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.