I have a tendency to approach life negatively. I have never been a glass half full kind of person, although I have often wished I were.
Some days, it's like a black cloud hanging over me. I have battled depression for many years now. I went un-diagnosed for many years, was finally diagnosed after Monster Boy was born, felt I was on the road to recovery, was at a GOOD place for the first time in I can't remember how long. And then Miss Sunshine was born. And we found out about her cleft. And I spiraled nearly out of control with grief and depression. I blamed myself. Let's all be honest here - any mother of a child who has any kind of medical issues, be they visible or not, blames themselves in some way. Whether it's a "What did I do to cause this" or a "What didn't I do enough of to prevent it?", those thoughts creep their way in. I had a very hard time dealing with Miss Sunshine's cleft, for a long time. I latched on to the inability to breastfeed her and manifested all of my grief, my pain, my anger, everything, in to that. I cried myself to sleep so many nights I can't even begin to count them for you. I didn't even FEED my own child for nearly three months. Honest truth here - I couldn't. I was not strong enough to do it. Well, and for the first three months, every time she ate, I was hooked up to that stupid breast pump and literally couldn't feed her myself. And I cried, bawled, so hard the first time I gave her that bottle. I lost what little sleep I could have had over her weight, the way she ate, her hearing, her ears, her surgeries, everything. I hate, despise, that aspect of her cleft. See, with Monster Boy, I went through a rather intense emotional journey during my pregnancy with him, and I never really got to enjoy my pregnancy. I still feel robbed of that. But his infancy. Oh, how I reveled in being a mother, in holding him, nursing him, everything. He was a joy and in some small way that helped make up for the strain of my pregnancy. With Miss Sunshine, I was able to share in my pregnancy with Daddy Mac. We were both able to be excited, and enjoy, my time being pregnant with her. But her infancy. I still feel robbed of the excitement of that. And then, I feel guilty for feeling robbed. But, I'm being honest here. Nobody wants to watch their child struggle, to deal with surgeries at such a young age, to know they hurt and that you had no choice but to willingly put them through pain. It's heart wrenching.
But today. Oh, today. Today, I found joy in my child. It was nothing spectacular, or exciting, or even new. But today, after work, after nap, Miss Sunshine was running around in all her totally-excited-crazy-two-year-old glory. Talking up a storm, laughing, playing with the dog, with me, with anything and everything she could get her hands on. And I looked at my little girl, and I realized, she's not my baby anymore. She's growing up. She's beautiful, smart, funny, and only TWO! And oh, how much I feel I have missed out on, being depressed, and stressed, and sad, and unhappy. I don't want to waste another minute being that way. Logically, I know, I will. But for now. Oh, for now, I'm going to be grateful for this journey. It is one I never would have imagined I would have taken, but I am all the better for it. And so, today, I sat Miss Sunshine down on my lap, and I played with her hair (it is amazing how I can't get this child to sit still for a simple pony tail, but an intricate design involving a dozen teeny tiny hairbands and ponytails and she sits like a statue) and I painted her nails (Thank you, Piggy Paint, for an all natural, non toxic nail polish safe for small children!) and her toes, and I laughed and I giggled, and I hugged her, and I held her, and I loved her. And tomorrow, it will be Monster Boy's turn. Well, not the pony tails or the fingernails, but you get what I mean. I'm going to strive to be grateful for what I have, instead of worried over what I don't.