Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mom of the year over here...

I pride myself on remembering dates. I know the birth dates, anniversaries and other important dates of most everyone around me. If my father in law needs to know, I am the one he calls. T.J. has let that part of his memory completely go since meeting me, because I have always had a handle on it. I usually realize the important days a few days before they happen and do something in some way to let that person know I am thinking of them. I have ordered gifts, sent cards and sent texts. Made phone calls, stopped by homes and visited cemeteries. The reason I started this post out with this info is because....I forgot Wyatt's Adoption Day!! It hit me out of nowhere on my way home today. I am 5 days late. Last Saturday was the day. One year since it was official, one year since I stopped worrying about his future. How is it possible that I forgot!
As I sit here and try to wrap my head around this I can't help but to think it is a good thing. I have kind of forgotten all together that he hasn't always been here. It has been more than half of his life now that he has been a "Caito". For all of the things that swirl around in my head at night his being adopted has not been one of them since a year ago last Saturday. Since that day he has been ours. He is Anna's brother, Mommy's baby and Daddy's boy. I think about his sweet smiling face, the trouble he has gotten into, the funny things he says and the size of his ever growing feet as I lay in bed at night, but never do I think about him being "Adopted". I know so many people that celebrate "Gotcha day". Maybe if I wasn't aware of other peoples celebrations I would have not even known that I missed something big! Last week we went to Meijer and I found a spaceship Wyatt has been wanting. It was on sale so I bought it (along with all of the accessories) and put it away for Christmas. I actually said out loud, I wish I could think of a reason to give it to him now. It was like I subconsciously knew I was forgetting something!
This summer has been busy and so much fun, a trip to the beach, to Disney, swimming, play dates, riding bikes outside and swinging in the backyard. Somehow the month of June has pleasantly slipped away. How lucky am I that I get to have a summer where I am usually unaware of the day of the week, much less the date.
As for last Saturday, Wyatt's gotcha Day, I think he had a fun one. He and I woke up early and snuggled on the couch all morning. Daddy and Anna slept in for a change, so it was just the two of us. Then he stayed with Daddy and played for awhile, grilled out for dinner and went to The McMullen's in the evening. I know he had a fun day. Even better I know he doesn't remember life before he was a Caito. So maybe, we will make it a silent celebration next year too. Maybe I will be enjoying life and my kids too much to even realize it has come and gone. Of all the dates in my life to remember, this was a big one, but I will not feel bad. My hope for Wyatt is that when he lists things about himself as he grows up they will be funny, handsome, smart, loved, sensitive, a little ornery and proud to be a part of his family. Being adopted is something that was in his past, being a Caito is what is in his future.
Right now he is napping. When he wakes up I am going to get into my Christmas gifts and give him his space ship. Like I really needed a reason...we all knew I wouldn't wait until Christmas anyway!

Friday, June 10, 2011


On Sunday our "Bug" will be 2 years old. It is hard to believe that it was only 2 years ago that we met him. Two years ago that I made so many phone calls for days on end. Two years ago that we made the trips to the NICU in Columbus to meet him and bring him home. Sometimes when I think about the reality of it all I must have been nuts! I know T.J. never thought it was a great idea. He thought it was too soon. Looking back he was so right! I had just carried, given birth and lost Connor a few months before. I still believe that God gave me the strength to take Bug. The desire to have a son was a big part of it, knowing that he was an infant was huge, knowing that he was legal risk, knowing that he had a few problems that were going to be fine. I am not sure what exactly I thought, how exactly I talked T.J. into this huge life changing event so shortly after our last life changing event. I still remember holding him for the first time. Feeling him breathe. Seeing the babies around him in the NICU that were so sick and fragile. I immediately loved him. Bringing him home was so much harder than I expected. Everything that was meant for Connor was now Bug's. Clothing passed down, cribs, swings. The reality made me physically ill when we walked in the door. Over a few hours all of this changed. He was home and he was a part of our family. Being able to spend a month (though it seemed so much longer) with him and Anna was amazing. T.J. and I still talk about how little that boy slept. I think maybe 2 hours a night for the entire time he was with us! WE were able to spend every hour together and share Bug with our families and friends. He was showered with love and gifts from everyone we knew. We spent days at Grandma's enjoying the sun and evenings snuggling and getting to know each other. It wasn't until I spent days at the hospital for testing and procedures and his Nephrology appointment that our world came crashing down. That was when we found out his kidneys were not good. That is when they told us that he needed to be cathed every 3 hours for life. He would probably need a kidney transplant in his childhood. That is when the reality once again set in. No one saw this coming. This was one of the hardest choices I have ever made. I am a woman who had induced a dying baby at 21 weeks and a woman who carried a dying baby to term. I had made awful choices before. Choices that did not have the end I wanted no matter what I chose. I was lost. How could I do this to my family, to myself. How could we even begin to think about this. T.J. had just lost one son and now were might lose another. I knew in my heart what we had to do. I knew it was purely selfish if I kept him with us. I would have done it because I was afraid to lose him. But, I knew for Anna and for T.J. and deep down, for myself, that we couldn't. The doctors appointments, the tests, the medical needs he now had. He was not going to just need antibiotics anymore. He might need an organ transplant. He needed a family who was able to care for his needs better than we were. I have turned to God many times in my life. This time I actually fell to my knees and asked Him what I should do. How could I possibly make this choice? How could I ever let him go? This is one of those times when you see God's answers in His actions. When we made our decision there was no one to take him. Our adoption worker put his paperwork in and we were afraid with his needs it would take awhile. We were willing to keep him until they found a great home. But, how could any home be as great as ours? We were his family, this was his home! Then we got the call. They had found someone. A young family who was not only able, but eager and excited, to take Bug. Mom was in nursing school, they had other kids with special needs. Within days I had set up our first meeting myself. I knew immediately that this was his family. I saw the love in his Mother's eyes from the second she held him. I asked her to go to his next doctors appointment with us the next day and then we had our last weekend as a family. Monday morning he was gone. I wasn't sure what to expect. His mom and dad told me they would keep in touch, but you really never know. We were able to see him again the next month at his sister's adoption party and have since been able to be a part of his life. Anna and I have not only been able to watch him grow, but we were there to watch his adoption become official last Fall. We are able to be a part of his life and he is still a huge part of our family, as is his family who we have grown to love as much as we love Bug. This little boy has had quite a life in the last 2 years. He is growing into a smart little boy with a fabulous smile and a huge heart of gold. I am so blessed that he stepped into my life. I am so happy that even though it seemed hard at the time, that he has made the imprint on my heart that he has. As of his latest appointments, his kidney's are improving! Something the doctor is stumped by, because it isn't possible, but his Mother told the doctor that all is possible with Prayer. Every time he gets a little better, every choice someone has made to get him where he is today, all of this is just a little reason why I pray. God's love can be shown anywhere, here in a little boy who spent his mother's pregnancy in jail and was born with no one to visit him in the NICU. He is an inspiration to me and to my family. He has shown us that love has no color and that God does have a plan, even if we don't understand it right away. Here is to a year of love and laughter for this amazing boy we love so much! Happy Birthday Bug!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sydney Lou Who.....

I recently spoke to someone who was standing in the shoes my sister stood in two years ago. This person is pregnant and her sister had just given birth to a baby with a fatal defect. She contacted me because she wasn't sure how to approach the situation. She thought her sister might have talked to me about it. I thought the best way to help her was to send her the 2 letters I wrote to my sister. One right after I found out she was pregnant and the other when Sydney was 10 months old. After I sent them, I reread them. It is amazing how reading your own writing can take you back. I could feel each emotion as if it were present day. It made me start thinking too. So of course, I have to write. I am going to post the letters I wrote to my sister first and then add what I have just written last. At one time I guess they were personal between she and I, but now I have shared so much of my feelings and grief I think it is only right to add them!

I normally wouldn't write this kind of thing in an email, but with the craziness of the next few days I figure it will be more accessible than a card. I want you to know how happy I am for you that you are pregnant. I know you haven't talked about it in front of me, and i want you to know that it is okay if you do. I can't begin to understand how you are feeling, but I want you to know that it is going to be okay. I am going to be okay. I will love your baby, and will hold your baby. This baby will be just as important in my life as the boys are. Whether it pukes on me or hits me, or cries for hours...I am going to be there for him or her. I will admit that it will be hard. Being so close in age to Connor will be a reminder of what he could have been. I think at first it will be harder and then as time goes on it will be a nice reminder, something I can have as a tangible memory of where Connor would be in his life. This situation is not what anyone wanted, and we are dealing with it the best way we can. For now, it is to be happy. I am thankful everytime he kicks, and everytime my belly button goes a little more away. I want to share these things with you and I want you to share them with me. I don't want you to ever feel like you can't be excited, or happy....because you should be. Like I said, I don't know what you are going through and i am sure you feel a certain weight on your shoulders carrying so close to where I am, but we will be okay. I want you to buy things, and show me things and not be afraid of hurting me. I have somehow found the strength to get me this far and I have faith in God that I will continue to do so. I just wanted you to know how I feel about all of this, and that I am so happy for you. I love you.

This is what I wrote when she was about 10 months old...

I will never forget the day you told me you were pregnant. Sitting on my couch you were scared to let me know. As soon as you did I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know it was hard for you to be pregnant along side me. Dealing with the emotions of carrying a healthy child is hard enough on its own, not to mention adding me carrying Connor. I have to admit that when we were both pregnant I dreaded everything about your pregnancy. I was afraid that I would spend the rest of my life being saddened by the child you had, who was so close in age to Connor. I was scared to hold her, scared to see her, scared to think of the future with her in it and Connor in Heaven.
All of that changed the day you had her. There was no place on earth I wanted to be, but at the hospital. As soon as I saw her I wanted to hold her. As soon as I held her she was in my heart. Watching her grow and change has been the complete opposite of everything I had feared. Allowing myself to love her as Sydney and be her Aunt Rara has been so rewarding. Instead of making me sad it has made me happy. She has been such a joy and a light in our lives. Every holiday outfit, every family dinner she has brought such happiness to me. I never miss a chance to hold her, to hug her, to wipe her nose (over and over and over). She is a little miracle in my book and has brought me such joy over the past 10 months.
I just wanted to let you know that I love being an Aunt to your kids...crazy times and all. And that Sydney will always have a special place in my heart. I think she was one of the first things after we lost Connor that started to help me heal. She let me know I could be me again.
I know she is only a baby....but someday we will have to let her know!
Thanks for everything you do and for letting me be such a big part of your kids lives, and for being such a great part of ours.


Now as I sit and write this my niece is almost 2. She is a big girl. Walking, talking, and doing everything on her own. She is a little bruiser and loves hugs and kisses. She is the baby of our whole family and she is the one who helped heal everyone's heart a little. I can't say enough about her. She is her own person. She is funny and crazy. She will run through the store and flash a smile that makes you smile back. She can pull about anything off whether it be covering her mother in puke in the middle of McDonald's, escaping through the doggie door or swimming with a vest and water wings completely by herself at the age of 1. She never ceases to amaze me. She is such a big girl and has grown bigger than any of the others at her age. She is close to the size Anna was at 4! Sydney and Wyatt are the bad news bears. Getting in to everything and anything. She can make you laugh, warm your heart and as Anna will tell you make you hold your nose with her "pukey" smell at times. She is a true gift from God.
As I reflect back on her birth and her life thus far. I can't help but to think of what my sister has always told me. That Sydney knows she came after Connor, she knows she can do no wrong and that everyone is wrapped around her chubby little fingers. As she gets older I find myself comparing her to Connor less. I guess it is because in my mind Connor kind of stopped aging as an infant. I find it hard to find bits of what may be his personality in an older toddler, because to me he is a baby forever. I am so blessed that I have Wyatt to watch grow with Sydney. Just as I had originally pictured Connor and Syd together, I get to watch Syd and Wyatt. Bears that they are playing and screeching back and forth in chaotic harmony! Two years ago I didn't know if I could hold her, now I have to bribe her to come hold me! Two years ago I wasn't sure how I would feel when I saw her. Now I feel joy, just as I did the day she was born. Watching her grown and change has been such a gift. I am so excited to watch her grow up (and I have to admit I am looking forward to the preteen years between she and my sister!) Happy Birthday Sydney. I hope you always feel the love that you bring us each day!