Sunday, May 10, 2015

Yuri's Night to Mother's Day

Sean and I have been trying, lately, to go out for a date at least once a month.  When I saw that Yuri's Night, April 12th, fell on a Sunday, I arranged for our wonderful babysitter to take the kids and started plotting a dinner date. I searched the area for a Russian restaurant.  Nothing. I searched the area for a Polish restaurant.  We live in a very Polish part of Wisconsin, which means there are no Polish restaurants, because you go to your grandma's house for Polish food.  Maybe German food? That's kind of stretch. We went with fusion/eclectic pub food, because it's yummy and reasonably priced and because there are no visible borders from space. We had a wonderful meal and capped it off with some local soft serve before going to get the kids. It was a great night.

Sally had thrown up while we were out, though, and continued to throw up into the night and the next day, heralding the beginning of The Family Stomach Virus From Hell, 2015 Edition.  Life since then has been a bit of a blur. Somewhere in there we decided, rather definitively, not to have any more kids. It wasn't the stomach virus that did it ... we've been pretty much decided on it for awhile. And there are all sorts of good reasons for that decision, the biggest one being that we don't want to risk my health/life in another pregnancy. Dr. M., who was very supportive and excited about our decision to try for a second baby, was equally definitive in his opinion that we should not try for a third. "Take precautions," he said, sternly. "EVERY time.  It's been wonderful knowing you. Enjoy those two beautiful children."

I'm not particularly sad about this decision, but maybe that's because we've been giving away baby gear and clothes for months, now, and I did a lot of my nostalgic crying about it when Sally was first born.  I felt very sad, for example, feeling the absence of her in my womb, knowing that I'd never feel those kicks and flutters again.  I felt sad weaning her, knowing that I'd never breastfeed another baby. But on a day like today, on this particular day even, which is Mother's Day, when everyone is napping and we are just us four, I do not feel an absence or an ache.  This is my family.

There is an absence, of course, but I don't really feel it or think about it unless I'm observing the anniversaries, mindful of the dates, or reflecting on The Bean and loss for other reasons.

The first time we celebrated Yuri's Night, I was pregnant for the first time and we were so, so excited. We wanted to celebrate. Sean said, "Let's go out for Yuri's Night," and made a reservation at a fancy Russian restaurant in downtown Chicago. I took the train downtown and we we walked together from the station.  I was surprised at how tired I was as I walked, and delighted by that tiredness--a symptom of my pregnancy.  We ate lots of dishes with beets that night, we beamed at each other.  A few days later, my miscarriage began.  On Mother's Day, not long after the miscarriage was over, I decided to write about my experience, so that people would stop saying things like, "When are you going to have a baby? You're going to be a great Mom!" without realizing what had just happened to me.

The space between Yuri's Night and Mother's Day isn't much, really. But it's a significant span of time for us, and we mark it.  We decided to keep celebrating Yuri's Night, as much as we are able, every year. We want to celebrate and remember the joy of that night--its promise and hope. We give thanks for The Bean's short life and for the family we've been able to have since then.

This, all of this, is my family.
(And I love them. Very much!)

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