Monday, 18 May 2009

There's an Angel in the Window

"Today is the last day of the worst year of my life."

That's what I shared in my recovery meeting this morning, cranky and pissed off that the worst year of my life has been the first year of my baby's life. If Dave didn't get cancer, would Rocco have been a happier baby? Not cried so much? If I had given him more attention and patience, how different a child would he be now?

Fruitless questions, really. Unprepared for the intensity of feelings the past week has brought ... panic and sadness, immense relief it's all over - the chemo/newborn era can now be laid to rest.

There is a chocolate cake in the oven, baking right now for Rocco to demolish it. Tomorrow he will wake up one. One. For months now, he has woken every night every few hours, screaming and hollering the whole house down. I lay him down, put his dummy in - give him his bottle - still crying. 12am, 1am, 3am, 3.20am, 4am ...... I end up standing in the doorway of his room, stricken with sleep deprivation and frustration, crying.

This morning was different ... he woke up smiling. I changed his nappy and he didn't kick me to death. He crawled around and I was able to get dressed with no tears and tantrums. I think we're turning a corner. He is a hard baby, sometimes. I hate having to struggle for gratitude, and much prefer it when it flows freely into my Spirit.

Winter is coming, which also triggers the memories of last year. Dave would sleep upstairs in his chemo wing, and the baby would sleep next to me in his bassinette. Dark, lonely, terrible nights alone with my baby. Max would usually come in and want to be close to me, I'd hug him tightly and tell him everything was going to be ok and not believe it myself. Dave would call me upstairs, needing help to vomit in the toilet. The baby would wake up all night - all night, to feed. Going to bed was a military operation ... nappies piled next to the bed. Nappy cream. Wipes. Blankets ... lots of blankets. They were terrible nights ... carnage would greet me in the morning, nappies strewn everywhere, blankets askew, dirty sheet piles.

I was bereft, and filled with quiet white fury. In my bedroom, I had to hide from the world, because the world wanted to know everything that was going on and I was frozen.

But there was always the Angel in the window, watching over me. She would remind me how sacred it was, to be a mother and to have the honour of looking after a tiny baby. We have stained glass windows in our bedroom ... I took a photo:






Do you see her? She has a pink face, holding a baby close to her. My eyes would always be drawn to her. She's still there, of course. Quietly holding her baby. She always reminded me to hold mine, and I love her for that.

In the early days, the unspoken was that Dave would die. So the baby was an afterthought, an appendage. Even when I was right there in front of him ... I was not "with" him. Always absent, folded inside myself.

Just before I put him to bed tonight, he crawled over to the fridge and took a photo off. A pic of me holding him. I watched him study it closely, intent. He lifted his little hand and stroked his mumma in the photo. He got upset, and thought that I was in the photo and not with him.



"Hey sweet guyo ... here I am! Here's mumma!" He turned to me, saw I was with him, and gave me the biggest and best heartmelting smile ever known to mankind.

I am here, with him now. It only took me a year.

____

Dave is busy all day tomorrow, so apparently we have to do Rocco's cake and candles at breakfast time. Chocolate cake for breakfast ... could a first birthday be any better!

I will have lots of yummy pics to share here ... maybe even a video. I want to shout it from the rooftops .... we got through! Look at us now! We are all well, and all accounted for!

This is the ad that's appearing in our local paper this week. I'm a poet and I didn't even know it. Let the gushing begin!!






On Saturday:
Me: "Hon we have to go to Kmart to buy Rocco some presents."
Dave:"Why?"
Me:"Because he's turning one."
Dave:"So? We don't need to get him anything, he won't remember."

*crickets*

Two hours later we were pushing a trolley around Kmart, choosing toys. We finally decided on a drum even though he already HAS a drum .... I turned and looked down and Dave had already given it to him. Dave's reasoning was that by the time we give it to him, he'll forget that he'd already played with it.

Because, you know, Rocco is a GOLDFISH.

17 comments:

  1. Gosh Eden I relived all that with you. What a freakin' year ! I pulled out some of Max's beanies and all these chemo thoughts came rushing back from the dreaded winter of 08 !

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL ROCCO!
    Enjoy your chocolate cake x

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  2. Oh I laughed at that last part...

    And I was stunned by the terrible beauty of the first part. I fully believe in writing it down and writing through it -- it is such a momentous marker, that year.

    Your writing reveals what a fierce and wonderful mother you are my friend -- never doubt it.

    My thoughts, as always, as ever,

    with you.

    XO

    Pam

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  3. From one side of the bowl to the other and it becomes a whole new trip :)

    A year. Shit. You all survived the chaos and life is good. YAY!

    By the way, there is NOTHING wrong with cake, especially chocolate, for breakfast. It is a well known fact that chocolate makes you smart, and I am a freaking genius :)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG BOY!

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  4. I cannot believe he is one years old. I just cant.

    That little one is a fighter, he reminds me of Neve. They would be the best of friends.

    Tomorrow is the first day of your new life. Kiss that little fella for me and hold him tight.

    Happy birthday little man.

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  5. Happy birthday, Rocco!

    And congrats to you, Eden for being victorious over this past year (with a little help from your pink-faced angel).

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  6. Happy Birthday Rocco!
    Cake for breakfast should be a birthday tradition. What better way to start your day.
    Looking forward to seeing a video!

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  7. Congrats to all on the one year mark!

    May it just get better and better from here on out.

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  8. Happy birthday Rocco! Enjoy today and the rest, Eden my love. It's time, it truly is. Sending you SO many hugs!

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  9. It's kind of odd, but whenever I'm hitting a particularly shitty period of my life, a Mourning Dove lands on the windowsill outside my office. My husband calls that my angel.

    Painful though it may be, I have to agree with Dave on the presents. My daughter was far more interested in the list of presents I was making (to send Thank You cards) than in the presents themselves. She's still not a huge fan of toys, but at least she has some now.

    What? Is there something wrong with chocolate cake for breakfast?

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  10. You have been through hell several times but you made it out you keep on going. Your strength is admirable to say the least.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROCCO, my fellow taurus.
    Eden, he is one tough little bull and oh so cute. Please give him a little birthday squeeze from me.
    Cynthiabu

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  11. Happy Birthday Rocco! I hope the next yea is much better for all of you. And what a great way to start it all off. With chocolate cake for breakfast!!

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  12. WOW - a yr already? You are a warrior

    Happy Birthday Rocco

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  13. I can't believe it's been a year! Happy Birthday, awesome Rocco. Someday, the perfect playdate will be Xavier and Rocco being rough and crazy together! Enjoy the chocolate cake. The part about Rocco with the pic of his mommy totally put tears in my eyes.

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  14. That being present thing is a tough one for people like us. I've been struggling with it as well, almost constantly. It doesn't come naturally to put someone else first (you know, that whole bondage of self thing) and with a baby in the picture you kind of have to. Zach's been such a huge part of my recovery, I'm going to be constantly in his debt.

    Happy birthday to your boy!

    Oh, and by the way, my partner and I had the same conversation abourt presents for Zach's first. With the same result!

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  15. As I read this, and then some of your short stories in your sidebar, all I can think is this:

    It's all sacred.

    Losing the video camera charger and freaking out and chocolate cake for breakfast and the scary dark memories and struggling for gratitude and writing your way through it all.

    You know I absolutely fucking adore you, right? You are a genius at life, Eden, really and truly.

    And yeah, the goldfish bit really made me laugh.

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  16. Wow! Happy first birthday Rocco little guy.

    Congrats to you Eden (and dynamic Dave) for making it through the year as well. I love your angel, she's beautiful. I so glad she was there to help you on those cold nights.

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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