I have been wanting to write about my trip to Richmond for a number of days and as we get further and further from that trip I wonder why I both haven’t written it yet and why bother. This isn’t that post. I will get to it eventually and hopefully before I forget, but I realized why I hadn’t yet. It was because I enjoyed myself and had fun. We went up there as a family and had a good fun day being a family.
I had this epiphany after we returned from another weekend day trip up to Williamsburg. We annually go up to get hot cider and ginger cakes and to walk around the Colonial area and take in the nearby shops. It was another good family day. We got our cider and ginger cakes, walked all through the Colonial town, found a new brewery in Market Square, and then got coffee at a fancy Italian coffee shop.
Roland and Windsor had a great day of riding in their stroller and gawking at fans. It was so great I forgot the entire journey to get to this point. We are no longer NICU parents visiting our children at the hospital. The entire ordeal is fading from my memory. Perhaps it is because I was mainly a spectator to the ordeal. I was not the on cut open 13 weeks early on an operating table or the one that was cold, pale, and lifeless at birth put on a warming table or the one that had to live in a glass cage with tubes sticking out of multiple orifices in order to survive. None of this happened to me.
All of it impacted me, and as I felt myself forgetting all that we went through to bring our boys home, to become a family, to earn the good times taking day trips to near by amusements, I felt guilty for being happy. That my happiness and enjoyment of the children as children wasn’t proper in the face of what we went through. That i should somehow never forget hose feelings and dark times and that my happiness and joy was an affront to that. I felt the gravitational pull of that traumatic experience pulling me back. Asking me to once again be a part of its darkness and never forget that my happiness came with a price and to never allow myself to feel like part of a normal family.
Then, as often seems to happen, I listened to the perfect song and finally paid attention to the opening lines. Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More sung by James Taylor accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma was that song, and it’s opening line goes, “Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears,” and that was the perfect response to how I was feeling. It isn’t that I shouldn’t feel happy but that I should allow myself the moments of joy and pleasure, but take the time to reflect on the struggles that led us to that point.