keeping secrets

I can’t sleep and have been shocked at what I’m finding in the early hours of a Wednesday.

Sadness shrouded in joy. And other things, too.

I just read this and think you should too. Leah is amazing and I never knew any of this about her – I only knew that she was part of this, behind it when a friend nudged me to submit something … and so I did.

This is not what I submitted – it’s something I tried to write but couldn’t figure out how to make it work and now, after reading her story and re reading my rejected one … I’m ready to tell you.

I wrote this April 30, 2010

On May 5th we will be celebrating my son’s second birthday. It’s hard to imagine our life before he was with us but I know my daughter, now 5 1/2, remembers me being pregnant. She remembers how special it was to be the only one and now knows how special it is to be one of two. I have guilt about having more kids, more than her, more than them. Right now life is so wonderful and easy yet difficult and tiring and so unwilling to bend. She sees me love him while I’m scolding her, she sees me hold him while I can’t touch her at all. I wonder if she sees me loving her, too.

To Jessica:

People suspect this, I’m sure, but 6 years later how about we let out this little secret? The one I told you while tucking you in not long after Oliver was born. When you were feeling down and I was feeling unconnected to you and wanted nothing more than to hold your heart ever so gently so you wouldn’t be hurt any more. We told everyone that your sex, as a newborn, was a surprise on the day you were born but it wasn’t. We were preparing for a girl all along, we were preparing for you. Your name changed in the delivery room and I’m so glad we did that, you’re every part a Jessica Ranae and not at all an Onalee. You’re fierce in every way. Dramatic and theatrical. You are magnificent.

I painted a window to put in your nursery before you were born and on it said “Sweet Baby, You are a breath of Heaven” and I would whisper that to you in my belly and then in your ear while you nursed and before you went to bed every night when your dad and I would fight over who got to hold you just one more time.

Jessica, I see through your ploys to get attention. I know how unfair it is be the oldest although I, myself, am a youngest. How difficult we can be as parents, how easy you really are as a child. I’m so sorry you feel the need to quit or be smaller than you really are to get us to notice you. I haven’t done a very good job of yelling from the top of my lungs that you are noticed. You are loved. God, how you are loved. We really are alike even though I lay awake at night worrying that you’re going to grow up resenting me, hating me. I hope you don’t do the same. This past week I witnessed a live birth that resulted in an adoption and the emotions in that delivery room were nothing short of a marathon from ecstasy straight to hell.

Tonight, I’ll hold you a little longer. I’ll play with you a little longer. We’ll ride bikes past bedtime and go on walks instead of naps and I’ll give up breathing just so you know how much I love you. It’s true, I push you, but Jessica, you keep me going.