I have been absent from this blog as I make it my 2014 mission to finish a book I started in December of 2011. Two years have passed since I took on this enormous undertaking, naively assuming I could hammer it out in a matter of months. Well, I was obviously mistaken as it has been over two years since I wrote the first words. Weeks and even months have passed between installments and there have been many times I wondered why I thought it was a good idea to ever think I could write a book.
The process has been one of faith a and I wished for some sort of “How to Write a Book” manual. Like parenting a child with extraordinary needs, I quickly learned that this type of endeavor is as individual as the writer. I am grateful to the published authors who are also my friends for their encouragement and mentoring. And still I question what I was thinking when I announced that I would be writing a book.
When Meredith was born we were overwhelmed by the care and concern of not only our friends and family but also our colleagues in our respective professions. We would return home at night to countless emails and phone messages wondering how we were doing and if there was anything we might need. My husband created a website early on to use as a form of communication for everyone. It was a place where I wrote almost daily updates and posted photos of Meredith. In a short amount of time, this little website made its way around the world and the guestbook was like a lifeline for us. Each day we would return home weary and exhausted. Reading the messages left in the online guestbook became a ritual of sorts.
I decided that publishing this original blog in my book would be appropriate to illustrate that we, too, were once brand new parents…..frightened, overwhelmed, anxious as well as over-the-moon and hopeful. I thought it might be a good baseline for the rest of the chapters that follow. I have been reading through it for the first time in ten years and I have been amazed at the many things I had forgotten. I always believed that Meredith’s aspiration of meconium caused the lack of oxygen when in fact she experienced a moment of asphyxia which likely caused her distress consequently leading to her passing meconium. The aspiration was secondary to that first abrupt asphyxic episode. I also completely forgot that she required a blood transfusion after her g-tube surgery. So many little details that had been erased from my memory.
The more I read the more I regretted not keeping a journal all of these years. I even considered writing a blog post directed at new parents recommending that they keep a journal, even a weekly journal that records where they are at in their lives as parents and as a family. I began to wonder what other details had been wiped from my brain. What things had I forgotten about?
The more I read the original blog, the more I noticed how my emotions were surfacing. It was hard to go back and revisit the naivety of those early days when I believed that if we worked hard enough and prayed hard enough that the outcome would be different. I wished I could go back and wrap my arms around that mother who was bound and determined to set those doctors straight for stating that Meredith would be as complex as she eventually turned out to be. I smiled at my determination and my drive to somehow change the expected outcome. I realize now it is a part of this whole journey.
And then I also realized that perhaps keeping a record of every moment of the last ten years wouldn’t have been as beneficial as I previously thought. Maybe we aren’t supposed to remember every single detail of our lives. Maybe living through some of the most painful and frightening experiences of our lives is enough and it isn’t necessary to capture them on film or on paper. Maybe moments are to be experienced and then sifted through; keeping the parts that our hearts can carry for the long term and putting to rest the ones that are too heavy to bear. The joyful moments can be beckoned with ease because they are light and airy and easy to transport through time.
I suppose I do not need an actual visual record of it all because it is the lessons that emerged as a result of all of these experiences that really need to be expressed. I trust that the experiences that have been long forgotten have no business in the present time.
I am grateful for this little time capsule that has allowed me to travel back to the first year and revisit all of those new, first moments and feelings and I am equally grateful that the journal ended when it did.