Thursday, February 26

I fell in love with a baby on the internet.

My heart is broken in a million pieces right now. I can't stop crying, and I've been attempting to hold both my children in my arms for the past hour.

A 10-month old baby from New Zealand died suddenly last night. I'm sure any sane, rational person would probably agree that yes, this is very sad news, but not sad enough to warrant the reaction above.

I'm afraid that I loved this baby. I fell in love with her about 9 months ago, right after I gave birth to my girl, Nina.

Her mother started a blog while she was still pregnant, after doctors discovered there might be some minor complications. She ended up having a daughter who, along with various other health problems, was both blind and deaf. On top of everything else, this blogger was a single mom. She was doing this on her own.

Her name was Eva, and she had CHARGE syndrome. Her name was Eva, and she was wonderful. And now she's gone.

My first feeling towards Eva was sadness. I was profoundly sad about her situation. I couldn't imagine having to accept the challenge of learning to communicate with a blind and deaf person. I quickly realized after about five minutes of reading this mom's writing that this baby didn't deserve my sadness. She was so deeply loved. She was perfect.

And then, as I started to read more on Eva, I realized I was addicted to Eva. I loved learning about her upcoming surgeries and appointments, her new sounds and movements, and I was especially jealous of her summertime activities in the Southern hemisphere. I was hesitant whenever I commented on the blog with words of support. What the heck did I know? Who did I think I was? Some special-needs-parenting expert? Sit down, Mrs. Zakic.

I called my husband when I heard the news this morning - and I immediately apologized for being so upset.

"This is stupid. I've never even met them."

As much as I try, I can't shove these intense feelings away. I refuse to stop being addicted to Eva. I'm going to keep talking about her, sharing her story, and I'm going to keep hugging my kids just a bit harder every day because of her. If you have a baby, a puppy, a lizard, or whatever you choose to love right now, go ahead and wake them up. Give them a giant squeeze, and remind yourself how wonderful their life is.

If you have a moment, please read about the start of Eva's life here. And if you have even two moments, please leave a nice comment for Eva's mom. She needs absolutely everyone in the world right now.

Friday, February 20

To the Mom in the Hospital Waiting Room, Part 2

There are days when the internet reminds me of a piece of mystery garbage, one that I can't quite locate on my kitchen floor. The insidious smell is usually just the right amount of foul for me to establish that, yes it exists, and no, I won't have the energy any time soon for a search-and-destroy mission.

Most days, I try to approach the internet with a plucky, come-on-how-much-worse-could-things-be-today type of attitude, much like how I feel about the smell(s) coming from the North (or maybe East?) side of my kitchen. I don't have a good relationship with the internet. I don't last very long before thinking I'm way too fat, way too pimply, way too sensitive, or just not cool enough. In addition to my very long list of personal and life problems,  I have to face things like Gamergate, Measles, and Cosby defenders. These things produce feelings in me that I just don't have room in my body to feel right about now.

I suppose garbage is a bad analogy here. I can at least throw garbage in a bag, and then take it outside at an appropriate time.

Perhaps it might be possible to locate a quarter or two on the kitchen floor, instead of a corn kernel from 2014. That's almost what happened to me a few weeks ago.  Last summer, I had an encounter with another mom in a hospital waiting room. My son, Branko, had broken his femur the previous week, and we were there to replace the cast. If you are at all interested, please read the rest of the story here.

Let me get everyone up to speed: Frazzled Mom (me) goes into waiting room with son + newborn daughter. Is having a shitty time dealing with things. Other Mom is nice and has nice kids and makes everything okay. Gives Frazzled Mom a business card for her blog; has a sweet contest going on at the moment for baby gear.

I would be lying if I said that the thought of free baby gear didn't peak my interest. At some point last year, I started sincerely believing that because we had experienced so many terrible moments of sheer unluckiness, that the rest of the world somehow owed me something. I was absolutely certain that it was my destiny to win the lottery very soon. This could be it! Random baby gear that I may never use might potentially represent the turning point of my life. Yes, mother in the hospital waiting room, I WILL check out your blog. And win your darn contest, too.

The thing is, I'm terrible at doing things. I had it all planned out in my head: I would go home, dig the business card out of my jeans, craft an amazing "thank you for being nice" email, send the email, enter the contest, and cook an amazing dinner for my family.

I am pretty sure what actually happened resembled the end of Reservoir Dogs, without guns and the suits. Branko was loud, hot, and in pain and I had to decide on giving him either tylenol, morphine, or both. I was unsure, so I spent 35 minutes on hold waiting for a doctor. My daughter vomited on my pants, so in the washing machine they went, along with the business card. What was I thinking? I was trying to do my best impersonation of a particularly thoughtful type of person who sends thank-you-emails to complete strangers. I was also trying to pretend to be a contest enterer. I had failed miserably on both accounts.

In conclusion, I never emailed her that day. Even though I had washed the business card, I came across her blog's Facebook page about a month later. I added the thank-you-email to my mental to-do list, and didn't think about it again until over six months later, when I decided to take up The Mighty on their February writing challenge. This one involved thanking someone who had displayed kindness, no matter how subtle the action. I wrote about what happened - quickly, because remember, I'm terrible at doing things - and within a couple of hours they had published it. Nice!

I decided to send a quick email to the the other mom. I shared the published link and was like, oh no big deal but this is about you and your kids. It was only after I had sent the email when I realized how completely weird the whole thing was. Would she think I was a creep? Would she be pissed off that I didn't contact her directly? Would she even remember me?

Well, everything pretty much worked out in the end. She crafted a really well-written response and published it on her blog. You can read it here. Or not. I don't care. But you really should. More importantly, this is a great example of how good things can happen, even if you suffer from extreme procrastination and laziness.

I am certain I will be Frazzled Mom once again in the hospital waiting room. I know that there will be moments when both my kids need me and I just won't be able to do two things at once. I know that my daughter will probably one day complain about having to tag along with her brother to the hospital, and she will probably (definitely) ask what's up with his legs. But I also know that another mom, any mom, will have my back. And that feels pretty great.