Tuesday, September 20, 2016

3 nights.

The last 3 nights I've laid with you as you went to sleep.  I haven't had to do that in a long time but it brought back a flash of memories.  Your glider lives at a friends house now.  Every now and then I go over to their house and it's a chair I still want to sit in after 13 years.  I could rock in it forever, it's so comforting.  Rocking you as a infant, baby, toddler and even years beyond was the one thing I knew I was doing right.  Tonight as I lay in your bedroom, I remember how it was once our office in this house.  That led me to remembering your nursery at our old condo, the pink bottom half with moulding with the white top half and a net of stuffed animals hanging in the corner above the glider.  I remember trying to perfectly place all the stuffed animals in the darn net without them falling out and what a pain that was.  I remember Shannon's white crib that we borrowed and how it fit so perfectly in the nursery.  I remember the hand painted sky with clouds on your ceiling that Jackie and I spent a long time perfecting.  And how could I forget the perfect princess quilt hung with 3 big white stars on your nursery wall.  The closet doors were taken out and replaced with light weight white fabric hanging so you could see your perfectly cute baby girl clothing all lined up and baby shoes, so many baby shoes, all the baby shoes.

I rocked in the glider in that room for months before you were born.  I imagined what you would be like, what being a mom would be like.  I felt you kick and move and I imagined more and read so many books.  I LOVED figuring out what your name would be.  Kylie, yes Kylie it was for many many months and then surprise we made a last minute change to Kendall, Kendall Elizabeth.  We liked that the first name wasn't that common and that your middle name was the same as mine and my grandmothers.  That surprise last minute change of your name should have warned me about all the surprises that were to come with you once you were born.  I was so ready to meet you but you didn't want to come out early at all.  You were 8 days late.  8 LONG LONG days late.  And then tomorrow night at this time I was in the hospital being induced.  I didn't know what to expect, I was just excited and then the first contraction came.  I didn't realize it was a contraction I just thought it was a bad cramp then they kept coming.  Dan was the one who looked at me and said "OH MY GOD, those aren't cramps they are contractions."  I panicked.  The pain came so fast.  I finally got all settled with meds.  Then a few hours later you were born.  And BAM the room turned to silence.  Something wasn't right I could sense it, I knew it.  No one could say anything, they all tried to reassure me but  I KNEW.   I guess that was my first mother's instinct.  Something wasn't right.  And then everyone but my doctor and I left the room.  I sat stunned in silence.  

Tonight in a matter of 30 minutes while I laid with you so many memories came flooding back.  You sleep with the same bunny and in the same position as you did when you were a baby.  You stroke the bunny in a calming way that soothes you still to this day.  I hope my presence still soothes you as well.  You my baby girl, my first born, the one I've learned the best lessons in life from.  I hope I can forever soothe and help you.  It's funny how when all goes silent you can really remember and feel all that has happened in what feels like the blink of an eye but in reality it's been almost 13 years.  The hardest most rewarding 13 years of my life.  They are because of you Miss K.  I'd never know all I know now if it weren't for you.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mama.  God or whoever it was up there had some real faith in me because I would have never thought I could do it or do it well.  However, here I am and here you are thriving, makes me feel like I've done one big thing right in life.  Sleep tight baby girl, for you are almost a teenager. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dear Kendall

Dear Kendall,

Today I watched a 13 year old and her mom.  She was a few inches shorter than her mom, they spent time chatting and walking.   I thought about if she looked more like her mom or dad.  I watched their interactions.  For a few seconds I had what if's running through my mind.  What if you were not born with a rare chromosome disorder, how tall would you be,  what would you look like, what would you be experiencing in 8th grade that you aren't right now?  What if, what if, what if.  Those thoughts could tear me apart if I let them and they have in the past.  However, rather than in years past where I would get stuck on the what if's, I quickly changed my thoughts.  I thought about how far you've come,  how you talk after years of not talking and it's understandable, and I thought  about how great your laugh is.  How you still throw one hand over your face when you laugh really hard.  I look at all the amazing lessons you have taught our family and friends in life.  Look at how you see the world, full of love and kindness, never hate.  What if you were a "typical" kid?  What if?  Who would your brothers be if you were "typical"?  Would they understand compassion and have the empathy that they have now?  Would they take the time that they do to help others?  Would they know how to help their sister when she needs it?  Would I have the empathy and understanding of others that I have because of having you in my life?  Would I be able to look at the world through your eyes if I had a "typical" daughter?  Would I see the world with the same love that you do if it weren't for you?  No.  No way.

I am smarter because of you.  Wiser because of you.  More accepting, patient(most of the time), and caring because of you.  I've lived a lifetime in almost 13 short years because of you.  Because of you I'm resilient.  I get down but I don't stay down, not for long.  I come back.  Yep, I keep coming back.    I come back better and stronger because of you and I will continue to do so.  You inspire me.  You make me speak my mind.  You have forced me to advocate, not just for you but for myself and my life.  You have taught me to talk about my feelings more, to express myself, to share what it's like to raise you.  You are one of the best lessons I've ever had in life and I think what a shame others don't get to learn the lessons that you have taught me.  You made me a mama but the non "typical" you made me a better mama then I ever would have been if I didn't have you.  I saw another girl and mom walking today, I compared lives for a moment but I didn't get stuck in that moment.  Rather, I was able to think about all the moments we have had because of you that in turn have made us all better and stronger.  I don't know anything different and after almost 13 years I can say I don't want to know anything different.  Thank you for being one of the greatest teachers in my life.  You are small but mighty and very very loved.  I sure hope you know that.   


About Me

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Married mom of 3 not so little ones anymore but they still keep me grinning and giggling(most of the time). Kendall, age 12, Brady age 8 almost 9 and "baby" Chase who is 7. I have been married for 14.5 years to Dan Graff, who I think is the best dad ever to our kids. He certainly makes me grin and giggle to this very day. I have spent my non mom career working in recruiting on and off over the years recruiting Software Engineers. Other than my kids my most favorite thing to do in the entire word is ride horses followed by Kung Fu, where I earned my purple belt last year. I have been riding since I was 8 years old, with some time off here and there but I always go back to it. As Winston Churchill said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man"(or woman in this case)!