Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Right to Choose

I guess I should apologize because I don't think of you often. Once or twice a year, the thought of you will appear. I never really know when it will hit me and it leaves nearly as quickly as it came. When you finally cross my mind, I wonder if I'm a rotten, uncaring person because I don't think of you more.

I wonder what you'd look like today. Tall? Short? Fat? Skinny? Would you have my nose - would I describe it as a ski slope with a snowman at the end? Would you be blonde like me or have dark hair like your dad? Would you love sports or would you love to read or maybe a combination of both?

After I spend a little time wondering what you'd be like, my thoughts turn to me. Selfish? Maybe. I wonder if the decision I made affected me later. Were the babies I wanted denied me because I decided I didn't want you? I've spent more time wondering if God has punished me than I have regretting my decision.

I don't know if you were a boy or a girl. I don't have a name picked out for you. There's no tombstone or marker I can visit when I want to mourn you. I never held you. Never heard your heart beat.

The truth is I made the decision I thought best for me at the time. Marcus was only six weeks old when I discovered I was pregnant with you. I was single. He had left us and the thought of supporting two kids 11 months apart terrified me. I worried what my mom would say. I worried about seeing the disappointment on my dad's face. I worried whether or not I'd be strong enough to raise you both.

Getting pregnant with Marc was easy. Getting pregnant with you seemed even easier. I was alone, unwilling to discuss my situation with anyone and so my decision to terminate you was made. I remember walking into the clinic and the hideous people outside pushed little plastic fetuses into my hand, asking me if I've considered the life I'm about to end.

And the truth is that if even one of those people had been kind to me, maybe invited me to coffee to soothe my nerves, they may have actually persuaded me to change my mind. Instead, they forced me into the clinic, hurrying to escape their judgment.

I walked in alone, walked out feeling even more alone. But I felt in control. Confident I had made the right choice.

And six months later, I found myself facing the same decision. I had just moved to Boise. Your dad and I had another failed attempt at making it work when I found out I was pregnant a third time.

This time my decision was harder but I chose to lean on your "father." He explained and rationalized why we were both better off without another baby. We loved Marc with all our hearts but we were in no position to raise a second child.

This time when I walked into the clinic, there were no protesters. The "procedure" was done in a doctor's office, not a seedy clinic that distributes condoms at the same rate they dole out abortions. The doctor looked nearly 80 years old and "tsked" me for being so irresponsible.

For years, I didn't think of either of you. You never ever crossed my mind.

Then I wanted more kids. I wanted children running around me, happy, carefree. I quickly discovered pregnancy was much more difficult if it was something you actually wanted. I miscarried. and miscarried again. And miscarried again. And then, once again. My next pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured, sending me to emergency surgery. As I was prepared for surgery, I wondered if I wasn't being punished.

The truth is, I don't regret my decision. I made the decision I thought was best with the information I had. And the truth is I believe that decision is every woman's right to make. The truth is that I'm very glad no one had the control to stop me from making my decision.

But the truth also is that if you told me you were considering the same, I'd try and discourage you. I could tell you that occassionally you might feel guilty, or regretful, or sad.

The truth is I made my decision because I didn't think I was strong enough or capable enough. The truth is I made my decision because I feared what others would think.

The truth is I was. I was strong enough, capable enough to rise to the occassion. My 35-year old self can look back at 20-year old me and realize she had what it would take to do what needed to be done. She was strong, capable, courageous.

The truth is if I had it to do over again, I'd make the same decision. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

My week in photos

Between school starting, a huge event at work, football, football, and more football…it’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I haven’t had the time to write much. The last week has held several milestones:

Marcus got his driver’s permit. I’m not sure how this happened…I don’t feel old enough to have a driving son but somehow it’s true. He’s doing a fantastic job (except for that part where he inherited momma’s lead foot…oops). Here he is on his very first driving excursion:

2011-09-01 12.25.14 A note to parents of first time drivers: I do not suggest making your child’s first excursion during lunch time on a Wednesday in the middle of town. You’ll need a drink (or 4) at lunch.

My goal between now and when he gets his drivers license is to make him drive everywhere, in any weather, during all different times of the day. I want him as prepared as possible when he starts out on his own.

And now a confession…I think my son driving is the scariest thing I’ve faced so far. Who the hell thought it was a great idea to put my heart into a vehicle with an opportunity to go 60+ miles per hour on a road with deer, cows, pedestrians, semi-trucks, crazy drivers, and other obstacles that are out of my control. Can we wait until he’s older and doesn’t have the attention span of a teenage boy?

Nathan started second grade AND had his first “real-life” football game. He was so excited for both but I think the game won out. The Owls (his team) played the Falcons and they lost by 1 point but not without giving it one hell of an effort. Here’s my cutie-pie:












 At left: Nate stands in his classroom on the second day of school. At top: Nate’s on the left with his back to us. Number 63! At right: Nate on his first day of school. Bottom middle: Nate tries to escape. Go Owls!

Marc also played in his first high school football game. He plays on the freshman team and JV. He’s a defensive end, wide receiving, tight end, and kicker. His freshman team won 20 to 6, JV lost. Marc sacked the quarterback three times in a row (my shouts of joy could be heard ‘round the world). Here are some photo highlights:


Marc is number 42. Here he is stalking the quarterback.

Random fact about me: I LOVE me some football. I think one of my favorite things on earth is watching it. I’d make football year round if I could!

Speaking of watching football, I rode to the game with several moms on Friday (it was an away game). We were sitting in the stands and were watching as the coaches were trying to fill up the orange water jugs.

They have tilted the fountain on its side and are aiming the drinking fountain stream at the orange drink bucket. None of us felt inclined to point outDSC01260 the drinking hose screwed to the bottom of the fountain. It took several minutes (ok, like 70+) for them to realize there was an easier way. LOL






And here’s Marc with his best friend after the game. Worn out boys! Good game guys!










That pretty much sums up my week. In closing, I’ll share some funny photos from a recent road trip. This is what I get when I give the kid the camera while I’m driving:



Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where has time gone?

I laid in bed last night unable to sleep. The room was hot and stuffy. My side of the bed seemed too hard, too soft, too lumpy. My pillow wasn’t right. I tossed and turned. I read my book. I listened to noises and wondered where they were coming from. None of the kids were home and my house was loud with silence, save for the sound of Rob’s sleep next to me. My comfort was cuddling up  next to Rob but I was too afraid to cuddle next to him, afraid I’d wake him with my restlessness. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t put my finger on just what was wrong.

I woke up to a melancholy morning. I wasn’t sad necessarily. And I wasn’t angry or upset. I just felt sort of “off.” I went through my morning wishing the day was over.

On my way to work, a friend texted me. She texted “Happy First Day of School. I blabbered like an idiot as I pulled away from the high school. Getting a coffee to console myself. LOL

And I cried.

This is the first time in 10 years, I haven’t dropped Marc off at school. It’s the first time in 3 years that I haven’t walked Nate to his classroom. It’s the first morning in 10 years I haven’t cooked first day of school pancakes. No one came running into my bedroom needing help with their new shoes. The boys didn’t have to listen to me as I ticked off a mental checklist of things we shouldn’t forget . . .lunch money (check), school supplies (check) and so on and so forth.  I don’t have cheesy pictures of the boys in brand new clothes, carrying brand new backpacks on their first days in front of the house. My boys didn’t open their lunchboxes at school today to find little notes from me.

And I realize time is going by faster than I want to admit.

Marc’s a freshman and that seems so close and yet so far away from 18 that I can’t bear to think it. He doesn’t want dumb little notes in his lunchbox from mom. He probably is glad not to have mom drop him off at the high school. On a happy note, he’s texted me at lunch time to tell me “High School is AWESOME mom! Love you!” Aww, tears well up in my eyes. I love that kid. 

This morning is an odd mix of sadness because he’s not my little boy anymore and happiness because I’m so blissfully proud of him. Marc’s never liked school, not even in kindergarten. He loves the social aspect. The part where he gets to visit with kids and be around people. He excels at PE. He struggles with everything else. Not because he isn’t smart or because he doesn’t get it, it just doesn’t seem important to him. If it has a practical application in the real world, he picks it up quick. Start talking theories and such, and he tunes out.

Nate is starting second grade and he LOVES school. When the teacher assigns a week worth of school work on Monday to turn in on Friday, I can guarantee that Nate turns it in Tuesday morning. As a matter of fact, he got an award for that last year. He asks if he can go to bed and read a little while. He is in a split class this year – meaning half the class is first graders and the other half is second graders. I have some concerns but he’s so intelligent. I’m hoping he stays challenged. I think being able to help the younger kids will help him too. Of course, typical of most moms, I worry whether or not I’ve made the right decisions.

One thing about being married for years to a firefighter – I’ve learned to be flexible. Just like Christmas is sometimes the day before and Thanksgiving is sometimes on Friday, my first day of school celebration will be tomorrow. I’ll make pancakes and bacon and listen to my kids look for the right outfit, rushing me out the door to their 2nd day of high school and 2nd grade. I’ll get my pictures and 15 years from now, we won’t care that the pictures were taken on the 2nd day instead of the first.

I don’t regret divorce one little bit but I will admit that having my kids half the time kills me. I’m not half a parent. My worries, concerns, and thoughts aren’t cut in half. I’m still a full time mom to my two amazing sons. Still a full-time mom but a happier woman.