Sibling Love

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From the time she was growing in my womb (and perhaps before), these two have been connected.  I knew then they needed to be here, now, together. There have been  moments that I didn’t know that I would get through.  But they have grown stronger with each day, with each meal, with each loving interaction.  They have grown stronger together and separate from one another, and I have grown along side them.  I have become the woman I am today because I am their mother & I couldn’t be more proud.

 

 

 

the Unexpected

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I didn’t expect marriage to look like this.  Maybe I was imagining what some of us might imagine before getting married and having children:  going on trips together, creating a home together, him doing his own creative projects, me gardening, us supporting each other, loving each other.  Him taking care of the bills, me doing the shopping.  Maybe we would find an “open-minded” church together, maybe we would build community.  Friends would come by for a bonfire in the front yard, we would host neighborhood dinner parties.  We would give birth to our beautiful children, at home, in water.  I would breastfeed and practice attachment parenting.  We wouldn’t need to go to the doctor much because of our conscious eating and living.  We would visit family whenever we wanted, in Santa Barbara and Colorado.  We would visit beautiful places with our kids and camp and walk on the beach and love each other in the night.  We would have the world in the palm of our hands and we would look at each other and be proud.  This is the life I imagined, some of the reasons why I thought marriage and kids might be a good idea. Although I didn’t really know.  Just this feeling of what it could and should be.

Then we had two babies that required constant care. The nights were broken up, rarely a full night sleep and our regular conversations were suddenly about pumping and breastmilk and poop and lack of it and exhaustion and fear of the future and survival.  Our days blended into the nights and we were overwhelmed.   We had moments of calm and connection and loving each other, but mostly we were caring for our babies, at times, just keeping them alive.  Our marriage began to slip away. Out of fear I became controlling.  Everything was out of my control, so I tried to control my husband, my mom, my family.  I survived only and lived fearing the future.  I started to question, “What is the point of being married anyway?” This became my attitude and I was no longer able to see my ally by my side. Walls were built and we spent more energy keeping them up than if we had soften our hearts.  We lived like this for years. Unhappy.  Fighting against the very person we needed.

Then one night my heart opened up to him.  It was a miracle.  I thought we were over.  For almost a year had been living together, lovingly taking care of our children, determined to not let go of this, but we were no longer “together”.  Suddenly, on this full moon night, my heart opened and I knew it was the right thing.  This man wasn’t going anywhere, he was not going to leave my side.  He had been with us through thick and thin and I knew I needed him.  We knew we needed each other.

Hiking with Soliz: Spring Equinox

Lately I’ve been trying to hike at least once a week while my kids are at school.  It’s apart of the self-care I have realized I need in order to thrive in my life, as opposed to just surviving as I was doing for many years.  I live in the desert and it has been spectacular lately. I mean it-spectacular!  Green covering what normally is brown, endless orange poppies and the occasional purple desert lupine.  Because of this beauty, I have wanted to bring my kids to this favorite spot I found while hiking with my dog Sammy. At this special spot there is a dwarf Palo Verde tree growing out of a huge pile of white rock. I am drawn to the strength and adaptability of this tree;  this place is serene and shaded.  Today I was able to take my son to this place.
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Today was Soliz’ first day of Spring break which began after my daughter had been home sick for almost 2 weeks (along with her Spring break, separate from my son’s).  These are the weeks I dread.  The weeks that I don’t know how I will get through.  I woke up this morning feeling immediately anxious.  Wanting to stay buried under the covers because I honestly didn’t know how I would get through the day.  I have been burnt out these past couple of weeks. Not having time for self-care or work and very worried about my daughter.  She seems to be my more complex kid;  we have been dealing with chronic constipation, anemia and a bad eye infection but mostly she is just not herself, sleepy, lethargic and seemingly depressed. I have been worried, constantly and really missing her smile and her laugh.  So when I knew today I would be home another day, not only with her, but now with my son, I was overwhelmed.  When I finally pulled myself out of bed, I walked into the kitchen and found my husband at the kitchen table with his laptop open.  He was clearly working on something;  the kids were still in bed.  I asked why he wasn’t yet at work and he told me he took sick day.  I immediately started bawling, so grateful he would spend the day with us. So needing his support, more than I realized.

So we decided to take Soliz hiking!  This is a bigger deal for us because Soliz doesn’t walk independently.  Whenever we go to a new place, we have to think through all the steps ahead of time.  How will we get him from point A to point B?  Once we are there what will we do for mobility? The hiking area where we went today has a concrete accessible trail circumventing the main hiking trails but I wanted to take Soliz on the rocky, uneven trails.  His current wheelchair is unable to go off-road so I knew we would have to carry him for the bulk of the hike.  I grabbed the toddler-carrier that I use every once in a while for my daughter hoping he would work. It was a warm morning for March but we were determined see this adventure through.

The details that I would like to share here are one’s of persistence, determination and hope.  We knew that when we got to the off-road trail we wouldn’t be able to go too far.  Soliz is 42 pounds and low tone which means he is not able to hold up his own weight like most people  so he can feel heavier to carry.  We wheeled up the trail and got Soliz out of his wheelchair and hoisted him on to my back.  It was a go!  It felt so good to have him on my back knowing I could share my special spot with him soon.

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Once we got to the place with the dwarf Palo Verde tree growing out of the majestic white rocks we took some time to lay around in the shade. Soliz got to hike around with lots of help and even got some rocks in his shoes!  We didn’t stay at the special spot for  very long, as it was hot, and as like most other desert spots, not many comfy places to lay down.  And Soliz wanted to lay down.  I remember when Soliz was a baby I saw a photo of another child with his same genetic condition around the age he is now lying down to explore.  At the time I didn’t get it.  I thought to myself, when my son is that age he will not be lying down like that.  Now, here we are.  Soliz is almost 10 and I celebrate him lying down to play as this is the way he is more mobile and able to explore his environment.  I celebrate that he is exploring movement and curious about his surroundings as opposed to how it looks to others when he is doing this.

 

Our Spring Equinox hike was a nice metaphor for our lives of parenting together.  I certainly could not have done with simple hike on my own.  I needed Andre’ to be there with me to help put Soliz on my back, to spot me as I was carrying him, to take over on the walk back to the wheelchair, for companionship and love.  I needed Patty, our respite provider to be at home with Camila, caring for her lovingly and in a way that I could trust her enough to be away.  When all of this comes together in alignment we are able to take our son on a short hike to my favorite spot in the desert. And for this, I am grateful.

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Where to begin?

img_6608I have had blog posts in my head for years.  Never enough time to sit down and write I have told myself.  But I must start somewhere, so here, I begin.  I want to share my experience.  My story.  The story of becoming a mother.  For the first time and for the second time.  I want this to be transparent. A place of truth.  I have been scared to tell my truth, out of fear what people might think, out of fear of being judged.  Fear of scaring those who choose to listen.  But I am done living this way, in fear.  I tell my story for myself, but I also share because I know there are others out there that might be able to relate to my journey.  I realize it is not only my journey, but the journey of those who have come before me and the journey of those of us living it now.

When my son was born I couldn’t relate to the other moms, the moms that were breastfeeding and cuddling and baby wearing and hanging out with other moms.  The people that I had imagined would be my community  didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know how to help them respond better. Those beginning years  were one’s of survival, just getting through to the next day, feeding, holding, soothing, keeping my babies alive. It wasn’t a time which I could explain myself, nor should I have been expected to;  I just wanted someone to tell me that it was going to be okay.  That I would get through this and on the other side it would be glorious.  That someday I would be able to see my children for their beauty.  That I would see their strengths and not be so focused on what they couldn’t do.  I wanted someone, anyone, to hold me and stand with me and love my babies as much as I would someday.

This is my story of becoming a mother.  Becoming a whole human being. A visionary, an advocate.  A wife and a member of my community.  This is my story.