My Gilded Cage

Perhaps I was born this way and the experience was no more than a reflection of that. Or perhaps it was intended to become the lesson the entire time. All I know is that I am tired of climbing up and out of uncomfortable places in my effort to not be harmed by them.

A simple post by a friend today prompted this blog.

“I would rather have peace in my life, than the need to portray myself as perfect to everyone else”

I am not perfect. I am flawed. And I am learning to recognize that.  And in that recognition peace is the desired result.

 

I’ll never forget my grandmother, or Nanny, as she preferred to be referenced.

In some whacked out way she taught me one of the most important lessons in my life and it’s taken me 53 years to finally see it.  It  occurred in an elevator in what I believe was a department store somewhere. I have zero recall of anything standing out that would assist me in providing more information than this. I think in part because the shopping experience that day turned into a nightmare of epic proportions as we found ourselves trapped behind the gilded cage of an old school lift.  It truly wasn’t as terrifying in retrospect but to my tender ears, the sounds of my Nanny screaming and shaking the closed cage was more than enough to make me wary of anything that locked me inside.  In fact, I believe I have struggled against anything that holds me back from escape ever since that event. Up until this very moment I have encouraged the threat of heart failure in my refusal to be trapped anywhere. Have you ever walked 10 flights of stairs at my age? It’s no easy feat. I congratulate myself at the very top once I manage to stop hyperventilating.  “You did it. You’re free and not dead!!”  But…it hit me today….is that freedom?  I went back to our gilded box for a moment and by removing the fear of it I am able to see that the inside door had opened. The elevator had managed to creak  its way up to our desired floor and all that was now separating us was a cage. Beyond the bars the face of a security guard who looked baffled and fearful that my Nanny might actually rip them from their holdings if he continued to do no more than stand staring.  He reached for the outside bar that would release us from our little prison and I was pushed out with all of the speed of a boy blowing spit balls by my frantic guardian.

There was nothing to be afraid of at all. I can clearly see through the bars that life existed beyond them. In her haste for escape my Nanny had missed the obvious handle, that, when lifted, would pull the doors aside.  Because she was afraid. Because she was afraid she saw only a box.  And boxes have frightened me ever since. And whether from a physical value or a psychological one, I have refused to be caught in anything that would prevent me from breaking free.

Perhaps I was born this way and the experience was no more than a reflection of that. Or perhaps it was intended to become the lesson the entire time. All I know is that I am tired of climbing up and out of uncomfortable places in my effort to not be harmed by them.

The problem with tight places is that you learn to engage all types of escape methods. The first of course is avoidance. If you don’t step in then there is nothing to get out of. Of course life doesn’t allow for us to choose because sometimes we have no idea that we stepped in until we hear the cage click behind us.

The other method is to put one foot in to test it and leave the other in the safe zone beyond the bars. You never get the full experience of what’s inside the space because only half of you is immersed at all times. Do you know that I spent almost 3/4 of my adult life holding the bathroom stall door closed with the tip of my shoe? I kid you not. Trusting no locks at all to release me, I turned the simple act of urinating into an Olympic sport. I suppose the universe prepared me by allowing me to have feet that stretched that far.

The last method is to avoid all coaxing to slip into a box. This one I am incredibly proficient at. This method I learned early, likely long before the elevator incident even occurred.   How I learned it is inconsequential at this point in my life. What I do know and now recognize is that I will not be drawn into any box of anyone’s making.

The one box that I have always struggled with is the box that should feel safe.  The box that includes love.  I have it right here beside me all of the time, but tend to avoid it like a distrustful cat might avoid the carrier. I will come close and sniff the edges but I will circle for days before even considering placing a foot inside.  And the whole idea of placing my entire self into that space….well that simply terrifies me. You may after a long period of time get me in, but any indication at all of not trusting the lock and I will arch into the corner and scratch you in my frantic race to escape.

This has made the typical life an uncomfortable one.  Especially when you consider that I went the typical route with it. I married at 18 and had three kids by 28. Every single person in this typical family created their own version of what our boxes should look like.  My box was a whole lot of loosey goosey.   With no less than five exits I knew I had a way out if I needed it. My husbands box included walks on the beach holding hands and making plans for a retirement I wasn’t at all convinced would manifest because in that existed a promise. And I don’t do promises.  Because promise represents an expectation and expectation is the most powerful lock to escape from.  I have presented quite a challenge for those in my life that love me.

And so the universe presented for me an atypical way of peering into the boxes that I have sidestepped for decades.  A chance to see that something beyond fear exists and that it is beautiful.  A peek into your worlds, the memories that you hold. The love that I have discovered in many of the “heavens” that I am privy to viewing.  And I am slowly beginning to learn that some of you are just as afraid of your boxes as I am.  And that others just simply don’t understand my boxes at all.  And that’s OK.

I am simply purely grateful knowing that not all boxes are unsafe. And I thank you for that. All that have trusted me with their own boxes.  You have given me the faith that I needed to build a box of my own making.  Where my own love bounces back at me and reminds me that I am worthy of it. Where I can finally learn to stop scratching on my way out, curl up and know how to not only give love…

But to accept it.

And that right there. Is the secret to life.

Unfurl your wings. Push open the door.

And fly.

 

Thanks for listening.

Sending you love….and learning to accept it back…bear with me. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And If You Go First – When A Child Dies

Only parents that have lost a child can understand a parent that has lost a child.

And only children that have left without you can understand a child that arrives without you.

“Follow me, follow me, I know the way”

I am no expert in child loss. I am simply a mum with an unusual ability to help you in some small way to navigate the profound pain of your journey.

No one likes to consider the possibility that a child may go ahead before we do. In the textbook of natural progression, the expectation is that the children assemble at the bedside of the aged parent as they draw close to the end of the physical breath.  And although this process is still painful, the ability to find closure is simply easier.  The dying adult has forged relationships along the way, expressed their own understanding of what they might expect once they arrive to the other side, and take with them a myriad of experiences and memories. It’s just easier.  We derive some measure of comfort that dad or mum might be waiting to greet them. Maybe the neighbor of 40 years that became like a brother…or someone else that the loved one has created a relationship with over their human lifetime. We just innately understand that somehow, in their adult years, that they are safe on arrival.

If you are a parent or a care giver of a child you will understand the overwhelming fear that strikes you as your five year old steps away from you in the clothing racks.  You glance down with the expectation that they are standing beside you and your heart leaps in panic when you don’t see them there.  Logically we know that they can’t possibly be more than ten feet away but this does not deter us from the parental instinct of fear.

“Where did they go!?”  presents a tunnel vision type of scenario where you rush to find them, everything in your cart forgotten in a split second.  Finding them moments later giggling behind the service desk you finally release the breath you’ve been holding.  “Don’t you EVER do that to me again! You scared poor mummy half to death!”

I’ve spent thousands of hours with parents who can’t find them.  And whether it be that they have passed through to wait on the heaven side, or that they are missing the desperate need to know where they went is crippling.  To know that they are safe and not afraid is overwhelming.  It matters not that they were with them when they left. They do not know where they are.  Long relationships were not forged. A lifetime of memories were not created.  The child is gone and to the grieving parent…

The child went alone.

And for those that support or have in your company those grieving this pain I beg you to consider for a moment that these parents will never stop looking. Please be mindful to not deter them from their need to do so. It is an inherent right as a parent to seek out their babies.  Never ask them to give that up by suggesting that it’s time to move on. Or that other children need them now. Or that other children are possible. To these parents their children are missing. And as a parent yourself, would you ever stop looking…ask yourself before offering advice….would I stop looking?

Now for my words and from the value of my abilities, I can offer you the comfort of knowing that they didn’t go alone.  Call them Angels, call them Divine presence, call them what you are comfortable with. But the little ones..they never go alone.  As you sit with me and tell me that no other family that they would “know” was waiting, I can assure you that there was. But first….

A child will appear. A child not much older than your own. With sparkling eyes and dimples that dance as they call out to yours…

“Follow me, follow me, I know the way”

A child like your own child. A tiny soul that had to leave their family too soon . A wise young soul that understands everything that you don’t in that moment. A patient little person who knows that you are aching and struggling with who is waiting.

A perfectly divine child will be there for you when you can’t be there for them. An entity of the purest love and the the lightest of giggles will lead them home. A child that smells of sunshine and sand. A child that lived a brief lifetime here yet carries a hundred lifetimes of heaven. A child that understands your pain more than anyone else can possibly understand.

A child of parents just like yourself.

A child just like yours.

And one day, not too far from today, the child you grieve will be that child…

And another parent will grieve.  And another parent will ask…

“Where did they go?”

And your child will answer…

” Follow me, follow me, I know the way”

And I will smile softly as an Angel leads them away.

Only parents that have lost a child can understand a parent that has lost a child.

And only children that have left without you can understand a child that arrives without you.

Angels don’t live full physical lifetimes. Angels always go first.

My love to all that are looking for their children.

One day an Angel will be waiting for you.

With sparkling eyes and dancing dimples.

Love each other.

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tears I Am Too Tired To Cry

I swam in the feeling for a bit before I decided to write this. As I waded in, it all came back to me, the experience of exhaustion came over me and I remembered how healing it is to let go…

“The most painful tears are the too tired to cry tears”

If you’ve grieved any loss in this lifetime you will understand these words.

They were just shared with me a few moments ago by a friend struggling in her memories with no opportunity for further memories to be made…not in this lifetime at least and not with the loved one she misses.  It’s the most profoundly painful moment to take part in. The knowing that nothing is bringing them back.

And the tears rush freely until they stop.

The most uncomfortable tears are the tears that stop falling even though your shoulders still shake with your sobs.  Your soul wide awake and begging for release; the physical body too worn to produce the moisture to provide the exit from the pain. It’s the perfect imbalance intended to drop you into a slumber that you will wake from the next day.  Your arms wrapped tightly to the pillow that you pulled to your chest as you fought to find comfort in something, you wake confused not knowing you fell asleep at all.

Imperfectly balanced.  And perfectly needed.

I swam in the feeling for a bit before I decided to write this. As I waded in, it all came back to me, the experience of exhaustion came over me and I remembered how healing it is to let go.

And I found gratefulness to have been the person she shared her words with. Because she reminded me that letting go is the most healing gift we can allow for ourselves on this journey.  That vulnerability with self first is the only way to peace and that stoic denial of this natural need leads only to death of the soul itself as it scars with each blow that we “handle”.  And each blow does not have to mean death of someone we love.  Blows come daily.  In words unspoken, in promises broken, in physical disconnections, in loves lost, in dreams destroyed, in needs that can never be met and in directions we didn’t see coming.  There are a thousand ways to scar the soul.

There is no weakness to be found in crying so hard that your tears just stop.  No powerlessness in unconscious taking over and the drift into sleep that you won’t remember falling into…

Here, there is only strength…

When your eyes dry out, when you can’t squeeze one more drop…

It’s because you are here. In that place that you are too exhausted to release the pain. The place where the flow reverses and you are open to allow the tears to move backwards. Backwards to sooth the scars and to saturate your soul in the love that you have denied it while handling everything that is slowly breaking it.

Fall apart. Do it often. Stop handling each discomfort and filing it off to create a hardness in a soul that deserves tenderness.  Fall apart.

Cry so hard that you’re too tired to cry.

Fall to pieces.

Cry so hard that your tears fall backwards.

You deserve to love yourself enough to water your own soul.

 

In love….in tears….in gratitude of small reminders.

Tania. xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Healing In Helpless

“You just kinda stand there staring right? As your mind races for words, your mouth forms the beginning of a syllable and nothing falls out.  You stand staring and helpless.  You could bake cookies, you could go shopping. You could do a thousand things that distract you into believing you are helpful. But when it comes right down to it, you are helpless. There is absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome. Helpless is the most painful feeling in the world. And….. it is the most needed.”  Tania Thomas

“I am dying”

If you haven’t yet experienced the swell of helplessness as it rises into your chest wall….you one day will.  It is an unfortunate side effect of choosing to live this lifetime. The painful downside to loving, to giving, to affecting and to being.  Unlike scrapes and near misses, we can’t fix this with peanut butter cookies and kisses to make it all go away. It is an ending that will be happening no matter how hard we try to change it.

It simply is, and there is no greater lesson in trust and in releasing the need to control than in the lesson of letting someone go.

Our first response as the listener of these awful words is the EGO kickback. We recoil immediately and feel as if we have been verbally attacked personally. We want to rush in to offer something that will change the way the words sound. To argue that the words are incorrect. And the next words will inevitably follow.

“There is nothing else they can do”

And boom we go right back to the spine stiffening and the anger that accompanies our feeling that there IS something else that we can do. Because everything in this world is repairable right?  But no. Now there is nothing you can do to stop the train that is bearing down as you struggle to release your feet from the tracks of which they have suddenly become tied to.

This will happen, this is happening, and you can stand there with your plate of peanut butter cookies and tears begging the engineer to stop the wheels. And ultimately you will find yourself pulled down into the ending with nothing but crumbs to help you find your way back.

Receiving news of the impending death of someone we love is the worst possible news we ever want to hear.  The pain of hearing the words can far outweigh the difficulty of saying the words.  Those sharing these words with us have had some moments in between then and now, in between the doctors downcast eyes and difficult conversations, the dying have already reached a place of being able to utter the words without feeling the need to make them anything less than final. They have, in fact, somehow managed to feel the helpless themselves and have turned it into the knowing that there is nothing left to do now but to live until they don’t.

I’ve heard this a thousand times over “Oh no you did NOT just say that”

Oh yes they did just say that. And your disbelief of what you just heard doesn’t make it any less real for them…or for you. We don’t want to hear these words. We can’t accept hearing these words because it means that there is nothing we can do to change them.

We can’t fix something for the first time in our entire existence. The human life does not come with warranties and we have become accustomed to warranties on everything. If we can’t fix it we can replace it. If there is a way we will find one. If we can’t fix it we can refund it.

Death doesn’t work this way and it’s the biggest struggle of our lives to come to that understanding.

There is nothing we can do. We are utterly helpless. We feel guilty because we are angry at the universe, at the doctors and sometimes at the dying, because they are giving us nothing to work with.  We run about baking cookies to feel normal, we shop for their favorite things hoping that they might try harder to stay. We pour over memories of vacations and make plans for the next vacation and we include them because we are terrified to let them believe for one moment that we can’t fix this. We use hope as our band-aids and dreams as our kisses.

And that’s where you are helping. Even when you don’t recognize it yourself, your hopes and your dreams are what help the dying to understand what love looks like. Love looks like not wanting to let go of something that has created your world. Not wanting to release someone that made you laugh, made you think or made you learn something new every single day.

We love our hardest when we have nothing else to offer. And this is a gift, not a curse, not a karma, not a punishment. It’s a gift. To be present, to be wholly involved in the process of not fixing. To be fully immersed in the simple act of loving is not helpless at all. It is beautiful and it is needed.

And one day…..

You will see this through the eyes of those you can’t help at all.

“On the day my loved one died, I moved him to his final sleeping space. He sat on the edge and he gazed at me and begged me to not leave him there. And I promised him that I would not leave him there. And my heart ached because this was the only help I could give. Twelve hours later he left that space. And I kept my promise. I had nothing else to offer but to love enough to let go”

Let go in love.

No regrets over what you believe you couldn’t do.  Because LOVE is all you could do.

 

In love…in light…in band aids and kiss it betters…..

 

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s My Grief And I’ll Cry If I Want To

“She had been gone for a good ten years when he found me and his shoulders showed sign of a decade of tears. Curled forward and hopeful he gazed toward me as I began to create the channel that would ultimately bring me to “his one and only” as he called her. Each time he would say those words I would watch as his hand came up to his heart. This man had loved this beautiful woman for nearly 60 years and her death was not going to change that experience for him….”

I was talking to a friend today who reminded me the importance of allowing grief to be a personal experience and not one open for debate on how it is handled. Our chat took me back a few years to a story that I have never told.

“I’m just a girl, standing on her toes, waiting to be kissed…”

 

Several years ago, I met a wonderful man in his mid 80s. He had decided on me after researching for some time seeking someone that could potentially connect to the wife he had shared his journey with for all of his adult life.  His first reading ever, he arrived looking a little uncertain but clearly eager; his eyes sparkled as I welcomed him into my world. I have never forgotten this gentleman and I am certain that by now he has been reunited with his girl that he missed so deeply.

She had been gone for a good ten years when he found me and his shoulders showed sign of a decade of tears. Curled forward and hopeful he gazed toward me as I began to create the channel that would ultimately bring me to “his one and only” as he called her. Each time he would say those words I would watch as his hand came up to his heart. This man had loved this beautiful woman for nearly 60  years and her death was not going to change that experience for him.

I began to bring forward some words that he had been patiently waiting to hear; she spoke of good times and bad times, of laughter, of shared memories that were both wonderful and painful. She shared stories of picnics in the back yard and how it always irritated her how he folded his socks. He smiled and he nodded as I watched him flip back over time with her.  As I glanced up at him I could clearly see his wrinkles soften and his manner change to that of the 20 year old that fell in love at a naval dance with a pretty little thing who refused his advances.  I will never forget her words

“You gotta make them work for it remember”

And he laughed as they fell from my mouth. Oh he remembered. He remembered.

As we neared the end of our session she leaned in close to me and told me that she was still standing on her toes for his kiss. That she wanted him to continue to kiss her every single day until the day she saw him again.

I relayed these words to him and watched the first tear of our time together as it rolled down his cheek.

Our session was not ending here.

I pressed him on her words and he told me that he had blown her picture up to life size after her death. He had then hung that picture on the back of their bedroom door. He had positioned it so that he would still have to lean down to kiss her. They had never spent a day apart and each morning started with that kiss, and each night ended on that kiss. And this was the one thing he couldn’t give up even in her death. My heart blew open watching his face as he told me this story. I couldn’t stop my own tears as they filled my lower lashes.

I was completely unprepared to hear his words that followed.

“My family tell me it’s time to get over this”

This is what he had come to hear. He had sought out his first reading to hear that it was still OK for him to kiss her. He needed her to tell him that it was OK because the family felt it was holding him back.

I can well recall my initial response and how I blurted out the words

“How dare anyone tell you how to grieve something so beautiful!”

He continued to relay to me how friends and family couldn’t understand his decision to keep her clothes in the room that they shared. How the bedspread, thin and worn, would not be replaced. How her pillowcase had not been changed. How her toothbrush still sat beside his own in the bathroom. How her slippers still sat on her side of the bed as if she would slide into them the next day.

All these things a familiar place for him to return to after a day in the world without the woman he loved for so long. And he had been admonished for holding onto things that would not bring her back. Admonished for allowing grief to consume his life…or at the very least…their bedroom. Made to feel that he wasn’t progressing away from his pain.

My heart broke for him as he shared his litany of little joys that kept him connected to her. The things that others told him to box up were the things that kept him alive. The only things that he had of a story that spanned decades and a lifetime that no one could understand except him.

This love story reminded me to always be gentle. To always remember that grief is not a package deal included in the funeral that comes with a guarantee that we move on and forget. It reminds me to allow for others to process their pain and their loss in a way that works for them and not in a way that works for those around them.

Grief makes us uncomfortable.  We find ourselves at a loss for words or we simply try to deny its existence. We shake our heads at those that are stuck in the past and refuse to box it up. We want to offer words that encourage forward movement and often those words can become demanding.

“Oh dad for Gods sake, it’s been five years, we have to sort this out!”

Grief frightens us. It reminds us that one day we will be in this same place. And we don’t want to honor that possibility so we make demands of others to lead the way and show us how strong we can be when that moment arrives for ourselves.

Grief makes us selfish. It doesn’t allow us to allow others to feel what they need to feel and to be what they need to be to get through each day from now until then. Because of our own discomforts we don’t want others to feel it because we can’t handle it.

Grief is not an option. Grief is a requirement. There is no escape from it, it will happen to you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day you will find yourself staring at the toothbrush on the bathroom counter and remembering how you tasted toothpaste on their lips as you kissed them goodnight.

And no one has a right to take that memory from you.

Grief isn’t a lesson to learn. It’s a love that endures.

We are not here to handle the grief for others. We are here to support them in how they choose to handle it for themselves.

Somewhere in the spirit side, a pretty little thing is standing on her toes with her face turned upwards….

And a tall man in love is bending down to kiss her.

 

In love. In light.

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mama Mama Mia!

Happy Mother’s Day Mama’s.

Medium Tania Thomas

**I wanted to write a Mothers Day Blog that was sensitive and soft. Full of pretty things like flowers and bunnies.  And then a Facebook friend’s picture rolled up on my timeline. Baby grinning…puked all over mama…and I burst out laughing…and decided…lets keep this real. Thanks to this amazing mum for allowing me to share her photo**.

Mama Mama Mia

There she was. After getting her to finally cry the doctor handed me my first born baby. I glanced downward and my first thought was…

“Good God…I’ve birthed a unicorn”

She was an interesting shade of purple, with two bruise marks on her forehead from a difficult forceps delivery.  Arriving into the world much earlier than expected , her limbs far out did her body weight and I seriously thought I’d just pushed out a purple filly.

Our first week was spent under the watchful eyes of hospital staff as…

View original post 2,071 more words

Mama Mama Mia!

“I have a vague recollection of one 2 am event where she was all of three months old and I was trying to figure out how to stretch my lady part to accommodate pushing her back in. No seriously….I did have that thought. I even eyed the plunger under the bathroom sink.”

**I wanted to write a Mothers Day Blog that was sensitive and soft. Full of pretty things like flowers and bunnies.  And then a Facebook friend’s picture rolled up on my timeline. Baby grinning…puked all over mama…and I burst out laughing…and decided…lets keep this real. Thanks to this amazing mum for allowing me to share her photo**.

Mama Mama Mia

There she was. After getting her to finally cry the doctor handed me my first born baby. I glanced downward and my first thought was…

“Good God…I’ve birthed a unicorn”

She was an interesting shade of purple, with two bruise marks on her forehead from a difficult forceps delivery.  Arriving into the world much earlier than expected , her limbs far out did her body weight and I seriously thought I’d just pushed out a purple filly.

Our first week was spent under the watchful eyes of hospital staff as I tried to work out how to dress my new gumby horse and not stab her with one of those huge diaper pins that were all the rage back in 1985.  I loved maternity wards back in the day. You were offered three beer a day if you planned to breastfeed.

I breastfeed and you bring me alcohol? Sign this mama up.

I failed breastfeeding in about six minutes flat. The moment she latched on every hormone in my body raced upwards to my brain and I sobbed uncontrollably while berating myself for ruining any chance of a mother child bonding experience. The infant attached to the mum in the bed beside me lay quietly while mum leaned back in a state of blissful peace while I was wailing like a wounded jackal. It was a train wreck.

The free bar was closed and I squeezed my poor breasts into a bra three sizes too small to slow the production of the milk that made me cry.

My daughter is 32 and lactose intolerant and I still think it’s my fault.

I’m still resentful about the beer too.

Our first year together is pretty much still a blur. I believe I managed to get about a good solid 60 hours of sleep over that time frame. Our little bundle of joy was hyper colic. Probably because I screwed up baby bonding breastfeeding 101.  I got to a first name basis with all of the emergency room staff as I would stumble in no less than twice a month with a baby screaming like I had cut both her long legs off.

I have a vague recollection of one 2 am event where she was all of three months old and I was trying to figure out how to stretch my lady part to accommodate pushing her back in. No seriously….I did have that thought. I even eyed the plunger under the bathroom sink.

I’m still trying to work out how I managed to conceive baby number two on the tail end of the first year from hell. I figure I was semi conscious. I was 21 and pregnant with number two. I almost bit the doctor’s ankles from my vantage point on the floor when I sank to it in shock.

I can still see his face.

“Excuse me…I must have something in my ears. You said bladder infection but I heard you’re pregnant. Let’s start that again”

Carried this one through the hottest summer on record. Migraines daily and a one year old that spewed vomit every five minutes. I had gotten to the point by then that I didn’t really give a crap where it landed. There were many episodes of “Skating With The Stars” played out across my slippery kitchen tiles. How I wish we had You Tube back then because I could have become a millionaire and hired a Nanny.

At the beginning of trimester two I was informed that I had an incompetent cervix and that I would need a suture procedure to maintain this pregnancy. Of course I had an incompetent cervix. I was also an incompetent breast feeder..why not?

“Some women are just built this way” the doctor reassured me.

All I could think was….

“Maybe I did follow through on the plunger attempt and blacked it out?”

My delivery room experience was not at all what it is promised to be in the Lamaze classes.  Not at all. My OB resident walked in, reached down, wrapped her fist around the suture and pulled like she was teaching a Rottweiler to heel.  I screeched and she glanced up and told me not to be a baby.

Well that ended poorly.

My right foot shot forward and landed her squarely in the forehead nearly knocking her off her stool. My head flew up like the Exorcist and I recall hearing a horrible voice full of four letter expletives as it demanded that she leave the room immediately.

I remember glancing up at the two nurses hovering nearby and quietly saying…

“Hello? Baby face is falling out of my vajayjay here. Can someone catch that please?”

The actual OB strode in at that moment and literally caught bundle of joy number two as he fell out. Handed him to the hovering nurse, smacked my leg and said “Good Job” and walked out.

I laid there a moment staring at the door thinking…

“I am totally becoming a baby doctor. He just got 800.00 from OHIP and he was here for a hot half minute”.

Absolutely exhausted at this point from both the delivery and my karate moves I glanced down at my new little boy and found myself being inspected by the direct gaze of two jet black eyes. I panicked momentarily and figured I had channeled Linda Blair for real. My mother had just walked in and I will never forget her bewildered expression as I lifted him to her and said…

“Take him. He scares me”

He stared at me for a full two years. Never spoke a word. Just stared.

Like Drew Barrymore in Fire Starter.

I thought that at any given moment I might spontaneously combust.

Motherhood was going well.

Baby three arrived 7 years later. I was undergoing a tubal ligation in April of 1992. As the gas mask lowered to my face and the backwards count began I clearly heard my grandmothers voice.

“Oh Tania, you’re pregnant”

My first thought on waking in the recovery room a short time later was…

“Well clearly I am not pregnant now Nanny”

And then the doctor walked in.

“Everything went really well. I decided to forego the D and C procedure”

Meaning…that the uterine lining was intact.

I swear to God that I heard my grandmother giggle from somewhere in that room.

Three weeks later I found myself at the OB office feeling very off.

“You must have left a sponge up there or something cause I feel awful”

I left some “lets check for pregnancy” blood vials behind and  my mouth on the floor.

Two days later I got the news.  The nurse called and was laughing.

“Talk about shutting the barn door after the horse bolts”

I stood staring at my husband and finally the words fell out.

“I am pregnant”

The dish he was washing fell from his fingers and hit the floor.

No suture surgery with this one. You can only do that once.  At five months in I was told to hit bed rest phase. Oh I laughed. I really laughed. Bed rest?

My eldest is seven and although the vomiting has stopped she is a drama queen with a penchant for high pitched screaming to gain my attention to the fact that she has a hang nail. Bed rest you say?

My five year old is still staring at me and now he’s obsessed with dirt. He walks around all day in my Playtex Yellow Dish Gloves. He reminds me of the butcher in some horror movie I watched when I was 12. I have fears of being smothered while on this bed rest.

I’ll pass.

“The baby may simply drop out in the toilet Tania”

“OK…well I will bend over each time and beg him not to” I responded.

On the due date day of Dec 14th I was doing jumping jacks because he had decided to wrap his feet around my bottom ribs because I think I had created his fear of drowning by begging him not to jump earlier.

I seriously did jumping jacks trying to dislodge him. I had never gone to term and this was freaking me out thinking he may never leave home at all.  I went to bed depressed and fat. I woke up at 5 am in full labor with contractions every 30 seconds.

Awesome. Note to new mothers to be. No jumping jacks. Bad bad very bad idea.

We raced out of the house and tore off for the hospital with the 7 year old drama queen and Playtex Gloves losing their shit in the back seat.

“You get to meet your new brother or sister soon”, I cooed through pursed lips.

My daughter…

“I don’t want a new brother or sister”

Playtex Gloves just stared.

We arrived in a record breaking three seconds somehow. I leapt from the car turned and hit a patch of ice. Straight up in the air and slammed to earth with an extra 60 pounds of belly to really bring it home but good. My husband still trying to wrestle the other two from the car turned and yelled

“What the hell are you doing!?”

“Oh you know….just thought I’d lay down and do it right here”

My daughter….

“Mummy you can’t have the baby in the driveway, get up!”

Playtex Gloves….well…..you know…

This baby was coming with no pain medication AT ALL. And he was turning his head back and forth like he was looking for the way out. The nurse smiled and said she’d never seen a baby do this before. Thought it was cute or something. Not so cute for me as I screamed at the top of my lungs….

“Grab that head and pull it the hell out!!!”

Oh boy. The epitome of motherhood was shining that day.

They grew up. Much faster than I ever expected they would. My mother warned me about this each time I would mutter about another Sparks meeting or Scouts. Each time I would sigh because another tooth needed fixing or another pair of shoes were too tight. Every time I would groan because my teenage daughter wanted to invite all 47 of her friends for a sleepover. Each time they hugged me. Each time they hated me and wanted me to not be their mum. Each time grew into each year and each year took us further away into now.

And each moment I found reasons to tell myself I wasn’t doing it right. Not good enough..too tough..too soft…too easy…too pleasing.  Was I too self focused? Too blunt? Was I too nurse like when they came crying and I told them to stop being so ridiculous? Was I too human?

And then I sit and remember.

I ruined a wardrobe of clothing because I didn’t want to upset my colic child any further in running for a towel. She was already struggling and in pain and my clothes could be replaced. With second hand store clothing yes…..who could afford new back then? But it was OK. I bought her 70.00 dresses that would be destroyed in ten seconds flat with similac stain. But I bought them anyway because she deserved to be pretty.

I sat hours staring back at Playtex Gloves wondering if I had screwed him up from the onset of the pregnancy. I was so tired from not sleeping the year prior that I spent the time completely down and frustrated. I wondered as he stared at me what he must think of this mother that handed him away moments after birth. You do things in a moment that can cause you to question yourself constantly. But it’s OK. He learned to speak and it turned out that he didn’t have a problem with me at all.  He simply wanted to watch the world instead.

The youngest? Well he spent years terrified…I mean terrified of water. I would quietly beat myself up absolutely certain that I made him this way.  Each time I would go to the bathroom I would lean over and say…

“God please don’t fall in”

And I think the kid heard me.

But….he learned to swim. Without any help from me. So that’s OK too.

They are 32, 30 and 25. They survived me. And I survived them.

And despite all of my perceived shortcomings they went forth and they multiplied.

Thus far we have a 5 year old drama queen, a 7 year old starer ( no gloves thank God) and the two year old is making his own brand new quirks.

Clearly I didn’t mess them up that bad.  They are incredible parents doing their best too.

Would I do it all again and the same way? With the same frustrations and the same fears?

Yes I would.

And so will you.

Be gentle on yourselves Mamas. You’re teaching your children to be real parents. Not perfect ones.

 

Happy Mother’s Day Beautiful Ladies.