Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From both sides now

The past month and a half have been the fastest days of my life.

Lena has been with us one month and 16 days now, and it seems like she's been with us forever.

Getting the hang of parenting a newborn hard. I know now what it means to have a newborn to take care of. Who needs your attention nearly 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Who needs you in order to continue living.

It's so strange--watching the living, breathing thing that Jeff and I created--every day. Watching her grow and become more than she was yesterday.

There are times when I look at her and lose it. When I cry because of so many things. Sometimes it's because I'm so shocked at how perfect she is. Sometimes it's because I'm so tired of the screaming and crying that I just have to join her. And sometimes it's because I literally see her brother.

So many times in the past 16 months...I've thought about what Luke would look like. What he'd be doing. How he'd be progressing, developmentally. And it's so weird being on this side of things now. It's so weird being able to watch everything progress just how it should.

I've seen it all, from both sides now.

I'm surprised actually, how healing having Lena has been for me. I'm not consumed by my grief for Luke. But the moments that get me most are the times when she's quiet. When she's sleeping peacefully with her lips pursed together.

That's when my brain goes there and puts the two of them together.

I never got to see air breathe through Luke.  All I know of what he looked like was his quiet peacefulness.  His eyes closed.  His lips closed.  His body limp.  And there are times in the past month and a half where I've picked Lena up and seen him--perfectly.  It's both healing and heart-wrenching. 

I'm so happy she's here.  Taking care of a newborn is incredibly hard, obviously.  There have already been days where I've been so frustrated I just cried.  But for the most part, it's been amazing.  In some ways, I'm relieved that she looks so much like him.  At least they would have looked like siblings.  But Lena will grow up to be whoever she wants to be.  She'll reach her milestones at her own pace and grow and learn and just be.  

And until the end of time, I will never know any of that about Luke.  He's a forever-open book.  That will never be written.  I spent so much time looking forward to take part in his story, to teach him and learn from him--and still--to this day--I don't want to put that story to rest.  But I don't have a choice. 

There's no going backward to see him have life.  He is frozen in time with us for just that one day.  It's so hard accepting that that's all we got with him, when we'll have so much more time with his sister. 

It's so not fair.  That we can never be together or make it right or even know who he would have become.  My entire life--This wonder will always be there.  Without answers.  Just comparisons to his sister. 

Parenting from both sides, now.  They're both incredibly taxing.  Both emotional.  Both filled with love and exhaustion.  I guess they're not so different after all.  It's just too bad that the physical representation is completely different.