Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Little Big Life

Hi everybody.  I haven't been here for a while.  I haven't felt much like writing.  I've been kind of on autopilot for the past month or so.  It's such an easy state to fall into.  Wake up, shower, nurse the baby, feed him, feed myself, get dressed, go to work, come home, feed the baby, put him to bed, watch TV, go to sleep.  Repeat.  Weeks go by so quickly and another page on the calendar turns over.  There is great happiness in each day with a little one - the speed with which he changes and learns astounds me.  His vocabulary and physical strength seem to grow every day.  I feel so blessed to be his mom.  Yet even with this sweet, active boy in my life, days can seem remarkably the same.

This past week, though,  I've felt jolted out of my comfort zone.  I happened to read an article on Yahoo about 10 days ago about a baby and her "bucket list."  I couldn't help myself, I read the whole article.  And I cried.  And cried.  And went to her blog, which is written by her father in her voice.  And cried some more, but also became profoundly inspired.  Her parents are the embodiment of love, and they wanted to give Avery the fullest, most joyful life they could. 

Four days after that, after I'd cried a bit every day and prayed for her and her family, after I'd donated money to research for her genetic condition, I read that she'd died suddenly the previous day.  It hit me so hard, as if I knew her.  I didn't, of course, but the warmth and bravery of her family and this baby's spirit made me feel like I did.  I didn't know what to do with my sadness.  Sometimes life just ravages your heart, makes you question what the hell is the point of all of this if sweet little babies are taken from their loved ones like that.  Reading too much news will do that to you too, if you let it.

But I began to realize that baby Avery and her parents wouldn't want me to dwell in sadness.  Besides raising awareness about her condition, SMA, which is genetic and which is not routinely tested for, they wanted to celebrate the life that Avery had left, whatever that was, and they wanted others to actually live theirs. 

What would it take for me to be a more joyful, present mom to my son?  A few changes are in order:  more meditation, exercise, prayer.  Some more time with his dad would be nice!  I want to be a happy mom.  I want to feel a zest for life that I can't help but impart to my son.  I want him to grow up knowing that even though life is most definitely not fair, it is still beautiful and good.  I need to put away the "to-do list" and just BE THERE WITH HIM, introduce him to all that is lovely and wondrous about our planet.

There is so much sadness in the world.  Everybody really does hurt, as the REM song goes - no one escapes crap happening to them.  How can we be anything but kind to one another, in the face of all that hardship?  Love your kids.  Be present.  Find something to be happy about every day.  Donate money to causes you believe in, or your time.  Mentor kids, foster kids, read to kids...  we're failing our nation's children, and they deserve so much better.  If you can stand it, I encourage you to read Avery's blog.  You will come away with a fresh appreciation for life, and probably a desire to more fully experience yours.  If you're considering having a child, you might even decide to get tested and see if you're a carrier for SMA.  I know I am forever changed by that little girl and her parents's brave decision to share her story with all of us.

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