I thought they must be crazy, I was warm from working, hot even, but sure enough I raised my face to the sky just in time to see the dusting of white flakes before they dissolved into icy water droplets and disappeared before my eyes. For a moment I was completely caught up in the contagious energy of the kids and I smiled. Just as quickly as the snowdrops melted, so too did my excitement. Winter.
I've always been a summer girl. It's by and far my favourite season. I thrive on the heat, the sunshine, the thunderstorms. We all know I love the beach, the long, lazy days that humid Toronto summers allow us to indulge ourselves in. I know there are people who love winter for almost the same reason - the excuse to huddle up and stay indoors, watching the weather bluster and blow through the window as you lounge under blankets with hot cocoa and good book. I get it. But still, summer is my season.
I haven't posted about this summer here yet. Unusual for me, since I'm usually so quick to share my most magical moments: my daughter running naked on the beach, kicking back with best friends and family, enjoying cold beverages on the lawn. This summer was no exception, it had all of those moments, each special and worth sharing, and seeing as today is Remembrance Day, 11/11/11, I figure, what better time to remember?
This summer was the best of times. It was also the worst.
I found out I was pregnant in early July. It was not expected exactly but not entirely shocking either. Whatever it was, it was wonderful. I was ready. It's not my place to speak for Cairn here and I won't, but I will dare to say that we were ready. Finally feeling settled into the new house and with many months ahead to take care of anything else that needed doing, a March due date was just perfect. Bella would be four years old (!) and off to Kindergarten in September. I'd keep her home with me part time in the summer, maybe. By the the time summer arrived, I'd have a four month old and a four year old - imagine? I'd spend extra time at the cottage with the kids.
The kids. I've always thought there would be two.
I drifted in a happy daze through the first summer month. Just thrilled really. Bursting inside with my secret. Happy at work and at home in a way that I hadn't been quite a while. It had been a trying year, with all the house stuff and changes at the office. Exciting, but stressful. And finally I was calm and settled in. I started planning how I'd tell Bella the news. She was asking for a baby brother or sister a lot at that time. She still is. I was already choosing names and decorating rooms in my head even though as every newly pregnant woman is aware, particularly those at my age, it was too early to be doing all those things. But as we also know, the love for a child does not start on the day they are born. It starts the moment you discover your secret. It's a special, intense love that only a mother can feel.
I miscarried naturally at home on August 1. Exactly one week after I'd started spotting. The longest week of my life. I was almost nine weeks along and had known about my pregnancy for four weeks. Four weeks is a long time when you're dreaming up a life for a child.
I'm not trying to be melodramatic and some might wonder why I'm choosing to share this now and in this way. It's difficult to tell people this in person. Awkward for them, because they struggle to find the right words to say, when really there aren't any. Awkward for me because I want to gloss over it and be quick to assure then that "I'm okay, it wasn't the right time, we'll all be fine!" I'm also sharing because because I don't want to hide this thing that happened to me, to us, behind closed doors. I've read many, many brave and inspiring stories from other women since this happened. I know I'm not alone with this grief. I want to join their ranks. To let other women know that it's okay to be angry and confused and devastated by the loss of a pregnancy. But also that it does not define you, it does not destroy you and you should not be ashamed.
I'm not ashamed. But I've had moments of huge guilt. Moments of panic that this will happen again and again. Moments of utter, heart-wrenching sadness. Those painful moments hit me less and less as the summer days drifted into fall, and even less now as fall drifts into winter. And between those awful moments have been many, many moments of pure joy. The joy of summer that I dream about all winter long.
That's what I choose to share from this summer past. And so here I celebrate with snapshots of summer 2011 - a bittersweet one but a sweet one none-the-less.