She sat in front of the computer, and giggled into the small circle that somehow mommy and daddy fit into. Her smile was as if she was still frame. Hard to believe that the toddler we had seen 4 months ago was now a big 3 year old. She opened her gifts as we watched from 2400 miles away.
We couldn’t hug her when she said thank you for her first pair of roller skates, but we blew kisses that flew into cyberspace and onto the screen. Playing “where did daddy go” and hiding from view for a few seconds was quite a hit with the gap toothed birthday girl.
There’s something in her ocean blue eyes. They truly sparkle with childhood innocence, bringing out a certain mystery to her. She is magical, moving, intensely soulful, and incredibly hilarious. How does a three year old seem to hold so much joy in that chubby exterior? She put down the pink wrapped box that she was ready to tear through, and instead picked up the card we got her. She opened it over, and over, and over again. Such enjoyment came to her from listening to princess music coming through the spine of the paper.
She’s artistic like her mama, and I love feeling that connection with her. That giggle again. What an amazing miniature person. Then out of the blue she rests her hands on her blush cheeks, tilts her head, and says, “Mommy I love you.” Skype is wonderful, but in that second I wanted so badly to jump into the computer and hold her.
“You’re very strong Jessica keep pushing you got this. Give me 10 seconds ready, breathe.” The doctor was on the other end of me, in a spot that I have only seen by way of mirror. I was excited to see her at first. Then her face started to irritate me the longer she lingered without my little human in her arms. She talked to me through every breath, and made me feel like a super woman with awesome, big, birthing hips.
“One more we just need her shoulders girl bear down….” My eyes were shut as I fell back onto the bed. I remember taking a breath out and saying, “Oh my goodness.” They laid her on my chest. Face to face, this is my daughter. Those are my eyes, nose, lips, she’s gorgeous. The tiny fingers grasped for whatever was in front of them, and then she pooped on me.
This little mini me is now here on earth to be raised, embraced, cuddled, read to, played with, disciplined, and share all our precious moments together. Right then, I somehow knew that I would be without these moments in my future. I somehow felt that every second with my child would count, because life’s lemons were flying at my face.
Having depression sucks. Especially postpartum depression. You feel like jumping off the balcony and calling it a day. Every bottle of milk isn’t right, and when I failed to breastfeed my child that just confirmed that I was a failure at providing for my daughter. Lack of sleep and lack of support becomes your craziness, and soon mama you’re trapped in a spiral of ‘not good enough’ and ‘I can’t do this’. Not only that, but I faced demons daily in my marriage at the time. Some of my own, and some that I never expected to show up. They never went away and I was constantly slammed with insecurity, doubt, hurt, guilt, and verbal emotional abuse.
I dealt with it as my heart slowly started to harden towards him. I lied to a lot of people about it including my therapist. My thoughts went dark from depression, and my soul had lost a lot of what made me, me. I didn’t want to be judged for leaving my marriage, so I stayed. Four years into it the threads that were holding it together tore for good, and we went our separate ways.
Joint custody is hard, and even worse when it’s months apart due to where we both are stationed. However, I would rather this option than what we found ourselves in. It’s hard putting on a mask everyday without it starting to attach itself. My daughter was the only one on earth that reached up, and took it off for me. Jesus and therapy saved my life, my daughter and my husband Mathew rescued my heart.
The calendar’s days are haunting, but they’re going away a lot quicker these days yippee! Knowing that there is a month left is not just exciting, it seems like eternity. My Chloe girl will be at the airport waiting for her mommy, and I can’t wait! The lemons in my life are sweet now. I have a husband that I absolutely adore and respect. Waking up next to him every morning is a dream. He has shown me so much about myself, and has been an amazing daddy to Chloe.
I live a life of truth, honestly, and with passion now. Sometimes my dark days try to seep in, and sometimes they’re successful. However, I am learning each day to TRUST. The only mask I wear now is make up. It’s not always easy, and arguments are a learning process for me but I’ll take them. I appreciate my husband’s patience with me as I struggle to stop being defensive! Making that vow to my best friend for the rest of our lives was mind blowing. Our home is a happy one with a lot to be thankful for. Now, we wait for our monster to come back and fill these walls with her sparkle.
Our family is something I have dreamed of for years, though broken, we’ve created something so beautiful. Thank you God.