Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the way the air feels and smells, I love the leaves all over the ground, I love that the sun sets earlier and the sky is always this beautiful shade of blue that seems to only come around during the fall months. I have distinct memories of being in elementary school and being SO excited to come home and carve pumpkins or help put up the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. I never was excited for the turkey (I haven't eaten meat for as long as I can remember - my parents say I stopped around 5 or 6, once I fully realized exactly *what* it was that I was eating), so Thanksgiving never was a huge deal for me, but I lived for Halloween. I don't distinctly remember enjoying trick-or-treating, because even when I was younger I was acutely aware that it meant that Halloween "season" was, in fact, over, and the decorations and all of the black and white and purple lights strung around the house would soon be coming down. The lead up to something usually is better than the actual event, because you let the excitement build and build.
Fall took on a whole new meaning to me, though, four years ago this September. That's not when I met Arianna's birthfather, but it's when the relationship began. You know those first few months of a relationship, where absolutely nothing can go wrong? That's how September, October, November, and December of 2007 were for me. I don't think I will ever forget those few months. They were perfect. I had never been happier. For the past few years, when the leaves start changing, it's always made me think of him. This year, though, it will be in a different way. The hurricane (which was a tropical storm by the time it reached where I live) made the leaves all blow off of the trees and scatter around the yard, and some of them had already started to brown. It just looked like autumn in my backyard, and it made me feel suddenly very sad. I think I was sad for what could have been. I was sad that at this very time four years ago, I was embarking on the happiest (or so I thought) time of my life with him. I was upset that that was over; that September 30th would no longer have some special meaning to me, I would no longer call him on that day and say "remember what happened on this day?," now it would turn into me, here, not talking to him, and thinking "remember when...?" I started to mourn the loss of myself, in a way, the loss of myself to him, the loss of the last few years that I still had to be "young." By that I mean, I was nineteen and he was much older. Not *too* old, but around 10 years. I was mourning all of the opportunity that he and I could have had, had things gone differently. I was upset that I didn't know then what I know now, but of course that would have been impossible to know. Anyways, that got me into a little funk, so that's why I've been quiet for a few days.
The aforementioned "funk" only got worse when I realized that not only is this my first autumn without him, without an 'anniversary,' without going for a walk in the leaves...it's my first fall that I get to celebrate the birth of my little girl while simultaneously missing her more and more with every fiber of my being. To be honest, I don't know how I will handle her first birthday. It's as if I'm physically split in half over the idea of it. One half of me wants to celebrate, with a small cake with a little #1 candle on it, and a happy phone call to her parents. I want to celebrate her life on this earth and all the ways it has changed me for the better. I want to rejoice in the fact that she is here, healthy, made it to one year old (because the more you read on blogs and other things on the internet, that unfortunately is an accomplishment that so many babies don't get to make it to, due to SIDS or other terrifying things), and most importantly, that she is happy. Then there is the other half which is scared out of my mind. I'm afraid I won't want to get out of bed. I'm afraid that everytime I make a move, the thought will creep into my head..."last year, on this day, you were with your baby girl. You had two more days with her in the hospital. She was yours." I'm afraid I will question myself, even though I know what I did was the right thing for her. As I've said, if I could go back in time and re-do it, as much as I would want to give anything to take her home with me, I wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason, and I can't sit here and tell you that the reason I had an unplannged pregnancy with a man that I had no future with was because I was meant to be her mommy. I never used to be someone who had faith or believed in a real higher power, but I have to believe that the reason I got pregnant and the reason it was with him is because I was meant to be a medium between her and her forever parents. I was made into a bridge, and I couldn't have had a more important task; I couldn't have had a more important person to transport across that bridge from where she began to where she belonged. So, all of that being said, I have no prediction whatsoever to how her first birthday will be for me. The only thing I do know is, if you know me in real life or are around me at all around that time or anything like that, don't be afraid to say her name around me. As hard as it will be to not have her by my side on her birthday, to not be posting pictures of her eating cake with an ear-to-ear pink-dyed smile on her face, it will be harder to have no acknowledgement of it. I understand it's a touchy subject that not many people know how to handle or how to react to. Hell, I don't even know how I will react, but I ask you to not be scared to write to me on facebook, to text, or to call, wishing her a happy first birthday. I know this will be a hard one, maybe the hardest one I will have to face, but I think it will be easier knowing I have people who are there for me. A baby's birthday is a day all about the baby; but when the mother of the baby has empty arms and there is another family celebrating the life and love of that baby that is now their own, the birthday becomes more about that mother who is alone. I don't mean for that to sound self-centered...I don't mean for any part of this post to come across as self-centered. I just know that it will bring a smile to my face to know that people remembered her birthday :)
I may do something like a balloon release in honor of her, or something. I know they are usually "memorials," but I'm not sure if they are limited to death or just loss in general. To each his own, I guess. I suppose I can use a balloon release to symbolize whatever I want, and I would choose to do it to honor her life and how much I miss her. I'm not sure how I want to do it yet, though. I know for certain I don't want it to be me and her birthdad doing it, but I don't want to do it alone, either. I think I know the place I would do it at, and I think I would want my parents there...but no other immediate family. I may ask a few close friends. I don't want it to be a huge event with 50 people, but it would be nice if it was more than just my parents and I. I can think of 10 - 15 people I would probably ask to be there. The only issue is, a few of these people are people I worked with at the first vet hospital I was at; the one I was at when I found out I was pregnant in the first place. It's one of those tight-knit groups where if you invite one person, you sort of have the invite the other, and the other, and so on. But (back to being self-centered, hahaha), being one of the most special days I think I will ever have, I know that I want only people I truly care about and love to be there. I don't want drama, I don't want anything to ruin my memory of that day. I'm sort of stuck when it comes to that, and I don't know how I will tackle it when the day approaches. Also, her birthday falls on a Wednesday this year, so I was thinking I may do it on the Sunday before, which is October 30th. That is, after all, the day I went to the hospital the first time with what turned out to be false labor pains. I was sent home soon after. It's the last night I spent at home with her, just me and her - no nurses, no doppler, no fetal monitor, no nothing. Just me and her, with her kicking the night away and keeping me awake (but it was the happiest I've ever been while being kept away from my beauty rest (; ) Besides, if I do it that Sunday, I *should* have no worries of being way too much of an emotional wreck to see anyone. I would hate to plan it for a Wednesday, have people plan in advance to be sure to be there, and then not be able to pry myself out of bed or wash my face enough to be able to see more than an inch in front of me.
To anyone reading this, what do you think about a balloon release? I think I might have already said this, but I know the general conception is that it's to remember someone who has passed away. I definitely don't want it to have some underlying meaning of death or anything like that. I want to do it as a way to remember, the same way you do with someone who has died, but also at the same time, have it be a way to celebrate her. If I end up organizing it and going through with it, I know for certain that I want to have pink balloons, but not JUST pink, because that seems too boring. I have an image in my head of how I want it to look, and that includes pale pink, dark pink, and a few orange and black ones scattered in there, too. The orange and black are, of course, for Halloween...for a few reasons. (1) even though her birthday is November 2nd, it's very close to Halloween, (2) Halloween is my favorite holiday, (3) I went into labor with her on Halloween around eleven at night, (4) if I do it on October 30th, that makes the colors all the more appropriate, and (5) I like colorful things. All pink would be too generic for me.
So, those are my thoughts on that, feel free to share yours if you'd like. I'm not dead set on that idea; I just know that I want to do something "for" her, either on or around her birthday. I'm planning now, because it really is right around the corner...she will be ten months on Friday. Unbelievable. Plus, with school starting up again full-swing and my job search quickly becoming more and more necessary (and so I can have some extra money to buy her her birthday presents!), the month of September and most of October will be pretty busy. Which is good, that's what I need...but I want to plan so that those days up to and right after her birthday are as special as they possibly can be. I know for sure that they will be special for her :)