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Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Letter from Christmas Past

Charlie's second Christmas is only a couple of days away.  Time has flown by so very fast lately, I'm left with the distinct sensation of a spinning frenzy of activity akin to a blizzard.  How is it possible, already, that this is my second Christmas as a mama?  I can still so acutely remember the sadness that came with the holidays for me, through the waiting years...through my time before Charlie.  But that is gone for me now.  Gone but not forgotten.  Never forgotten.  I've been thinking lately about what it all means.  Seeing the Christmas lights sparkle and reflect in our son's beautiful eyes really makes me think about the magic of Christmas.  For me it is and always has been about the children.  That's a big part of the reason why waiting, especially during the holidays, was so very difficult for me.  I wanted a child so badly so that I could see and relive that wonder and joy through his eyes.  Now that we have the child with whom to share the joy of this incredible time of year, I find myself reaching back into the past and remembering what it was like before he came along.  If I could have known then what I know now, what would I have said to myself?  What advice would I have given?  What would I have done differently?

 
I guess part of my reflective state is due to the face that my baby sister is currently in the beginning stages of her own journey through infertility.  I wish it wasn't the case.  I wish pregnancy would come easily for her and that I didn't have to see her struggle.  But I'm also glad we have each other and...at the risk of sounding narcissistic...I'm glad she has me.  Those of us who have navigated the waters know that they can be very cold and lonely at times.  I hope I will be able to lessen her burden a bit, simply because I've been there and I remember.

So what would I have said to myself back then, if I could've had a glimpse into this future...if I could've known what I know now?

.....................................................

Dear Melba,

Smile!  Put on your coat of Christmas cheer for the world to see!  Your time will come, you will be a mom!

Right now, close your eyes, take a deep breath and experience this moment.  Relax.  Just breathe.  If you are sad, it's OK.  Feel sad...it will help you to pave the way for all the love that's going to pour forth from your heart the first time you hold your sweet son and kiss his tiny baby cheeks.  You will love him more than you can even possibly imagine right now.  He will color your world in ways you never thought possible.  He will bring joy back to you and multiply it by 1,000.  You have no idea what being a mom will be like.  It's not something you can know before it happens to you.  I will tell you that it's not as easy as you think it is right now.  It is rewarding and beautiful in many ways but it is also challenging and overwhelming in many ways.  You will be a good mom but you will also make a lot of mistakes and you will often wonder if you're doing things right.  You will question yourself more than you think you will and you will worry about that boy, despite your best efforts at putting that aside.  So...be sad and feel the pain as it is needed now, it must serve some purpose for you.  But also try to stay awake and alive to NOW.  Try to remember that for better or worse, every day does count.  Who you are today does matter tomorrow.  Give your husband a hug and tell him how much he means to you.  Tell him how much you cherish the time you have together.  Embrace that and hold it close.  Your baby will change your marriage.  In many ways he will strengthen it but he will also bring new challenges and new expenses that will require some adjustment for both you and Michael.  He will make you stretch and expand, in ways both pleasant and problematic. 

What I really want you to know...to understand...is that you have to be alive NOW.  One day in the not-so-distant future, you will look back on these times and you will wonder why you spent so much of your time feeling sad.  You will never forget how hard infertility and the waiting part of the adoption process were but you will wonder why you let those things encompass so much of your being.  So again I say to you, Melba...smile!  Tuck the sadness away and use it when you need it but don't let it overpower you.  You have to struggle some now so that you will appreciate more later but you have my permission to feel hopeful, alive and happy right now, too!

Sincerely,

Your not-so-distant future self...      

 
            

8 comments:

Patti said...

Lovely :) I know you'll enjoy every minute of this Christmas with your toddler :)

Wendy said...

Melba - I'm so sorry that your sister is going through infertility, too. She is very lucky to have you to help her through it.

Love what you wrote about being alive NOW. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all of that and to forget what it's like just to live the other parts of your life.

Merry Christmas! I'll bet Charlie (and you and your husband) will have so much fun :)

Wendy
PS. Zoe says hi!

Ashley said...

It's hard to remember life pre-motherhood. This reminded me to not only remember it but to embrace the journey. Thanks for the meaningful letter. Hug your sis extra tight for all of us that have gone down the hard road of infertility. May her journey be quick and successful!

Richele said...

Beautifully said, Melba.

You surely just wrote exactly what someone needed to hear. Today.

Hugs for your sister - and Merry Christmas!

Rebekah said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. What a treasure, though, to be able to tap you for encouragement and support!

I've been reflecting a lot this year too, as we are also celebrating our second Christmas!! :) Just today, I had a similar line of thinking. If I knew then what I know now, I would have told myself to relax, enjoy my freedom and relationship with Ben, and to trust God and the process.

Haven't we learned such GOOD life lessons? Any time I feel anxious (about anything), I am quickly reminded of how our life has played out.

God is good and so very faithful.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!!!

Fish's Guppy said...

What a joy to find your website. Your little boy has such a beautiful smile. I'm an adopted child as well and was very touched by your letter. Thank you for sharing.

Holly said...

From your baby sister, thank you for being there. I don't often say it and maybe I don't have to, but it means everything to me that you are there and willing to listen and help me through this.

I loved reading your letter to your past self. It really hit home for me and put things in perspective. It is important to try and not be all consumed, not always easy, but important all the same.

Thank you again for being you and for being so wise. Love you!

Amy Prikazsky said...

what a beautiful post. i recently found your blog and know that i will be visiting often. my husband and i have struggled with infertility for over 3 years now and are in the waiting stages of adoption! we have been reminding ourselves of this very lesson every day.
thanks for sharing your heart! it's beautiful!