A couple days ago I had a conversation with someone that went like this:
“My guys? Yeah, they’re all over everything! I can’t get them to stop climbing.”
“Yeah, but they are two-year-olds, they get into everything and can’t help it.’
“I guess that’s true. Do you have kids?
“You sure know a lot about them. Half the time I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“I had one. He died of SIDS. It was a long time ago.”
And what do you say next? Me, I just got quiet and felt sad. You could almost imagine that little child spirit hovering over his mama giving her a big hug and silence was probably better than anything I could say or do. I couldn’t imagine being as strong as that woman was at that moment or at every other moment since becoming a mom. But, I think that’s what being a mom does to you, even if your babies pass away.
It’s funny how timing works, because it’s at this time of year that my mind drifts to a hazy place where I realize how fragile life is and how important it is to do what you can to help it. And that is why I support the March of Dimes every year by walking, or why I should support the March of Dimes. For some reason this year I didn’t think I really needed to do it. Maybe it was because the guys are crazy and all over everything. Or maybe it’s because things are so much easier now than when they were little that I take it for granted that being able to do this walk is such a gift. If it wasn’t for that conversation I had with this special woman I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to attempt the walk at all this year because I made the mistake of putting it on my calendar for the wrong day so it turned out that if I wanted to do it, I would have to do it by myself
Let me tell you that it is scary walking in a big group by yourself. And sometimes I feel that’s what many moms feel like everyday. Like we’re walking alone in a big group of people with little helpless wee ones totally depending on our every step. And I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose my babies, especially after it was so much effort keeping them here in the first place.
For me and my babies, I don’t really want them to know about our battles with earliness. I really hope they don’t remember the time when we thought they were coming way too soon. And I don’t want them to remember the time they spent in the NICU (and all the scary ups and downs!) I fear that they might have some memories of not being held for a long long time. And not ever know how much I would have given to have held them if I was allowed to. Or how when I first held them, I didn’t know what I could promise them in life. And I hope they won’t remember billy lights, or wearing teeny tiny baby clothes or blood draws, beeping monitors and funny hospital smells. Or how careful we had to be about germs once we came home.
But I will. And it haunts me everyday. Some days way more than others.
So the other day, I went to the walk and stood in the pouring rain and waited for the countdown. I did the warm-up and listened to the speeches. I joined in with hundreds of people and I walked the first lonely mile and watched as the sun started to shine brilliantly.
And then I got on the monorail and went to Nordstroms. I admit it. I didn’t finish. Instead, I got a lovely latte and stopped to look at this beautiful Milly Purse and tried to blend in with the leisurely Saturday shoppers.
It’s amazing what we’re not brave enough to do sometimes. Anonymous and alone, I still couldn’t finish a walk. I couldn’t walk along with caring people all supporting a cause that helped me so much in the first parts of my babies’ life. How ever would I have been able to go on in life without the help I received when my guys came premature? Next year, please walk with me. And please, don’t let me forget what a gift this is.