July 9, 2010...mommy and Evan at the water park!! A new "first"!
July 9, 2010...mommy letting Evan be a kid at the water park! Oh the exploring to do!!
Having fun with the cousins!!!
On a train ride at the Forestry Farm with the cousins!! Another "first"! When we brought Evan home from NICU last May I was soooooooooooooooooooooo protective of him. HAD to be! Had no CHOICE! We were to keep him away from groups/gatherings for the first 6 weeks he was home due to a low immune system and RSV season, etc. And really...I didn't mind at all. I had no where to go anyhow. I was terrified all the time. Terrified when people came over ensuring no one was sick and that everyone diligently washed their hands and sanitized, to the point of putting signs up in my house as reminders when people walked through my door. Evan was not a typical baby. Evan needed strict measures of protection. Caution is still taken to this day, although I have loosened up quite a bit. But he will still need to be watched over during RSV season. It's a risk for any child, but especially Evan since he missed those anti-body fighting days within me. Sometimes it gets tiring to constantly remind people and get them to realize that Evan is still an at-risk child. Although he has done marvelously! But once our 6 week time frame ended I STILL kept Evan away from groups/gatherings, etc. After everything...there was NO WAY I was going to get careless and put him in ANY risk situation. If someone had sniffles they were asked to stay away from Evan. I still get nervous if someone is ill around Evan. But most realize that they should still keep their distance. And I appreciate that dearly!! I remember the first time I took Evan for a walk outdoors. It was such a milestone day! I felt brave and felt the slightest bit "normal". I still worried and kept our first walks short...but then I realized how much Evan LOVES going for walks...so day by day we got more and more brave with out distances. And then even started including the dogs in our walks. They did great too because they were unsure of the stroller so they kept their attention on us at all times. This year is another year of firsts for Evan. A couple of weeks ago we went to a little amusement park in our city that has a merry-go-round and a train ride, and we went on both. Now...I'm not one for anything that goes in circles. My stomach instantly churns and I get very dizzy...so half way through the merry-go-round I was almost ready to beg the girl to stop the ride! But I made it through. Evan did great. Then we did the train ride and he loved that. So proud of himself between his cousins! The big thing for me was...I let him touch surfaces that I knew weren't scoured and sanitized!! I let him touch seats before I wiped them down. And this was a HUGE step for me. Although...I did wash his hands immediately after and made sure he didn't put his fingers in his mouth before! Then yesterday I met my brother and the kids at this water park at our riverfront landing. And guess what....I let Evan crawl around and play with the water and touch things that again I knew weren't sanitized or cleaned. Of course, I did wash his hands down after. BUT...I let him be a kid!!! I let him experience something new. I let him feel...normal! And then in the afternoon we went back to the amusement park with a friend and her daughter from out of town and did the train ride again. I even let Evan have Burger King french fries and some hamburger! What a day he had!!!!! Then we are going on holiday at some point this summer and I have purchased a life jacket for Evan so that he can enjoy the pool and the lake...another NORMAL moment, and another FIRST for Evan!! Through all these firsts, I still feel scared. I still wonder "what if he gets sick?" "what if I'm being too brave?" "how would I forgive myself if I am trying to be too normal too soon and something goes wrong?" Yes...I might be getting to start to feel a degree of "normal"...but it will never be 100% that way. Because nothing has been normal. But I guess...it's normal to US. It's "normal" to ME. It may seem like I'm over protective, but unless you've walked this walk...I've earned the right to be cautious. I've had no choice. But I will admit that in doing such normal activities to so many others, but all new ventures for Evan and I...I am enjoying it. It is so much fun to watch him exploring and learning and being so curious and brave!! He has earned the right. And for all my caution...my son is not a timid little boy at all! He is daring, and brave, and inquisitive...and it is amazing to watch him testing boundaries and limits. He is teaching ME to be brave, daring, inquisitive, strong. I need to relearn these things. Because I feel quite the opposite to all the above! Each of these firsts for Evan is so precious. Yet...again, there it is. The stab and pain of watching him doing them alone without his brother. Knowing Zac will never do these things with Evan here on earth. And some might say "oh, just get over it and enjoy all that Evan is doing"...and duh...like I don't appreciate it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again over and over a million times...the joy and pride and love and special moments and memories with Evan belong TO Evan and FOR Evan and for us as a family. But the ache of missing my Zac belongs to ME and my sadness will not just "go away", nor will I EVER just "get over it". My smiles are genuine. My love for Evan is beyond words. Everything related to Evan is in itself the most precious of moments and I will never overshadow that with my sadness. But the reality is this...I will hurt, I will ache, I will grieve, and I will cry. Sure...I do my best not to show those around me. I do my duty to make everyone comfortable. And don't get me wrong...it's not like I sit and cry every minute of every day. But there ARE days where tears find their way down my face...like today. I don't know what triggers it...but the overwhelming gap in my heart becomes very real once again and I just can't do anything but let the tears fall. And I know it doesn't bother God. I know that He cries with me. So I don't know why it would bother others? I don't know why they just can't give me that moment and say "I'm here for you". I miss my son...why is that so hard to accept? I do my part and stay silent so not to "burden" others with my pains. But in that...I feel alone. I do have my key support people, and for those I am greatful. I don't mean to make this post a "downer" or anything like that. I am bubbly with joy to share my excitement of firsts with Evan. I am smiling at the thoughts and memories that are being built. I cherish EVERY second, EVERY breathe that I am granted to be Evan's mom. I feel humbled to have been granted this opportunity and blessing in my life. My world with Evan is precious and beautiful and priceless, and my happiness is genuine, real, true. I cherish moments with friends and family. I miss those that have gone their own ways, but I understand that life evolves and people change, and sometimes it is too much for some to be around someone with such harsh realities of life. And sometimes maybe they feel like I haven't been there for them...and you know what...I get that. It has been hard for me to the kind of friend I've always been driven to be. And for that I am sorry. I am sorry if some have felt left behind or forgotten by me. Please know...that isn't the case. I miss the feeling of friendship. I miss the feeling of having the phone ring and having someone ask me to get together. I miss the conversation of day to day life. I miss the feeling of friendship, but blessed beyond measure to the friends that have muddled through with me. You are treasures :) And treasurED beyond words! I thank you! I miss my relationship with God. I miss feeling that strength in such a special, personal way. Again, it's my own doing. I pushed Him away. I blamed Him. I was so hurt and angry and confused and down right MAD. Still am some days. I haven't touched my bible that often, and I am ashamed to admit that. Through my trials and through my pains I have tried to work so hard at learning what God had to teach me. Not how the bible was going to give me the answers I wanted...but how I was supposed to learn from what life was dealing us, and me. I am working on it. I know He is still a very present, very real part of my life. You don't just give up when life goes wrong. You work harder. You try harder. You get mad, but you don't give up. And I feel like I started to give up. It's easier not to allow yourself to be vulnerable, because then the risk of being hurt lessens. Or so I thought. In reality...life becomes more silent, more lonely. God has always been the one constant friend whom I've always been able to talk to. The one person in life that I know will never fail me, or hurt me, or walk away to let me deal with things on my own. God has been my strength, my refuge, my legs when I can't walk, my breath when I can't breathe. My voice when I have no words. I miss my relationship...so now it's time. It's time to stop being angry. It's time to stop pushing Him away because I let myself believe that He failed me and my son. It's time to stop putting my hurt of others on to Him. The thing with God is...He forgives instantly, and doesn't hold a grudge. He is true. He is real. He is honest and loving and welcoming. He is a friend that will hold me when I break down and won't judge me or tell me things that are meant to help but only drive the daggar in deeper. He is a constant. He listens without judgement. He teaches. He guides. He holds each and every one of my tears that have fallen, and WILL fall. He lets me be ME without questioning my loyalties. So why after all I have described Him as would I have shut Him out? Maybe BECAUSE He does not judge, does not push, does not force. Maybe because He loves me without question. And all the time I believed He was silent...it was me shutting Him out. It was me accusing Him. I was doing to Him what I have felt others have been doing to me. It is time to work my way back to my one true friend. It is time to correct my wrongs with my relationship with God. Part of me is so jealous because He gets to spend every day with my children in heaven. He holds each of them...and I don't. But who better to care for your children if you can't do it yourself? Where better for your children to live in completely wholeness and peace and health and joy? Please know that my silence or lack of updating isn't a sign of my blog coming to an end. My journey is no where near over, and neither is my blogging. So, if there is a pause just know that it is either because life has gotten somewhat overwhelming and I am just beyond exhausted, or that I can't access my blog for whatever reason. My blog is special to me, and so are those of you who follow along. So keep on the journey with me!! Blessings, Heather