OK, not really. But you know I'll blab on about it for a long time anyway.
The "story" is that I was watching season 1 of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. I find that show both hilarious and brilliant, and one of my favorite characters is April Ludgate.
|image from here|
Anyway, in stark contrast to April's apathetic eye-rolling, her parents (featured in just one episode that I know of) are supremely cheerful and vivacious and super cheesy. April rolls her eyes at them constantly. And their nickname for her is... Zuzu!
So one day I'd just watched that episode and I was being super silly and trying to make Caroline smile, and she just gave me her WTF look. It seemed clear she was my own little Zuzu.
|image from here|
|image from here|
But now there's something about the message that his life made all the difference for his family and his town... I like it. I mean, I guess that's the point. But I really like it. It's kind of like the butterfly effect. (Also the title of a lesser-known movie starring Ashton Kutcher, if I'm not mistaken.) Both movies are predicated on the idea that if you change one small thing about the past, you change everything. And that even if something seems like a terrible failure, good things can come of it.
Now don't get me wrong. My life would be FAR MORE wonderful if Eliza were here. Hands down, no question, no debate. If I could have her and Caroline both, and I could somehow really know how lucky I was, I'd never want anything again.
But this isn't about the impossibility of having her alive and with us. It's just that our Zuzu (and Zuzu from It's A Wonderful Life) has gotten me thinking about just how much it matters that Eliza was here at all. After we lost her, I couldn't figure out why I had to have gotten pregnant at all if we were going to lose the baby before she was even born. It seemed like it would have been easier if she had never existed.
Now I can see how much being pregnant with her changed everything. Her death is the worst and saddest and most unjust thing that has ever happened to me. I hate it and I rage against it and there is almost nothing I wouldn't do to get her back.
And still I can't deny that good things have come to me since then, because of her. Her brief little life still matters. It has influenced us to no end, and changed us and how it continues to shape me, and the relationships I have, and the kind of parent I am. Not all these changes are good, but a lot of them are.
I was talking to a friend today about her frustrations with her four-month-old's bedtime routine. She's working on being able to lay him down and have him fall asleep on his own. It's a habit she established with her first son but her second little guy isn't going down as easily.
Before Eliza, I would have worried about that, too. I would have been much more insistent on patterns and routines and habits and parenting by the book and not "spoiling" the baby.
But now I think about how fast these past three months have gone by, about how quickly Zuzu's babyhood will go, and (as I told my friend), I'll rock this baby to sleep every night for as long as she lets me. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. I don't think I'm creating a night-time monster who will resist bedtime forever. I think we (as a family) are establishing a nighttime routine we all like. It's what's right for our family, even if it's not right for everyone.
And I think it's because of Eliza that I'm not worried about stuff like that. She sleeps. We sleep. How we get there doesn't really matter as long as we're all happy and getting some sleep, right?
And it's because of Eliza that I'm savoring every single moment with Zuzu--even the ones when I'm frustrated and she's fussy. I've been surprised by how relaxed I am--because if it's not fatal, it's really not a big deal. We'll figure it out.
After all, there will come a day when she won't want to be rocked to sleep, when I won't get to spend the last hour of my day breathing in her baby smell and kissing her soft head and hearing her sigh as she relaxes against me. So I'm going to soak it up while I can.
And that's just a tiny example of Eliza's butterfly effect.
So there you go. I've gotten completely off topic. But that's the story of our Zuzu and the three other Zuzus. This one's my favorite: