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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And then there were two...

Did I ever tell you about the gift that I didn't even know I wanted and needed? 

I had lost two little babies before you were conceived.  My heart had been broken into a million and one pieces and after lots of tears and prayer, my bandaged up heart was ready to try,  just one more time, to have another baby.  Just one more time because though I was no longer angry at God, I knew my barely pieced together heart, was very fragile.  On the verge of shattering forever.

One day I took a pregnancy test and just breathed.  I saw the positive sign, patted my tummy and said a prayer.  I'm sure it sounded more like a plea, Please, please, stay put Little One.   After so many losses, tears and forgiveness I was barely beginning to see the light of Hope.  I knew I didn't deserve another baby.  No, God didn't owe me anything.  And yet my heart was hopeful.  Even if just a little, that He would let me have you.

Two weeks passed and I was so tired.  So very tired that I told your Daddy something that can only be explained as mother's intuition: I think I'm pregnant with twinsIt's not normal for me to be this tired.  Your Daddy laughed and called me crazy. 

Because my faith was still shaky, I took a 4th? 5th? pregnancy test and was shocked to see that the once positive bright blue line was barely visible.  I panicked and called the doctor and they wanted me to come in to get an ultrasound.  Poor Claire was very sick so Daddy had to stay home with her.  As I walked out the door I told your Daddy:  I'm afraid we'll either find out we're losing the baby or that I'm pregnant with twins.  Daddy called me crazy again and said: The Baby is fine. And there is only one.

The nurse had me take another pregnancy test and showed me the strip.  I'm so sorry.  It looks like you are losing this baby.   I  sat on the table and cried.  Again? Oh God please no, not again.  The doctor came in and started the ultrasound while I rested my weary head on the pillow.  The words I heard stopped my heart.  Your baby looks great.  I popped up and immediately saw you.  Little heart fluttering steadily.  Baby.  Just one.

I was so grateful to see that you were indeed healthy, ALIVE, and yet was just a little surprised. Hmmm, I was sure there would be two of you.  I went home, tears all dried up and so happy to show your Daddy and big sister your first baby picture, just a tiny little 6 week old baby.  Daddy got to say I told you so.  And I could feel my bandaged heart truly begin to heal.  Band aids can only hold on for so long.

There are certain moments in one's life that are as clear as the day they happened.  This day is one of them: Two weeks had gone by and your Daddy and I went back to the doctor for your 8 week ultrasound.  Daddy was sitting on a chair in the corner playing on his phone and right before the doctor walked in I told Daddy:  Now don't fall off that chair when you find out there are two babies in here.  He rolled his eyes and called me crazy for a third time in 2 weeks.

I was holding your Daddy's hand while I looked over at the monitor and saw you.  And then, I saw you.  Two.  Not one.  I knew exactly what I was seeing.  And yet I had to say it out loud, Why are there two?  The doctor laughed.  Twins, my dear.  You are having twins. I remember sobbing.  Crying so hard I could barely catch my breath as I said over and over, Oh my God!  I had known all along.  Yet to see both of you, two hearts happily beating in my tummy,  well it was the final glue my heart needed to be mended--completely.  And even though my heart knew all along, my mind had a hard time catching up with it.  Both the doctor and I looked over  at Daddy's shocked, pale face and asked at the same time: Are you ok?  And I just couldn't resist saying I told you so.

And that is your story.  And yours.  Not one. But two. 

You're both 3 today.  I can't help but hear one of my favorite lyrics from a song: I belong with you, you belong with me, my sweetheart. I belong with you, you belong with me, my sweet. But of course you two came together.  The two of you helped fix your Mommy's broken heart.  And I'll be forever thankful.  The gifts I didn't even know I needed.

Happy birthday, Madeline.
Happy birthday, Max.

You belong.


hello, two.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Learning on the Run

The mile has all the elements of drama. ~Sir Roger Bannister

I found myself at a one mile race last Saturday.  As soon as I walked up to the starting area, I knew I was out of my element.  The race was very small and the organizers were starting us in different waves.  They would wait until the last person in each wave was done before sending out the next group of runners.  I watched as the 40 and older men took off.  There were maybe 30 runners in that group.  While I waited for that group to finish I decided to warm up a bit.  I knew I was going to run this race as hard as I could and though I never warmed up for a race in my life, I had a feeling if I went out with all guns blazing I could really hurt myself if my muscles were cold. 

I looked around at the women in my wave.  I was in the 39 and under female category.  I've always said that I run a race for me.  That I don't care how fast I am compared to others.  But that has always been in a race that has had hundreds to thousands of runners.  There were 22 of us.  I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when my mind whispered to me: You really could be last!  My heart whispered back: Does that even matter?  My pride shouted: YES!  I didn't want to be last.  There would be nowhere to hide coming in last with only 21 other races.  Later, I found out that out of the 22 women, there were only 3 older than me.  And I knew from enough races that older doesn't guarantee they would be slower.  And yet the 18 women who were younger than me were significantly so.  By a good 10-15 years.  They all looked like college track stars.  And me? Well, I looked like what I am: a 33 year old mom of 3 who loves running but isn't necessarily cut out to run a short distance speed race.

Take off your racing bib and bow out now, gracefully.  While you still have some dignity left, my mind demanded.  And yet stubborness held my racing shoes firmly planted to the ground.  What would I tell Claire? That I gave up before I even started  because I didn't want to come in last? What kind of example would that be for her?  No.  I decided to run it.  I wouldn't be able to face Claire if I gave up before the gun went off.

As we shuffled to the starting line, a few other racers and I noticed a very young girl in the front.  She looked around 10-11 years old and we joked (but were serious) that she would probably win.  I joked (but was serious) that I'd come in last, but that I'd bring it in strong.  They all laughed but looked me over with sympathetic eyes.  Nobody wants to be last.  The gun went off and I fumbled with my watch so I could keep an eye on my pace.  It all happened so fast that I hit the wrong button and was now left without a way to track my speed.  I was hoping for a 6 minute 30 second finish.  Nevermind that I hadn't run a mile that fast since junior high.  My most recent personal record for a non-treadmill mile was 6 minutes 59 seconds.

The little girl that we gave the front line to, seemed lost and a bit confused.  She started zig zagging, looking behind her, uncertain.  Three of us tripped over her as we tried to get around her little doe-like body.

I had no idea I should have a racing strategy.  Whenever I run a half or full marathon I have an idea of how I want to run it: go out strong but not too fast.  Pick up the pace at the end but have enough gas in me to finish it.  With a mile race, I figured I would run with all personality and heart.  That meant, persevering through pain and running on full speed.  So for the first quarter mile, I was right behind the lead pack of women.  I knew I had never run this fast in my life and my lungs were burning.  For the first time, I ran a race without a smile on my face. 

I hit the quarter mile marker and a man was shouting out our times.  1 minute 20 seconds number (my bib) 461!  461? That's me! I quickly did the math in my head and realized that if I finished at that pace I would have run a 5 minute 20 second mile.  That's where my heart was at.  Unfortuantely, that pace was much too fast for me.  I felt like I was a wind up toy.  Someone wound the key in my back to the tightest setting and let me go.  I was off like a freight train.  But just as I passed that quarter mile marker, the key wasn't as strong and my legs were betraying me as I felt like an invisible rope was pulling me backwards.  No! My heart shouted. 

The lead pack was putting significant disntance between us.  Everything was a blur.  Usually I take the time to notice specators, smile, and enjoy the moment.  Not for this race.  I had my eyes straight ahead and for once I had no music and no watch to keep me company.  Keep going, keep going, keep going, the rhythm of my shoes chanted to me. 

A  racer was coming up on my right at the half mile marker.  And a man shouted out my time: 3 minutes!  If I double that, I would finish the race in 6 minutes.  And yet that rope was pulling me back even harder.  I tried to resist it but it was at that moment I realized I made a huge mistake.  I didn't run the first part of the race with my head.  I went out fast.  Way too fast.  When the runner finally passed me, I realized I couldn't hear anyone else behind me.  I'm last.  I'm going to be last.  I decided to take a look behind me to confirm my fear.  No, not last.  I could see runners behind me.  Did that matter? Yes.  Should it  have mattered? No.

Even though it was the shortest race I have ever run, I can't tell you much about the last half mile.  My brain was turned off and I was on automatic pilot.  Finish the race, was all I could tell myself.  Push.  I could see the finish line ahead and my one and only goal was to cross it running hard.

I have never felt so vulnerable in a race.  So alone.  So bare.  I crossed the finish line feeling a sense of relief to be out of the misery I put myself in.  Grateful to be done and out from under the microscope.  I have mixed emotions about this race.  Disappointed in my time (6:44, placed 13 out of 22 runners) and yet proud that I did something that I did not want to do.  Humbled by the expeienece and yet grateful to have learned that I want to conquer a new challenge: work on my mile time.   A goal that I hadn't even considered in the past.

As I ran back to the starting line, I was grateful to see my family.  Claire was wearing her bib and the twins were ready for me to push them in the family fun run.  I was grateful that I could look Claire in the eye and say, I did it.  I finished my race.  As I ran the next mile with her, I showed her where it got tough for me and encouraged her to keep going as it was getting tough for her. And I was able to share the lessons I learned: Don't go out too fast and don't give up.  No matter what. 
I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.~ Mike Fanelli 

Lesson learned.

Running girls

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Dear Mom,

We're separated by thousands of miles and yet you are here in our hearts forever.  It wasn't until I became a mom that I realized just how difficult your job was.  You had to watch us grow up, make mistakes and leave your arms.  Letting us go must have been the hardest thing you had to do.  I don't look forward to that day with my own three Lovlies.  You did it with such grace: a warm hug, tear filled eyes and a promise we'd see each other again.

Mom, all the strengths I have as a mother are because of you.   Family First. Family Always.  My children are being taught the importance of Family because it is what you taught me.  They are happy children.  They love fiercely, they fight with each other, they give out hugs easily, they protect and annoy each other.  They remind me of my relationship growing up with Jaimie, Billy, Philip and Zachary.  All because of you.  And the day they decide to leave Home, I hope I am as strong as you were.   I hope to let them go, with quiet tears, a smile and a promise that we will see each other again.

Happy Mother's Day to you.  I miss you and of course, we'll see each other soon.


                                              So proud of you, Mom. Gen the R.N.