Monday, June 18, 2007

Never fear

Dear Annabel,

Today you are exactly three and a half years old.

Tomorrow you will be a big sister.

Two years ago, when I wormed my way into your father's ear and convinced him that having a second child was the most important thing we could ever do as a family, I changed the name of this here receptacle of mind splatter.

Up until then it had been "Bringing up Baby." I decided that it should include you both as ittybitty beings, as well as the little nubbins of observations I could glean from watching you grow. It may also suprise you one day to learn that I don't actually call you Ittybit outside this virtual space.

Somehow, the name just never fit anything but your physique and your voice, the latter of which is just now starting to become deeper. There's nothing else tiny about you. Not your mind and not your personality for sure. In addition to your given name, we call you all manner of pet names: punks, sweets, bug, bumple, bumplekins, boop. ... Often you look at us sternly and tell us that you are "NOT a cutie" you are "an ANNA-BEL."

You are nothing if not a tough cookie.

It may also suprise you to know one day that I didn't worry about you much. About you I always felt a certain calm. A certain amount of inexplicable ease. As you grow to know me more, you will be surprised because you will know me as a worrier ... an anxious being who voices all my fears in the hopes of driving them away.

This last week we found out that your brother may have some troubles. At the least he may have kidney issues that will have to be followed by a specialist. And perhaps we are looking at more: Down syndrome.

As I tried to get reassurance from my doctors, I learned that there was none to be had. They said 'well you had the tests ...' No. I hadn't had 'THE TESTS.' I had the blood tests and the in-office sonagrams. But not the tests that narrowed it down even further.

I felt as if I'd been negligent. As if I'd not done everything humanly possible to ensure a healthy baby.

I hid my tears from you. I worried that I'd made this choice for you and your father unfairly.

I had done the same with you. I had rejected invasive tests, committed to my decision to love any baby no matter how sick. But as I said, with you I had an amazing feeling of invincibility. (I think it must have crossed the placenta from you to me.)

Back then, with no understanding of you, your father wasn't as convinced. He didn't know whether he would be ok with raising a child with special needs. But since you, he's come to know that no matter what, he probably could. There is no giving you back, there's no turning back from your brother either.

Once I realized that the lack of reassurance didn't changed the reasons why I didn't have testing in the first place, and that I couldn't have made any other decision, the elusive calm came back. The thing is none of us are guaranteed anything from living. We can't even be assured that working hard will bring like kharmic rewards. We just have to do it because it's how we want to live, not because of what we think we can get from living that way.

So now I turn back to this place where I've put so many of my memories. This place where I've spilled my fears and thoughts and worries. And I wonder what will become of it. You are not going to be it's soul focus. All roads will no longer lead to just you. I have to think that's a good thing. There's room for more; there's room for everything. It's just going to be a little bit more cozy as we make the space fit.

I love you all day and night, sweetheart. Never fear.




Cam Seslaf said...

Beautiful letter, toyfoto.
I wish you all the best tomorrow.

Lauren said...

You'll be in my thoughts all day tomorrow. Welcome to the world new baby!!

Kelly said...

Add me to the throng of people who will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts, ready to welcome Thing Two!

Whirlwind said...

Good Luck tomorrow. You will be in our thoughts! Can't wait to hear the birth story!

belseslaf said...

Yes, good luck tomorrow. I can't wait to see the little one. Lots of love for the four of you.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Oh so beautiful! Thinking of you tomorrow - and tonight.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Beautiful. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. All my best wishes for you and your family.

Sara G said...

We are also thinking of you today and awaiting word of our new cousin. Sending you lots of love and an extra shot of courage.

sass said...

i wish all of you the very best... much strength and love. welcome to the world, thing two! i hope you have as pleasant a birth as possible, love. you're all in my thoughts.

stefanierj said...

Oh for pete's sake--aren't WE the ones who are supposed to make YOU cry with our touching thoughts and bittersweet insights? Well done, and traveling mercies to the little man as he comes to join us!

bella said...

May his entrance onto this earth be sweet. May his courage match your own.
I am thinking of you today and a candle is lit to honor the arrival of this new little one, thing two.
Welcome baby.

wordgirl said...

Sending you courage and strength for this day. Thinking about all four of you and welcoming your new son into the world...whatever the circumstances. Peace and joy.

xdm said...

Checking in on your guys...

Firestarter5 said...

What more can be said?

*To Be Announced*

Here's to you.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful letter to Annabel.

Welcome baby, whatever the circumstances =)

Julie K in Taiwan said...

Thinking of you, wishing I could be near.

Binky said...

I kept going back to read this line: "We just have to do it because it's how we want to live, not because of what we think we can get from living that way." Good advice for Annabel and the rest of us.

Thinking of you!

Melissa R. Garrett said...

I have to admit that it's been awhile since I've visited. The last time I was here, you had just announced that you were expecting another baby. On my way to church this past Sunday, however, you entered my mind and I felt certain that it must be time for you to be having your little one. I was curious, to say the least.

I'm so happy to have found my way back to your site, and I can't imagine leaving again.

Congrats to you all as you welcome your son. You will love him, no matter what . . .

Melissa R. Garrett

sarah said...

Just checking in on you; waiting for the good news! I think I've been checking your site a stalkerish number of times, but I want to hear about the new baby. My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your family!