Friday, August 31, 2012

letter to lawton

Dear Lawton,

It's nearing midnight on August 31, 2012.  In less than an hour, it will be your first birthday.  A year ago tonight I was getting restless bursts of sleep in between weak contractions, fighting to get comfortable on a tiny hospital bed with an IV in my arm.  We had been stuck back in a quiet corner of the labor and delivery floor waiting to be relocated to a bigger room in the morning when things had quieted down for everyone else and picked up for us.  I was so nervous that night, anticipating not only labor and delivery itself but the total rocking of our world that was imminent with your arrival.  When your sister was born I was terrified of the unknown, of how I would handle being a mother and how our lives would adapt to the challenges of parenthood.  This time I was anxious about all of the things I KNEW were coming (the struggles of nursing, the lack of sleep, the constant shifting of schedules) as well as the added difficulties of integrating you into our little threesome while still keeping Laine on a familiar routine.  I'll be honest with you, my thoughts strayed to her even as I was preparing to meet you, worried that she would feel lost in all of the new baby hubbub.  That mommy guilt is a strange beast, Lawton boy.  The second I would start to worry about Laine and her feelings, I would feel guilty for not being focused solely on you, anxious that you would not get the same uninterrupted attention she had had for almost two years.

While Laine may have gotten more of my undivided time and attention, I have to say that in some ways you were lucky to come second.  You got a more confident, strong, relaxed mommy.  Don't get me wrong, I can still rock a routine like it's nobody's business, but I have learned where I can let things slide and sometimes I do.  I knew what to take special joy in during those difficult newborn months, soaking up the weight of your little body on my chest, the tiny uncontrolled movements of your hands, the soft smell of your head after a washcloth bath.  I delighted in your milestones without consulting a single book or website.  I did the best I could and knew it was enough.  And now I celebrate the passage of this magical, crazy, wonderful, exhausting first year with pride in both you and myself.

I remember being astounded when Laine turned one at what a huge change seemed to come over her in a matter of weeks and I have noticed the same phenomenon with you.  All of a sudden you seem so much less like a baby; I get glimpses of the toddler and the little boy you will soon become.  You've entered the "dat" phase, wanting me to identify every new thing and person you see over and over and over (and OVER) again.  You point at and reach for and touch and look at and study and chew on EVERYTHING.  You pull up and wave bye bye and nod yes and shake your head no and mimic animal sounds and kissy noises and are soaking things up like a little sponge.  Watching you and your sister learn and discover things has truly been the greatest source of joy and pride in my life.

You're a little terror and a little delight.  You get into everything you're not supposed to, discovering things I never would have thought to baby-proof.  We can't go anywhere without you befriending everyone we meet, charming them with your enthusiasm and your smile and your silly little tuft of bright blonde hair on the back of your head.  We also can't go anywhere without you trying to stand up in the seat of the shopping cart but that's another story.  You adore your sister and your dogs, throwing balls, dancing, and climbing in the Cozy Coupe and waving bye bye.  You are so fearless and spirited and loud, quick to get frustrated and vocal with your anger (or your "baby rage" as your daddy and I call it), but just as quick to giggle and shriek with joy.  You make me laugh out loud every day.

I was worried about so many things while waiting in that tiny hospital room because, as you will learn, your mommy is a worrier.  But now, a year later, I realize that I had nothing to worry about.  You were exactly what and who was meant to come into my life, your daddy's life, your sister's life.  You have added to our family, not just in number, but in joy.  I am proud and blessed and happy and so, so very lucky to be your mommy.

I love you so much, my little man.  Happy birthday!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012


This past weekend marked nine years since the loss of one of my nearest and dearest.  I've written something about it here for the past few years and felt remiss in not doing so this year, so here we are.  I feel a bit rusty coming back to the blog, so I guess this is as good a place to start as any.

The weekend of the anniversary I was doing a show with a small group of some other nearest and dearests of mine.  It was a pet project of sorts that we had scraped together all on our very own out of common interest, desire, and talent.  I opened my dinosaur of a Caboodle the night before we opened (yes, I do still have a Caboodle and yes, it is purple with sparkles) to the picture of Jaime and me doing Tea in the Nutcracker that has been there for nine years now.  It still makes me catch my breath a little, and shake my head, and smile.  That's why it's still there, I guess.  And as a reminder, not only of him, but of the kind of performer I want to be and am capable of being.  Dancing onstage with Jaime was a delight and an honor and a joy, and I never want to forget that feeling and the desire to recapture it in other performances.  There was no better place to honor and remember him than onstage, and no better people to be with than the four that shared the stage with me.

The odd part of this particular anniversary for me personally is that I am on the cusp of turning 28, which is how old Jaime was when we lost him.  It is so strange and sad to me that from that birthday on I will always be older than my memories of him.  It was impossible to think of Jaime as "old", but he was just enough older than me that it seemed distant.  Almost thirty is so far away when you're barely twenty.  But here I am, and I realize with dizzying clarity just how young Jaime really was.  Just how much he didn't get to do, how much he didn't get to see ME do.  And the older I get, the farther I am from 28, the younger and younger he will seem to me.  My big brother, my "older man" crush, will never again be older than I am.

As with every year that passes I think of all of the things I would love to be able to share with him, namely my children.  What joy it would bring him to see what a smart and talented girl Laine is becoming, and what a little goofball Lawton is.  And I know they would have adored him as much as I did.  It's a loss for all of us.

Yet another nearest and dearest, Erin, always astounds me with her eloquence and maturity and never more than when I find myself at a loss for words.  I hope she won't mind me sharing what she wrote about Jaime this year...

"Two things Jaime wrote to me that I still hold onto:
1-That if I keep my heart as pure and full of love and life as the summer we shared a stage together, than I will have succeeded. 2-Always believe there is something of a wonder to the world and a magic which makes it worth living in.

Nine years is a long time to be without his magic but we've all tried to add some extra love and light and art to this world in his absence. And he may be gone, but he owed me a dinner and I still plan on collecting on that someday."

I'm planning on joining them.  Still miss you, Jaime.