If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever. Winnie the Pooh

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love That Boy

When I was pregnant, I was never one of those women, when asked, Do you want a boy or a girl, would answer, A healthy child is what we want, while gazing lovingly at my husband and patting my pregnant belly. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't lovingly gaze at my husband, I do that every once in a while. And of course I wanted a healthy baby! That goes without saying (that request was in my prayers every single day). But I would answer honestly, I want a girl! I want ALL girls!

After I had Claire I was hoping my next pregnancy would bring another girl into our family. And it did. Sweet Madeline. But, it also brought Max.

Boy, oh boy. I wasn't disappointed when I found out I was pregnant with twins and one of them was a boy. As soon as we found out, the idea of a boy in our family just seemed to fit. A boy!

A boy?! I'm a girl. Claire is a girl. Chris, well, he's practically a girl with his sense of style and ability to cook better than any woman I know. How in the world would I know what to do with a boy?!

And then he was here. Max. Boy, oh boy. All boy.

I had no idea my heart could be stolen by a little guy weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs 2 ounces. But it was love at first sight. When the nurse handed him to me at the hospital for the very first time, he fit perfectly into my arms. And I knew then, I'd do anything for this boy of mine.

Max is an amazing son. He's so bright eyed and happy. He loves cars, dogs, and watching birds fly in the great blue sky. He's a sweet little guy that will share toys with his tough sisters and feed his Mommy because he cares. He adores his Daddy and looks at him as if he hung the moon. He gives twin sister kisses every morning and looks to her for direction. If you ask him if he wants a cookie, he'll smack his lips, yes please. He loves being outside, throwing sand out of the sandbox and making eyes at Mommy. He loves bathtime, playing with musical instruments and stacking blocks. Max is sensitive, a peacemaker and a people-person.

All those things describe my son and yet those words aren't enough to capture Max entirely. He's all those things and so much more. If you haven't met him, I hope one day you do. Only then, will you truly get Max.

Today, he was given another label. Physically Delayed. At 18 months, Max cannot walk. Max will start receiving Physical Therapy services to help with his delay. My heart broke when I was told this, even though I already knew it.

Max is going to be ok. He has a strong and mighty heart. Mighty Max. He will walk. And soon I'll be chasing him as his eyes shine brightly with joy, in a way that only Max's eyes can sparkle. I look forward to that day. In the meantime, my fighting gloves are on for my boy. We'll face this battle head on and I will be his voice; asking the questions necessary to help him. I will be his strength; guiding him through any exercise needed to help him. I will be his biggest supporter; cheering him on, on the days he is sure to want to give up. I will be his Mommy; always there to hug, kiss and love him, as he is, my boy, my son.

Dear Max. This poem is for you. Though I didn't write it, I think it captures all that I feel for you. I love you, Sweet Boy. Boy, oh boy. Love, Mommy

Love That Boy
by Walter Dean Myers

Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him"Hey there, son!"

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he’s happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I’ll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.

Barbara LeGere Photography

Friday, November 12, 2010

If they only knew...

Today I got a compliment from a stranger. He said, You have three, beautiful children. I grabbed that little gem and held on tight. It made me beam. Just a few days ago, a woman approached us and took a seat next to me while we were out at a restaurant. She told me she had been watching us and wanted to tell me how good my children were behaving. That one little word made me want to dance around the room.

But I have to admit, in both cases, as they approached me, I started to cringe and put on my very fake smile. If you know me, you'd know it's fake. I don't show my teeth, my eyes don't crinkle with happiness, in fact, I'm sure my 'fake smile' looks more like I was just punched in the stomach.

Back to the first stranger. As he approached, I plastered on my tight-lipped smile because I was putting on my suit of armor, a way to protect my feelings. Why? Because the comment I get on a daily basis, multiple times a day is: Wow, you have your hands full!! It's amazing how words can lift you up or bring you down.

I'm sure the hundreds (I'm guessing it's much more than this and for once I'm not exaggerating because it gets said multiple times a day) of people who have stopped, no, gone out of their way to approach me and tell me you have your hands full (cringing as I type it!), didn't think twice about what these words would mean to me. They were being harmless. Just a comment they made in passing. But to me, these words are deflating. It's not a positive comment and whatever joy I was experiencing at the moment I was with my children was snatched away by one little sentence.

I wish I didn't have to hear it on a daily basis. I have a running list of things I wish I could say to these people that I keep to myself...instead, I'll say it here:

I wish you could see my three children jumping up and down in the morning, just because I walked into the room; their energy feeds my very soul. If you could only be so lucky to have your hands full in this way.

I wish you could hear three little voices laughing as they play chase; their eyes shining like stars in the night sky. If you could only be so lucky to have your hands full in this way.

I wish you could hear two toddlers learn how to say "Love You!" on the same day; more musical than any song one could ever hear. If you could only be so lucky to have your hands full in this way.

I wish you could feel what it's like to have three children listening in awe as you read Good Night Moon for the hundredth time; it's an honor to be their mother. If you could only be so lucky to have your hands full in this way.

One time, my husband saw I was reaching a breaking point. We went away for a weekend trip and after the 4th person came up to us on our 'vacation' to tell us we had our hands full, Chris' response was; Yes, but in a very good way. The stranger paused, looked a little stunned and then looked down into the eyes of my bright eyed children who were looking up at him. The stranger finally replied; Well, yes, I think you are right about that.

Yes, I do have my hands full. And I wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A letter to my children....

I read a blog recently and it was written by a mother in the form of a letter to her daughter. It was beautiful, touching and emotional. I can't promise this letter will be nearly any of those things, but it will be a letter from my heart to my children.

Dear Claire, Madeline and Max,

You are truly, my Moon, my Stars, and my Sky. I look at the three of you and I GET life. My hopes and dreams are HUGE for you...BIGGER than they ever were for me. If I could get you through life WITHOUT pain, sorrow and hurt, I would. But life doesn't work that way. Instead, I'll share with you my hopes. And I know, I can guarantee, life won't be easy. It won't always be fun. It will be work. But life will also be filled with laughter, love, happiness and joy...all the things I experience with you.

Here are my HOPES for you, my Children:

Beauty: You will always know, that no matter what, it truly is what is on the INSIDE that counts. You may be attracted to a person (and they you) for what they look like, but it is their ability to make you smile, laugh, and feel loved that is important. Look for the light that shines within a person when choosing your life partner. Beauty fades but that light will shine FOREVER.

Faith: People can be mean. It will sound so cliche, but it truly is their own insecurities that make them that way. Children will find something, anything, for which they can pick on you. Grown ups judge each other and think they are better than others. It comes down to one word: insecurity. Stand proud and strong in your BELIEFS. You are beautiful on the inside and out. You are exactly who GOD created you to be. Have Faith in that. You are perfectly IMPERFECT.

Growth: Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE makes mistakes. There have been countless times that I have apologized to each one of you for being impatient or short-tempered. You will stumble and fall through out life, making mistakes and my hope is you learn from those mistakes. APOLOGIZE to those you hurt (even if it's yourself) and learn and grow.

Strength: Drugs. Please don't. Please. There has never been a single person that succeeds in life: career, emotional, relationships...ANY aspect, while doing drugs. It's ok to say no. It's ok for your 'friends' to make fun of you for saying no. If you need ideas on how to give yourself a healthy high, I'll be happy to list a few off: go rock climbing, run a marathon, sky-diving....I'll join you. You will be TESTED in this and you must find that strength to be you: intelligent, kind, funny, sweet, tender hearted without drugs in your life.

Perseverance: I feel like an old lady saying this, but kids nowadays (See? Old lady talking...please keep reading ;)) do not seem to realize the importance of not giving up. All that is good in the world will not be handed to you. You will have to WORK hard, set goals and yes, struggle to achieve those goals. You CAN do it. You WILL do it. I BELIEVE in you and more importantly, GOD believes in you. Find inspiration in people you know and stories you hear of people doing the unthinkable. Your Nana went to college in her 40s and became a nurse, use her as your Beacon of Perseverance.

I will never be able to say it enough. I love you. Each one of you fits perfectly into my heart. I'm your biggest fan and I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines in this thing called, LIFE.


Thursday, May 13, 2010


I often wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with God. I have prayed countless times. I have tried to open my heart and listen to what He has to say, show me and teach me. Sometimes He's so clear. Like a raindrop reflecting all the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Other times my own imperfect human nature clouds His message and I feel like I'm trying to see it through a murky and muddied pond.

But there has been one day in my life that He spoke to me and I had no doubt that I heard His words. I felt His presence. It was my very own, conversation with God:

I looked down, tears filling my eyes. Two babies. Two peaceful, beautiful, take my breath away, sleeping babies. I had moved them to the hospital bed with me. They were snuggled side by side against my body. I gently picked them up and instantly had the feeling; I'm holding all that is good in the world.

Suddenly, it was as if a fog was lifted. I could see. I could finally see.

Dear God, I just didn't realize. I had no idea and I'm so sorry for ever doubting You. If I could thank You a million times it wouldn't be enough.

God whispered to my heart, I know. All along I've known you. These are the two that are meant to be here on Earth; with you, with Chris, with Claire, with the world.

Madeline Yvonne and Maxwell Christopher were born on May 30, 2009. That was the day I realized God is greater, bigger, and more powerful than I could have ever imagined. I have never thought of Madeline and Max as a replacement for my two angel babies. I never thought God took two babies and gave me two babies as an exchange. Because the day God spoke to me He told me something I'll never forget: His plan is perfect. He is perfect. My angel babies are in heaven for a reason I may never know. But I do know why Madeline and Max are here on Earth. They fit into the puzzle of my life. They must be here.

It's almost their first birthday and it seems like yesterday that I; found out I was pregnant with two babies, was in the middle of the most difficult pregnancy I could have ever imagined, was in the recovery room on the day they were born and seeing their faces for the very first time. And yet it has almost been a whole year. A year full of beauty, love, learning, laughter, tears and wonder.

As a mom of twins, I'm often asked, how do you do it? Well, if Claire was born like a shooting star streaming through the sky; intense, then Madeline and Maxwell were like the quiet, stillness of the full moon in the sky; peaceful. I expected chaos and was gifted with two of the most serene babies ever to be born. Thank you sweet children for making the transition of being a mommy of one to three, seamless.

Happy birthday dear Madeline.

Madeline, my doll-baby. So curious, full of life and sweetness. You are always so busy exploring, learning and trying to figure out the world around you. Truly a lovely girl who I look at and marvel over the perfection of your little up-turned nose, adorable smile and feisty personality.

Happy birthday Max.

Max, my little man. You are a people person. You notice others and they always notice you. Your smile touches the hearts of all those who meet you. You are sensitive, silly, happy and have a joyful sense of humor. You have such an expressive face and it matches the complexity that makes up who you are on the inside.

The day my sweet Madeline and Max were born I prayed, Dear God, thank you. Forever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Movie Moments

I think any woman who watches a romantic comedy has thought: I wish that could be me. You know the scene. The camera pans in onto a couple who is having a romantic dinner, there is great eye contact and you can see how much he adores her. Or, a couple is ice skating in Rockefeller Center and they are holding hands, laughing, oblivous to the world around them. There is always a great soundtrack and in those moments we sigh and elbow our husbands while muttering, why can't we be like that?!

I would argue, we all have. We just don't have that great music playing in the background and a camera rolling at all times to capture our own movie moments.

I have found this entry the most difficult to write. Maybe because through everything, he has been by my side; good/bad, ugly/beautiful, broken/whole. And because of this, it is the most personal.

This entry is for you; my husband, my partner in life, my forever love, my very best friend. You've helped me make our very own, movie moments:

It felt like we were the only two people alive, let alone at the restaurant.
For once, he opened up and shared his heart and soul with me; no pretenses, no big talk, just honest conversation.
I threw my head back and laughed, he reached out to fix my hair.
He smiled. A truly happy, eye reaching smile that made his dimples appear to be miles deep.
I fell in love that day.
I wanted him to be mine and for me to be his.

Walking down a touristy street in Newport Beach.
We looked in shop windows and I noticed our reflection; a happy young couple.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me away.
He said, You're mine and I am yours.

Who really gets to marry the prince?
July 16, 2005 I married my prince; tattooed arm, dimples that my thumbs fit into perfectly, twinkling eyes, broken but put back together and loved with all his imperfections.
I felt like I was floating.
He felt so far away and yet was so near.
I walked down the flower petaled path feeling like it was all a dream.
I was so nervous and yet seeing him calmed me.
He looked at me and his eyes said, You're mine and I am yours.

All the kids were tucked safely into bed.
We had a glass of wine and talked about our perfectly imperfect sleeping angels.
Both of us consumed by our love for our children; we started to cry.
We danced to the music.
Our living room was our dance floor.
Parents, bestfriends, husband & wife; crying at the thought of our childrens' very existence; our loves, our hearts, our very breath.
The three best things that could have ever come out of two people meeting and falling in love.
They are ours, and we are theirs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pain & Healing

I have three, practically perfect in every way, children. If I could have looked into a crystal ball as a 20 year old, I would have gone through life giddy and laughing with the knowledge that I get to be the mother of the three most amazing little people on earth. How blessed am I?! Beyond belief.

I told Claire's birth story. And as much as I'd love to tell the story of my Madeline & Maxwell--the surprise twins, I must tell the story of my dear angel babies. The babies I never got to meet. The babies that changed me forever.

This is their story....

I was so happy to be pregnant for a second time. It was shortlived because within a week of finding out I was going to have a baby, I lost my baby. Lost.



I wanted answers but the doctor had none to give. Well, no answers sufficient to my broken heart; It happens to many women...it's very common....chromosomal abnormaility....blah blah blah. I wanted to know what I did to cause this. Running too much? Lifting weights? Not taking my vitamins every day? If I could blame myself, then I could make sure it wouldn't happen again. No. You did nothing wrong. Get pregnant again, you'll see...you'll have another baby.

So we did. We got pregnant again. I cautiously worked out. Cutting back on the intensity of my running and lowering the weights I'd use to tone my body. But every day I was waiting for something to happen. I suppose if you wait long enough for anything, it will happen.

And it did.

I remember seeing the blood and feeling two things simultaneously; disbelief and that I just knew it was going to happen again feeling.

I fell to my knees. I prayed. I begged; God, please don't. Please don't take my baby. Please, not again.

Going to the hospital confirmed what I already knew; my baby had died. Two babies in less than 4 months. My doctor told me I would be able to pass the baby on my own or if I preferred he could take it out for me. It. My sweet baby. My boy or girl. I would never know. He called it an incomplete abortion. Abortion. That word felt like a slap to my face. Abortions were for women who didn't want their child. I wanted my children.

I needed to be alone. I went out by myself. I got my haircut and that is where I first felt the twinges of contractions. I went shopping and gripped the shopping cart, sweat beading on my upper lip. I drove home. Nearly doubled over with the pain.

Home. Please, just keep her away from me. I begged Chris to take Claire to another room. She knew something was wrong but didn't know what. He wanted to help but helping with Claire was the best he could do.

I got on all fours and rocked with the pain of the contractions ripping through my stomach. Chris came in the room. He had put Claire to bed. I felt delirous from the pain. The pain was doubly intense; I was having strong contractions and I knew there would be no pink, crying lovely baby to show for all the pain. I wanted to die. At one point I fell asleep. Chris curled up on the floor beside me. He wrapped his arms around me. Later I found us both asleep in bed. That next morning I knew it was over. No more pain. I felt empty inside.


I went through a very dark time. I was angry; at God, my body, the doctor, even my husband, who thought maybe we shouldn't try for any more children. I walked away from God. I felt so alone, wanting to focus on my daughter and all the good in my life, instead I became consumed by fear; would I ever have another baby? What was wrong with me?

Fear was not the only rotten, black emotion eating at me. Anger. It was filling my heart. I went back to work in the Fall to find out one of my old students, now in 8th grade, had a baby. The hate and anger at God raged inside me. How could He be so unfair?


Little did I know He was always there. How could my God let this happen to me? Why would He do this? I called Him names. He held me tighter and I struggled in His embrace. I wanted nothing to do with Him. And yet, He never left my side. In my struggles, in my anger, fear and hurt, He was there. Always. He didn't cause my pain but he held me through it. He didn't cause my miscarriages, but He lovingly healed my heart. He forgave me. And all along, He had a plan. He knew what my family needed. He knew what I needed. And for this, I get on my knees and thank Him for knowing me, His child.

I still ache for my sweet angel babies. I will always remember the moment I found out I was pregnant with them. I will forever remember their birthdays.
February 1, 2009.
April 2, 2009.

But my heart was healed. God continued to love me as if I was a tantruming child and He was the ever so patient parent. I humbly asked for forgiveness and He gave me that, and so much more.


Monday, February 8, 2010

New Experiences

As an adult, there are very few things in life that you get to do for the very first time. It seems like childhood and adolescence takes that right away. Tasting a new dessert, riding a rollercoaster, driving a car, kissing your first boyfriend, getting your first job. As an adult...it seems like it's all been done.

Luckily for me, having a baby would be a whole new experience. You can read as many books as you want, watch a million episodes of A Baby Story, but nothing, nothing prepares you for having a baby.

July 5, 2006: 12am.
My day had arrived. Or, her day had.
The pain was mild; a fluffy white cloud moving slowly throughout my tummy. And still, I knew it was the day. The day I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. The day I would meet my daughter. So many questions: what would she look like, smell like, sound like? Would we love each other instantly? Would she know me? Would I know her? Can I do this? What will my life be like after she's born? And on and on.

I'd like to say I was brave. That I had faith in my body and that I would have her 'naturally'. But the reality was I was scared. After all, it was a whole new experience for me. When was the last time I'd tried something new. Really new? Oh yeah, when I went rocking climbing a few years before. Rock climbing....having a baby....rock climbing....having a baby. I'll let you decide which is more significantly life changing.

The pain is a little blue bouncing ball. Boing-boing. I know baby. I want to meet you too. I tell Chris that we'll need to go to the hospital. Now? he mumbles. No....not now, later. That was his cue to roll over and resume snoring. Men! How do they do that?! I called my mom to let her know. She immediately jumped in the car and began the 7 hour drive. Oh sweet mom. Her first grandchild would be born today. I knew I didn't have to ask her to come, she wouldn't miss this new experience for the world.

The pain was a blue-green fish swimming lazily in my tummy. Coming, going, coming and going. Chris packed things in the car, showered, ate breakfast (Really!? How do they do that?!!) and helped me into the car. The hospital was only a 20 minute drive but somehow he turned down the wrong street. Oh sweet, nervous Chris. My hands were clenched as my blue-green fish began to swim faster and faster. But it's ok. It goes away.

Ouch! Hoping the nurse doesn't have to check for progress very often. So much worse than my own pain. 4cm. I get to stay. Do I have to stay in bed? It's so much worse when I'm lying down. I'm every nurses worst nightmare. I have a birth plan. No IVs. I want to walk. So I walk. It's better if I'm alone. I can focus on the pain. I can be a fisherman and catch my little blue-green fish and hold it and release it.

The pain is a yellow star blinking in my tummy. Mom and dad arrive. Sweet Mom rubs my back. Oh! I realize instantly I'm one of those types. Please don't touch me. Everything hurts. I hope I don't hurt her feelings but I'm pretty sure she understands. Dad who knows all about being a man takes Chris to get something to eat.

The yellow star is no longer blinking. It's always on. Why are there no breaks in between contractions I wonder? This isn't what it's supposed to be like. My body laughs at me; silly, new girl. It knows what must be done. It's doing what it's supposed to be doing. I move to the room. I sway. I sit. I stand. I hold my breath. I clench my fists because the pain is turning into a fiery red ball . Chris comes in and I see the worry in his eyes. He knows. He knows I'm hurting. The nurse asks me if I want an epidural. No, I groan. You won't get a gold star by doing this to yourself she states. But it's best for the baby I think. I have to do this naturally, for my baby.

The pain is a raging, red fire in my tummy. Make it stop. Please! Begging for what I said I didn't want. Please, I can't do this. Suddenly, there is relief. I hear the music that has been playing all along in the background:

Lord you have my heart.
And I will search for yours.
Jesus take my life and lead me on

I no longer focus on the pain. There is no pain. Just relaxed sleep and sweet comforting music. 7cm my nurse whispers to me. You made it to 7cm before you got the epidural. Maybe I should get half a star?

There is no pain. A white cloud is static in my tummy. But it's time. Time to push. Push?! I can't feel anything. How do I push? Try. So I push. The nurse looks surprised and yells for me to stop. She needs to get the doctor.

Hello. You aren't my doctor. Nevermind, doesn't matter. I want to meet my girl. My girl. So I push. I see the disappointment on his face. I can tell he's thinking we are going to be here a while. No! I can do this. I focus all my energy and push. I'm doing it right. I can tell. Chris is holding me, encouraging me.

And suddenly she's here. So beautiful she takes my breath away. So very beautiful, I see my husband crying for the first time in my life. She's on my chest, crying. Crying so loud. We cry together. Black hair and pink skin. She looks just like Chris. So beautiful, so perfect. My Claire Rose. My heart. She is more than I could have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined. I know her and she knows me.

Happy birthday, Sweet Claire Rose. My firecracker, my moon, my stars, and my sky. My girl.

All this time I was waiting for you. From the moment I was born, I was meant to be your mother. You've been part of me my whole life. I was living my whole life for this day to come. I had no idea God be so perfect. So good. So loving. So very giving; when he chose to give me, you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Just Breathe

The day is here.
It's so cold.

Everyone looks confident.
I wonder how I look.
I know how I feel.
I feel nervous.

There is electricity in the air.
You can almost reach out and touch it.
So many smiling faces.

Suddenly we are running.
I am running.
Running, breathing, running, breathing.
I wonder where the road will take us.
I wonder if I can finish.
Will I finish?

My body feels like a machine.
It's as if someone programmed me, put in a battery pack and set me off.
My legs are moving.
My arms are pumping.
And still, I'm breathing.

Miles pass....people cheer and encourage.
I greedily take it.

Not prepared for hills.
Runners walk.
I will not walk.
I lean into those hills as if they are me and I am them.

Still, my body moves.
I'm a runner.
My legs are strong.
My mind is stronger.
The doubt has left me.
I can do this.
I am doing this.
13.1 miles.

I've left my body.
I float above and watch from the outside.
So beautiful.
The ocean waves come and go.
My body moves.
My breath is steady.

My body is a machine.
Better than a car.
So quiet.
Runs on water.
And air.
And Faith.

Half way there.
No pain.
I can do this.
But I need water.

My body is asking, pleading, for water.
I run.
I run.
Where is the water? my body asks timidly.

I reach for it.
My body thanks me.
I thank my body.

Slower then faster.
Even faster.
All I want is to be done.

My head fills with the comforting sound of music:
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh
Stay with me
Let’s just breathe.

Oh sweet music.
It takes my mind off what my body is beginning to scream.
So tired.

Please let the end be near.
I see it.

Thank you legs.
You knew where to go.
You carried me the entire way.
So far.
So very far.

My husband is hugging me.
I'm hugging him back.
Or maybe he's holding me.
I have nothing left.

My children.
I carried them for so long.
And it was the thought of them that carried me.
My sweet, sweet children.

We will meet again.