Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 15th 2010

Today we celebrated Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone on my Facebook Page because I have been talking about it for over a week now. Sometimes its frustrating because most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day doesn’t get a lot of attention. I would have never known about it either if we hadn’t lost Savannah, and I’m sure most of my Baby Loss Mommy friends would say the same.
We spent the day visit with Eric’s Grandmother. She is such a sweet lady who has lived a life of culture and experiences. She was the 1st woman Mayor of the town of Des Peres, a suburb outside of St. Louis. She was a proud Navy wife as well as Surgeon’s wife. She was very active in local and national politics, even later in life. She was a phenomenal artist and we are so proud to display some of her pieces in our home. Sadly, now, she lives in a nursing home and suffers from dementia.

She was excited to see us, but mostly Jeremy, whose smile can brighten any room he enters. We visited and then had a nice dinner with some other extended family. When we got back to the hotel, we lit Savannah’s candle and spent an hour reflecting, talking, and sharing stories. It is amazing to think of how many lives she has touched, how many hearts she has warmed, and how much love she has brought to our family. Today was no different because we honor her and remember her every day, but today we also remembered all of the other babies who left this Earth too soon, including Savannah’s 3 brothers and sisters. It’s hard for me to say it out loud. I have been pregnant 5 times but I have one baby. It’s easy to lose faith that we will ever have another, but we have faith in God and know that whatever he wants for us, we will take.

To anyone reading this who has lost a baby too soon, we remember your baby as well and our candle lit bright for each and every baby. We hope that this wave of light across the world brings awareness, hope, and love to each of the families left behind. We hope that today was a day of peace and that as you remember your baby, you realize that whatever the circumstances, you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. May each baby rest in eternal peace and watch over you and keep you safe.

Pig Races, Krispy Crème Hamburgers, and Danny Gokey. Oh MY!

On Thursday, we traveled to Raleigh to see Danny Gokey in concert. I was super excited to see the live performance of an artist whose music really helped me get in touch with my deep dark feelings of grief over the loss of Savannah. I thought since he only had one album that he would only be playing 4 or 5 songs. We arrived at the North Carolina State Fair and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I have been to a fair before but nothing like this! It was almost overwhelming. They had all of the fair favorites ~ funnel cakes, corn dogs, corn on the cob, and fresh (I think) lemonade. I was shocked at the lack of healthy choices and felt like my arteries were clogging up just by being around so much fried food. Who knew that you could fry candy bars, ho-hos, and twinkies? I think I remember hearing about it once, but I didn’t think it was actually true. Well, today as we were walking, I saw a sign for “Krispy Crème Cheeseburgers.” I thought I must be reading the sign wrong. I wasn’t. Check out what this looks like (note ~ I did NOT eat one, but I found the concept intriguing enough to take a picture).

We walked around and I noticed that every food choice was available from a different vendor about every 20 feet so if you missed one funnel cake trailer, there was another one selling the exact same thing in about a 60 second walk. I have never seen anything like this! We came across a pig race. I also have heard about these but never saw one live nor did I think they were actually done in like a side-show fashion. The pigs were cute, then the goats, and then some ducks. Now I can say that I have attended a pig race. It’s always good to be cultured, right?

Finally, it was time to get into the concert and get in line for the Meet & Greets. We found our seats and I headed off, leaving Eric and Jeremy behind. I was surprised at how many people were there, how large the stadium was, and how many people were really crazy about meeting Danny Gokey. I had no idea he was so popular. We walked back down below the stage, around and around, past his dressing room and into a large room with mirrors on one side. I was somewhere in the middle of the line. Finally, Danny came into the room and began taking pictures and signing autographs. While I was waiting, I was behind a great group of older ladies (probably around my mom’s age) and they all had matching T-shirts on that supported Danny’s Charity. The lady behind me was chatting about where I was from and when I told her Virginia, she said that the ladies in front of me were from Texas. I asked if they were in town for something else and they informed me that they only traveled to attend Danny’s concert and that they had been to the last 25 concerts he had. I was shocked! That is some dedication. I asked the ladies if I was correct in thinking Danny would only be doing 4 or 5 songs because I knew with a concert starting at 7:30pm and Jeremy’s usual bedtime being 8pm, our time before meltdown city was limited. She said that when he opened for Tim (McGraw) that he did 4 or 5 songs but since he was headlining, he did a whole 14 song set! Oops, I guess I misspoke! And who knew that the North Carolina State Fair was considered “headlining?”

It was a great concert and Eric and Jeremy lasted for 5 songs and I wanted to stay until I heard the song that meant the most to me, “I Will Not Say Goodbye.” I was worried when he started singing songs that weren’t on his CD but from his American Idol Days. Since that song is his current single, I was worried he might do that one last. Luckily, it was the next song. YAY! I was very moved that he dedicated it to anyone present who had lost someone special and to all of the military men & women serving our country. It was very sweet and I cried through much of it, but sometimes, that’s what you need to do right at that moment.

And somehow, that’s exactly what I needed. With today being October 14th and tomorrow being October 15th ~ National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, it was so meaningful. Since I am away and won’t be doing radio interviews this year, like I did last year, I am looking forward to a peaceful day reflecting on what was and what is, not on what should have been. I will never be able to change what happened that day, even though I would give my life in a second to switch places with her. I accept Savannah for who she is, where she lives, and what she means to my family. We love her with all of our hearts and will always keep her alive within us. Her treasures are still here to share and we will keep sharing them until we are together again.

I read a quote today that said there are 2 things as parents we should bequest our children: one is roots and the other is wings. Savannah has both, so I guess as parents, we have done our job. But then again, a parent’s job is never really over, is it?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Struggles as a Parent...

Hey Everyone ~ Thanks for joining me and our family for another week!  As most weeks, it has been a challenge mixed with joy and accomplishment.  Our Foster Daughter is continuing to make great progress and is continueing to adjust and bond with us.  Jeremy is still learning to adjust but is doing better.

Today we attended a birthday party for a good family friend of ours and of Jeremy's.  It was a great party at a park in Williamsburge underneath a pavillion and it was great fun despite the rain.  Our Foster Daughter, as usual, like to explore and walk around as much as possible.  Think about it ~ if you spent nearly 3 years in a pack and play, wouldn't you want to explore as much as possible?  She played with the other children and seemed to get a little frustrated as they ran around the pavillion because her little legs just weren't quite strong enough, but she continues to make progress being in the different social settings that we have exposed her to.

One of the gifts in the "Goodie Bag" was a light up toy.  I have seen these before.  They have a handle and a ball at the top that lights up and swirls around in the ball on top.  Anyway, the kids really enjoyed them and have been chasing them around the house.  Great toy for rainy days when we can't go outside to play!

Jeremy was playing and chasing our Foster Daughter and bumped her in the forehead.  Eric and I took the toy away and Eric decided to take it a step further.  While Jeremy cried, Eric took the toy and broke it in front of Jeremy.  I did not agree with this and felt it was uncalled for and unneccessary.  Not so lovingly, I told Eric that it was wrong and something his father would have done.  Boy, were those fighting words!

Instead of being angry with me, he went to Jeremy and apologized, nearly in tears.  I know Eric doesn't want to be anything like his father, and we are committed to parenting with love and using each mistake as an opportunity for learning.  This lesson, however, was more for the grownups.  While Eric would not be happy that I am sharing this story with you, I think it provides insight into a deeper lesson that we all need to learn.  Most people take the way that they were parented and incorporate the good while leaving the bad behind.  Sometimes, we all have those moments, where we act or speak just as we swore would never do.  I'm sure my husband can provide many examples where I speak or act just like my mother, and to me, that's not always such a bad thing.  I am proud of the way I was raised and appreciate my parents so much more now that I am a parent.

It's easy to focus on the flaws of others, especially our parents.  It is entirely different to have a quality that you find so unfavorable of your parents pointed out to you as you make a mistake.  There are lots of things that Eric and I wish to do differently.  We take being parents very seriously and are very involved in our children's lives and upbringing.  There are many MANY instances of things that have happened to us that would NEVER happen to our children because of our parenting and because of who we are raising our children to be.  We are not perfect, but we certainly wish to instill the values and morals in our children that we find important to raising responsible, respectful, and productive adults.  My children are a reflection of my parenting and I take that very seriously.

This week, Savannah got new flowers.  I had the idea of a hanging basket that a friend of mine does for her brother's gravesite.  Being a Wedding Planner, I had the idea of a flower ball that a flower girl might carry but on a larger scale.  It turned out lovely and I was able to place it in the middle of Savannah's neighbors so that all of the babies can enjoy her flowers.

I will post a few pictures later ~ but props to the Floral Department at Ben Franklin in Newport News.  They do the BEST work!

I think that's all for now.  I wish you all much love and peace from our home to yours.
~ Shannon