I want to run away. Far, far away. Maybe my new home will be a lush tropical getaway. I will listen to the waves crashing. My body (obviously, it will be super-hot with six-pack abs in my dream world) will get kissed by the sun. My husband and I will drink fruity drinks through a fun curly straw. And everything will be perfect, right?
I have encountered a flaw in my happiness project. Originally, I wanted one of my goals to be to "Stay Happy"...see below:
Create a visually happy environment (Project Micro-Makeovers!) Eat right & exercise (Project Un-preggify!) Focus on the “here and now” (Project No More Flashbacks and No More Flashforwards!)
- Spring clean (Project Declutter!)
- Avoid “baby bombs” (Project Stay Happy!)
Maintain the right attitude (Project Pooping Butterflies! ha, can’t wait to explain this one!!!)
- Accept the One who really has control (Project Let God Do His Thang!)
And I would achieve this goal by avoiding what I would like to call "baby bombs". What is that, you ask? A baby bomb is something baby-related that serves as a trigger for sadness. If you are a grieving parent, you know what I mean. Like when I get an advertisement in the mail for Enfamil, for example. It serves as a little "baby bomb" by creating an explosion of grief in an otherwise happy day...or maybe a crappy day that gets a lot crappier. When I originally wrote my goals, I had firmly resolved that I was going to avoid baby bombs at all cost. Realistically, I knew I wouldn't be able to avoid them all...but again, I am trying to focus on the things I can control. Do I have to watch Grey's Anatomy when I know that taking an infant off of life support is the main story line? NO! I am now only watching completely brainless television like American Idol. Do I have to read books with a sad plot? NO! Thanks to a good friend who loaned me the whole series, I am now currently plowing through the safe and magical world of Harry Potter.
But like I said, my plan was flawed. You see, I wrote these goals in April...before the calendar marched forward and reminded every marketing company in the world that Mother's Day is on it's way.
It. Is. Everywhere.
TV commercials where happy parents cuddle babies. Radio ads promoting flowers for Mom. Junk mail and emails flood my mailboxes. Social media- don't even get me started. Baby bomb cityyyyyyyy! I thought I could stay happy by avoiding all of these things...but I'm pretty sure the only way to avoid it would be to travel to my make-believe land, close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and scream LA-LA-LAAAAAAAAAAA. For 3 weeks. Clearly, this is not an option...tempting as it is with the fruity drinks and lure of a sun-kissed tan and all.
So, I am revising my goal. I realized that running away from hard things is not the answer. And neither is seeking the hard things out and trying to tackle them James Harrison Steeler-style. Nope. Instead, I am changing my goal to: "Accept the baby bombs as they come and try not to get blown up." When I encounter a baby bomb, I will take a deep breath (or two), conjure up some feel-good imagery, and I will recite a few different mantras depending on the situation (mantras are my new thing). I will use the mantras like a safety helmet to protect me from the crash. I have accepted that the bombs will come, they will make impact, but I can try and prevent it from creating deep trauma...more like a bruise. Still hurts, but doesn't interfere with the rest of my day.
My mantras? Well, that's between me, Callie, and the Big Guy. Most of them involve me sending Callie a little message in heaven or a short one-line prayer like, "Give me strength" or "What Would Jesus Do?". But I will tell you that sometimes I whisper "Poop butterflies" to myself.
I have accepted that Mother's Day will be hard. I also know, after reading some tips at my therapist's office today, that one way to get through this day is by telling everyone what I need since friends and family often do not know how they can help. Hmmm, what do I need? Acknowledgment that I am a mommy even though my baby is in heaven, but space to get through the day. Don't ignore me, but just know that I will probably ignore you. I hope that is not mean. I hate being mean. Just trying to survive... John and I are going to a beautiful wedding at the beach this weekend and then we will visit Callie in the garden on Sunday. Annnnd I think I will most likely enjoy a nice bottle of wine and some funny movies. I hope that visiting Callie on this day becomes a tradition even in happier times.
Acceptance of the sadness actually makes me feel less sad. I have realized that this avoidance dance I was doing really just made everything worse. There is no running away from grief. It catches you and suffocates you if you do not DEAL WITH IT. So, I'm dealing. My helmet is on. Just praying that I land in the grass instead of the concrete...
Lord, give me a soft landing, a safe place to fall. And, oh if you could throw in a hangover-free Monday that would be great too! ;-)