Thursday, March 01, 2007

In like a lion...

March 1st...I awoke to the sounds of little ice pellets on the windows early this morning and just a bit later to the school cancellation scrolling along the bottom of the tv screen. It's a good morning to stay warm and in bed for a few extra minutes here in Michigan.
Once the thunder and bits of rainy ice had me awake, the first thought to hit me was, "Today is March 1st". My thoughts started to wander, my throat got a little tighter, and my heart pulled me back to the place it goes when I miss Teagan the most.
Ten years ago, when this day rolled around and I flipped the calendar to March 1st, I was very pregnant and anxious about everything that was about to change in my life. I was due with my first baby (Teagan) on March 18th, and I was really struggling with so many thoughts/feelings/emotions. Looking back, and having some reflective time in the quiet of the night, I realized that all those fears and anxieties that I was entertaining at that time turned out to be true in my life, more than I could have imagined back then. I have often 'kicked myself' for some of those thoughts- thoughts that robbed me of some of the joy and excitement I should have been feeling during that pregnancy. They have been some of my only regrets the past few years, as I felt like I didn't savor the anticpiation of Teagan in my life as much as I could have for nine months.
Last night was the first time it struck me that maybe those feelings and fears were actually more of my intuition telling me something important. I know it's very possible, because of who I was before my pregnancy, and very much who I have been in all the years since that pregnancy. I had always loved babies- as a 5 year old I wanted to have 100 babies when I grew up. I played house all the time, and babysat so much that I had a fairly healthy savings account by the time I started college. I was great with babies and kids.
Then I had a change of heart during my 4 years of college. I became a really selfish person with the idea of a 'whole future' ahead of me. I really started to believe I could do anything I set my heart and mind to...and that the best thing in my life would be to look out for myself and create the happiest life I could- for me. I wasn't wanting to be the highest paid person in the world, or the most glamorous or any of that, but I started to really buy into the idea that I deserved a life of happiness- and that meant having my interests in mind at every turn.
So, when Chip proposed to me in June '94, I was just out of college and totally sold on the belief that we just wanted to live 'happily ever after'. Being the smart college grad that I was, I knew that the easiest way to ensure our happiness, was to just keep life simple...just Chip and me.That way we could control more of the choices we would have through the years. Remember? I had done a lot of babysitting. I had even worked for 2 years at the YMCA with their children's clubs. I had waited tables and watched hundreds of family interact together at dinnertime. I was 'educated' when it came to the decision that I didn't want kids. I had seen firsthand, over and over, that kids complicate life and create a lot of new choices, and even cause a lot of frustration and certianly added demands on their parents. I was so smart; I decided I would save Chip and me a lot of struggles down the road by simply choosing to never have kids. Life would be soooo easy, I thought.
You know. I was probably right in some respects. Life would have been easier, but we probably wouldn't have realized it. Our 'little problems' would have been big to us, because we would have had nothing to compare them to. Or life could have thrown other curveballs our way, and we could have faced struggles, and certianly would have faced them even without kids in the picture.
I know deep down, how much I always loved Teagan, even when I was consumed with these anxious feelings and depressing thoughts through my pregnancy with her. (We didn't know we were having a girl, by the way, she was a surprise.) I do remember there were times I loved being pregnant with her, but I tried not to feel it for too long. Those first kicks that a mom feels cannot be described by me, even to this day. For me it wasn't just the feeling, it was an overwhelming emotion and a whole new reality. My world was about to change. Then there were hiccups...they always came late at night when I least wanted to be disturbed. (Remember? I was living a very selfish life at this time!) Yet those hiccups were like little pulses inside, telling me that someone was very much a part of my life- even though she was months away from making her appearance. The kicks and turns and sleepless nights pushed me closer and closer to the anxieties and fears I was holding on to. When I flipped the calendar page that March '97, I was not the person that I am today.
I see now that I always had love for Teagan. I never doubted that I could love a baby in my life; what I did fear was the world in which this baby would have to grow up...and I knew I wasn't 'big enough' to shield my baby from the storms of life that most certainly would come. Now, 10 years later I see how very right that I was- even though I had no idea what would come my way. I knew that the people in the world could be hurtful to individuals, to groups of people- sometimes for no particular reason! I knew the world was full of uncertainties and danger...I had no idea it would find us as a family while we dined at Sunday brunch. I knew the world was growing colder and that people were misusing the word 'love'- if they even dared to use it at all. I knew that having a child would be the biggest change I would ever have in my life...next to losing that child. I could never have known how 'right' some of my intuitions would turn out to be.
So, when the calendar days turn to March, a part of me can't help but soul-search and reflect and dream and imagine and laugh and cry and share Teagan with the world once again. Even if it's my own little world.
Teagan has changed my heart and life forever. I see now, that my thoughts and feelings change over time, but that she is still a very real source of inspiration and challenge and she has and continues to make me a better person- every single day. I made a pinky-promise to her the last time we held hands on this earth, and that was that "she is the love of my heart, and I would love her forever'. I am glad that I made and have stuck to that promise. My heart has never been so hurt than when I accepted the reality of her death. But in doing so, I have learned that our love was so real, so pure, that it could never be broken.
I share that same love with all my kids. I can love them no more or less than I do at any given moment. I wish the whole world knew what love really is. It's not a word. It's not a feeling. It is all-consuming and it is unchanging. As I lay in bed thinking of Teagan and my family and how 'in love' with all of them I am, a little song came to mind which I haven't recalled for years. I don't know the title....it was from a little musical that our kids' club gave in our church back in the 1980's. (See? I told you it's been years.) The words just struck me, so I close with some of them here...a little 'definition song' about love.
"Love never gives up. Love never lets down.
Love keeps on trying, through smiles or frowns.
Love never gives up, even when it gets it tough...True love just never gives up."

10 comments:

Laura said...

ohhh jody, i haven't been around for a few days and all the sudden i realized THERE ARE COMMENTS AGAIN!!! :) this makes me HAPPY! thanks for sharing about your sweet teegan. it makes me feel good to hear about all the JOY she has brought into your life. . . along with each of your cute cute kids!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jody: Just wondered: Is that photo of Teagan from when you lived in Gaylor or where you live now? By the way - She is an absolute twin (well, almost) of Eva and Bella....

Jim and Jaena said...

What beautiful thoughts, memories and sentiments. I completely underestimated how "in love" one could be with a child until I had my own. I can relate to the fear part too.

And a bit of trivia: my twin brother and I sang with the Gaithers and recorded "Love Never Gives Up" on that 80's kids album! Memories...

Anonymous said...

She is so beautiful. A person's life on earth might end, but the love we have will never die. I never knew the depths of my own love until I had children of my own, and now I understand how much my own mother loved me.

blessings,
karen (in CA)

teresamay said...

i love that picture!

Cris said...

(((((((Jody))))))))

Nancy said...

And then we have March to share- long, long, March- my precious, first born, love of my life, son Joe, would be 27 years old on the 19th! LOVE... the circle of life continues and we continue to grow, learn, share, and LOVE. God is good!

Diana said...

I really admire how well you express yourself, after reading your blog entry I am going to try to be little more expressive. Thanks for inspiration!

Debbie said...

Hi Jody, I found you through Adrienne's blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this difficult day. I'll be thinking of and praying for you. Hope you don't mind my visiting.

Deb said...

Jody - Teagan is absolutely beautiful! Sending you hugs!