You know you’re tired when you put a Size 1 diaper (meant for babies 8-14 pounds) on your almost 30-pound toddler. Whoops. While trying to figure out why the smaller diaper wouldn’t fasten around Clara’s cute little thighs (she takes a Size 5!), I realized that maybe I should try to take a nap every now and then. Oh, well – sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?
Today was a fairly trying one for me. Both of my precious daughters decided to soil their outfits (within mere minutes of one another) this morning and needed complete wardrobe changes. Clara has been more rambunctious than usual — as evidenced by the nice shiner she’s sporting on the corner of her left eye — and Elyse has shortened the length of time between both her daytime and nighttime feedings. Instead of going her usual 2-3 hours between her daytime feedings and 3-4 hours at night, she’s down to about 1.5 – 2 hours during the day and 2-3 hours during my most precious of sleeping hours. Ugh. I think she’s going through a growth spurt. We’ll see for sure tomorrow when I weigh her again. Since we bought an infant/toddler scale to monitor her weight gain, we have discovered that Elyse gains about an ounce per day. When I weighed her before one of her morning nursing sessions yesterday, she weighed about eight pounds, 13 ounces. Considering her recent feeding frenzy, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was well over nine pounds during tomorrow’s weigh-in. We shall see. Apparently, the multiple handfuls of Cadbury mini-eggs that I’ve been scarfing down lately are making their way to Elyse’s tummy, too. :0)
I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, though. I feel blessed having two healthy children to care for and love. Granted, it’s not easy simultaneously caring for a toddler and a newborn, but it really is a rewarding job. Funny, I should mention the word “blessed” in the first sentence of this paragraph. Truth be told, I really can’t think of a more fitting word to describe how I feel toward the two little miracles that occupy about 99% of my waking (and non-waking) hours. I am always a bit reluctant to use religious expressions in my writing. This is really a two-fold strategy on my part: 1). I don’t want to offend any readers, as some religious undertones may be off-putting depending on your particular belief system and 2). Since I don’t really practice any particular religion any more, I feel hypocritical in using religious references. However, this is my blog, and thanks to the First Amendment, I am free to use whatever language I choose. Hence, although the importance of religion in my life may have waned over the last decade or so, sometimes, religion or religious vernacular is the most fitting way to describe particular feelings or phenomena.
If you know anything about my background, you may be wondering why a woman born and bred into a Roman Catholic family has shunned religion? Like a good Christian child and adolescent, I attended religious education, completed my sacraments and went to church fairly regularly — or at least when it was mandated. However, as I got older and started to experience my own personal struggles, I found myself questioning my religious beliefs. Even today, I don’t practice any particular religion because I haven’t come to terms, yet, with what I actually believe. I find it difficult to believe in God because I can’t fathom how God allows such atrocities to take place in the world. If there is a God, why is there war, hunger, poverty and hate? If there is a God, why have Taylor and I endured such struggles as we tried to have a family? If there is a God, why am I witnessing the people who I love fight to overcome such terrible obstacles as they try to grow their families, live their lives, find partners/spouses, etc.?
As I get older and learn more and more about others’ personal struggles, I feel less and less connected to any spiritual entity. I know that in times of doubt and frustration, people turn to religion as their savior, and I applaud them for this choice. However, I find myself having the exact opposite reaction — it’s almost as if I’m fighting against what I know could be a very plausible explanation for my own personal woes; as if I’m fighting the tide against something that’s much bigger than myself. Perhaps, those of us who have and will struggle have been chosen to do so. Now, I don’t know if I’ve devised this explanation to resolve the cognitive dissonance that has been brought about by personal obstacles such as melanoma, the death of my son, pregnancy loss and NAIT, but when I found myself in these difficult situations, I would often ask: “Why me?” Why did these circumstances enter my life? Fate? Bad luck? Or, was I “chosen” to shoulder the burden of complications such as cancer, child loss and high-risk pregnancy because someone knew that I, along with my partner, could handle them?
The “Why me?” conundrum hasn’t entertained my thoughts for quite some time — mostly due to the fact that things have been going pretty smoothly for my family and I as of late. However, I have several good friends that are currently facing their own struggles at the moment. And now, I find that instead of asking “Why me?” I’m asking, “Why them?” Each morning when I log on to Facebook to check on my fellow NAIT mommies, I am reminded of the harsh realities of this world. Coupled with my friends’ struggles, I’m now inquiring, “Why do these good, caring people have to endure such pain? Why aren’t they allowed to find life partners, become parents or have healthy pregnancies?” Perhaps, it is because they are also among the chosen ones – those special individuals selected to face problems such as NAIT, infertility, and loneliness because they have the strength to overcome them; they have the strength to rise above these challenges and grow and learn in the process.
I don’t know. And at the end of the day, I can’t fully explain why bad things happen to good people. They just do. Perhaps, we are somehow meant to face particular problems or chosen to grapple with unfortunate circumstances. Who really knows? What I do know is that as I age, I, along with other people who I love, will have to face more of life’s harsh realities. All we can really do is lend a supportive ear or shoulder to cry on when needed and try to make sense out of why these things happen to us. I also know that because of my own personal circumstances, I’ve learned to appreciate things such as the terrible twos and middle-of-the-night newborn cries. And when Elyse grinned at me for the first time yesterday afternoon, I thought, just for a moment, that I did see God in her smile.
*Today’s blog post was inspired by those friends of mine who are currently trying to find their way and are fighting against the tide…you know who you are, you know you will get there…you know I am always here for you…*