there's no place like home*
the many faces of my gorgeous marmie, canon digital rebel xti
(click for larger view)
I just returned home from home. I can still smell the puppy scent of our new little sister, Callie Lu in my hair. I snuggled her good and hard while she sat on my lap during our trek back to the airport. Their dog Daisy that recently passed away will never be replaced but Callie Lu sure has stolen another part of my heart. One of my favorite moments was when she snuggled in between my sister Darlene and I for two hours in the early morning. She clumsily plopped her furry body on top of mine, nuzzling her nose into my neck and then taking turns to do the same with Darlene. She couldn't make up her mind which new sister she wanted to snuggle, so she laid down in the middle with paws touching us both. I think she was on LOVE overload all weekend. We all couldn't get enough of her. She's such a smart little one...already playing fetch, whining at the door when she needs to go potty and sitting for treats. She's just tender and perfect for my parents and has already been so healing for their broken hearts. I cradled her in my arms quite a bit and had to laugh at myself because I could feel that yearning to do the same with a baby, yet here I was starring in the eyes of a puppy.
Speaking of yearning. I only had one mini meltdown about my fertility journey while with my sisters and mother. I actually anticipated a few more because it was the first time in a long time since we've all been together. They've gone through most of this with me over the phone or via emails. It happened when we were driving up to the mountains on our way to antique stores. After cheerfully listening to a plethora of stories about my nieces and nephews when they were little, out of the blue I felt an anxiety attack come on. I was sitting in the back seat with my sister Darlene and while she was sharing a cute story about Marky and marbles, I felt warm tingles all over. My sister Pam and my mother were up front chatting away and their voices began to sound low and grumbled. My heart started racing, my palms sweating. I reached my hand over to Darlene's knee in tears and told her what was happening. Then my emotions all poured out. I heard my mother and Pam stop and listen. Pam turning and placing her hand on my leg, Darlene holding my hand. My mother was driving but I could still feel her touching me. I just remember saying that I never thought I'd be "this person" to have to go through this. I think I even called Nichole Ritchie a bad word for getting pregnant while anorexic (where did that come from?). Wow...it all came tumbling. They held me in their silence. I kept hearing their whispers..."I know, Denise...let it out." Even through the tears and messy thoughts and emotions, I felt centered. I remember saying..."I'm not a victim. I am grateful for this journey and all the blessings that have come into my life as a result but it doesn't take the pain away, the uncertainty, the fear when others share their stories and you wonder if a biological child is or is not in the cards for you. It's huge and every once in a while it feels overwhelming and shocking that this is me....but it is me and I am accepting this." This whole journey has been about accepting and embracing the joy and pain through all of this.
They didn't look at me with pity but rather with pride. I noticed that and appreciated it very much. They all seemed so sure about the goodness in my near future. They were the balance to my fearful thoughts creeping up.
The remainder of my time there I felt more quiet than usual. Sort of taking everything in and being gentle with myself. Messy moments like that drain me a bit because they don't happen very often but when they do, I let the floodgates flow. I need to. It felt so good and natural to do it with them. It still surprised me though because I was feeling so centered and then blah...it came crashing down. It's all part of the roller coaster. I promised myself I would never judge moments like these but hold myself more gently when they happen.
In fact, we all had our moments of sharing like this about our own journey's. It felt as though we all circled one another holding onto a healing safety net for when one of us stumbled. That's what family is for and I know we'll always continue to nurture that.
Below are a few photos I wanted to share. My brother in-law and darling nephews came over for a bit as well. Can't believe how grown up they all are. I remember them in diapers so clearly:
the newest fuzzy addition to our family...Callie Lu, canon digital rebel xti
(for those that have asked...she is a Golden Doodle)
the blonde beauties.. my big sis Darlene & lil sis Callie, canon digital rebel xti
my other stunning big sis Pamela, canon digital rebel xti
my handsome daddy looking oh so Sean Connery-ish.
(just ignore the blur from camera shake!)
pamela, darlene & me, taken by marmie with my camera,
right before heading to the mountains
the boyz: Ken (pam's husband), my nephews Casey, Mark & Sean and my daddy
Casey (pam's son)& Mark (darlene's son) playing with Callie, canon digital rebel xti
brothers being brothers: Casey & Sean (pam's son), canon digital rebel xti
cousins being cousins: Mark, Casey & Sean
Mark & Casey, canon digital rebel xti
never enough sister kisses
We missed you Angela & Kelly!