Posted in Son

Sea Glass

I lay there on the paper sheet as she squeezed the warm gel onto my ever-expanding stomach.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be healthy.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be a girl.

The slurping and squishing of the gel, the gray screen, and the endless chatter of the sonographer did little to crowd out my silent prayers.

Photo, squish, photo, squoosh.

Please…another girl…please…a sister for Katie. Let her have a sister…the sister that I never had.

Then came the words that we had prayed we’d hear…the baby looks beautiful.

Then, the words that I had prayed we wouldn’t…what a sweet little guy.

A boy.

Please no…please let her be wrong.

The chatter, the congratulations, the crinkle of the scratchy paper towels did little to mute my sorrow.

I smeared at the gel…a boy.

I hastily dressed…not a girl.

I looked at Craig…

And I cried.

In all of my dreams, I never envisioned a son.
I never wanted a son.

My dreams held another baby girl… a sister for Katie.

I cried and I grieved for my hopes of another daughter.
And I truly hated myself for being ungrateful for this healthy baby.

This boy.

This gift.

I shopped for him, I filled his closet with sky blue and khaki and chocolate brown.

And I came to accept all that we had been given.

And, of course, I loved him from the moment that I saw him…I had never doubted that I would.

But, in the quiet moments during those middle of the night feedings in his room, my heart softened.

In the soft morning light, as he melted into me, my heart expanded.

With each smile, each hug, each mischievous giggle, my heart has stretched further than I ever dreamed it would.

Like sharp, broken glass, tumbled by the ocean current, my love for him smoothed and softened.

Sea glass.

I cannot imagine another day of my life without him in it.

My love for him, like sea glass.

My treasured boy has taught me that sometimes, out of disappointment, comes immeasurable joy.

Unexpected and endless joy.

I have a son…a beautiful, perfect, irreplaceable son.

And he is exactly what I needed.

My Matthew.

I’m writing about gender disappointment over on Babble today. I would love it if you came by.

Small Moments Spotlight #14

In this week’s Small Moment Spotlight, I have two lovely posts to share with you.

The first post is from Alison, who blogs over at this homemade life. Her post, Spring, is light on words, heavy on gorgeous photography, and just brimming with appreciation of one of the small joys in life. Alison’s photography never fails to tell a story and pull me in. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites.

The second post, I’ll Be There, is from Cheryl of Mommy Pants. This post was featured over at our friend Gigi’s place, Kludgy Mom. One of the things that I love most about Cheryl is that she gets stuff done. She’s no-nonsense, calm, and logical. This post, however, shows her softer side, a side that I love. Don’t miss this piece!

If you’ve submitted something to me recently and it isn’t featured here, that might just mean that I’m saving it to feature in the coming weeks.

If you have read or written a post that captures a small moment, please use my “contact me” tab (it’s up there at the top in the navigation bar) and send me the link. I’d love to feature it here.

If you’ve been featured here in the Small Moments Spotlight and would like the button, let me know and I’ll send it your way.

 

I’m learning

This week, I am honored to have Amy, from Transplanted Thoughts, as my guest poster for Small Moments Mondays.

Amy has lived through more unspeakable sadness than many of us can even begin to imagine.

Her story is unfathomable and overwhelming.

Her story inspires and brings hope.

Her story exemplifies survival and optimism.

To say that she is strong diminishes her. To say that she is brave doesn’t begin to cover it.

Amy is a survivor…she is truly remarkable.

To learn more about Amy and her lovely family, please read That MorningLucky Scars, and Peppermint Ice Cream Love, just a few more pieces of her beautiful writing.

Thank you for sharing this small moment with us, Amy. Thank you for continually showing us what it means for life to continue…thank you for showing us how to find joy in the small moments. I am so incredibly grateful to you.

I’m Learning — by Amy

I used to be good at juggling.

Juggling my time and that of my 6 children, that is. The two oldest kids live out of state and 3 of the 4 little ones at home were dealing with health issues. 6 kids demanded that I be an organized, get it done kind of mom. In addition to family life, there was time spent running my sewing business.

I thrived on being busy and like most moms ‘my’ time was had after the kids were in bed. This was time spent sewing, chatting online or cleaning up the house.

When I had all four boys at home, I dreamed of the time when they would all be in school and I would have some free time on my hands. I had even figured it out. David would have started preschool the year Jacob entered fifth grade. Zachary would be in Kindergarten, Jonathan in 3rd. I admit I now feel guilty for looking forward to that day. In my mind it’s turned into a warped – “Be careful what you wish for kind of thing.”

Now that I only have 3 of my sons left at home, it breaks my heart that I have all this time on my hands.

And no desire to push myself doing menial tasks just to fill that time.

Sometimes I catch myself staring off into space. I abruptly come to and wonder where the last hour or so wandered away to. Especially in the afternoons after I’ve gotten Zachary down for his nap and the big boys have yet to arrive home from school. This quiet time around the house paralyzes me, draws me into it’s catatonic embrace and doesn’t let me go.

Night-time is the absolute worst for me. I am a night owl by nature and the time spent after the boys fall asleep has always been my most productive. While I still find myself awake at 1 or 2 in the morning, nothing on my “To Do” list has been crossed off.

Once, I had the drive to pack as much as possible into each and every day.

Now, most days are celebrated by simply making it through.

I’m learning to say that’s okay.

I’m learning to embrace the slowness that only grief can impose. The slowness that makes me more attentive to my boys. Once toys and videos were a means to keep the kids busy while I accomplished another task. Now spending that time with the boys has become the priority.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay that the house isn’t spotless because I chose to hang out with the boys instead.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay if I spend the day in my pj’s just because I need to.

I’m learning to say that there is life after the death of a child.

It’s just not the same life.

And that’s okay.

Learning.


Now, please go follow Amy on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Small Moments Spotlight #12

This week, I want to ask a favor.

I’m featuring just one post.

One post from a woman who has had one of the worst weeks of her life.

One woman who epitomizes strength and sacrifice for her beautiful baby boy.

One woman, who although she is feeling buried beneath her sadness, found joy in a small moment with her son.

One woman, who will make it through this … who will make it to the other side, stronger and even more sure of the brave decisions she has made.

Please go read And Now For Something Completely Different … and please leave a comment for this beautiful woman who could really use one right now.

Much love to you, Law Momma. You are brave and beautiful.

I am honored to know you.

Thank you to all of you who submitted a post for this week. You can expect to see them in the week’s to come!

If you happen upon a post that captures a small moment, or if you’ve written one yourself, please use my “contact me” tab (it’s up there at the top in the navigation bar) and send me the link. I’d love to feature you here.

If you’ve been featured here in the Small Moments Spotlight and would like the button, let me know and I’ll send it your way.

Threshold

I have tremendous respect for this week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster. Gigi, from Kludgy Mom, truly inspires me. Though she has a million things going on at any given moment, she does them all well…and with class.

She is helpful and generous, driven and straight forward. I am always learning something from Gigi, whether it’s how to value myself as a blogger or how to keep my sense of humor.

This piece took my breath away when I first read it and I have been so eager to share it with you.

I could thank you a million times over, Gigi, and that still wouldn’t begin to cover my gratitude for sharing this story with us.

Threshold — by Gigi

I love the word, the idea that there is a space in the universe that is neither here nor there; the midpoint between two states of being; the crossing over place.

The word swells with its own definition. Threshold: the crossing over point holds something: promise, loss, change, adventure, comfort. One must pass through to receive that which it holds.

Boy Wonder was 3 years and 3 months old when he crossed one such threshold.

It was is his first day of preschool. This wasn’t like any typical preschool. This was developmental preschool; a program to assist special needs kids.

The school was about 8 miles away from our home. They wanted me to put my 3 year old who wasn’t potty trained and barely spoke a word onto a bus. They said it was the kids’ favorite part of the day. With much trepidation, we agreed to try it.

Boy Wonder played outside in the rocks, Buzz Lightyear backpack on his back, while I stood at the curb, gazing far down the street, waiting for the bus’ arrival.

The bus groaned and squealed as it came down the street. It looked like a monstrosity pulling up to our driveway.

It was time to go.

Metal scraped onto more metal. The bus driver was pulling back the weighty handle that opened the bus door.

Whoooooooooooooooooosh. Air discharged from the mechanism as the folding door opened.

The threshold loomed.

The bus rumbled, sputtered, heaved with great noise; yet around me, a quiet void.

Boy Wonder walked to the bus, his twinkling eyes growing wider at the sight. A moment of recognition that he was to get on, and then, a turn, backward, at me.

I dropped to one knee, placed my hands on his shoulders, and looked into his eyes, the olive-like eyes that had only recently begun to look directly back into my own.

“Have fun, okay? You have a good day, and I’ll see you in just a few hours.”

We hugged. I turned him around by his shoulders, grabbed his hand and braced him as he stepped up onto the first stair of the bus.

The bus monitor was at the top step, hand outreached to pull Boy Wonder onto the second step, and then the third.

As he crossed over the threshold, Boy Wonder let go of my hand as he grabbed onto hers.

Hope surrounded him.

The bus door screeched again shut. Whoooooooooooooooosh.

The tears began.

Flash forward. The first day of kindergarten did not have the weighty fanfare of two years prior. No, I walked Boy Wonder through the automatic doors of the elementary school that day, settled into his classroom, and left the school excited for his new adventure.

But one morning the following week, we arrived at the front door of the school.

With a hushed whoooooooooooooosh, the automatic doors glided open. Boy Wonder stopped.

“I can go in by myself, Mommy.”

Wooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut.

“Okay, buddy.” As I did two years prior, I dropped to one knee, looked him in his olive eyes, told him to have a good day and turned him to face the door.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided open.

I stood up. Boy Wonder walked through the doors. Hope surrounded him.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut, as if punctuating my silent conversation with myself: “He is growing away from me.”

I looked at the doors, but was not able to see through them.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided open.There was Boy Wonder. He blew me a kiss, waved, turned and ran down the hall.

I watched his backpack bounce rhythmically up and down as he ran.

Wooooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut.

The tears began.

Our children, and we, grow in the small moments: the moments where they leave us on this side of the threshold.

Now that you’ve read Gigi’s beautiful words here, please go read some of my favorite posts: The Man Who Braved the Cold, Waiting is the Hardest Part, Let’s Rename the Whoopie Pie.

Okay, choosing those three was so incredibly tough. Why? Because not only is Gigi prolific, but she is consistently awesome. I could have easily pointed you to this, this, or this.

You can also find Gigi over at She Posts, where she’s keeping us all up to date on what’s happening in the blogosphere.

Please go like Gigi on Facebook (she has such an awesome landing page) and follow her on Twitter. I’m certain that you’ll love her as much as I do.


About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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