Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Speaking of Names....

It's time to re-name the blog!  I'd say I'm no longer "rebuilding"....I've built a whole different life instead.  Since Brian died, I've moved to Austin, then San Antonio.  I've dated, married, and had 2 children.  I've changed jobs.  I've acquired another cat.  I've sold our house, moved in with a new husband, sold his house, and picked out another one for our family.  I think I've re-built plenty!  And, arguably, at 35 I may not be classified as "young" anymore...but we don't have to render an official verdict on that, regardless of whether I ditch that part of the blog name.

So....I'm going to be rolling this over in my mind a bit, but I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What's in a Name?

On June 13, Sheldon & I became the proud parents of two!  Our second son, Waylon Luis, was born at 5:15 pm after about 10 hours of labor.  He weighed in at 7 lbs, 15 oz.

One of the questions we get a lot is about his name - "Why Waylon?"  Technically, it came from the baby book and was just one we both liked. But, of course, there is some significance that caused us to choose that name in particular out of the twenty or so we had winnowed out of the thousands.

"Like Waylon Jennings?"  Yeah, sort of. But this isn't a tribute name; while Jennings inspired the moniker, the name wasn't chosen to honor him. It's what his name represents that mattered to us.

Waylon Jennings was one of The Highwaymen, a country supergroup of musicians who sang the epic song "The Highwayman" about reincarnation and continuing to live on after death.  (  The song was a favorite of Brian's, and one that I only really started to appreciate after his death. Waylon's name, and his very existence, is a reminder that energy is a constant force and that we go on, even if those departed only return as "a single drop of rain." Finally, Waylon is a good mix of Wendy + Sheldon. Waylon being a Texan name, it seemed a good choice for this new life created here by us, a child whose very being exemplifies life after death.

His middle name is also reminiscent of second lives to us, though in the sense of second chances within the context of this physical life.  Sheldon's late grandfather, whose funeral was held on the date that would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary with Brian, was named Luis. I was incredibly touched by the words penned by his wife to be read on the day of his funeral. Luis Gonzalez, or "Grandpa Lou," was by many accounts, a bit of a stern man and could be difficult to get along with when he was younger. There were some disagreements, and at times, some estrangement, between Lou and his children. Eventually, he found religion and age found him. He mellowed enough, and time healed the wounds enough for all, that he made peace with everyone in the family. I love the idea that as long we are alive, it's never too late to change, to forgive, to choose love. I myself am a very different person than I was 10 or 20 years ago. I am more patient (with others and myself), less judgmental, more inclined toward compassion and forgiveness, and more likely to let things be than carry a grudge. I'm working on being less defensive, on owning my actions and feelings and mistakes, and commanding respect. I think I'm a better wife this time around. By no means am I perfect, but I'm getting better. I'm a different person, and who I am now fits with Sheldon. He is a different person than he was as a young adult, and one who fits with me. We wouldn't have been a good match if we had met ten years sooner, but change brought us to the point where we compliment each other and enjoy each other. To me, the name Luis represents the amazing capacity for change that we all hold within our hearts, and the possibilities in store for those who are willing to let go, let live, and let love in.

I don't know what my sweet little boy's soul has lived through before now, nor do I know what trials and tribulations -- and, God willing, redemptions -- await, but right now it is his destiny to be our Waylon Luis.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another Branch on the Family Tree

So, we are having another baby boy!  I'm due on June 14.  As much as I'm physically ready to be done being pregnant, it would be great to have the kiddo on his actual due date.  My aunt Amanda had her son on my birthday, and June 14 is her birthday, so that would be a cool connection.  But whatever will be, will be.

What else?  I mean, I haven't blogged in almost a year!  So much...

Sheldon's sister Paige is living with us; she moved in right around the time we were settling into the new house.  She is going to school and helps out as a nanny and "Tia" to Cooper.  It's been amazing having some family here in town, and even better - right in our house!  With Sheldon & I being self-employed and doing a lot from home, it's great having another set of adult hands in the family to help run the household and our businesses.

Speaking of businesses and growth, Sheldon is training a new person (a friend of ours) in the fundraising business.  It's keeping him extra busy this spring, but will be a great move in the long-term.  We are really expanding in every way -- the size of our family, the size of our business, the size of our house.  Except on the pet front, and I tried.  We had a stray cat that was coming around daily and had even snuck into the house a couple times and would let us pet him sometimes.  I managed to get him trapped, neutered and get him basic shots, and was able to re-home him with a friend.  Maybe we'll get some fish sometime soon though...

I think about Brian a lot, and miss him.  I still dream about him.  I still wear his shirts to sleep in, and can't part with any of our Emeril cookware, or even the Emeril kitchen towel he liked, even though it is worn and might have a small tear.  I still worry about whether I got rid of too much of his stuff, and wish I'd kept more tees for sleeping.  I still don't know what to do with his glasses and wallet.  I still have a tote of things in the office closet that I can't bear to part with, or to look at.  I still worry about how long it's been since I've been to his grave, and how long it will before I'm back.

And I worry about what would happen if the same thing happened again.  I sometimes panic when Sheldon is later coming home than I expected, or if he doesn't answer his phone.  My mind goes to the worst thoughts quicker than most.  I get fleeting thoughts like "I wonder how I'll die...will it be natural causes at an old age?  Cancer in my 50s?  Car accident in 2 years?"  And I think the same things about everyone I love.  I have to push those thoughts away, because thinking about it ahead of time doesn't do a damn thing except cause pain and anxiety.  I suppose what will happen, will happen.

I wonder if I think about Brian too little, or too much?  I sometimes feel like I'm betraying Sheldon to say I miss him.  But I feel like I'm betraying Brian if I don't.  Mostly, I'm able to be happy thinking about good memories with him.  But in the interest of honesty, I don't want to pretend times were always good, or that the good isn't tinged with aching to see him again and anger about his life being cut so short.

I'll just never be someone who hasn't lost it all.  I'll never not be a widow, and never be the same as someone who hasn't been through this.

We still haven't come up with a name for the next baby.  He will be our last child.  I want to honor Brian in some way with the name, but I don't want to be weird.  A music- or football-inspired name would be a good, subtle way to do that.  But in a way that honors me and Sheldon as well.  I mean, these are Sheldon's sons and part of his family...but they are also here because of Brian's life and how his affected mine.

Cooper can pick out Brian from the pictures in our bedroom.  I only had to tell him once, and he remembered.  I don't even know if he knows some of the people in our families that well in pictures, people he's met many times.  I wonder how that works -- does he see Brian sometimes, or somehow know him from when they were both in spirt form together, before Cooper gained a physical body and after Brian lost his?  Will Brian's soul re-enter the physical world again before I'm able to reconnect with him?  Is he looking after us?  Is he happy for me?  Proud?  Have I done him right?  How will I begin to tell the story to my kids about Brian, about the first husband I had?  How do we talk about death in a non-scary, but honest way? How do I reassure them that the same thing won't happen to their daddy, or to me, when I don't really know that myself?

I'm all over the place, I know.  It still is all so overwhelming to think about what the last 6-7 years have been and how complicated and beautiful and painful life is.  So many happy, glorious moments in that time, and also so much pain and confusion, so much hurt and loss.  And it all comes together to build today.  Today feels messy to me, probably just because I'm making the time to sit down and face all these things that float around inside my heart and my head and shape my soul.  It's been a long time since I took a look in a spiritual mirror.  I've been so caught up in the daily grind -- diapers, laundry, meal planning, work, dishes, game nights, visitors -- that I have been shutting out the really big stuff.

All I know is, things are overwhelmingly good in my life right now.  I probably think and worry about things that most people don't, because most people haven't walked my path.  But maybe that can be an advantage to me, maybe it will help me appreciate what I have more than most.  I know that I can make a point to try to do exactly that, so at least that's a good starting point.