i have been mildly obsessed with the british royal family since i was a young girl. watching a real life prince marry a real life lady, which then turned her into a real life princess was beyond fascinating. it was dreamy. i remember watching diana walk down the aisle to meet her groom. the train of her dress and veil went on for days. i recall wondering if it was difficult for her to walk. i loved william and kate's wedding even more. jeremy makes fun of me for it, of course, but i'm not embarrassed. i think the royal family brings out the life-sometimes-really-is-a-fairytale side of me.
i've been loving the royal baby news coverage. i was happy they had a boy. not for any particular reason except you know how i love boys. i'm hedging my bets that they'll use the name spencer somewhere amongst the four or more names the new prince will be given as that was princess diana's maiden name. and wouldn't that just be an awesome way to honor her?
but even though their baby is a prince and the whole world is watching, they are still going through the same experience all us commoners have been through. they are brand new parents to a brand new child. they went into the hospital without a baby and came out of the hospital with one.
still to this very day i remember the strange feelings i had about how jeremy and i walked into the hospital as a couple and then they let us leave the hospital a few days later as a family. WITH A BABY.
into the hospital. no baby. out of the hospital. baby.
into the hospital. just people. out of the hospital. parents.
doesn't this strike anyone else as down right crazy?!
what's funny is the purple folder the hospital gave us. it contained tidbits like "your baby's poop should look like this..." and "your baby should be eating like this..." and "your baby should be sleeping like this...". i read through that violet-hued file repeatedly but it didn't come close to answering all my questions. still, the sentiment was here's your baby, here's your folder, go forth and prosper.
i cried as i sat in the wheelchair, holding a snugly buckled harrison in his car seat on my lap, while being pushed toward the hospital's exit. a giant bag of mixed emotions had positioned itself right on top of my chest. although i was asked repeatedly i could not completely identify what it was i was feeling.
jeremy brought the car around. the nurse listened for the locking sound as jeremy placed harrison's carrier into it's base. then she gave us the okay to leave. jeremy, harrison, me and our trusty information packet were safely loaded into the car. we pulled out of the valet area and turned right onto the street. in that moment our lives changed. and it does not matter what color the folder is or how much helpful insight it contains, nothing can prepare you for the moment your life changes.
today is harrison's final therapy session at STAR center. today i feel very much like that day so many years ago when they said it's time to check out of hospital and take your baby home.
i am scared.
it is scary leaving a place that has your best interests, and more so, the best interests of your baby at heart. it is scary leaving a place that is so knowledgeable and comforting and friendly and reassuring. it is scary leaving a place that you've relied on. it is very scary moving on into a new world of learning to rely on yourself.
it's hard to leave such a safe place.
yes, it's exciting. it's happy. it's a time to celebrate. but, for many reasons, my emotions are raw and ready. the tears come very quickly and i've been hard pressed to figure out why. i have been able to pin point some of the reasons - the fear factor, as mentioned above. but i think it's more than that. i think my tears come from an incredibly grateful heart. i am so very thankful for juliana, specifically, but for all the staff at STAR center who have walked beside us over the past eight months.
how do you say thank you to someone who does double fist pumps in the air because your son asserted himself and interjected a comment during an interaction with a peer? how do you say thank you to someone who gets even more excited than you do when she hears that your son initiated a conversation with another little boy while at the chickfila play area? how do you say thank you to someone who gives great suggestions about ways to get your son to wipe his own tooshie and then thinks it's absolutely amazing when he does just that? how do you say thank you to someone who is willing to step into a marriage and a family to help mediate some stressful things? how do you say thank you to someone who loves your child as much as you do and whose whole life is dedicated to helping him? how do you say thank you to someone for teaching you how to be a better parent to your son?
how do you say thank you to someone whose goal is to teach you the tools so that you won't need her anymore?
it really is the ultimate act of selflessness.
it is an unforgettable kindness.
it is a precious gift.
and it's hard to say goodbye to someone who has done so much for us.
as juliana brought to my attention, some of the emotion also probably comes from feeling so very accepted at STAR center. just like being in the hospital with a newborn, everyone is there to help you and no one there judges you. i don't have to explain anything to anyone. i do not need to be concerned about what harrison will do, how he will react, what he will say, what he won't say...whatever happens there is okay. the people there "get" it. they understand him. and they understand me. and they understand ALL THE THINGS that go along with him and me and us.
and it's hard to say goodbye to a place where you feel so understood.
one of the things i learned during my counseling session at the beginning of our time at STAR center was that it really is healing to write out my feelings. it's also healing to talk about them. apparently, every time i talk about or write about an emotional experience my brain literally shifts a little piece of that memory/data/whatever-the-heck-that-information-up-there-in-my-brain-is-called from my amygdala to my hippocampus. each time a bit of memory moves, a bit of raw emotion moves along with it. so over time i'll be able to talk about this subject (leaving STAR center) just as easily as i can now talk about what it was like to leave the hospital with my first born son.
but until then, one thing i know...actually two...okay, three...
1) royal or not, every baby is a prince or princess.
2) each new adventure our children bring into our lives will carry with it a mixed bag of emotions.
3) this is what turns our ordinary lives into grand and interesting fairytales.
i love you all. thank you for listening (aka reading).