Thursday, November 5, 2009

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy. ~Alfred North Whitehead

I did not start this blog to convey any of my emotional issues, to brag about my mommier-than-thou accomplishments or my perfect children, or even to use it as an outlet for outbursts when I hold my temper against idiocies and ridiculous people for too long and then finally explode. I started it hoping to spark some kind of romance in people. ~eye roll~ Not the dirty mind-in-the-gutter kind, but the kind that every child believes in. True love. Fairies. Dragons. Demons. Healing. Magic. Light. It was all supposed to be embedded here, as I AM a fairy, and who better to show the way than one of the true 'folk'?

Unfortunately, for a time being, fairy season is out, as Winter Court Fae are much more subtle and therefore more difficult to encounter than Summer Court Fae- except of course that of Santa Claus, but my dear friend is a subject for later discussion. Summer fairies give way to the demons and goblins of Hollows Eve, and while goblins and ghouls and ghosts and demons are in fact Fae, they give us Winter Court faeries a bad name. (Again, I will set things straight when we discuss our sweet and compassionate mentor, Saint Nick.) Between now and the next month, there is always a lull while the creepy things of the never-never (fairy land) settle down from their long-winded and irrational banter. Beyond this time, we will be refreshingly graced by snowflake fairies, a handsome, mischievous, but romantic elf called Jack and eventually, the eternally rosy cheeked baby cake Cupid. Poor, poor misguided folks who always thought that the winter court were evil. Tsk, tsk. You must read and learn.

In the meantime, I am continually mesmerized and enthralled by my children, and the completely imbecile behaviors of politics, "ethics" and politically correctness. And as it is MY blog, you shall be enticed to endure my ravings about them until my comrades finally emerge from the yet unsettled winds of change. Both the good and the bad. The sad and hilarious. The lonely and overwhelming.

Thus, our story begins.

Lilly Saber Craig came to me in dreams before I was even pregnant with her. She looked always like a fat cheeked cherubim with eyes so dark you could drown in them. And when she was born, she was old and wise.

Lilly never warranted baby talk. She had a sarcastic glare, even from the beginning, and she let it be known when she was thoroughly unamused. Her language skills grew quickly, as well as her attention span. Neighbors and acquaintances were continually amazed when I told them her age. They always expected her to be much older because of her vocabulary and other skills that were similarly ahead of the curve.

It did not take me long to join the ranks. She felt older, looked older, and behaved older. I soon expected her to handle older responsibilities than she really should have. Nothing drastic, mind you. I did not ever expect her to do anything like clean toilets, or cook dinners. Obviously, I never left her alone. But, for example, if she were rowdy at an inopportune time, I was more irritated with her behavior than I might have been another child's. I identify greatly with my daughter, and am proud of her extreme headstrong personality and how outgoing she is.

As you can see, it is no surprise that she has always had elaborate plans for the future. Right now, her father, my dragon, is working toward becoming a doctor. He will someday (when our kids are in Junior High... ~eye roll~) become a pediatrician. Lilly, for a long time, wanted to be a doctor too. But she wanted to be the doctor who "helped mommies have babies." I have always tried to support my children in their dreams, even when they are unrealistic. Like when my son said he wanted to be Darth Vader. Naturally, I was thrilled about her choice.

Her career goals change on a regular basis, but two things have been constant since she was able to speak.

1. She wants to be a mommy. And I was informed at the beginning of this school year that she wants 10 children because 10 is her favorite number, and that I would be allowed to hold them and baby sit them while she goes on dates with her husband.

2. She wants to marry Brandon (the top most picture is of her kissing him.) Brandon is the oldest son of our dearest friends. He was named for my husband, and he is our god child. Lilly calls him her prince, and while she has had several other 'boyfriends' through preschool and her church classes, she always says "I'm going to marry Brandon, but so-and-so will do for now." She even has her entire wedding planned, down to the temple (thank goodness), the pale pink dress (Yay for unconventionality!), bright pink lilies, and a reception outdoors in the snow at Christmas time so she can use Christmas trees as decoration. (Don't worry. I, like you, am hoping for her tastes to change as she gets older.)

Both of these desires stir extreme pride in my heart. I have never wanted anything more than to be a mother. To many children. (A trait profoundly typical of faeries. I have not yet put my finger on what exactly it is that entices us so, but faeries will trade wishes, riches, favors, and many other valuable items in exchange for children. Obviously, this is not widely accepted by a loving parent, and so, often, they are spirited away in the absence of a parent, and replaced by a changeling.) Her desires validate me, because if SHE wants to be a mother, then I must be doing an alright job, and since there is nothing in this life that I have done that is more fulfilling, or more honorable, I naturally want her to experience the same thing.

I have mentioned in past posts that 2009 has been the worst year of my entire life. Never have I endured such stress and so much uncertainty about the future. I have been on the most terrifying end of two near tragedies, as I have mentioned in previous posts. But what I have not mentioned is that my children witnessed them first hand.

All three of my children were present and watching when I tried, and failed, to wake my parents from their carbon monoxide induced comas. They witnessed them being brought out by the paramedics on stretchers and loaded into ambulances. They saw the oxygen masks, the breathing tubes, the IVs and the bandages. They saw my mother spasm and shake uncontrollably and cough up voluminous amounts of clear liquids.

In September, Mahone and Lilly were the sole witnesses to my darling baby Scarlet's accident with the dresser and television. During the ordeal with the paramedics, Mahone smooshed himself as deep into a corner as he possibly could until a police man lured him out with promise of a video. Lilly screamed and cried and looked around in a panic, asking me if her sister was going to die.

It wasn't so much as I was failing to shelter my children as it was that I was the one in place to make the 911 calls and answer the questions of age, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, and other such inquiries. There I was. And where I go, they go too. Perhaps I do still blame myself. But thus is the curse of mothers.

We have tried to talk openly with the children about these things. We have taught them about ambulances, calling the police and 911. How they can help, and how they felt about the whole thing. In the hospital, a child specialist talked with them about their sister, and about what was going on.

They seemed to handle it alright for awhile. Once, Mahone drew red spots all over some dogs he was counting on his homework paper and said it was blood. Upon more discussion, I found that it was in relation to Scarlet's accident. He said "Next time, I won't cry." But it was okay to cry. I did. There were one or two other incidents of similar play, but mostly, I think Mahone has worked it out.

Lilly took a little longer, and I mistakenly let myself slip into a comfortable belief that she had no internal struggle.

Just a few short days before Halloween, I had put my babies to bed, and gone down stairs to veg out on the couch. It wasn't long before I heard soft footsteps, and a "Mommy, I'm sad." I easily discovered Lilly, perched on the top step, unspilled tears welling in her dark eyes. When I scooped her up, I asked her why she was sad, and she answered. "I don't want to ever be a mommy."

My hear immediately sank.

Well, why not? "Because I don't want what happened to Scarlet to happen to my kids."

As the days went on, I found that not only had she decided to not become a mother, she had also decided never to get married. Whenever we passed a temple, she would say "But I'm not going to get married. I'm just going to be a princess and live with you." On Halloween, she told me that if she had kids, then she would be down in the laundry room folding laundry when the tv fell down so that she could tell Scarlet "no no!" For a short moment, I thought she blamed me, that she thought that if I had been there, then this would never have happened.(Perhaps I still blame myself too.) My husband snapped me back into reality when he said that she blames herself.

Each night, just before we would tuck her in bed, Lilly would begin to cry, and we would assure her that she didn't need to worry about having children right now. After all, she's only four years old. And that if she didn't want kids, then she didn't have to have them.

One particular night, with Mahone and Scarlet both sound asleep, we spent a good half hour on the floor of the bathroom, snuggling her, telling her it was nobody's fault. That it wasn't HER fault. And that Scarlet was fine. Her daddy told her about when HE hit his head and needed stitches. I told her about my accident prone brother. Her daddy and uncle are both fine. But it did not slick her discomfort.

In desperation, I pleaded with God to help me find a way to comfort her. Admittedly, I wanted that particular brand of innocence restored so that she could continue being a dreamy little bride-worshiper who played with baby dolls and dreamed about becoming a mommy. But I really just wanted her to feel better.

When Lilly was just two years old and already in love with the idea of getting married, my mother sent her a book entitled "On Your Wedding Day" about a dad who is telling his daughter about when she gets married. It's adorable. And Lilly chose this for her bedtime story the night after the one spent crying on the bathroom floor. When the book reached the point about being married in the temple, Lilly's eye lit up for a moment and said "That's where I'm going to get married!!!" and then she threw in "But I'm not going to have kids."

Tears immediately swelled in her eyes and she started sobbing. Once more, I pulled her onto my lap and said "Lilly, it's not your fault."

She wiped her big old eyes with the back of her small hand, and sniffed "I should have told her No NO!"

My jaw dropped. I knew she blamed herself. But at that instant, hearing my precious four year old admit what weight she had been lugging around on her poor little heart for almost a month and a half almost made my own heart break. My answer was simple. "Lilly, you should have done no such thing. It was NOT your responsibility to watch your sister. This whole thing was an accident. It wasn't your fault, and it wasn't mommy's fault." (I know. I sometimes drive myself crazy with all the talking in 3rd person too, but it's just what we do to kids.) And so I continued. "Mommy made a mistake. I didn't know that she could get hurt, and I put the television on the dresser. I shouldn't have. Now, instead of worrying about your children, what you need to do is just not-" and she interrupted me with a HUGE grin on her face.

"I KNOW! When I have my 10 kids, I will just not put the tv on the dresser, and all the dress up clothes can go on the floor instead of in the drawers! I won't even have a tv up there!" I just smiled at her. Then she tapped her lips and said thoughtfully, "I should have thought about that yesterday before I whined to dad."

We finished her book about getting married, made more plans about the decor of her reception, and the way her wedding ring would look, and then she went to bed without any more tears. Fore the last few days, though, whenever she mentions her future, which is often, she says "when I have 1o kids and no dresser or tv...." - and believe me, this isn't something Lilly will ever forget.

They say time heals all wounds. But does it really? Lilly feels better. Her heart is whole. Her dreams are favorable now. But is she healed? She still screeches at me to PULL OVER MOMMY!!! whenever she hears an ambulance siren. She still tattles on Scarlet's every move that takes her feet off the floor. Either she's learned something from it, or she's going to be the most repressive, over protective mother this world has ever seen.

Still, I guess that's just what comes with being wiser than your years. You learn things quickly. You notice things that make you sad. And yet, my smarty pants little girl can still be a smart mouth. Just yesterday, while I was folding laundry, Lilly was lounging across a basket full of towels still warm from the dryer, and she asked me "Mommy, did you pick me?" I answered "You bet I did. And I picked Scarlet and Mahone too!" She thought for a minute and then said "Yeah...but WE just pick our noses."


Elizabeth said...

Can I tell you that I am IN LOVE with Lilly! Tell her Auntie Beth will come and take her 10 babies to the mall and out for tea and cupcakes.

Lindsey said...

Brae, I love you.

esianoyam3 said...

Lilly really is an amazing little soul. Wish I'd had more of a chance to get to know all your little ones. I can just imagine the conversations she and The Princess would have. ;) Maybe someday...

GossamerJewelBox said...

Shallyse, I am SURE that someday we'll both be in the same state long enough for our girls to become friends! I HOPE so! Because they'd have such fun together!