Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Baby Michelle *Ages 0-10* Part III

Originally Posted: Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 05:09:20 -0500

Dearest Little One,
I'm back for a third instalment! Hard to believe so much has happened
to us, isn't it? Some more touchy subjects here, so I must confess to
dragging my feet. I checked my inbox several times this evening &
posted several jokes & good stories first. . . but what I've really
changed my sleeping schedule around for is this, so its time for me to
get to it!
Surgeries & our birth story, very, very difficult to tackle. Divorce &
fighting & bullying are tough subjects to, but these seem to be the
most difficult.
You've learned about good touch bad touch, but at the time, it seemed
pointless. Though good touch bad touch was meant for your vagina, butt
& breasts, you also wondered why the hell it didn't cover what the
staff at the hospital did to you. That hurt, badly! So why was it
allowed? I'm here to say I couldn't agree with you more. However, we
learn to play the hands we're dealt in life, & our hand was the hand
of surgery. It wasn't fair, or right or just, all things you were
seeking. The truth is, life, no matter how old you get, isn't ever
fair, or right or just, it simply is. So we take the hand we're dealt,
shuffle our cards, & pray to Mother God that they land in a productive
manner. If you had not been born with your cleft & your blindness, you
wouldn't be who you are. Do you remember one time when we went
camping? I don't know where we were, but we were with K & some of the
cousins. The grandmother may have been with us to. Anyway, we went for
a walk & as we were passing by another camp site, a little boy was
being loaded into an ambulance. You didn't know him, hadn't met or
played with him, didn't know his family. You asked K as we rounded the
hill if you could stop & pray for him. You never found out what
happened to him, but you asked to do something most children wouldn't
have even thought of. All those times you were in the hospital & you
made beaded necklaces for your roommates or the time you begged the
nurse not to wake the little girl in the next bed over because you'd
witnessed the rough night & day she'd had, again, most children or
even adults wouldn't have been concerned about that. They would have
thought of themselves & wondered when they could get out of there & go
home! I KNOW you are a good little girl, a good person, & I know that
not just because I'm older or wiser, but because your kindness &
compassion comes through repeatedly. As I said yesterday, the things
you did, the acting out you did, doesn't make you a bad person, it
made you a little girl with alot on her plate, who didn't have the
conversational skills to speak up nor the skills she needed to cope.
Do you remember what it was like the first time you actually gave
money away? We were leaving Walmart & you gave to one of the
ling-lingers as Dad calls them. Do you remember how light you felt
afterward? How it seemed like your heart had grown wings & taken
flight? That's who you are!! That's YOU, the essence of YOU!
You are a wonderful little girl with a bright smile & a fantastic
sense of humor!
The birth story, the one you've been told, goes something like this:
K went into labor Sunday night at around 7PM *she'd been on bedrest
for about 3 months*, sent Dad off to work Monday morning & then he
showed up at the hospital at some point. He was a great birthing coach
& on Tuesday morning, January 14th, 1986, after hours of labor, the
bands holding you back snapped, Doctor Whiting had the forceps on your
head & between the bands & the forceps & the pushing, you flew into
the world! Doctor T, who was standing behind Doctor Whiting caught
you, they cleaned you up & didn't place you on K's stomach as they'd
promised. She started asking what was going on & before they whisked
you away, they turned you around & let her & Dad see you. She was numb
with shock & Daddy put his head on her shoulder & 'howled like a
wounded animal.' *her exact words*. They took her in, sewed her up &
in the meantime she kept asking for you. They finally got annoyed &
stuck her in a room with low lighting & gave her some valium. She
still kept asking for you & Dad went in to let her know he was going
to get a shower & change & would be back. She thought he was leaving
her. She called a couple people, the grandmother rushed right over,
but her best friend S initially thought she was joking when she told
her about you. When she realized K wasn't joking, she dropped what she
was doing & came out. Dad came back showered, with a dozen roses & a
card that simply read: 'Thank you for my beautiful baby girl.'
They did finally let K see you, in the glass islet, & eventually let
her hold you. You 'wouldn't shut up, but as soon as I handed you to
your father, you shut right up! I should have known then. . .' again,
her exact words. Then they had to move you from Saginaw General
Hospital to Motts Children's Hospital 2 hours south in Ann Arbor. The
notorious money scam comes up next, as the grandmother & the rest of
the assembled masses didn't have enough money to get you transported,
so the grandmother wrote a bounced check for $200 to get you into the
ambulance. She said you had the cutest nose & Aunt KD called you her
little M&M. Once you were transported, you refused to eat so they gave
you a feeding tube. You met your plastic surgeon Doc A 6 hours after
you were born & stuck with him even after he moved to North Carolina.
Anyway, that all happened on Tuesday. K couldn't travel, so she called
the hospital everyday until Saturday telling them to give you hugs &
kisses for her & tell you that she loved you. When she & Dad got home,
she instructed him to remove the playpen & any reminders of the fact
that you weren't with her. She used to cry about how she'd be a great
mother if only she were given the chance, & now it had come to this.
She was angry that other mothers got to take their children home right
away & she had to leave you there. Then they were finally able to get
there to see you on Saturday & you yanked out your feeding tube
immediately! The nurse put it back in, but you pulled it out. She put
it in again & you pulled it out again & she decided you were trying to
tell them something. It took them a while, but they managed to get you
drinking from a bottle, just a special bottle. K always followed this
up with the happy disclaimer that you were wanted & that if they'd
told her she could take home any baby in the nursery, she'd have
picked you up & walked out with you.
That's the birth story, from her perspective. Dad doesn't talk about
it much other then to say he doesn't remember howling but that doesn't
mean he didn't, he loved you & was angry like K, that you would be
blind & have to go through life struggling. K also said she was afraid
that you were in the dark & it took Doc A telling her you couldn't
possibly be afraid of the dark like she'd been as a little girl
because you didn't know what the dark even was.
Again, this is part of my healing to, & to be perfectly honest with
you, this hurts me to. It's hard for me to put into words the feelings
that have come up sharing this with you. I'm angry! Enraged really, &
my heart is broken! Shattered into a billion pieces, bleeding &
spurting & pulsating. It feels like I've raked us both over shards of
glass, jagged cold pieces cutting into our flesh & branding us with a
searing throbbing pain that won't stop! For that I am sorry. . . But I
need you to know there are two choices you can make now. Really, two
choices we can make. We can choose to remember the best part of our
birth, or we can choose to remember the worst parts. I can't think of
a clearer way to illustrate that life IS NOT fair! However, it's what
we do with the unfairness of it that determines how we'll come out the
other side. You missed necessary bonding with K. You lacked the love &
comfort of your family for 4 days & were robbed of endless baby
moments in those first few days. After your birth, Doctor Whiting
actually quit delivering babies because he blamed himself for how you
were born. You in turn, felt guilty that he felt guilty, that K &
Daddy felt guilty. All that is true & I stand with you in your pain,
your sense of being wronged & cheated! I stand with you in your anger
& rage! Now that we've stood in it though, it's time to release it. It
won't be easy, but then again, as the cliched saying goes, nothing
worth having *or doing in this case*, is worth having or doing without
the heartache behind it. It has empowered you to take perfect
strangers into your arms & mother them like they belonged to you. You
get plenty of opportunities with family members babies & then at a
daycare center during high school to prove this. Without your own pain
& loss, you wouldn't connect & bond with these babies as you do now.
When you were about 2 & a half, you went with K & the grandmother to
visit your Uncle JK. He had a baby girl & you spent your days playing
with & talking to her happily. At night though, when it was time to go
back to the hotel, the grandmother later reported that you:
'Demanded that we take our baby with us!'
Lol. Do you remember walking around the house with your shirt up
trying to breastfeed your babydoll Melissa when you were about 6-7?
Having those experiences & being reminded of them later on, as painful
as they were & are, left you I believe, better equipped to accept &
love other babies. Without those experiences, you would not be who you
Same goes for surgery.
Do you remember Dad taking you for a ride on the little train & boat
they had while you waited for surgery? Do you remember picking out the
flavored masks? I know you always loved how they thought picking out
some flavored mask would make you feel like you had such control. Yes,
it pisses me off to! Who else was going in there feeling fine & coming
out feeling like crap? Then there was the way K got angry when you
didn't ask for her. Once you asked for the grandmother after surgery &
K got so angry, you tried to lie & tell her they misunderstood you,
but she wasn't buying what you were selling & told you as much once
she got you loaded in the car. That was back when your surgeries were
still out-patient ones. You asked her for something on the way home &
she said: 'The next time you need something, call your fucking
grandmother!' Then there was the time Dad went with you & was at the
door of the operating room. They had let him put on the booties & the
mask & come in right until the point they put the mask over your face.
You cried for him then as he left:
'Daddy!!!! Daddy!!!'
You felt awful for that. I know because I do to. Writing about it is
making the tear factory work overtime. I bring it up because I need
you to know it wasn't your fault. Dad doesn't blame you for calling
out to him. He knows you were doing what came naturally for you,
asking for help & protection when you were scared. Honestly, it's so
difficult for me, it's one of the few stories I haven't told
'everyone' over & over again. But this exercise is all about shedding
the guilt & I'm here to say, it wasn't our fault! It was a natural
reaction & there's no guilt or shame necessary. All children reach out
to their parents in times of need & adults reach out to each other in
times of need. Maybe not in the same way, but they do reach out. At
some point, probably around the time of the separation *at age 3*, you
began to think you had to be superhuman. You had to be tough all the
time & NEVER show weakness. It was absolutely NOT permissible! You
thought *though you couldn't say it at the time*, that if you got
everything right & never showed 'weakness' then you could keep them
together. As stated in the prior letters, that wouldn't have been
possible. It wasn't you, & it wasn't your doing or not doing that
caused rifts between them. It was all them! & you were simply caught
in the middle.
Anyway, the other surgical experience, that I've written about before,
where you were held down, was also hell & not right. Whether or not K
cares that it happened to you, I do! I know you felt frightened &
violated, like what they were doing was wrong & you wanted to fight!
You wanted to get up & run away! & those feelings are okay! Their
normal & acceptable & I promise, no matter what, I will always do my
best to make you feel safe now & forever! I'm not perfect, but I will
always do my best to honor & respect your feelings, to let you speak &
listen carefully to you. Everything that you think, say & feel is
important! It matters! YOU MATTER!!
Finally, on one last note, I must delve into more of your school
experiences. . . I know, I know. But since we've already been raked
over the coals twice tonight, why not make it a third time? Third
time's the charm, right?
When you first started school, at 2 & a half, you were exuberant! You
were bouncy, full of life & couldn't wait to get out there! You went
to the Millet Center, a place for disabled children. Your favorite
place was the Gross Motor Room. It was technically like a gym at a
regular school, but they called it the GMR because the physical
therapists worked in there. There were stairs & a swing & lots of mats
on the floor. They even had what appeared to be a giant air matress!
The teacher would fill it with air & you could jump & play on it.
exercises were common, but your favorite part was swinging on that
swing, it was long & set up so that 4-5 little ones could sit on it.
The one in front held onto one of the ropes pulling it back & forth in
order to make the swing go & the children behind the leader held onto
each other. Your other favorite part was when the matress had to be
taken down & you'd get to roll all over it crushing the left over air
out until it was completely flat! You also loved the classroom,
playing in the shaving cream!!! There was a girl there whom you really
liked, but the two of you could never get along! Lol. You'd bite each
other & pull each other's hair or pinch each other! Every time you
were in the little box house the teachers had created you'd end up
getting kicked out of the house & put in time out for being mean to
each other! Funny how you liked people back then. . . Good thing my
social skills & yours, have improved since then!!! Then there were the
jigsaw puzzles, the arts & crafts with macaroni, the finger painting &
the other friendships you had with the girls in wheelchairs & using
walkers. Oh, & the magnets, bouncy balls & beeper balls!! Who could
forget them?? I'm telling you all this because by the time 4th grade
in the public school setting came around, you had lost nearly all that
innocence. You went from bouncing down the driveway to the school bus
on that crazy loud horse you had to hiding in your closet & begging K
not to make you go to school. Somewhere between the surgeries & the
bullies & the separations & the fights & the insecurities & taking on
responsibilities that were never meant to be yours you lost you. In
fact, by the time 1st grade came around, you were already losing you,
& by the time 4th grade came around, you had packed up all the barbie
dolls & stuffed animals & put them on the shelf. You were in your room
nearly 7 days a week when you weren't at school & K & Daddy weren't
making you go to the store or to see family with them. You were buried
in your music & though you had friends over, it was like you had
already learned to live in 2 separate worlds. The friends world & the
grown up world. The grown up world was where you maintained your stiff
upper lip. You didn't complain & buried stories of pain & fear & guilt
& shame. K & Dad never needed to know you were being bullied or
assaulted nearly every day. You could handle, you could deal! At
least, that's what you told yourself. . . The fact that you ate an
entire cake all by yourself was a great indication that you couldn't
cope, but it was only partially noticed. Counseling was a joke most of
the time & your friends were kids themselves.
Well Babygirl, it's time to come out of the closet! I know your still
afraid, I'm afraid to, but we have each other now! I will take care of
you, protect you & love you the way you should be loved! I will listen
to you & cherish you & hold you & keep you safe! I will hold your hand
& stand beside you & walk with you! I will follow your lead & let you
out to play & not banish you anymore! I never meant to banish you in
the first place, I just didn't know how to handle things myself. If I
couldn't handle them, how could I ever help you to handle & understand
them? But that's all over now. I will treat you the way our brother
Mark did. You were his baby princess & he let you follow him
everywhere. He even let you hang out in his room when he had his
girlfriend of the day over! Hey, I can't lie, he changed girlfriends
the way he changed his underwear, daily! Lol. I will take over where
he left off & I will treat you the way he did, the way Dad did before
baby sister came along.
I love you baby!!! I love you I love you I love you!
Standing in the light with you,
Big Michelle

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