I thought about our miscarriage the other day and then I thought about how I never think about it anymore. It was like a phantom that snuck in and then left as quietly as he arrived. Like an unwanted house guest that overstays his welcome but not until you boil over the breaking point does he finally leave. Weeks of being polite and bearable and hospitable until you lose your $hi* and send an eviction notice. Time’s up. Get out. Move on. I don’t even remember now how long it all lasted, weeks I know, but maybe not quite months and months. I thought about how fortunate I am to barely remember. How blessed we are to not be tracking a loss date or thinking about how old the baby would be now. I often feel guilty because that short stint of suffering was immediately replaced with a new beautiful life and so many people are not so lucky. I thought, on this day, that I would go through every single second again one million times over to have this baby boy in my life. I talk so often about light and darkness and suffering and triumph. I have been through those cycles in my life and if there was ever a story of low and high, this son of mine is the epitome of strength that comes from pain. I cannot imagine the finality and heartache I would feel now if he had not come along. It’s as if God had to make room for him in our hearts, A HUGE space, the biggest space He could and then that empty space was filled with so much life and love I can barely put it into words. But so many I know still just have the space. Empty. Waiting to be filled.

It is no secret that our first son was not planned. Total surprise and a shock that caused some major changes in our lives, mainly getting married which we should have done long before but Ashley was too scared and durn if I don’t blame him. I had not been a parent in a very long time nor had my hubby and our anxiety was through the roof. It really felt like starting over again, learning all over again, and even though we were better versions of ourselves, we still had a lot to figure out. Also, we did not sleep for three years so there’s that. I begged for another baby pretty much every day after we started sleeping again (makes sense right?) and so I would consider TAP a joint decision, planned if you will. Ok, close enough. Then came the news of needing to have a c-section and I felt that terror all over again, the phantom was back creeping around, causing that heavy looming omniscient feeling of doubt. I had never had major surgery, never taken any sort of pain meds or any prescription meds for that matter, besides antibiotics. I was afraid of death and scarring and death and pain, being too out of it to breastfeed, becoming addicted to opioids (way too many Intervention episodes). You name it and I was afraid of it. I prayed every day for that baby to get in the right position and it just never happened. Meanwhile just for precaution my doc decided to have my family donate blood in case I had complications from his position thing and I am a tad anemic when I am preggo so that gave us a very queasy feeling. The day after Christmas morning we checked in and I legit thought I might have a panic attack. I will never forget the stainless steel, sterile as hell operating room and the 8 million people in there about to see me in all my glory. I am so private in so many ways and the random drug rep in there on his cell phone just about did me in. It is hands down the most terrified I have ever been in my life. I could not let AAP see my fear so somehow I hunkered down, prayed my heart out and made it through. I will never have to do it again I said over and over and over to myself…..

And then I heard him cry and then I saw big huge crocodile tears rolling down Ashley’s face and I knew I would do it 100 times again just to see and hear those sweet sweet sounds. All of the trials from beginning to end, loss to love, somehow magnified that beautiful moment to words I cannot express. He was perfect. Quite frankly, knock on wood, he still is. He reminds me so much of Betty who rarely cried, slept like a champ and was an overall delight. He smiles and smiles and smiles some more. He smiles so much his paci falls out. He laughs and goes to bed at 6:30 and sleeps all night and is the best best baby. He is a blissful snuggly ball of baby fat and smell good Iove I could kiss for eternity. He is perfect. He is Heaven on earth. He is everything we wanted and needed 1,000 times over.

I have wanted to give up at times in my life. I write about it all the time and I think we all grow weary and cranky and first world spoiled sometimes. That’s just life. It’s hard. It’s challenging. It’s scary. But I have found that there is always always always a plan for those challenges. There is always something on the other side of that trial or tribulation that is even better than what we ever imagined. God made room in my heart for a new tiny life and who he is, the light he shines, the joy he has brought, is more than I ever knew possible. Every single thing we endure shapes us into what God has planned for us. It takes fire to meld gold. What is on the other side, what is our God given plan and destiny becomes stronger and more beautiful by the trials we face. I have thought a lot about Anthony Bourdain lately. I identify with him because he loved food and travel and writing. I have wondered if he would have stuck around just one more week or even one more day, if his plan would have been revealed. I wonder if it was and he just couldn’t ever get there, couldn't fill that big ole space. I do not care that he had a previous drug problem or was an alcoholic or that he took his own life. His life was very beautiful to me and I am sad he is gone. He was someone’s snuggly smell good baby boy and he has left an insurmountable space.

"As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small.”-Anthony Bourdain

I hope today and every day we all realize how profound the marks we leave behind are, however small. I hope we know that the slightest changes we make in this world can have the most impact. You may not know it but your smile may change someone’s day, may save their life. This world is nothing but all of those slight changes and small marks coming together to create life and love. Your small mark and slight changes matter in more ways than you will ever know. Fill your space, fill your space, fill your space.  To my son Theodore and to all of my children, YOU are my plan and my destiny and the slightest change that has made the biggest impact. YOU are my never giving up. YOU are the greatest mark I will ever leave behind. I am so very glad I did not give up and filled my space with YOU.