Friday, February 4, 2011

Practically Perfect

David is practically perfect.

And I mean that in the sense that he is absolutely practical about everything.

I suppose in every relationship there is really only room for on drama queen, and frankly I'm glad that it's not my husband.  But still he can be such a damn realist that it annoys me.  Even though I love him and I need him to be realistic about things.  It's still annoying.

For example:  the nursery. 

It was not nearly completed when Eliza was born.  The crib and dresser and chair were in place, and we'd hung two shelves but nothing was on the walls, nothing was in the closet, the room was filled with baby gifts still in their gift bags and clothes still in shopping bags.  All of that was about to happen in the next two weeks, after the semester was over, before Christmas.  I was going to get all the finishing touches for the nursery and do all the laundry and finish my Christmas shopping and clean the house and spend the rest of December just relaxing and looking forward to the baby. 

But we all know that none of that happened.

Just a day or two after we were home from the hospital, we packed everything away.  Items that we borrowed were returned to friends who stopped by to express condolences and offer casseroles.  Unopened crib sheets, unwashed clothes, unread baby books, everything got packed up for storage.  My mom and dad went to Target to buy a bunch of plastic tubs to hold everything.  Then they went back to Target and bought more plastic tubs to hold the rest of everything (Baby Eliza was already highly accessorized).  David put all of her things in neatly organized and labeled plastic tubs and then put all of those in the garage.

Maybe it was easier to do it then, when we were still numb.  It couldn't hurt us more than we were already hurting.  And it gave us something to do, something to keep us busy.  David and my dad took apart the crib they'd put together just a few weeks before and my mom and I carefully wrapped it in plastic and then it was stored in the garage.

My parents had been sleeping on the futon (now known as the Lair of Bed Bugs, thank you Brandon) and this way we were able to put the guest bed back up in that room and give them a real bed. 

Later, I read online about bereaved parents who hadn't touched the perfectly finished, unused nursery.  Weeks or months out, the room stayed unchanged.  Grief-stricken mothers wrote about sobbing on the floor of the nursery, or gently touching the little clothes that their baby would never wear. 

These stories scared me--eleven months from now, would I still feel like this?  Would it really still be this hard?  And also, if I was able to pack away my baby's unworn clothes, did that mean I didn't love her as much as these mothers loved their babies?

I tentatively posited these questions to David.  "You know, some parents leave their baby's room just as it is.  They don't pack everything away.  They go in there and think about their baby.  Maybe we should have done that."

David didn't miss a beat when he replied, "Well, those people probably have more than two bedrooms."

You see what I mean?


Sometimes I think it is a little easier to cope when things just have to be done.  I still haven't been to the grocery store by myself, but I know one of these days it will have to be done and I will do it.  Not because I want to, not because I'm no longer missing Eliza, not because I'm stronger or better or whatever.  But just because it's one more thing on a list of things that have to be done.

Part of me still wants life to stop.  I still want to stay in bed all day and cry and cry and cry.  I want to have no appetite.  I want to immerse myself in the dizzy darkness of grief and never ever come up for air.

But part of me lives with a very practical husband who seems to know for sure what I still have trouble believing:  that we will see better days.  Eventually.


  1. I love his response. It really is so practical!

    I am less brave than you. I wasn't strong enough to do it myself. I had my friends go to my place and pack everything away while I was still in the hospital. I couldn't bear to come home with no baby to a house full of baby things. So they came in and got rid of everything. Most of it was shipped back to the store where I had my nursery registry.

    I don't think that means we loved our babies any less because we didn't keep their rooms. I think it just means that for us, the right thing to do was to not keep the stuff. For others, the right thing to do is to keep the stuff.

    We all just do what we feel we need to do.

    Oh, and we only have 2 bedrooms as well! : )

  2. Remember, you will not always feel as badly as you feel right now. It gets easier. Hang in there. xoxo

  3. There will indeed be better days, I PROMISE you that!

    But on the days when things aren't "better" than they were the day before, that's ok too. It's a roller coaster ride of emotions and no matter how much we would like to get off of it, we can't. But, you aren't alone and everything you are feeling is normal.

  4. LOL at your husband. : )

    Our pregnancy was so tentative for so long that we didn't buy very much. And when we reached the point where we thought things were going to be fine, people told us not to buy anything, that we'd be getting everything we needed at my shower. (The invitations went out, but it was never held.) So we have very little in the way of "stuff." Sometimes I'm grateful for that -- but sometimes I feel guilty, and cheated.

    We did buy a Classic Pooh bedding set that is still in the bag with the receipt. I can't bring myself to give it away (or my maternity clothes, which are all still hanging in the spare bedroom closet). I did return the maternity clothes & other things that people had loaned to us.

    I know women who came home from the hospital to find their inlaws had already cleared out the nursery & packed everything away. Some were grateful -- some were furious. We're all different, & we all find our ways of coping!

  5. :) your hubby sounds like mine. practical sometimes to a fault. ((hugs)) i think that you guys did what was right for you at that moment. don't feel bad about it at all. we left all of Julius' stuff up in our room and in his drawers. but had to put away the stuff in the living room. and then every so often when i'm strong enough i will put something else away. like last weekend i cleaned out my nightstand and put away some of the things that i kept in there for him, or i put his bouncy chair that we kept in the office up after a few weeks. the whole thing just rips my heart apart. i wish we didn't have to do any of that EVER.

  6. You certainly don't love your baby any less then another mother loves hers, we are all different in the way we deal with things. And we all have different circumstances surrounding us that influence our decisions.

  7. all the things that everyone else said.

    we had never prepared a room for the baby, and that hurt in its own way, that there was nothing in the house that looked like it was waiting for a baby.

    packing everything away doesn't mean you love eliza any the less, i promise.