Monday, November 4, 2013

It works... love grows to fill the space!

Well, it happened again.  This incredible, everyday, happens all over the world, ordinary,
miracle that is the birth of a baby.  I was honoured to be present to the happening with my darling daughter, this time for a home birth and the memories of that 24 hours are warm and fresh.
    -  The quiet house in the dark, lit only by the streetlights, daughter in a rocking chair, flanked by me and a dear friend with another at her feet and another snoozing on the couch.  Whispered conversation between contractions about love and life and children and relationships.  
    -  The energy that flows when a baby is on the way - running effortlessly on an hour and half's sleep into the next day.
    -  Bringing my four year old grandson home from daycare so he can be part of the birth at home - playing in his room for a time - coming out to be with his mom - sitting with me, his hand on top of hers as she is seated in the birthing pool, going through the contractions - his love and concern for her with no fear and no hesitation.
    -  The skilled and calm midwives - the celebration when we heard my daughter was at 8 centimeters - she thought she still had a long way to go.
    -  The authority of the midwife who has caught hundreds and hundreds of babies, to get my daughter out of the pool for the final delivery - babe's shoulders were stuck - we just all reacted instantly and instinctively - she was out and onto the couch, which was prepared with the plastic sheets and bedding - Torin was out in one more push.
    -  The moments afterwards with my son-in-law and my grandson gathered around the couch, touching my daughter, hands on the new babe, with the daylight streaming through the window and the beautiful green plants all around - the warm intimacy of being at home with this new life just being brought into the world.

All my doubts about how to share my Grammy-ness with this new one vanished.  I knew as I held him a little later, when he opened his eyes and looked up at me as I sang to him, that we will have our own special way with each other.  He is unique and different and not-his-brother.  We already have our connection and it will grow as we get to know each other.  My heart, like the Grinch's, grew three sizes that day.  

As our community gathered last night, sharing food and passing the baby, I was present to the wonder that a fresh new little one brings to us all.  We are reminded of the poignant possibility that exists in each of us when we are brand new and how we can access that again and again.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The fate of the second child

Oh, child number two (or in this case, grandchild numero dos) - yours is the fate of being dragged around by your big brother, the subject of blurry photos and recipient of hand me down clothes.  The wonder, the magic, the mystery of that first baby is done, not to be repeated and regardless of how incredible you will be, you will never be first.

I realize that this time round, with my darling daughter experiencing a very different pregnancy from the beginning - more nausea, deep in the bone tiredness and battling more than one nasty infection and exhaustion - the romance of being a mom-in-waiting has lost a little of its appeal.  While we were all eagerly anticipating the arrival of baby number one with her, marveling over each little change in her and the growing belly, just getting the house clean and the mountain of laundry folded with an active 3 1/2 year old around is daunting.

And I have had my niggling doubts about how to be a Grammy times two. Having a second child didn't seem so tough (darling daughter being that baby) and I don't recall ever wondering how I would have enough love to go around, but this time, after falling so hard for my wondrous grandson, I do consider what it will be like for him to share me and how I could ever love a little person as much as I adore him.  Now, I am sure that I will step into that role too; I did have fears about how to be a Grammy 4 years ago, but I do have a great deal of compassion for the second child.

Again, I have the blessing of distance and can see how the dynamics change with two kids.  I came from a family of two children, where the arrival of my little brother was not a grand event for me.  I was quite nicely ensconced as the Princess and I did not appreciate his intrusion into my life.  My brother and I have struggled with our relationship all of our lives and easily fall into the tug-of-war of sibling power unless we are being conscious and aware.

I made enormous efforts with my two so they did not experience their childhood as a battleground of who has the upper hand and attention of the parents. From what they share with me, I was successful - they are close and love and support each other.  Still there are echoes of "but you loved him best" in my daughter's conversation and she looks for evidence that we always held her brother as the favoured one.  

Number One Grandson has been the apple of my eye, the entire focus of attention when I am with him and I have carefully cultivated a space where he knows he is special and very much loved.  Last summer, when talk of having another became serious, I actually wasn't sure that I was ready to share my time with another wee one.  Fortunately, both Grandson and I have grown up a little.  He is more independent and I am more ready to let go (a little) of our time together.  We will work our way through it.  

Timeless as Cain and Abel, siblings need to learn how to be with each other or risk dire consequences.  Nowhere is it more evident that we are each individuals and despite being raised by the same parents, in the same house, we turn out very differently.  I will need to be conscious and mindful of how I be Grammy for two.  This will cause me to grow my heart even bigger.  That is a good thing!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some pondering on the nature of miracles

This last few days I have had cause to consider the nature of miracles and angels.  Through the magic of this remarkable contraption that sits in front of me, I was informed about a friend, who I know only online, and a catastrophic health situation that occurred for her in a shockingly short period of time.  Saturday, she was fine, celebrating a birthday, thanking people for their wishes on Facebook and on Tuesday morning I found an urgent message (I can tell because my polite FB friends only use CAPITALS in case of emergency) to view her page to get important information about this friend.  Laura was in hospital in critical condition, having lost most of the blood in her body and the doctors were saying there was little hope that she would survive the day.

I recall saying "Holy Sh*$" out loud and trying to find out as much as I could given that I live thousands of miles away and have only this tenuous connection of "friend" on Facebook and another blog writing site.  Over a period of hours, more and more people got the word and joined a virtual vigil on her FB page.  Prayers, thoughts, remembered times with Laura were shared and updates from the family at the hospital trickled in.  The news kept getting worse and after surgery, she was not expected to live through the night.  One marvelous woman who had been able to see Laura at the hospital shared that she felt Laura was not sure about whether to re-join us on this earth and may choose to cross over that night.  We were asked to love her and bless her decision whatever it may be.

It did seem that a miracle was the only option available as the medical professionals had done all they could to patch up her body and fill her back up with a stunning 88 units of blood.  I checked in the next morning to find that Laura made it through the night and was facing another surgery.  She survived that one and in the following morning's posts I  learned that she had a little colour in her face, that her kidneys were working and while more operations were scheduled to to clean up and repair as much as possible and found out that she had her pancreas and some of her liver removed.  

Day after day, more and more people joined the watch over Laura, virtually and physically.  Friends joined family at the hospital, unable to see her in her critical state but just being there lending support, bringing food, hugs and love.  Slowly, slowly, she is coming back. She is now back to consciousness, responding, anxious to communicate and very much in this world.

There is no reasonable explanation for why Laura is alive right now.  The doctors had given her a 10% chance of living through the first 48 hours.  I believe I have witnessed and been part of a miracle; the combined energies and prayers, thoughts and belief that transcended distance and time and gently held Laura while her soul chose to stay with us.

I don't pretend to understand how any of this works.  I can only say that I am humbled by the power of the outpouring of  love and in awe of how words on a screen can transform a life.  Blessed be Laura and all those around you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A winter of content?

Having read of the identification of the long buried remains of King Richard III (under a parking lot, now who would have ever thought to look for them there?), I was interested to read of the words accredited to him via our friend Will Shakespeare - "My kingdom for a horse" (I thought it was Bugs Bunny who said that...) and "now is the winter of my discontent".  

It made me think of how winter seems to breed discontent and here in the northern climes, I am right on board with the throngs of Vitamin D deficient, sallow cheeked, slug-belly white folks, peering anxiously out their windows, hoping for a glimpse of sunshine and yearning for warmth.  I have developed a dangerous attachment to my down duvet and have learned to step out of my shoes into my fleece lined slippers without ever risking a step onto the cold floor.  While I live in the most sub-tropical region of this grand country, the mercury is hovering constantly under 10 degrees (or 50 degrees F for those who need a translation).  That just isn't warm enough...

However, what really drew me to comment was that despite the chilly environment outside my door, I am experiencing a distinct contentment.  As I have noted previously, I am immediately suspicious of this feeling, waiting for the shoe to drop and the dread to creep in.  But this time, there is some sense of sustainability to my contentedness.  I can hear my coach asking, "where does it live in your body?".  Good question, coach... well, it is centred around my heart.  Funny that, lines up with all that I am learning about the power of our hearts.  Did you know the heart muscle responds before the brain fires?  And that hearts can be broken?  And we all know the cost of not caring for our hearts.  In my case, my dad was gone at the young age of 67 because of heart condition that first threatened his life in his 50's.  And yes, as I pass the midpoint of that decade, I am all too aware of what nurtures and what challenges my heart.

Consciously building into my life the pieces that are loving to my heart is so worthwhile.  Continued learning, supported by people who are awake and sharing their consciousness and commitment with me makes a huge difference.  Practicing stretching and working on my mind and body brings focus and determination to this ability.  I get reminders to be silly and have learned that being happy does not have a limit, that is to say you cannot be too happy.  

A year or two ago my mantra was "Trust the Universe", this year it is "Let Go".  I am so committed to that lesson that I am preparing to get it inked on my arms.  My daughter had "Let Go and Breathe" tattooed on her wrists a long time ago and it is just about the only permanent expression I can imagine living with for the rest of my days.  So, I have dug out my calligraphy pens and am designing the letters that I want re-created on my wrists.  I don't think there is much more that needs to be said; just, let go!