For the first time since her passing, my dear friend Maddy visited me in my dreams last night. Dressed in ACUs and packing her car, I began to apologize to her for not somehow saving her life. And in true Maddy fashion, she told me it was ok. She said not to worry about her and it “wasn’t a big deal” that she had been killed. I know this may sound heavy, but I believe this is Maddy’s way of telling me she is in Heaven and that is a great place for her to be, so I should stop worrying. So, for you Maddy, I am sharing the eulogy I read at her funeral, because I believe the world needs to know who she was and how she made it a better place.
After 36 years of being in this world, I have come to the conclusion that I believe the meaning of life (spoiler alert) is relationships. For real. As humans, we have the ability to talk to other humans, decide if we like them or not, if we believe in their mission in life, and if we are going to spend our precious time in their presence or not. Either virtually or physically.
It is precisely 8:03 am as I sit in my car at my son’s school, glancing in the rear view mirror to see him sleeping peacefully. For a brief moment, I think so sweet. I mean look at that face! And now it’s 8:04. He suddenly awakens and cries. Much like our night has gone. I take a pause in writing and bring him into his school. He is not happy. I try to gently bring his attention to the kids and his teacher and then he begins to wail. The saddest eyes I’ve ever seen. So big and filled with tears. I hear the screams as I pretend to walk away confidently, signing “I love you,” but secretly feeling like I should go back and hold him.
Some days I wake up and it’s like, yes. I got this. Today is going to be a great day. I remind myself that my mind is in control of the way I see everything. I have the ability to see, interpret and react to anything however I wish. No one or thing is in control of me. It is all rainbows and butterflies for me...for about 30 seconds every morning. And then real life starts. Like turning on my phone and suddenly seeing a flood of over 6,000 emails. And no, I did not suddenly go viral in a good way.
For any of you who have followed my blog from the beginning, you know that as a parent I have done and said many things that I swore I would never. Well, to no one’s surprise I’m sure, that list continues for me. Not only did I allow my son to pick chocolate chips to eat for breakfast this morning, don’t worry I later burnt eggs for him to eat as well, but I have also put him in front of the tv or placed an ipad in his arms more times than I want to admit. However, every time we have done this, it has been educational and our son is learning ASL faster than I ever expected. So while his ability to communicate his needs, wants, and simpy to “talk” to us has increased tremendously over the last few months, how do you know when too much is too much?
I’ve waited for as long as I remember to be a mom. I played house when I was little. I heard my baby clock ticking at 30 years old when I was single, and as soon as I knew wedding bells were in my future, all I thought about was becoming a mom, at least more than I thought about being a wife (sorry Kyle!).
The hand off from mom to physical therapist that would initially leave an infant I was treating teary eyed, always made my heart sink a bit, but the happy return to mom was so precious to watch. Infants, toddlers, kids in general love their moms like no one else. And every single mom I’ve ever met has always told me that the love for your child is different than anything else. Different is what I didn’t understand, but desperately wanted to. Different is good. Rock Your Different is just one cause that reminds us of this daily. But what is different when it comes to mom to child love? How do you describe it? And how do moms do it? Because different is hard!
Here at the Kraft household, Fridays are a very exciting day for us. It is not only pizza night where we all get to have dinner together and stuff our faces with the most delicious gluten free pizza in town, but it also marks the start of a weekend filled with fun and movement!
Fridays start with an early wake up where my husband and I rush to get ready for work, our son ready for Bouncing Babies, and our updates sent out to grandma who will be spending the day with Bekytt. At the end of the day, Kyle and I hurry home to make sure we are home in time for Bekytt to steal a bite or two of our pizza before we help him drift off to sleep.
It’s one of those milestones that make you proud as a parent. It’s a day you eagerly await. You take pictures and video and then all of a sudden it hits you. Your once snuggly baby is now a toddler. A toddler who can walk and talk, at least a little, who can use sign language (thanks to Baby Signing Time) to communicate his needs, and who can communicate “yes” and “no” rather well.
For me, the most overwhelming feeling that comes to heart today is relief. Almost exactly a year ago I started this blog. To share our journey, to have an escape from the everyday exhaustion of raising an infant, but mainly to connect to other moms, friends, and family who have been through the unpredictable journey of parenthood. For those of you just joining our blog, our first son Bekytt surprised us all when he was born at 29 weeks. With an uncomplicated pregnancy, we expected he would arrive late, but not early. It was a surprise, but just like the story of Welcome to Holland one parent shared, we just had to adjust our plans. We didn’t know how the days, months or years would turn out. We still aren’t sure of all of his future plans, but today we learned he can walk.
But it has to be a “talk to you later”- Writing this blog has saved me in so many ways. It has stopped me from losing my mind when nothing seemed to make sense in the world of newborns. It has re-connected me with friends I have not been in contact with for years. And it has helped me get to know some people I either never met or barely knew. Parenthood has a way of doing that. Being a parent crosses many barriers. No matter if you are a father, mother, foster parent, grandparent, or if you’re raising your kids in the US or overseas, we can all relate to one another. That is what I love about this new club I’m blessed to be a part of. I love writing about it, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly stop, but yesterday I got some exciting, and somewhat stressful news, that is making me take a look at my priorities right now.
Apparently I was worried– I have been lucky enough these past few nights to be able to sleep long enough to dream. I have had random short dreams now and again since Bekytt was born, but nothing like I did when I was pregnant. Was it just me or is it normal to have the craziest dreams when you are pregnant? My dreams made no sense back then. I could never figure out a rhyme or reason why a high school boyfriend would randomly show up and not even play a significant role in the dream. I won’t even try to explain them, just know they were crazy. However, the other night I must have had one long dream because I woke up in a panic that I missed Thanksgiving. At least this dream could be interpreted.