What a Difference...

Friday, July 23, 2010

...a year can make...

A year ago, I was sitting in my hospital room, at 20w5d pregnant, and praying for 7 more weeks of pregnancy- which I got, I might add!  Maybe I should have prayed for 17 more weeks, LOL!  Now, I'm sitting on the floor playing with Bobby while Maya finishes napping.  A year ago, I was preparing for another extremely premature delivery, while trying to find the hope that Bobby and Maya would be alright.  And now, I'm sitting here, 12 months later, with ten month old twins who bring countless rays of sunshine into my life, who give me a glimpse of how Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander might have been, who show me the beauty of life in all its ways.


***
Things around CasaHaytko havent been easy recently.  I pride myself in being honest in this space, even when I dont necessarily want to be.  This whole raising babies-after-loss/raising twins period recently took a turn.  A lot of it was communication- as in a lack of.  Peter and I both, I think, had the expectation that, because we are so grateful for the privilege of raising living children, that we would somehow bypass the difficult stage.  Well... Maybe it was postponed, but it knocked on our door, the same as it appears to do everyone else's.

We expect the other to know what we are thinking and to act accordingly and, when things dont go according to plan, there have been some fireworks.  Not to mention, we've viewed each others time as the non-primary parent as different from how the other sees it.  (And by non-primary, I mean, for example, the time when Peter is at work, or I am at the gym, etc... the time when we are not the parent doing the caregiving).  It's all been coming to a head and I have had neither the energy nor the inclination to blog or read.  (On top of that, the business of two mobile babies!).

Two Saturdays now, Peter's parents have watched the kids so that we could have a "date".  We went last Saturday, and, over breakfast at the end of our 12+ mile bikeride, we had it out and put our feelings on the surface.  And it was good.  I'm not sure the people around us thought it was.  We werent raising our voices, but we were terse, and I'm sure they could hear that (at the least!)  But we were able to air our laundry and start fresh.  But it's going to be a journey, and we know we are just at the beginning.

Peter and I were always so connected.  We were able to fit into each other well, and didnt have any serious miscommunication issues.  Now, a lot of the time, we misread the other person, dont communicate what we need or want, or worse, assume the other person was trying to piss us off by their words/actions.  We both are guilty of different things to varying degrees, but it was something that we needed to nip in the bud.  And so, we have taken that first steps.  Weeds still grow in gardens, but we are realizing that we need to take the time to prune our plants.  We cant just expect the weeds to be trampled on their own.  And, in some ways, some of the weeds are just flowers not seen before.  And we have to be willing to accept those.

Some of the problem stems from just not knowing what to expect and from having our "parenting" pre-Bobby and Maya to be such a different experience.  And now, we are adjusting.  Adjusting to two babies at home.  Adjusting to one income.  Adjusting to a housewife and mother who cant- at least yet- be Donna Reed and have the house clean and dinner on the table because there just isnt time.  Adjusting to a dad who is tired after a long day of work and needs some "him" time that isnt in the context of his employment.

(And it doesnt help that Peter's work department is going through some changes, but that is a post for another time...)

***
And, truly, some of it is just me, plain and simple.

I'm having a hard time dealing with failing to meet my own expectations.   My house is usually not straightened up on a good day, messy on an average day, and downright dirty on a bad day.  I mopped the kitchen the other day and, I'm ashamed to admit this, but it has been months... Like March... Since that was done.  I just havent had the time during the day to keep on top of things and, in the evening, I'm too damn tired.

***
We are so busy. ALL THE TIME.  Last Sunday, was the only weekend that we werent serving at church (and someone actually called to see if Peter could serve for them!).  He declined and we took the kids to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, about half an hour away.  We missed the English Mass and so, we went to Confessions and attended the Polish Mass instead.  We dont speak Polish, but the joy of the Catholic faith is always being able to follow along.  (And, when you are in church as much as we are, we know when the prayers, etc, are taking place.)  Thanks to an English guide, we were able to follow along with the readings.  The only part we "missed" was the homily, which was delivered only in Polish.  But that was okay.  Because we heard a different homily.  One that helped us in our current trials and frustrations, and gave us peace.  It was such a beautiful time.  I'd like to go there whenever we arent serving.

But... Being Busy.  Yes....  So busy.  All the time, it seems.  And we need to start practicing the art of saying "no".   I think, in some cases, we say yes because we cant imagine saying no, and then, dont realize the burden we put on our own shoulders.  But we have to start saying no. And start making time for our nuclear family, too.

It means not taking on a race a month, and limiting myself to a few a year.  It means not going to the gym more than twice a week.  It means weekly, having some date time for ourselves that is not cleaning the kitchen at 11:30pm, after the kids are in bed and we are feeling like burned toast.  It means not blogging- and not blog reading- as much, in order to try and get our lives in order.

So, friends and family, if we decline invitations or dont invite you over as much, know that we are working on reconnecting to one another, and trying to enjoy the limited family time that we have together.  It isnt that we dont adore our time with you (and it isnt that we will be hermits, either, lest someone read this and think we're never going to see them again!), we just need to readjust our priorities.

I will keep up with blogs as I can, and that may mean not being able to comment on every blog I read, so that I can read more in my limited time.  I have hundreds in my reader, but only a few dozen that I religiously comment on, but please, feel free to email me directly with your news, too.  I just... I dont have the energy, I'm sorry.   And I cant find more time in my day.  And I need to stop stressing about it.  Right now, blogging has become a stress and I dont want it to be that way.  I just dont want to feel like I "HAVE" to blog every day.  I'd rather do it when I have something to share or something worthwhile to post.

But, I confess... I miss you when I'm away.  I miss keeping up with what's going on here or there, or with pregnancies or babies or baby making or adopting or just your every day goings and comings.  There are few people I keep up with via the phone (I'm not a phone person and I dont care for it, honestly), so electronic communication is the better part of my not-in-person dealings.  So, it's hard to feel like I'm missing things!

***
We waited so long for these times.  These times of stress and in-the-trenches parenting and spousing.  And we dont want to let it pass us by and we feel empty at the end of it.  I dont want to lament blogging or visiting because I had to pick up puffies on the floor, or soak food-stained clothes because Maya or Bobby decided to attack their lunch.  I dont want to rush through watching their adorable faces when they enjoy yogurt or guacamole or one of the countless things they love to eat, because I feel like I need to prepare for this or that. I bought myself a Life Is Good shirt that says "Mom" on it...  It's not the style of shirt I would wear (I dont do T-Shirts) but it feels so good to slip it on and go about the day.

***
T-16 days til the Triathlon!

***
20 months... Today, sweet Alexander, would be 20 months...  As another month passes towards Bobby and Maya's first birthday, another brings us closer to his second birthday...  And that is crazy to me...  How did this much time go by?

***
Okay, so this was all over the place... But a good way to start playing catch-up. :)

19 comments:

ezra'smommy said...

Parenting a living child has by far put the greatest strain on our relationship ever...far greater than grieving for our dead one. I never imagined it would be so hard. It's been communication issues for us too, and like you, we're working our way through them.

Sophie said...

I have now had both parenting a child before loss and after. They are both hard, but I really do think parenting after loss is harder. I think our patience is worn thinner faster, and we love more intensely. It's complex.

I will say however that my relationship with Aaron is much stronger this time round, so I think that's a first time parenting challenge. It changes you and you have to learn to adjust. Aaron helps me a lot more this time around as he now understands how hard it is to be the primary care giver. (Aaron works in IT and sits on his butt all day.) He also understands that my coping skills are not as strong as they were before we lost Jordan. I get upset a lot more easily.

The clean house thing? Hahahahaha. Drives me nuts too but I just have to prioritise. Give it time, you'll get your cleaning mojo back eventually but for now just go with it. I have to tell myself that a lot lately. I wish I could keep a cleaner house but I am just not superwoman.

No matter what you do, I know you'll work it all out in time. You guys are awesome. xxx

"Jay" said...

Don't be too hard on yourself! You are dealing with A LOT! Nobody is perfect, and you will find your way.

I am so proud of you and your triathalon! Way to go! Good for you to make time for exercise, I wouldn't give that up!!!

Just Breathe said...

Just look at how far you have come and look how much they have grown.
I haven't raised children while having children who have passed. I do know how you and Peter have fit together over the years. We were married for 7 years before we started our family. Things changed and they do for all couples when they have children. My days were long and when my husband would come home I would leave to go out and shop. It was easier then taking the kids. I never once gave thought to his day and him being tired. The direction you have gone in is so normal but it's times 2.
I am glad that you are now taking time to be together and slowing down on other things. Your marriage will click again but we must always be tuned in on the other persons feelings. ((HUGS))

Jen said...

We have parented a lost baby, a singleton and are now on the roller coaster ride with our 18 month old twins. Every situation in parenting has been different from each other and parenting twins has by far been the most challenging! I remember just yesterday when they were becoming mobile and going in opposite directions...now we have added climbing on EVERYTHING into the mix. My home looks exactly as you have described yours. My hubby and I both work at opposite shifts so that one of us is always with the kids and we avoid daycare. We went through a really rough spot right after they were born and again when they hit a year old. The second was the worst and I am ashamed to say we actually talked about a divorce. But, after we aired it all out, we realized how much we really do love each other and desperately want to make things work. Things have gotten better as we are COMMUNICATING our feelings more and in ways that are just a statement so that they don't feel like an attack on each other. I feel for you and pray you too will get through this rough patch. Bobby and Maya have gotten so big and more adorable each time we see new pictures! Hang in there!
P.S. thank you for letting me know I am NOT the only one who hasn't mopped my floors since who knows when!! :)

Jen said...

We have parented a lost baby, a singleton and are now on the roller coaster ride with our 18 month old twins. Every situation in parenting has been different from each other and parenting twins has by far been the most challenging! I remember just yesterday when they were becoming mobile and going in opposite directions...now we have added climbing on EVERYTHING into the mix. My home looks exactly as you have described yours. My hubby and I both work at opposite shifts so that one of us is always with the kids and we avoid daycare. We went through a really rough spot right after they were born and again when they hit a year old. The second was the worst and I am ashamed to say we actually talked about a divorce. But, after we aired it all out, we realized how much we really do love each other and desperately want to make things work. Things have gotten better as we are COMMUNICATING our feelings more and in ways that are just a statement so that they don't feel like an attack on each other. I feel for you and pray you too will get through this rough patch. Bobby and Maya have gotten so big and more adorable each time we see new pictures! Hang in there!
P.S. thank you for letting me know I am NOT the only one who hasn't mopped my floors since who knows when!! :)

Bluebird said...

I'm proud of you. And I thank you for your honesty.

It sounds like you two are definitely on the right path now :) Thoughts and prayers as you walk down it.

one-hit_wonder said...

please do not apologize for prioritizing. if you didn't, down the road you'd have enormous regret. the most important things have to come first. and such beautiful important things they are. :)

Hope's Mama said...

Yep, what Ezra's Mom said. Thanks for this post. I needed it today in terms of "feeling less alone."
xo

Reba said...

i've said before...hubs and i were WAY closer after we lost the twins than we became after the ham was born!

we can *barely* handle keeping up our house with one baby...AND WE HAVE A BI-MONTHLY CLEANING SERVICE!!!! so please, don't be so hard on yourself!

when blogging becomes a chore...no. more. blogging. if you're like me, though, it's that you're so tired but you DO want to blog, that's the problem. ;)

hugs michele!!! no need to comment on ANYTHING i write! i know you're there! :)

Girl in the dark said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. You have sooooo much going on. I am thinking of you and your family!

Terri said...

It will get easier as the kids get older. Enjoy them now. It goes so quickly. The house will always need cleaning. And for the most part it can wait. It isn't easy & 1950 tv moms didn't really live that way. When the kids are grown they will remember the time you spent w/ them & not that the house was spic & span. You're an excellent mom, wife & friend. You will find the balance that works for you. It's a huge adjustment in lifestyle. Like the other comments, give yourself a break.
Ps I still have laundry I washed last week folded in the living room floor- never made it to drawers. Oh well.

Holly said...

It can be so easy to get off the same page as your hubby! Just last night my DH and I had a little spit at each other. I think my DH will be looking forward to the end of this pregnancy. lol

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Michelle said...

That's a fantastic photo of Bobby and Maya, look how much they've grown! Good work mummy with keeping up with twins for a year!

Ms. J said...

I want to thank you (no, CHEER You) for bravely speaking about this. So few people understand that "bringing home baby" does not connote happily ever after. Not after a couple has taken years and years of hits and loss and strain and so on.

I "hear ya" on so many levels. So many that I don't even blog about. BUt what you wrote resonated with me like you can't believe.

Thank YOU.

Please keep exercising though. It helps keep Mommy semi-sane and healthy. You, Peter, and the kids deserve that.

Tanika said...

Thank you for being so open & honest about how much a relationship can ( and will) change after children. Thank you! Many prayers & blessings to you & Peter!

Kandi Ann said...

I love you! Your honesty is amazing. Your so real. For some reason after God has gotten me to families to Pray for when they are pregnant I stop following after the Miracles are here. With you its been different. I stayed and I am happy I did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCuVHi_gwuY

That is a song by Lonestar. A must hear (since *cough* I get to hear your music when I stop in. lol) Its called "Let them Be Little". I was looking for that poem about the house will keep and such about kids growing up too fast, I think its by Erma Bombeck? Anyways, Keep on doing what your doing and I am happy to get what ever update you can get here be it daily or 1 x a mos.

You will find a balance. What works for you guys. Hang in there. xoxo, Kandi Ann

Barb said...

They are SO CUTE. And oh my the household stuff. So hard.