Thursday, March 6, 2008

Slow, unsteady

Last year I had hoped that by this year this week would be easier. This is the birthday week. Saturday is Monkey's sixth birthday. Sunday is the one year anniversary of A's due date. Oh, and did I tell you before that Monkey was born precisely on her due date? I think I did.

Last year I found a place for Monkey's party before A died, but then I didn't reserve the spot in time. And when I remembered, a week or so later, the good time slot was gone, and the other one had to do. It felt like a small but oh, so painful insult to go with my injury. It felt, at the time, like the biggest freaking deal in the world. After I reserved the space for the bad time slot, I procrastinated on more than a few things for a couple more weeks. Then this fierce need came over me, the need to make it THE!BEST!PARTY!EVER! for my one living kid. She wanted her brother to be born on her birthday, actually. She thought it would be the best thing. I couldn't give her that, not anymore. But in the name of the almighty plastic I could make her party rock. In the end, after a mad dash to find kid art smocks that would cost me no more than one of my appendages ended with a spectacular thud, Cecily told me to just get oversized adult t-shirts at a second hand store, and lo, all was well. With the party, anyway.

My parents came for that weekend, and so did my aunt and uncle, and my grandmother. My uncle helped a lot with the art activity for the kids at the party. My mom and aunt helped with the food preparation, for both the kid party and the thing we had at home afterwards for the family. In retrospect, that weekend was the last time I remember my grandmother really focused, and truthfully only until the moment when I showed her the pictures of A that she asked for almost the moment she arrived. After that it felt like she let go. At the time I though it was only for the rest of the weekend, but it might have been for good.

On Tuesday of that week a year ago we went for my not quiet six week check up, and to talk about the autopsy report that was officially completed about a week before. I got a pap that visit. I got my next one exactly fifty two weeks later, at my 13 week appointment. And even that, the much desired, the most desired change in our circumstances, even that wasn't enough to get me out of the funk that is this week.

I reserved the space early this year. (Two spaces, actually, because she is having another party, later, for the kids in her class and a few other favorite exclusively English-speaking friends. Little Miss Popular knows more kids than could be accommodated by any one place we considered.) But after I reserved the space? If you started spelling p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n even before you finished reading that last sentence, well, you win. Not the sharpest tool in the set, this one, so it took me a couple of weeks to figure out this birhtday preparations thing is one giant trigger. Did a few things once I figured it out, but put a lot of them off too. Like buying plates and such. The party is at a Science museum, so we wanted a science or space theme. Found nothing online. Put it off some more. Went to a store yesterday. Bubkas. Went again today. Same result. Hello? Do our kids not want to be astronauts anymore? I am telling you, it was depressing.

Had to buy something. Monkey wondered around for a long time before declaring that what is really striking her fancy this fine evening are pastel unicorns. I gave her a fair warning that the older boys are liable to make fun of her. She considered the possibility for a while but then declared that she would tell them she doesn't care what they think. I suggested telling them that since she put up with their Star Wars plates they would have to deal with the unicorns. That seemed like a good idea to her. But now I am stuck with the unicorns. Pastel unicorns. Well, actually, the unicorns are white, they are just seem to fly exclusively around pastel rainbow colored environs.

My parents are coming tomorrow afternoon. I still have to do laundry, make the whole shopping list, shop, cook, bake, decorate, and clean. Can't forget about the cleaning. Oh, and assemble party favors. That I have to buy first.

Is this what I am doing accidentally on purpose-- backing myself into a corner from which the only way out is a mad mad sprint to the finish? I could be, I may well be. My natural procrastinator tendencies are certainly not helped any by the weird thing this week has morphed into in my mind. Maybe next year it will be better. After all, next year Monkey's birthday will be a Sunday, and the due date anniversary will be a Monday, a whole new week. Right?

We are going to the cemetery on Sunday. Monkey wants to bring A some flowers. That, however, is a story for another day. Monday, I hope.


charmedgirl said...

mine didn't have nearly as significant a birthdate as yours, but i think i absolutely procrastinated on prep work so i could be nose-down later. busy is always better than the alternative, especially when you have to appear cheerful. so soooo confusing.

red pen mama said...

I have a friend whose birthday is the same day as Gabriel's delivery. Although I usually manage to wish her a happy birthday around that time, it is never on that day. I know she understands.

I hope you get through everything okay. You will find your peace with this week at some point. I don't envy you. You'll be in my thoughts.


Ahuva Batya said...

I'm thinking of you in this difficult week. You are coping better than I ever could, and you are a very strong woman. I hope each year is better, easier.

Snickollet said...

All these dates! It's too much, isn't it?

I can so relate to the behavior of procrastinating around events, not really understanding why, and then finally realizing that the event is some kind of trigger for me. It can seem so obvious once I figure it out, but until it clicks, it just seems like some bizarre kind of self-sabatoge.

Good luck with all the prep work and the emotional stress, too. The twins and I are around this weekend and oddly without any plans. If we can be of any help, please let me know. We can run errands, assemble favors, serve as a taxi, whatever.

christina(apronstrings) said...

it's too bad that all these dates aren't on one. it means that you get beat down a little during what is surely the most difficult time of the year for you.
i do what you do when it comes to attempting to do things with the false hope that i will acheive perfection. so, i wait to the last minute to sabotage myslef-so that perfection isn't possible. and then i can beat myself up a little more.
julia, you don't need that now. as my husband, would say "just how *heavy* is that monkey on your back?" (no connection meant with the names).
monkey is going to love, love, love both parties if the cake is ordered late, falls over during the party and even if everything is far from perfect.
what i have learned is that *perfection won't save you from heatache, and you are a good person whether or not you acheive the impossible-perfection.*
in fact, perfectionism is a personal flaw. a weakness.

i give you all the assvice in the small hope that you can benefit from two of the most freeing thoughts i gained from therapy.
i hope it isn't offensive or too knowitallish.


niobe said...

I'm sorry that this all comes at once. I can imagine it would be overwhelming in any case, but this can only make it worse.

Amelie said...

I'm so sorry that this week is so hard for you. And somehow, it strikes me every time again how much of a special bond Monkey has with her brother.

Magpie said...

Good luck - I know you'll pull it all together.

kate said...

It must be very hard to have Monkey's birthday & A's due date so close. For me i found that Nicolas' due date has less & less significance every year, but i do not have another important date to go with it.

Good luck with the party preparations, and with keeping your head above water....i will be thinking of you!

Aurelia said...

I-yi-yi, I hate kid's birthday party organizing, I am the queen of procrastination. I never get it all together, ever.

And mine seem to turn out okay. Worst comes to what, she doesn't get a perfect party. Maybe she doesn't get a party at all. But she will still have a mom who loves her and she will get one year older.

And hire someone to clean up a bit and deal with laundry. It's okay!

Bon said...

this has to be some ways maybe more so this year than last, because the shock is gone. this year, year 2, was the year where the emptiness echoed for me.

but now as we approach what would have been his third birthday, it eases. it is easier. his due date was his grandmother's birthday, early August. she will be sixty this year. we are planning a party...and not until now, right now, did i think of the two together. even last year, that was not possible.

thinking of you.

The Town Criers said...

No good thoughts or words--just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you guys.

Tash said...

aaaacccccckkk. Had a woman in my support group whose son died just shy of xmas, and she went loopy making sure xmas was PERFECT! JOYFUL! OVER THE TOP WHEE! for her daughter, and about killed herself in the process. I get the instinct certainly, but just not sure it's worth it in the end.

I think it's good to remind yourself, whatever happens and whatever doesn't, that you're doing the absolute best that YOU can, given the circumstances. And you are. And you're a fabulous mom, and Monkey's birthday will simultaneously kick butt and feel like hell. Any way you can plan something for yourself on the other side to just pull you through a bit? Like a massage? Thinking of you.

meg said...

Thinking of you, Julia. I can imagine that this would be very hard, having all these dates coincide. I know the party will be a fabulous success. And Monkey will love it.

wannabe mom said...

i've always thought of you as a super mom and here you go confirming it. please take it easy when you can, and whatever you do it will be super uber fabulous.

i too am in awe of the special bond that Monkey has with her baby brother.

and you reminded me of my due date with the twins, which was a year ago today. wow.

Anonymous said...

I know you will survive all of this ok. I just wish it wasn't all packed into two days.

If I were closer, I would help you cook and bake. Take some time to take care of yourself in all of this, ok?

LAS said...

I wish I had something helpful to say - but I don't really. I'm just sorry, that's all. As for the planning - I sometimes find myself holding off on things until the last minute to force some pressure upon myself. Unless I have pressure, I can't motivate myself. Once I force the pressure - it helps me get through whatever it is I need to get through - because I am too frantic trying to get things done to really process it or have any feelings around it. Then of course, I fall apart well after it is over.

Beruriah said...

It just doesn't end, huh? You know I can't remember Natan's due date? Sometime in early April. And Josh had it off by weeks last time he mentioned it. He was thinking end of April. Our minds play funny tricks on us. So yeah, it being right there next to Monkey's is an unfairness. A poorly executed mnemonic, if I may say so.

You are a supermom.

slouching mom said...

What Beruriah said.

I'm thinking about you this weekend.


Wabi said...

I realize there is nothing "good" about going to the cemetery to visit your baby, but I am thinking of you today and hoping that it's a good time, in the sense that it may bring you a little breath of peace while you are there.

I don't understand why so many people end up with the anniversary of losses clumped together with the birthdays of live children. I'm in a similar boat as you in that regard. It certainly adds complications.

kalakly said...

Thinking of you today as you remember A and also as you celebrate Monkeys big day.maybe having the dates so close together will always keep her close to him...