parenthood

When the Fog Rolls In

It took seven years for the words to come more slowly. Muddled in fog, the memories pull my tongue back into my mouth, trying to make full sentences when the dryness comes at the beginning of March.

There are still words for the sadness and they are taking longer to take shape this year. In the stretching of letters into sentences, my brain seeps into places we used to live together. So much has changed.

This week we both sized up my baby’s car seat and moved down her mattress in the crib. We put up baby gates and took down too-small jackets into the basement. They told me this would go fast, and again, as the fog of new parenthood has lifted, I find myself bouncing up and down to catch up with her growth.

However, a familiar front has rolled in, bringing in old stagnant air of grief, and as the mixing air swirls around us, pushing the blur of her infancy into, well, the past. I can’t believe we’re coming up on a year of baby, and seven years without Dad.

Life happens as we live it. In the bouncing up and downs there’s now wine at the grocery store, cookies with crumb baked in, and baby babbles on the monitor as we wake up in the morning. There’s the ache of not knowing a parent as a friend, of watching others grow and wondering how we ever moved so far in different directions. There’s the putting on of his old sweatshirts and slippers, fingering tears in the worn brown sleeves, as you sit and you watch, chest upon knees, as the grief fog returns.

Seven years, and the words have slowed. The settling, the acceptance, the stillness of grief’s truth, all beautiful things.

Every once in awhile, I’ll ask readers and friends to do something kind in honor of Roy. Sometimes I’ll ask on his birthday. In other years, the day of his death. This week, please commit a random act of kindness in his honor. Buy the person behind you in the drive thru’s coffee. Send that card you’ve been waiting to send. Thank a nurse. Bring donuts to work. Clean up your socks even if you don’t want to.

Please email me or tag me on social media when you do and we’ll create a little bit of sparkle on a real sad Saturday. Do something kind. Help the fog lift. Make memories of Roy into beautiful things.

One Word

One word. Babies.

When my world fogs with confusion, and moving forward feels difficult, I rest in the hope that babies provide.

Now, now, hold your horses. I am not talking about my own future offspring, and I am not expecting a bundle of my own joy. Talk to my mother about her disappointment in my perpetual five year plan. You know the one – when you get married you say you will be expecting kids in five years. I’ve got a year and a half of marriage on the record, but still we say, ‘Oh, we will have kids in five years.’ ┬áThat calendar is still moving itself a ways out, into the future.

In the meantime, I get to experience so much joy and wonder when spending time with friends who have committed to parenthood before me. There is something beautiful about watching your friends morph into their new role as parents. It is humorous and wonderful to see how they juggle new strollers, baby wipes, formula, and taking turns changing diapers.

Having only babysat for little ones, I caught myself thinking, “they actually know what to do with all of those plastic bottles and lids. They’ve got themselves together! They can take their kid out in public, and are making such a fantastic team!” My heart filled with pride as we got to spend time with one of Dylan’s best friends and his wife, and yes, their baby. A six month old, bubbling burst of joy. This little nugget was the happiest baby I have spent time with.

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Holding his little fingers as they wrapped around my thumb, watching his eyes follow a stuffed monkey as his dad danced it across the table, those experiences are balm for the soul. And as I still find myself weeping in the afternoon, or aching to call my dad to discuss the Rockies opening game, I return to the hope that Jackson provides. This little guy has so much to see, to experience, to embark upon. Let’s continue to make the world a beautiful place. For him, and for me, and for you, because as we move forward, the world needs more beautiful things.

Thanks to Mike & Josie for making such a beautiful little baby.