Better than all the rest
You’re better than anyone
Well, anyone I’ve ever met
Ooh, I’m stuck on your heart, baby”
I was thinking about how I never expected him, and how having a later in life baby has REALLY made me appreciate every age and stage and phase, except maybe the mastitis five times over stage, but we worked through that. And I had thought Des was my last and REALLY appreciated his every age and stage and phase, and continue to do so. If we are being honest, I had thought Scarlet was probably my one and only at the time, so I appreciated her every age and stage and phase too. And I continue to do so. 12-year-olds are rather fun and odd. ANYWAY, it’s a different appreciation. The ages and stages and phases are different. Although, as the pediatrician said at Rider’s 15-month well visit, that he screamed the ENTIRE time through due to doctor anxiety, “If you have three kids with different personalities who are all good sleepers, it’s the parenting.”
And speaking of which, my next fun floating thought was that Rider was unexpected at the time, but he was planned. This fourth baby is REALLY unexpected and not planned at all and the pregnancy has been so different from the other three. They’re all different from each other and how I carry and feel is not about boy or girl, but about my torso and age and anxiety and personality and the baby’s positioning and maybe some blood sugar issues with some and not the others. I feel better than I had felt with both Rider and Des at this point now, although with Scarlet I was in my 20s and felt more magical. And feeling better is making me enjoy every age and stage and phase of this pregnancy more than I have, even though the beginning sucked and I have some selective amnesia about that. I thought every pregnancy was my last, and they weren’t. This one is really my last and my even with the anterior placenta and some muffles to the movement, I feel this baby. I appreciate every movement; the hiccups and the responses.
And this week has probably been anything but a magical one. Scarlet had a double exposure to COVID at school and on the bus, and on the day we were supposed to test her in order to go to school, she was one day past her booster shot. So of course she felt awful that day! That said, her symptoms were never COVID, and they magically disappeared at the 36 hour mark, as things often do, and she tested negative twice for COVID. So she’s back at school and improv and her art class job, and with the little HERSHEY kisses I sneak into her lunch every morning so that she can share them with four friends. Know this, if I can make a middle schooler’s day better in the middle of COVID and masks and dry skin and sub-zero temperatures, I’m going to do just that.
And it’s not always easy to do just that. It’s easier with some, more than others, even if do I love them the same. Rider clung to me, crying, for an hour, through being weighed and measured, examined, and eventually, vaccinated against whatever 15-month-olds are vaccinated against these days. Cassidy had a bad day at work and was devastated when he got home, and I didn’t realize it at first. I was also already in my pajamas and lying on the couch after the Rider doctor experience. Yet, these hands and arms and this heart are capable and strong. I can rise up and give him a hug. I can say, “I’m sorry about what happened at work.” And I can continue to work hard to pay bills and take more pressure off. I can tell him I believe in him to do what magical things he wants to do. It’s not hard. It’s simple, and it’s simply the best. “I’m stuck on your heart.”
Of course it’s a harder time, with winter and darkness and iced over driveways and hearts. Omicron is its own particular nightmare, and just continues to unearth more of the great divides between us all. I think more about empathy and kindness, because we all do what we do for reasons, even if they’re hard to understand. On the grand scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being as careful as can be, and 1 being, “Pandemic? What pandemic?” we’re more on the 10 side. I’m more on the 10 side than Cassidy, maybe. And there are reasons for that. I think that if you’re immune-compromised, or live or care for someone immune-compromised, or if you’re pregnant (or TTC), or if you lost a parent young and would never dare risk doing that to your kids, you may be more careful. If you have anxiety about long COVID symptoms and outcomes, if you have anxiety about illness at all, if you’re in the fields of psychology or World War 2, or science and healthcare, you may be more careful. It could be a combination of things, or nothing at all.
Speak the language of love like you know what it means”
Empathy is hard, especially for the nearly faceless strangers on the internet, spewing hatred and misinformation. Luckily, our worlds are mostly made up of non-strangers, with full and beautiful faces, that you may see masked, or unmasked. And empathy is easier for those we know. So we move through, with our iced over driveways and less iced over hearts, hearing these stories now, that we’ll be telling for generations to come. Coming to an understanding that we want what’s best for ourselves, and for generations to come. It’s the only way through, and then up and out.
Oh, I hang on every word you say
Oh, tear us apart, oh, no no no”