Losing You

Today, October 15th is officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  And so, I thought I might share with you a poem I wrote a few years ago after I lost a baby.

I dedicate this poem to all the mothers and mothers-to-be who carried their babies, but never experienced the joy of raising them.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/4216105363/in/photostream/

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Losing You

My soul exalted,

Overcome by joy,

Contemplating

The prospect of your birth,

The knowledge of your presence,

The beating of your heart.

Primed with pregnant pride,

I glowed,

Until you slipped away;

Leaving me alone,

To walk through life without you,

Yet knowing, you were there.

Your memory,

Etched forever in my soul,

Nurtures my weakened spirit;

Hinders my despair;

Halts my downward spiral

Of depression.

Your memory,

Stills my fertile fears;

Renews my sorrowful soul,

Even as I mourn,

Knowing you are with me,

Forever in my heart.

Your memory,

Rekindles motherly desire;

Filling me with new found hope,

Of reigniting life,

Of knowing, once again,

The power of your love.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

Irish Sheepdogs – Why I Love Border Collies

I love dogs, and of all the dogs in the world I really, really love border collies.  I think I spent too much time with sheepdogs on my grannies’ farms when I was a young girl in Ireland.  That’s when my love affair began.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Borderkolie.jpg

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I searched high and low through files of creative commons photos on Flickr.com and on Wikimedia.com to help illustrate why I love these dogs so much. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

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Look at that smile!

 

Those perky ears!

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/5845717126/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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Look at that focus!

 

Border collies are just born to work.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mozzercork/228136950/in/photostream/

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I remember watching the BBC television program “One Man And His Dog” as a child.  May not sound like great children’s entertainment, but I was riveted to the screen, watching the sheer skill of these magnificent sheep herders, responding to the shrill, sharp whistles of their owners.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonsimages/6172990999/in/photostream/

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Rounding sheep into a flock, or separating just a few from the wooly group, is second nature to these glorious animals, bred specifically for this purpose.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13422316@N00/2565249742/in/photostream/

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I love this photo taken in Scotland.  If you examine the shot closely you will see four dogs working in unison to round up the herd.  Click on the image credit and hover over the photograph.  The exact location of each border collie has been highlighted by the photographer.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehamster/3715915815/in/photostream/

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And of course, you can never forget their agility.  Border collies can be trained to leap and bound like no other dogs on earth.  Their sheer athleticism is simply spectacular.

When my husband and I first got married we rescued a border collie/chow mix puppy from the shelter in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Molly grew old with us, loved us, protected us, and really entertained us with her beer-loving, lizard-chasing personality.

Molly

My triplets were just 3-months old when Molly developed bloat, a serious condition where a dog’s stomach twists.  She only had a 20% survival chance if she underwent surgery, and would have required tube feeding for quite some time.  Definitely not an option with newborn triplets.  And so Molly left us after 14 wonderful years.  At that point, I put the thought of dog ownership out of my mind.

But kids love dogs.  My four little ones have begged and pleaded with their border collie-loving mom for a puppy.  I resisted for two long years, never caving in to their earnest pleas.

Then a friend informed my little troop there is only one sure way to get a dog, and that is to just keep asking.  And they did!  Every night they prayed for a dog – calling on the Good Lord’s help, since mom was just not responding.

Once all four flew the nest and headed off to school this year, I reveled in all my free time.  But empty nest syndrome must have struck.  How do you keep mom busy, stop her feeling lonely while the kiddos are busy at school?

The one and only solution in the whole wide world is:

A border collie puppy!

 

 

Two weeks ago my husband and I relented, giving in to those endless doggy demands, when we added a seventh member to our clan.  My kids fell in love with this eight-week old puppy the moment they laid eyes on her.

We called her Oreo, since her face looks just like the cookie.

And let me assure you, there is no greater distraction from the lure of computer games, than a fun-loving, energetic border collie puppy.  She is already herding my four little ones out the door to play each afternoon.

“I Didn’t Do It”

Last night, as I tucked my eldest boy into bed he whispered to me:

“Mom, Oreo is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

 

That’s when I knew that giving in to all those endless pleas for a dog, was one of the best decisions ever.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

P.S. A big thanks to all the photographers who shared photos of their wonderful border collies under a creative commons license.

Sleep – The Best Kept Beauty Secret

Sleep - the best kept beauty secretPhoto Credit

I truly believe sleep is the beauty secret no one ever talks about. Millions of dollars, maybe even billions, are spent on creams and elixirs of all kinds, to apply to sagging cheeks, undereye shadows, and those wrinkled webs intricately woven around our orbits.

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I am a big believer in moisturizer, but that being said, a few more hours of sleep could replace overly expensive concoctions, applied in copious amounts, in a vain effort to wage war on tell-tale signs of aging.

I think my lack of pure, uninterrupted sleep is causing me to reflect on it, with the zeal of the Ancient Mariner.

SleepPhoto Credit

I remember those good old teenage years, when sleeping for a glorious ten, twelve or even a fourteen hour stretch was not unheard of. Hunger pangs gently gnawing on an empty stomach finally awakened the sleeping teen. Sizzling sausages for breakfast at noon were delicious, rolled up in a slice of doughy, white bread. I suppose those lazy, teenage breakfasts really qualified as “brunch” – a topic for another day.

Many Americans are early, early risers (The Early Bird Catches the Worm), believing half a day in bed at the weekend, is half a day wasted. I cannot agree. The sleeping Irish giant awakens within, when I hear this argument. A lovely, long sleep is the best way to recharge over-drained batteries. Indulging the inner sloth, is simply the best way for the body to press an internal refresh button.

Sloth in TreePhoto Credit

Alack and alas, I never appreciated those slovenly slumbers in my teenage years. I took them for granted. When I was free to sleep for as long as I wished, or stay up to sing the moon to sleep, it simply never dawned on me there might come a day when I could no longer choose to stay in bed, to sleep for however long I wished.

And now I number amongst the millions of parents whose nightly repose is determined by their children’s sleeping patterns, night mares, growing pains, and the age-old need for Mommy’s snuggly warmth.

otter and seaweedPhoto Credit

As a teenager I slept through vacuuming, sewing machine purrings, and dogs yelping, but now, the mere patter of a tiny pair of feet tottering in the dark to my room, causes me to stir.

Oh, how I loathe those growing pains which cause my son to cry out at night, rubbing his thighs. After dispensing a teaspoon of pain-killer, I hold him tightly, hugging him to help sleep return. Inevitably I drift off beside him, my head hanging over the edge of the mattress, waking a few hours later rubbing the crick in my now stiff neck.

So when I examine my reflection in the mirror and notice those age lines, I dream of uninterrupted sleep. But do I blame my children for my aging face and lack of sleep? Not in the least. Whether I like it or not, most of my weariness is self-inflicted. There is a simple solution. If I crave beauty sleep, then I must simply “go to bed early.” No more burning the midnight oil.

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My resolution for this week is to overcome my inherent night owl, and hit the hay by 10 pm. Fingers crossed I can do it, and rejuvenate this aging Mommy face in the process.

 

Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

The Early Bird Catches The Worm.

I have come to the conclusion that America must be full of worm catchers. In the wee hours of the morning the streets of any American city or town are busy. It never ceases to amaze me how early this country rises.

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The Irish are notoriously late risers. I think Irish people are more in tune with the plight of the second mouse, than the early bird.

You know the saying – “The second mouse gets the cheese.”

When visiting Ireland my husband often catches the first morning flight back to the US, so we get up before the birds. In summertime, the sun rises around 4 am in Ireland, so light is no factor in the lack of activity on Dublin streets.

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No, it is merely an expression of the genetic composition of the Irish. We love to sing the moon to sleep, and rise long after the birds have started their morning song. An odd soul wanders in lonely solitude towards the bus stop, as we drive across Dublin suburbia. The quiet of the drive adds magic to misty mornings.

Now that I am a stay-at-home Mom, I tell myself I should get up before the kids and seize my opportunity to exercise alone. Try as I might, a sunrise trot around the neighborhood eludes me. Only angels calling, an early morning work meeting, or a flight at the crack of dawn, could ever encourage me to raise my weary bones, at the unearthly hour of 5 am.

When I worked in Dallas I often had early, early meetings with doctors.

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Peeling myself off the bed, at o-dark-thirty in the morning, was a major feat to start any day. I would stare at my puffy-eyed reflection in the bathroom mirror, reflecting on life.

“THIS IS THE LAST MORNING I CAN DO THIS,” I would moan to myself, staring back at the comfort of my tousled bed.

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I considered returning for just five more minutes of restful sleep, fully aware of the dangers of letting my head even touch that pillow again.

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I pushed on. Make up on, cup of tea in hand, I drove out of our subdivision at a sleepy pace. I have never mastered the art of coffee drinking, which may be the main cause of my morning sleepiness. Anyway, I digress. Back to my twenty mile commute to downtown Dallas.

While rubbing my eyes and smudging my mascara, I slowly merged onto the highway to join the traffic.


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“TRAFFIC”, I hear my Irish readers say, “at o-dark-thirty am”.

Yes, traffic and lots of it, sometimes even traffic jams, long before the crack of dawn.


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This is a photo of the High Five interchange in Dallas, which I crossed everyday on my way to work.  What a maze!

Then to cap it all off, those doctors would be full of the beans, at that unearthly hour of the morning, talking away, sipping their coffees, and munching on their donuts.

I AM NOT FLUENT IN 6 AM TALK. Never have been. Never will be.

And so I would sit, and smile, as I sipped my tea with smudgy eyes, longing for the days when I could stay in bed again.

Since I no longer work outside the home, I thought my wish for a few extra ZZZ’s in the morning might be granted.

Guess what happened!!!!

The Good Lord bestowed upon me a son, a little angel, who loves to wake up at the unearthly hour of o-dark-thirty. He tiptoes down the hall to his mommy, then taps her on the shoulder, gently at first. If she does not respond in the alotted time, he pummels her with a pillow, and stands staring at her as she moans and groans her way into standing.

I stagger downstairs with him, holding his little hand in mine. Then we sit together on the couch and cuddle. As I hold him closely, cherishing these precious moments, I realise the truth.

I have given birth to a TRUE AMERICAN. You know the early-bird, worm-catching kind.


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Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom