the birthday that might not have been

Like most moms (and dads, of course) I never thought to prepare myself for what it would feel like to lose a child.

I’m not talking about losing him in the mall or losing him in a crowd; I mean to lose him forever.

We were so immersed in the business of living that it never occurred to me that anything life threatening might happen to my Angel Boy.

Health and fitness has always been a priority.

I made his baby food, did all the recommended baby exercises, and as soon as he could, we walked every day; no sitting in front of a television for us…

This was a typical school day at Casa de Enchanted Seashells:

I woke up at 6:15 a.m. to make a hot and nutritious breakfast for my little guy. I’d wake him at 6:30 with a kiss and and a song —  “New day, time to wake up!”  At 7:30, we’d leave the house to walk our dog for about thirty minutes, chat about the day, and practice spelling or math as we made our way to his school for the first bell at 8:00.

I figured if I did everything in my power to build a healthy and strong human, he’d be that way forever.

Do I even need to state the obvious that he was (is) my entire world? 

I never thought of how dreadfully painful it must be to look at the calendar every year and know that your child’s birthday — the date of his birth–is approaching and all you have is a memory.

I  honestly can’t imagine the pain.

How does anyone survive that kind of loss?

At 9:52 on March 23, 1981, my most amazing boy child was born.

Since then, I’ve cherished every breath he inhales as much as the first one.

April 29, 2014 might have been the date of his last breath.

It doesn’t matter where I am; even when I’m asleep — in my dreams, I’m transported back to the hospital.

That feeling of helplessness — In the surgical waiting room and then (with DIL)  the ten days of twenty-four hour round-the-clock bedside vigil.

For vigil it what it was…

…not taking one single deep breath for months, actually.

On that day, that dark day, those dark days, none of us were sure we’d be celebrating anything ever again.

My mind replays that what if tape all the time, even though the nightmare is over. Really over.

Only now, almost a year later, I think I can finally

exhale.

That’s why this birthday is a very happy one.

He runs, he bikes, he camps, he hikes, he surfs.

He EATS. He BREATHES.

Life. Is. Good. 

(My heart goes out to families who don’t make it to the other side. For me, the door opened just a crack, and I experienced a mere glimpse into that world, and it’s impossible to imagine being able to ever smile again.)

♥ ♥ ♥ On a happier note, what does an ‪#‎emptynest‬ mom do when she can’t be there in person to bake her Angel Boy’s birthday cake?

She finds a a vegan bakery in New Jersey, Bear Hug Bakery, and commissions a cake to be delivered to his office today at ‪#‎Rutgers‬.

One layer of vanilla cake, one layer of chocolate, raspberry cream filling, and covered in ganache. YUM!!!

Mom Tip #276…it’s never too late to embarrass your child.

Happy 34th Birthday, Angel Boy!!

babyJason


POSTS ABOUT THE SURGERY:

1. That Dreaded Call at 3:00 A.M.

http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/01/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m/

2. Time To Exhale

http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/06/time-to-exhale-hospital-update/

3. Full Circle From Hell to Happiness

http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/10/full-circle-from-hell-to-happiness/

4. What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma, Unit, and Mother’s Day Have in Common

http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/11/what-does-a-cosmo-the-trauma-unit-and-mothers-day-have-in-common/

 

 

 

What would I tell my twenty-year-old self?

I’ve been inspired by all the interesting, poignant, witty, and funny entries so I decided to add my own two cents. I discovered #genfab on Twitter and would join the FB group, but I can’t figure out where it is!  This week they’re doing a blog hop on the topic “writing a letter to your 20-year-old self”. Here’s what I have to say. I’ve also included links to some other posts at the bottom of this page for your reading pleasure.

1. Hey girl! Be a mouthy bitch sooner rather than later. Stop letting everyone push you around. Develop your Napoleon complex right now; don’t wait!

2. Stay out of the sun. You don’t need to lay out at the beach and tan for six hours a day, seven days a week–from June to September. Cocoa butter and baby oil are a lethal combo. Thank goodness there’s Botox and fillers, but you can’t imagine the rest of the damage too much tanning can do. A little spot of basel cell carcinoma will be in your future along with some Moh’s surgery and a few sutures. You could have avoided that. Stop refusing the straw hat mommy gave you.  She’s a nurse. She knows.

3. Be nicer to mommy. (Yes, you and I called her mommy ’til the end.) Don’t roll your eyes at me; really. Be nice. As soon as you have your own baby, you’ll understand 99% of everything she said that you pretended not to hear. You will really miss her when she’s gone, trust me.

4. For one second and one second only, peer inside this crystal ball and see all the things you’re NOT gonna do: become a famous ballet dancer like Anna Pavlova, go to Val D’Isere to study French and ski, spend the summer in Minnesota studying the wolf population while actually living among them, move to LA to pursue a real acting career, study harder and go to med school, study harder and go to law school, marry the guy with the massive trust fund, get that boob job–and then STOP thinking about what you DON’T have and what you DIDN’T do and focus on what you DO have. That will end up being your most favorite thing to say to people–whether it’s regrets about the past or food they shouldn’t eat.

5. You are going to be the luckiest girl in the world. You are going to give birth to the most wonderful angel child that ever existed in the universe. He will be a planned for, wanted, loved, and adored boy– even before the very first moment you realized you were actually pregnant. As you will tell him on his twenty-first birthday, every breath he has taken has given you joy. You will be lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom and never miss one smile, one milestone, one MEAL. You will be the one to nurture his every interest, teach him to read and watch his world open up through books. You’ll teach him to love animals, to be kind and gentle, to care about the environment, to have a voice, to stand up for what is right no matter what. You are going to be a great mom except for those couple of times that you weren’t. We won’t discuss that. No one’s perfect.

6. When you’re a mother-in-law, you can take all some none of the credit for his choice of a brilliant, outspoken, funny, gorgeous DIL (who also happens to have very curly hair that she diligently straightens.) Now’s the time to give DIL a major shout out for kick starting my foray into blogging and social media. Thank you, S! Now go make J his dinner. Ha ha.

7. Sit down for this one. It’s painful. All My Children will end. I know, right?

8. You’re gonna marry two guys; one will become BioDad and the other will be the best stepdad in the world. Your past and present husbands will become friends and spend time together. (A really, really long future blog, maybe even a book.)

9. Now that I think of it, I’ll allow a moment of sadness to recall how you didn’t get that major role in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at the Old Globe in San Diego. You are really, really going to want that, and you were really, really awesome at the audition, and not getting it will be a huge disappointment.

10. And finally, when you’re in your late, late late forties, and by that I mean fifties, you’ll still act like you’re 20, OK, I mean 16–oh all right then, 13! You’re gonna love Katy Perry, Christina Perri, Adele, Gossip Girl, Hello Kitty (don’t ask, just know that it’s in your future), anything sparkly (especially diamonds), animal print, Chanel, and have a very healthy obsession with seashells that will bring you fame and fortune as Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife, and you’ll meet a few like-minded witty chickas– whilst writing something called a blog–

More articles in the blog hop…

The Fur Files Looking backward: What we’d tell our 20-year-old selves (After The Kids Leave) Dear 20-Year Old Me (Chloe of the Mountain) To Marci, On Your 20th Birthday (The Midlife 2nd Wife) Having a talk with my 20-year-old self (Midlife Crisis Queen) A Heart-to-Heart with 20 Year Old Me (Books is Wonderful) What Would You Tell your Twenty-Year-Old Self? (Empty House, Full Mind) Dear 20 Year Old Me (Kids Are Grown) Back to the Future (Employee to EmployMe) Callow, Clueless, and Cruising Paris (Daily Plate of Crazy) Happy Birthday, Twenty-Year-Old Me (Not a Supermom)

  • Twenty. (stephyness.wordpress.com)