Monday, August 27, 2018

Grief

It’s not even my grief 
and it haunts me
Not my story
Not even in my lifetime
But, it lives inside me each day. 
Somehow
 my mother 
my father 
Survived 40 years
Lived 40 years 
Smiled and loved 
For 40 years
Raised two children 
Missing one child 
Perfectly 
Healthy
Toddler
With 
Beautiful 
Brown 
Eyes 
GONE 
From a sweet boy
22 months old 
to a memory
One day here
the next day 
Gone
as time can heal us 
it can be a cruel reminder 
that the fear
doesnt go away
the sadness
is
the reality 
is
Grief knows no boundaries
Grief doesn’t go away. 
We become a new version
of the person 
that death left us
As anniversaries approach
the sting 
the memories
The reality of it all 
Is that grief 
Is the greatest 
most painful
selfless 
act of love 
we can give
love that never 
ceases to exist 







Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ten Years-

How has it been 10 years?
Some days go by so slowly,
Some years go by so fast.
I sit back and think of the little
“Memories”
I have of you
they have faded.
Ten years of healing.
Ten years of grieving.
Ten years of regret.
Wondering,
if I could have given you more.
You made me who I am today.
You gave me the strength,
I didn’t know I had.
You changed my life forever.
This day 10 years ago,
Changed my life forever.
Changed my life me forever.
When a day supposed to be full
Of joy,
Of excitement and surprise,
Turns into
 the darkest hour,
 of the darkest day,
 from your worst nightmare.
Holding little Anna’s hand that day.
smiling to TJ waiting on news
Of a girl or a boy.
Having the doctor come in,
with the worst words.
 Incompatible with life.
Will not survive.
Hearing a wail fill the air
Of the ultrasound room
Not even recognizing that the cry was mine.
Leaving the office in a daze,
disbelief and pain.
Calling my mom from the parking lot,
 screaming into the phone.
My baby is dying.
It can’t live.
The baby is dying.
Ten years later these moments feel
Like yesterday.
I wish the memories I had
were better than what they are.
Ten years later.
You would be turning 10 years old.
In the 4th grade.
God had other plans for us.
The pain of losing you,
is never far from my mind.
Days like today,
it hits hard.
I love you, Emma Jean.
I hope we have made you proud.
I hope you look down from Heaven,
and see how much you have changed me.
See the person I am because of you.
Your life on Earth may have been short,
But the impact you have made will never end.
So today on “D -Day” a decade later,
I’m going to try my best to smile,
Give a hug,
Enjoy the sunshine,
And be thankful God made you mine.

Monday, February 12, 2018

You are More ...

When he walked in the door he didn’t say anything about it. I asked him how his day was and he said good, we snuggled and he changed his clothes. He ate his Oreos and milk and did his homework. As he worked on a math page he looked up and said Mom, someone was talking about me today. My heart sank. I was imagining the things that someone might have said about him. Imagining how I would respond. Then he told me- 
It happened today. For the last 8 years I have prepared myself for this moment. I have thought about what I would say and how I would say it. I have thought about how my words and reactions would have a major impact on him. Someone told other people he was adopted. I asked him if it upset him and he said that it did. He said the kid told him he had a secret about him and then whispered to other kids near them. He said the way he did it made it seem like it was bad. I asked him what he did and he said he told the teacher. I asked him if he said anything else to the boy and he said no. 
I apologized to him first. Told him how sorry I was that someone made him feel like he was less than. I told him I was sorry that someone made him feel like he should be ashamed of something we are so proud of. I told him that I am so sorry that he has to ever feel different, because I understand sometimes being different is hard. I asked him what upset him the most and he said that he didn’t understand how the kid knew he was adopted. I explained to him that sometimes people know because we look different. Sometimes people know because we are proud of Adoption. I explained that some people, like this kid, probably don’t know how amazing adoption is. I then told him what I have been rehearsing in my head for 8 years-The next time anyone makes you feel less than because you are adopted you can look them in they eye and tell them, well my mom and Dad chose me out of all of the little boys in the world, yours got stuck with you.
So, maybe it isn’t the most mature way of dealing with it, but it made my gorgeous brown eyed boy smile. I told him it was the truth. That daddy and I saw his face and knew God meant for him to be ours. That we wanted him more than anything in the world and we are so incredibly happy that he is our baby boy. Someday if it comes up again I may tell him about the 30 other families who wanted to adopt him, but Our Family was chosen. For now I want him to know that we are proud of Adoption being a part of our family. Anna was sitting near us and told him how much she loves adoption and she is sorry he felt so badly today. I told him how proud I was of him for telling me how he felt and that I never want him to not tell me how he feels, in fear of hurting my feelings. There may be times he wishes he were not adopted, not different and that is okay. That I will always be here to listen and to try and help him feel better about the amazing kid he is. I told him that as a mom sometimes I have to learn, just like kids. I have never been in his shoes and although I am proud to be an adoptive parent, I have never been a child who was adopted. I told him that we would work together to figure these things out as they come along. I told him he may be adopted, but he is so much more than that. Adoption is just one part of who he is. 

He is a Caito.


  He is daddy and mommy’s son, Anna and Sam’s brother. He is an amazing cousin and friend. He is funny and smart and a bad news bear. He is an artist and a rapper and has the kindest soul of any kid I know. He is happy and silly and hates to be alone. He is always hungry and will try any food.  He is fast and witty the best snuggler around. 

He is Wyatt Thomas Caito-

 exactly who and exactly where God meant for him to be.


 I pray he is never made to feel less than because he is adopted again, but for now I know he felt pretty good when he left to ride his bike.  
I am writing this and sharing it because I hope that maybe just one parent can talk to their child about adoption. Not everyone’s family is like ours where it is a “normal” everyday thing. I hadn’t really thought about it before, so I am asking that if you talk to your child about it let them know what a blessing it is. That it is another way that God creates families. That being adopted is something to be proud of, not to whisper about. 
  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tough choices

Parent. 

Advocate.

Voice.

Biggest fan. 


Kids are pretty amazing. But, sometimes It's difficult to make the right choices to lead them in the right direction. It is difficult to know if you are helping to better them or screwing them up! 


Last year Wyatt had a rough time. As I fought for him time and time again, I felt defeated. More importantly, he felt defeated. He was sad that he couldn't succeed. Sad that he wasn't his best self and often put in situations with expectations that wouldn't allow these things to happen. It took ten meetings, what seems like a hundred emails and a few heart to hearts to come to the decision to switch schools. It wasn't because of sports or commitments. It was because I didn't want to see my son defeated. This kid has been through more than enough in his life. He is an amazing, kind, courteous, smart and gorgeous kid. He needs those around him to help him to be his best self. It isn't too much to expect. It isn't too much to ask for. Last year was rough. He walked out of school sullen because of behavior marks for things beyond his control, things accommodations were to be made for daily. 

This year is different. This school he comes home from daily with a skip in his step and a smile on his face. Even on the days where he has been beaten down (literally and figuratively), he still feels happy and welcome. He is proud of himself. He tells me about school and friends, about lunch and religion. I get positive feedback and the necessary information to help him make better choices. Instead of not taking the time for the one on one he needs, the principal takes the time to be the person to give him his tests. They help him to be successful and most importantly to feel successful. 

Today he received his first report card at his new school. He was out of breath as he ran through the door from running home. He immediately ran in to show me what he had received. He feels smart. He feels recognized. He is proud of himself in school. This is what we want for our son. This is why we made the choice we did. 


It is days like today that help us realize that the hardest choices sometimes bring the best results. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Goodbye to Michi - Anna's words

Last week Anna came home with her Language Arts Composition Book in hand. She has been writing each day as homework and I love to see the things she has written.  This year she has really been challenged by her LA teacher to dig deeper and to write from more difficult prompts.  This time she wanted to write something from an experience that had made her sad.  As I read her words tears welled up in my eyes. Anna doesn't talk much about her feelings.  This was the first time I had ever heard or read her perspective on the night the Meech left.  I told her about my blog and about how I write my feelings out whenever I am sad, angry or sometimes really happy.  I asked her if I could share her Journal entry on my blog and she said yes.



Anna Caito 10-18-2017
Goodbye to Michi

Sadness. Sadness is how everyone felt in our small van. Silence. We all just sat in our seats thinking of all the memories we had with Michi, my foster brother. I was remembering everything we had done with him.
 I thought about when I found him in a carseat in our house, not even knowing who he was yet. I remembered trying to say Demetrius (his name) and ending up calling him D until we found out his nickname was Michi . I remember thinking he was a girl when I first met him from his pretty eyes and long curly hair. I remember going to Disney World with him while he was dancing in the parade there. I also remembered how my mom had to put his hair in buns because it was so crazy and out of controlled so at Disney everyone called him a pretty princess.

As a quick tear runs down my face knowing that he will be happy with his grandma and will still get to see his brother. I also say to myself that it would be hard for the grandma if her grandkid was living with people she doesn’t even know, so it is a good thing he can be closer to her now. I look at Michi and think about how much me and my family had to fight for him to go to the right home. I had so many mixed emotions that day, but we all let him be with his family, even though we loved him. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My favorite line is "we all let him be with his family, even though we loved him". 

Here is a link to what I wrote the night he left... He is Gone

I love that she is finding an outlet in writing, just like mom...




Friday, October 13, 2017

Cinnamon chips

Cinnamon Chips 

Every once in awhile it hits me. That punch you in the face, take away your breath, overwhelming grief. When one thing can take you 9 years back in time and leave a weight on your chest as if you are in the middle of the Nightmare once lived. It doesn't last long, but man does it hit hard. Today it hit me. 

It may seem as if my mission to find Cinnamon chips was a bit crazy. Although I love to make Cinnamon chip scones and share them with those I love, there is a deeper meaning behind making them each year. 

When we lost Emma 9 years ago I was lost. I was moving through the days trying to exist in a world I no longer knew. I was trying to be the best mom I could be to Anna, while trying to live life without my other daughter. One of the only ways I found peace was sitting on the bench near her grave. I spent hours by myself staring into the sky. Staring into the back of my eyelids as they burned with tears of regret and sorrow. I often stopped at Panera and got myself a cup of coffee before I went. The first few times I looked in the case of desserts and walked by. Trying to lose the baby weight from a baby you don't have is like a cruel joke. One day I scanned the scones and saw a Cinnamon Chip Scone. I thought, screw it, I'm going to the cemetery to visit my dead baby, I'm getting the damn scone. For 6 months I sat and ate my scone and had my coffee while at the cemetery. For awhile after, once pregnant with Connor, I swore I wouldn't eat them, fearing it would jinx me. I should have just eaten the scone then too. After we lost Connor I went back to get a scone on my way to the cemetery and they no longer had the same ones. It was like a sign to me that they were for my time with Emma. Just Emma. 

Baking has always been a way to help me stop thinking. To focus on something else. I started baking a lot more when mom and dad got me a kitchen aid mixer shortly after we lost Emma and Connor.  Then I found the copycat recipe for Panera Cinnamon Chip Scones. They are delicious. I love them, but that first bite every time takes me back. Time stands still and memories take over. So I make a few dozen more and I share them around. It is a feeling I need to feel every once in awhile. A taste that I will never forget. 



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

39

I have been giving a speech about how thankful we are for children's hospital for a few years now. Any chance I am given I am proud to speak about how they saved our daughter's life and all of the other times we have had positive experiences. 
The last time I spoke, I was on my way to Main Campus when it hit me. Out of nowhere I realized that this must have been the place where my brother passed away. That each time my parents came to see my child and console me, they were in the very building where their son had died. Because I wasn't sure, I called my dad to ask. 
He told me that yes, Mikey died at Children's Hospital that Labor day in 1978.  I apologized for never realizing that they had such trauma in this place they have gone to selflessly for their grandkids and for my sister and I. I realized as we spoke that 2 years to the day after Mikey had died, I was in the NICU at the very hospital. I spent 21 days in the NICU being admitted at 3 days old. They attempted to transport me by ambulance from my pediatrician, just as they had my brother before me, but I was well enough that mom drove me herself. 
So the first time my parents were back was when Cincinnati Children's Hospital was saving my life on the anniversary of my brother's death. 
When I spoke with my Dad about Mikey's short stay he told me they were admitted on Friday with Spinal Meningitis and he seemed to be doing better. Then a few days later he went septic. Dad told me of another little boy who was in the room next to Mikey. He had the same diagnosis and the same prognosis. When Mikey died on Monday, September 4 my parents left the hospital without him. The little boy who had been in the room next door walked down the hallway with his mom in front of them. Dad said he never understood how Mikey could be gone and this little boy was able to walk out of the hospital. 
This story Dad shared with me has given me a whole different perspective with Mikey's story having such a tragic ending. It has also had me thinking of who this little boy who survived may be today. 
Fast forward to yesterday. I was messaging with an old friend when a message she sent me back in 2013 popped up. She had told me about how her husband was 4 when he contracted Spinal Meningitis in the summer of 1978. I could barely believe my eyes as I read the details and asked her again. Her husband had gone septic as well. He had recovered. He had walked down the hallway with his mother out of the hospital. Although she couldn't remember the exact date his mother remembered it being near Labor Day. 
As I sat and reflected on all of the stories I have been told of my brother. The new things I learn and the glimpses of who he might have been, this left me speechless. Could it be the little boy who walked out in front of my parents is this close to our lives? 
Fate has a weird way of working itself out. God has a way of showing us what we need to know, in a time when we are ready to know it. As the anniversary of Mikey's death is upon us, those years when the dates and days line up perfectly, this timing is uncanny. 
I have spent as long as I can remember struggling with creating "memories" of my brother through learning about him. Every time I think of him, see his picture I say a prayer for peace. My parents are the most kind, caring and positive people you could ever hope to encounter. They have chosen happiness even after the deepest sorrow imaginable. I am so incredibly blessed to have roll models to strive to be like. Please say a little prayer for mom and dad this weekend. 
As I told a friend a few weeks ago. Some days like birthdays and anniversaries never get easier. 
Time may heal us , but grief has a way of making it stand still again.