and discuss frequently the outcomes of every change. I coach. Support and encourage love amongst the hate and despair. I realize. I nurture. I celebrate. I search. I mourn. I bleed. I'm human too. I'm full of heart among the heartless. I volunteer. I read. I educate.  I flirt. I'm spiritual but not religious. I'm intelligent. I'm as is...

Nice to meet you. These are the terms in which I'm referring to myself. My truth. The truth that will stand the test of time. The truth that keeps me happiest within my skin. Truth that pity's those who's skin makes then feel rage, revenge, or anything other than love. Those to whom also make many mistakes and contribute to the truths of others. Those whom cast the first stone. I honor your "story". I realize we all have one. Even if it doesn't pertain to love, forgiveness, and a better way. 

Truth. Freedom. 

I encourage you to live your truth. I invite you to build something from it, and start from a new place. People are not defined by their pasts. I won't define you. 

These are lessons losing Lucy has taught me. Don't learn these lessons by loss. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I hate Breastfeeding... Ok I said it.

We're three months into this relationship, son. You came into this world so fast, and ten minutes after your were born you were latched on, like a baby leach ready to suck the life out of anything that would go into your mouth.

Fast forward three months. We are in cruise control of this Breastfeeding thing. But, damn was that a road rocky. 

I was talking to your father last night about how just months ago we would be up in the middle of the night and I would cry and curse Breastfeeding mothers all over the world. "This is fucking stupid! People actually enjoy this? This SUCKS!"

There were times when your father exclaimed he was on his way to buy a can of formula, but I stopped him just in time to say, we can do this. 

Where was my bonding moment? I hated everything about this feeling and the struggle WAS REAL! 

Everything! I mean everything bothered your tummy. (Inherited from your father, I might add). You would fuss with gasses and we would just look at each other numb like we hadn't dealt with baby tears at least three time before, each! 

You have silent reflux. You have since the day you were born. Supposing it was being born early, I guess. But, everyday is getting better. Thanks Zantac! 

You were born with a tongue and lip tie! (Another thing you can attribute to you father). At one month old you were already having reversional surgery. The pain this caused was punch your momma in the throat kind of pain. I remember crying through breastfeeding sessions each time, knowing it wasn't suppose to be this way. 

Support groups, while they were there for support.... Ugh. Meltdowns. 

Chiropractors, gripe water, energy work , and gas drops. You had been through the gambit before you were two months old. 

Today, mild Thrush. Caused by the fact I no longer use dairy for your tummy. We are beating it, it's really the least of our problems up until this point. 

I questioned myself everyday, son. Was all this bullshit we've gone through worth it? I had been told by friends it was ok to just switch to bottles or formula. But, maybe I'm stubborn. (I know I'm stubborn) I don't give up. I just don't. It's who I am. Without bonding, through screaming and crying, I wasn't giving up. 
(Personal decision, it's ok to stop!) 

For the first two months I loathed this role. Every hour and a half you wanted to eat. I just felt nuts. I felt like a bad Mom. I felt, where was my bonding moment? This was suppose to be about bonding, that's what they tell me. I wasn't getting that .... 

And then, you smiled at me.

 That moment your dimple showed itself. Instantly the last two months were erased. You smile at me like your Dad does when he's adoring me. My heart was hooked. There was our bonding moment. It happened, it's finally here. My struggle realized it was  gone. No more fussy gasses. No more pain. We got this thing beat. 

Three months in, my dear Linus. I still don't LOVE breast feeding. That's ok. I love you, and that's why I do it. Why any Mom does whatever they do for the best interest of their child, formula and breast milk alike. 

Happy third month to us, cheers! 

This fox says, ah-goo!

I mean. How handsome is he!


Best Friends!

He loves his Nana and Grandma Kathy!

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?


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 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.