Thursday, September 25, 2008

Relative Age

This is not from last night. It is from a couple of months ago. But it is a cute one of a time I found Annie asleep one night on my bed.

Last night I came home late from a night with the girls at a friend's house. I went up to my bathroom and took my contacts out and brushed my teeth. In my bedroom I said my prayers, and then stood up to crawl in my bed. It was completely dark in the room except for the moonlight coming from one open window. 

In the moonlight, I could see my space in the bed. There lay a little girl wrapped up in the magic blanket, curled into a ball, and fast asleep. My poor eyesight kept me from being able to immediately discern who this was in my bed. I knew it had to be either Sabrina or Ann Marie. But, the first thought that entered my head when I saw her there was, "Oh, there I am."

After I picked Ann Marie up and put her in her own bed, I returned to my room and curled up in the magic blanket. I laid in my bed in wonder at how natural and easy that initial thought had been. 

Sometimes I feel 5 years old these days. I feel vulnerable and scared and in need of protection and love. I curl up in the magic blanket and lay by the strength of my husband to fall asleep. I ask my girls to give me extra hugs and love. They are like little mothers to me at times. Always I feel like a little child before the Lord. I am powerless yet trusting and ultimately loved.

Earlier that evening I got out of the shower and stood looking at myself with a towel wrapped around me. Jon was in the room and I said, "Do you ever feel like you are 80, like you have lived 50 years in the last three months?" 

"Yes," he replied, "and then some."

Sometimes I feel like an old woman these days. I feel tired and worn and I long for heaven. I see other people my age and feel so apart from the life I lived 4 months ago. I hear mothers longing for breaks from their children and I remember feeling that way four months ago. But now, well, I appreciate every minute with my children. They bring me joy through the sorrow. Like an old woman in a rest home, I continually want them to come sit and snuggle and talk with me. When they are asleep and at school I miss them.

Yet somehow my driver's license says I am still in my thirties. I wonder if or when I will ever feel my true age again.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think we all have trials and experiences that "age" us. After awhile I don't think it is the old age we feel as much as the maturity, wisdom and experience. I think that when we feel young and vulnerable is when we are humble. Sometimes we have trials that make us different, and then we feel different from other people. The thing that I appreciate the most about the LDS faith is that because we are taught to have a personal realtionship with the Savior, these times, these moments when we feel so weary are really about identifying where our strength comes from. Whether wrapped in a blanket, or aged in a mirror. Time continues and so does the healing.

Maggie May said...

I have felt aged. Not in the same depth that you have experienced. Have you ever heard that saying, ' You are not truly grown up until both your parents die ' ? I think there are a few losses that are so deep, so mysteriously unfathomable, even to those experiencing it, that we feel orphaned. You are blessed to have faith. I don't have 'a' faith. I have hope, in more. My own childhood was so traumatic and lonely that I felt very old by the time I reached early twenties, like a neurotic, worried old woman. So I felt that, reading your words.

I read that you get lots of books and recommendations for books, but don't often read because in grief the attention span is short.
Someone you might try is Gordon Livingston. He writes books with very short blurbs and chapters. He lost two children. His books are amazing.

Shawna Wilson said...

I love your magic blanket...I've read so many times about how it has helped you and your girls cope. What a treasure. If you do end up writing a book, I can't wait to read it. Your words ALWAYS inspire me and make me want to be a better person. You have been a miracle to so many Stephanie! Who knew that one sweet little baby girl could influence the lives of so many.

April said...

You have such a beautiful way with words. As you've said before this is your "normal".

Sue said...

When I'm at my very best, I feel ageless. I love that feeling because it puts me in touch with my spirit and allows me to go either way, depending on my circumstances. I do know what you mean, though. I have felt old as the hills before, usually in connection with a sorrow or loss (mine or another's). I think when hard-earned wisdom reminds us of eternal truths, we remember how long we've been learning, both here and in pre-earth life. Of course, I've felt young as a child too, but that doesn't come to me as often. It happens sometimes when I'm with my girlfriends, siblings and grandchildren, or when my husband is being really tender with me. I've felt young and free in a boat with the ocean spray in my face or when I'm really in touch with the magical beauty of nature...or of my own imagination. Anyway, sorry for rambling. A good thing about you, Stephanie, is that you are taking care of yourself by letting yourself be a child when you need to be, accepting the love (and hugs and kisses) of those who want to be there for you. That is a strength I admire and respect.

vocalise said...

I get it. Thanks for sharing.

Heidi said...

What a paradox to feel like a child one minute and an old lady the next. But it completely makes sense.

When my son was a newborn, I heard a friend had lost her baby boy. From then on, I made a commitment to myself to enjoy every moment with my child(ren). Even the ones I wasn't enjoying before, because if I had those moments it meant I still had my son on earth. It's amazing what a difference that makes.

Emily said...

I have followed your blog for a couple months now and I just want you to know how amazing I think you are. There have been many times when I have wanted to comment, but haven't been able to find the words. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to be so open. I have learned so much from you and feel like I am a better person because of you.

Ps..my maiden name is Waite. I wonder if we could be distantly related? My roots are in the Mesquite/Bunkerville and LV area.

lacey said...

You don’t know me, but I think of you. (That must be strange for you- that others think about you that you have never met.) May I ask a question?….

I sense that you have a deeper appreciation for your children now. Different than 4 months ago. Do you think that deep of a loss is required to come to the place of gratitude you are at today?

I guess, I’m “that mom”. I love all my sweet babies. I stay home with them and feel grateful that I can. I love that my husband supports me and our home. I cannot bear the idea of them growing up and leaving me, but, sometimes, I feel tapped out. Like, I just need a break. I don’t like that I can get that way. Do you think you will feel like me again?

Thank you for sharing your life with me.

Anonymous said...

I just need to say that I don't think that it is bad to need a break from your children. We love our children, we do our best. We need to know what habits make us a good mother. I need a nap now and then, a good book, and lunch with friends. Some of my other friends sell items out of their homes, go running and belong to book clubs. There is a time and season for everything. I think your inner common sense can tell you when it is time for a breather. It doesn't mean you don't cherish your children. It means you cherish that delicate balance that we all have to find between serving and loving our families, and recharging ourselves. We all have those times when 3 out of 4 kids are throwing up, the husband is out of town, and the washer just broke. But we just need to know that those times will pass,and going to do something you enjoy will happen sooner or later.
I just think it is good to keep a perspective on some of this stuff. We love our kids. That is what moms do. Needing a break now and then doesn't diminish that.

We are a part of a happy family said...

The simple joy of cuddling with a blanket. I wonder if the maker ever thought that it would bring a family so much comfort.

You do have little women for daughters. They were heaven sent to buoy your family in turn.

This experience has made me consciously try harder to enjoy the mundane moments with my own children. I'm finding that the trying is becoming less and less of an effort and I long for their companionship more and more.

Shanan said...

Maybe that's what would have helped when she was younger ... letting her find some hiding spot to curl up into to fall asleep! ;)

Sharron said...

You are having pretty normal feelings. I have expeienced those several times in my life. My husband and I were finally able to figure out when feeling old seemed to set in and though we have silly moments and days when we feel young and carefree again, there is a difference. It's OK because it like the love we have for each other. It gets stronger each time we have our ups and downs in our marriage. It grows and evolves into something deeper and sweeter as it matures. We also see it in our relationships with our grown children. It always hurts, but then scare tissue is stronger than what has never had to heal itself.

I do hope you are able to feel the love and appreciation for you and your family. You have helped so many of us grow over the last few months. . . and that Folex, wow! I wish I had heard of it lo-o-o-o-ong ago!

Mindy said...

This experience kind of reminded me of something I had gone through ... it was a four-year long process. It was difficult and trying and even though I was optimitsic that maybe the next day would be the one that it got better - it never was. In fact, even though the actual "trial" was four years long, it's still been two more years later and that day I long for hasn't come. Often times I wish I could go back for just *one* day before this difficulty entered my life. I don't remember what life felt like before ... and I kind of miss that. Your words just reminded me of it. :)

Courtney said...

I know exactly where you are after losing a child at 32 weeks to symptoms mimicking Trisomy 18 (9 months of autopsy research turned up no definitive answers). Please know that I went through your EXACT thinkings. It was so strange, yet reaffirming, to read your thoughts. Hang in there. Things will get easier - course, it's been 3 years for me. You are doing incredibly well and I love reading your blog and pray for you. You are only needed in heaven when you are called. What a glorious day that will be but it is true, you have to be here for your other kiddos. It's okay to feel torn and want everything - it's okay to think it would be easier to just jump to heaven and watch from above. That will change as you accept that you must go on, that you shouldn't feel guilty for that and that you CAN and DESERVE to be happy. You are in my thoughts, dear one. There are others out there to support you.
Hugs and tears...
Courtney

our fantasy said...

You always make me think differently about my life. This blog is almost like therapy for me on a daily basis.

CMortenson said...

Stephanie, thank you for putting things into perspective for me. I thought I'd been having a rough time of it lately...I'm 2 1/2 months pregnant with my second child, my first is 22 months old and has decided to nap only 20 minutes each day. Being pregnant, needless to say, I am extremely tired and then not getting a break compounds that...or so it seemed until I read this post. I love my little girl more than anything and despite her tendency to only have 20 min naps, I am eternally grateful I have that time to spend with her, even if I am tired and exhausted. Thank you again. I've read your blog many times and can only imagine what you've gone through these past months. My heart and prayers go out to you!