There is nothing like a baby shower to represent a new beginning. Friends gather. Laughs are shared. Food is eaten. Everyone rallies around the soon to be mom, offering words of wisdom and stories of their experiences. Each new gift that is unwrapped is already used in someone's imagination. The baby is pictured in each adorable outfit. We imagine mom rubbing Boudreaux's Butt Paste on the little one's backside during a diaper change. We can visualize those teeny tiny socks covering wiggling little tootises. We can hear her laughter as she plays in the bouncy swing. Everyone knows that with a baby comes sleepless nights, days without showers, mornings full of poopy diapers, and afternoons full of screams and spit up. But no one cares. The joy and excitement of creating a new life and bringing that life into the world so far outweighs the times that wear. A baby shower epitomizes that rose-colored glasses attitude.
This is a picture of me at my baby shower. My sister, a die hard Hokie fan, had given me this shirt along with a few VT onesies and a maroon tutu. This was one gift out of many given with excitement to me and baby Kenley. That day was a day of happiness. A day when I had so much ahead of me. A day when I looked to the future with excited anticipation. I was going to be a mom. Yes, it would be difficult. Yes, it would be exhausting. But, it would be worth it because I would have my little girl who I loved so much, who I was so looking forward to watching grow.
We decided to start trying last June. I got pregnant last June. Whoa! In the words of Office Depot, "That was easy!" We were excited, although admittedly a little apprehensive. Everyone told us no one was truly ready for children, and our bank account surely echoed that sentiment. Oh well, we'll figure it out, right? As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I watched my belly grow. We traced my profile on a canvas every few weeks with plans to paint it the colors of her nursery. I sang to her in the shower. I talked to her in the car. We had a quirky and hilarious maternity photo shoot with our photographer and good friend. Mike and my goofy personalities shone through big time. This baby was going to be amazing!
We worked hard to put her nursery together. Mike ran around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to make sure all of the pieces were organized and in the right place. He wanted to be ready when the time came. The diapers were organized. The clothing was categorized by size and age. The crib sheets were washed and the blankets were folded. We were ready.
We had every reason to hope, to laugh, to smile. We were starting on this new and exciting journey together. We were going to be parents! And we were going to be great! Not those mamby pamby moms and dads who don't discipline their kids and can't seem to get their s#$% together. No, we were going to set boundaries. We were going to have a homework schedule and a chore chart. We were going to raise a cultured and respectful child. A world leader. We had so many dreams for her. And, man, would that kid have been loved! She would have been so loved, and cherished, and adored. As much as she may have been annoyed with our parenting, she would have known - without a doubt - that we loved her.
Life before February 25th was full of joy and newness. It was soaring into the future with life and love. Life after February 25th is very different. The light that shone so brightly is hidden by dark, black clouds. The joy that filled my heart is gone, replaced with a heavy sorrow. What once was feathered wings is now a leaded stone. What once was excitement and happiness is now despair and rage. I wish I could turn back the hands of time, to the moment right before my beautiful ninja twisted herself beyond the point of no return, and go down a different path. But I can't. This is where I am now. This is the path I have to walk. And so I walk. Heavy hearted, one weary footstep at a time.