Thursday, March 26, 2009


He is.

Delicious to me.

Monday night I filled the tub with hot sudsy water, cracked open the french door to draft the room with fresh air, and carefully lowered my aching body into the soothing comfort of weightlessness only found in water.

I had a long scary day at the hospital and was looking forward to a little quiet, me time to decompress after the drama of the day.

It didn't take long before I heard him calling to me: "Mommy, Mommy 'ere ares you?".

He quickly found me in the tub and was stripping down in no time. I'm not a real lover of the tub except for when I'm pregnant, so he was so excited to see that I had entered his playground. "Mommy in the hot tubby?"

I don't know when it happened, but sometime over the last few months, his little legs have gotten long enough that he can swing them up over the tub ledge and get himself into the tub. He quickly sat down and was surprised to find the water nearly touching his nose. He giggled, not sure if this was really the tub as the depth made it feel more like a swimming pool.

Soon he found delight in rolling his toys off of my swollen belly, squealing each time an errant ducky or pirate or boat splashed into the water. "Baby stuck mommy?" Indeed, it does feel like the baby is stuck.

He made a game out of my protruding belly button, using it as his microphone to call all pirates back home. "argh, mommy! no cry stuck baby!"

Later I slathered him in Baby Magic before dressing him in his pajamas. Even though technically he isn't my baby anymore, the smell of that lotion on his skin transcends me back to the first days and weeks of his life.

In the middle of the night I hear him call to me: "Mommy 'ere ares you?"

And so I go to him. I go to him more often than I actually sleep through the night. At 2 1/2 there is no reason for him to be waking at 3 or 4 am. But he usually does, and somehow I have failed to find frustration in our late night visit.

As I enter his room, he immediately greets me with a flood of words: "Hi Mommy. Hold you Mommy? Rock you Mommy? Just one minute?"

Ah, he knows the routine. But more importantly he knows I'm a sucker for his sweet cuddle request.

I pick him up and immediately find myself enveloped in his small arms. I sit to rock him in the overstuffed chair and smile as he tries to find comfort in my lap in spite of my growing belly. Eventually, he gives up on his preferred position of knees tucked to chest, head resting on my shoulder, and allows me to cradle him as I did when he was a newborn babe. Within minutes he is sleeping soundly and I quietly tuck him back in bed.

I often have a hard time falling back to sleep. I'd like to blame it on pregnancy induced insomnia and the inability to find comfort. But truthfully, after a visit with this little love, I can't get him out of my mind. I love this age. I love his innocence, his budding vocabulary, his need for me still. I love him with a fierceness that feels foreign and yet familiar all at once. It is that ache deep within my heart that I faintly recall feeling when Cole was a toddler and I was expecting Rachel. I wonder and I worry: will I love the next one just the same? Of course I know the answer. I am well aware of the magical ability of a mother's heart to expand exponentially within just minutes of giving birth.

And yet, for the moment. Miles in all of his deliciousness, has stolen my heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


And so it begins.

I've anticipated it since conception. I have experienced it with each of my pregnancies. I shouldn't be surprised. And yet, there is nothing comforting about the doctor telling you to stay completely down aside from a daily shower and potty breaks.

My blood pressure is too high. The baby is too small, too early, too immature to survive outside the safety of my womb without medical intervention.

"Each day we prevent delivery is a gift to your son". He said, looking me straight in the eyes, trying to convey the seriousness of the situation. Truth be told...I have never been so panicked in all of my life. This is the earliest I have ever threatened to deliver. I asked him for some kind of hope that my baby wouldn't end up in the NICU and he simply said "Bedrest can work if you comply." Sentiments confirmed by a kind nurse during subsequent monitoring.

And so it goes. I've made it two days so far, I am hoping for fourteen more.

Lest my brain turn to total mush, I'm going to try to post once a day until my delivery. That's a pretty lofty goal that I may not make...but at least it gives me something to think about while lying around.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Near but not Near Enough

By looking just at the title of this post, one could assume I am talking about my elusive due date, which is most definitely near, but not near enough.

But this is another post about my dad. I'm sure it would be much better for the two people who actually read my blog (thanks mom and Tony) to move on to a different topic. But I sense that the feelings that creep into my heart will slowly start to fade, and because of that, I feel more of an urgent need to post little things I am feeling about my dad.

My dad used to love to give big hugs. They were full bodied and strong. He always said "Come here and let me squeeze your guts out". It was a trademark of his, one that every single grandchild will recall with fondness.

In his last weeks, Miles was just beginning to speak. I would often lay him on my dad's chest so he too could experience a squeeze your guts out hug from Papa Bill. Each day I would ask him "Who squeezes your guts out?" and he would promptly respond "Papa Bill".

I stopped asking eventually and Miles began speaking in full sentences; each of us pressing forward, moving onward.

Sunday night we gathered for family dinner. We toasted a niece on her new job, we welcomed my mother home from an extended vacation, we laughed and traded stories. It was just the kind of dinner my dad would have loved. Miles kept leaving his seat, racing to my chair, and then running back to his own. I was growing exasperated by his antics in the crowded restaurant. At last he came to me and said "Papa Bill squeezes guts out." He repeated it over and over to his cousins, his siblings, his aunt and uncle.

Perhaps Miles was the only one who could see my dad there, wrapping his arms around each one of us.

Tuesday, Cole came and lay down with me in bed. He has been recovering from a pretty bad case of strep, which he so kindly shared with me. He told me how he'd been thinking so much about his grandpa. He said when he felt so sick for just a few days, it made him realize how his grandpa had been sick for months and months and yet he rarely complained. He always remained positive, stoic.

I, too, have been having these same thoughts of my dad. Especially when I was in the hospital a few weeks ago suffering from severe pain. In those short six hours before I was able to obtain pain relief, my thoughts turned continually to my dad who endured that kind of pain for months on end. I understood on a different level his desperation and panic. I have thought of little else and have worried and wondered that we did enough to help make and keep him comfortable. Over and over I have felt him calm my fears and tell me it was enough, that we did everything possible. Perhaps the only lesson he is trying to show me is that of empathy for others pain.

On Wednesday, I was searching frantically for a lost email and came across an email written by my second oldest brother the day after my dad's funeral. Somehow it had ended up in my spam file.

"I think everything went extremely well yesterday. I want you all to know how proud I am to have you as my brothers and beloved sister. I know I don't always say it, but I just wanted you to know I love and appreciate you all, I couldn't ask for better siblings. Now pick yourself up. The show must go on!"

I wept and recognized my dad's hand in reminding me that I am not alone, that I have three of the kindest, most amazing, accomplished, compassionate brothers. Each of them possessing a portion of my dad's charm and character. What a lovely reminder found in an errant email on a day when I most needed it.

Yesterday, I attending a meeting for the American Cancer Society. Their annual Babe golf tournament will be held in honor of my dad this year. I knew that this was happening, it was the sole reason I was asked to volunteer my time on the committee. And yet, walking in that door and seeing "In Honor of William C. "Bill" Roderick" on all of the tournament literature took my breath away. I quietly wiped away silent tears as my sister in law gently rubbed my leg under the table.

I don't have any physical possessions of my dad due to some pretty unusual circumstances. But what I do have is a lifetime of memories, an over-flowing reservoir of treasured moments and tender feelings. I think he was with me at that meeting, reminding me that while I don't have his 'things', I still have him. I carry him with me everywhere I go, right here in my heart. Surely he is nearby if only the sight of his name can bring me to tears.

I know my dad is near. I feel him every day in sometimes profound, sometimes silly ways. He is here, just not nearly close enough.