Thursday, April 18

DEAR SOL: HERE IS YOUR FAMILY

Well, it finally happened:
#14 on the list of My Worries, from this post written waaaay back when I was pregnant.
 
The day when our family is compared to the other families at daycare.


Yesterday was like any other day; I left work to pick Sol up from daycare.  I walked in and saw my little monster walking up to me (omg, she's walking! let's take a second to raise the roof for my future marathoner!)

Sol perched on my left hip, diaper bag slung over my right shoulder, I was pulled aside by Miss Shannon, who mentioned to me that they're asking each child to bring in photos of his or her family over the next week.  These photos will be posted up on a wall alongside all the other kids' family photos.  They're doing this to help each child to learn about his or her family, to help each child associate a name with each person, to have the family "right there" with each child at daycare.

Family photos. 
Welllllll.
Isn't that special.

I slapped on the most outrageously fake smile and said, "Okay."  And I walked out the door.

My heart instantly sank and my throat tied itself into one large, ridiculously impossible knot.  The same knot I felt for months while I was pregnant.  The same knot that was originally tied by the man who abandoned me.  The same knot that manifested itself every night for 9 months, reminding me that I was different, that my child would be different.  The same knot that reminds me of every break my heart has suffered, every evil word spoken to me, every awkward "I'm pregnant and single" conversation I had to endure, every afternoon spent sobbing on my living room floor, every night spent lying in bed, tracing soft lines on my growing belly and crying into my pillow.  The same knot that I feel when I see a perfect nuclear family who's so cute and "together" that I want to vomit, or cry, or maybe both.  The same knot that you get when you're fatherless.

That knot tied me up the whole way home.  And it held that same restrictive power over me for the rest of the night.  It consumed me as I fell asleep, and it was still there this morning.  Sol will not have pictures of her father.  She will only have pictures of one set of grandparents.  Sol has half a family.

Family photos: proof that Sol is different because of things I did.

 I got to work this morning and searched my computer to find pics of our family.  And as I shuffled through the photos, I could feel the knot slowly begin to loosen.  With each happy photo of smiling faces surrounding my daughter, I too felt happy.  And I felt guilty.  And stupid.  For allowing that pesky knot to take control of me and cause me to forget what a great family we truly have.  Hodge-podge and unconventional though it may be, we have a ridiculously large family.  Sol and I are unbelievably blessed to be surrounded by good people who love us dearly.  

Blog/Facebook comments never cease to amaze me; as I read them I see just how much Sol is loved.  She may not have a perfect family in the traditional sense... but in my opinion she has something even better.  She has hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of people who know and love her, most of whom have never even met her.  If only there were a wall big enough to post pictures of every member of our amazing family.

(If you want your photo on her wall at daycare, just let me know... 
how cool would it be to have her wall FILLED UP? haha)

Family photo day?
Bring.  It.  On.

Dear Sol,
 here is your family:

 I am your mother.  I love you dearly and always have. 
I want the very best for you in life, and I want you to be happy.
That is all you need to know.

This is Grandma CC.  She was there when you were born.
She cut your umbilical cord and gave you your first bath.
She says a prayer for you every night.
Her heart nearly explodes with all the love she has for you.

This is Grandpa Ken.  
He waited impatiently in the waiting room the night you were born.
He was the first man to hold you.
He never stops thinking about you.  He shows pictures of you whenever he can.
He calls almost daily to talk to you.
(I can't wait for you to start talking so you can actually talk to him...)

This is Aunt Liz.  She was with me when I first heard your heartbeat.
She was the first one at the hospital when I went into labor.
She held my hand as you took your first breath.
She loves you more than you will ever know.
Aunt Liz is holding your cousin Ellie.  You and Ellie are going to be best friends.

 This is Aunt Amanda.  She was the first one in our family to know about you.
She was also there, holding my hand as you entered the world.
Her whole office knows about you because she never stops talking about you.
She is proud of you and loves you.


This is GG Helen.  You will always have a very special place in her heart.
She has loved you for a long, long time.


This is GG Loretta.  She has many grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
but she has more than enough love to make each of them feel special.
You are no exception.  She loves you very dearly, and has always loved you.


 This is Uncle Gregg with Cooper.
Uncle Gregg was there the night you were born.
(but he didn't hold you because "he was sweaty from playing volleyball,"
but I think he was actually scared to hold such a tiny person)
Uncle Gregg loves you and your chubby self.
Cooper was the first one to know about you.
He sat with me alone in Aunt Liz's living room and listened to me cry.
He gave me hugs and, in his own canine way, he told me that it would work out.
You will love Cooper.  He gives the best hugs ever.

This is Uncle Matt.  We call him Mattitude.
He is hilarious.  He taught you to blow raspberries.
You didn't stop blowing raspberries for months.


This is Aunt Kenny.  She is your godmother.
She has loved you since before you were born.
She was so excited to meet you that she drove a long way
to be at the hospital the day after you were born.



This is Uncle Mike.  We call him Uncle Rafiki.
He loves to hold you up a la Lion King.
He came with Aunt Kenny to see you the day after you were born.
(and he's apparently a model on the side...)

 This is Aunt Stephanie.  She is one of my best friends.
She loves you mucho and wants the very best for you.
Her daughter Genesis will be your best friend :)

 This is Aunt Joleen.  We'll call her Auntie Jo.
She is VERY smart.
She loves to take you to the Beer Exchange.
She has been an important part of your life for almost your entire life.
She loves taking you to Target and putting ridiculous hats on you.


This is Aunt Leah.  She is amazing.
She loves you SO SO SO much.
She loves to come over and play with you.
She's going to teach you to dance!!

This is Aunt Chel-C.  She was the first one to know your name :)
She loves photography and loves snapping photos of you.
She sends you cool presents, and will teach you all about the She-Woman Man Haters Club.
We are founding members.

This is E-Machine.
E is very special to us too.
He likes cars and cows, and he can tell you all about them.
You two will be very good friends... most of the time.

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