My Joker

How does a parent even begin to move past the trauma of losing an unborn child? Well, it helps when you already have a lunatic 2-year-old who has you shaking your head and cracking up at every turn.

This is what MJ and I saw when we checked on him last night, an hour after he went to bed. At first I thought he was monkeying around. Sometimes he likes to just chill in his room, jump on the bed or sing to himself. But as I got closer I realized he was dead asleep. Out like a light. Yet both of his feet were on the ground and half his body was off the bed. But that didn’t stop him from slumbering away. MJ and I just stood there, dumbfounded. When I went to move him he opened his eyes, looked at me and said “Grapes, dada.” Then his head hit the pillow and he was out again.

And then we cracked up laughing. Deep, genuine belly laughs. I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

I know it doesn’t seem that funny, and it probably wasn’t. But laughs and smiles in general have been few and far between in these parts recently, and it was nice to see MJ’s return. To be honest I didn’t know what it was going to take to bring joy back into this house. Now I realize it’s going to be all Will.

The boy who, in the last month, has learned to say “OH MY GOD!” and “CALM DOWN!” The kid who constantly requests The Dropkick Murphys song “Shippin’ Up to Boston” by screaming “Ship up Boston, whoa whoa whoa!!” while pumping his arm in the air. Our baby, who has suddenly morphed into our little man, who may not possess the complete vocabulary to communicate with us, yet knows everything we’re saying to him.

This morning, while we were all in bed together before work, there was an incident. It was the thing I’d been fearing since we knew we’d lose the baby. Will was cuddling up to MJ and he started tickling her. He started tickling her stomach but then stopped suddenly, dead in his tracks.

“Oh sorry baby,” he said, talking into MJ’s stomach, apologizing to the baby he still thought was inside.

My heart sank and I started to panic. I looked at MJ with a “what the hell do we do?” glance. She shrugged her shoulders. I didn’t know whether to ignore it and hope he forgets, or to try to explain to him in simplistic terms what had happened.

“Buddy,” I began slowly. “I’m sorry but there’s no more baby in Mama’s belly.”

“What??” he said in his high pitched, surprised voice, with a heavy emphasis on the “t” sound.

“Your sister went bye-bye. No more baby in mama’s tummy. She’s gone buddy.”

He looked confused for a few seconds, glancing back and forth from me to MJ. But then, with the kind of acceptance and finality only a toddler possesses, he seemed to get it. Just like that.

“OK. Bye baby,” he said, as he planted one last gargantuan kiss on her belly.

I know that sounds sad, but strangely enough it wasn’t. It was endearing and cute and completely sweet. Will is a handful and sure he might demand to watch Toy Story 2 roughly 4,972 times a day, but he’s also going to be the one who pulls me and MJ out of this abyss.

One goofy, cute, adorable, ridiculous stunt at a time.

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18 thoughts on “My Joker

  1. Way to go jerk. Now I have to redo my mascara.

    My gramma still has the picture of me at about that age….half in the dog bed with my new puppy and half on the floor….sound asleep and so was my puppy.

    Your 2 year old loves Drop Kick Murphy too?! Fuck YES!! Love it

    Oh and if you think ToyStory is bad to watch over and over and over again….try watching Camp Rock 168379900049499944 times AND then kick yourself when you find yourself humming a fucking JoBoHo song. Fucking kid….she’s such a diva.

  2. You & MJ are amazing people and because of that have created the wonder that is Will. I don’t have any of my own but I’ve seen it before – your child will complete you and save you in those times when you need it as you have done (and will continue to do) for him. Thank you for sharing all of this on the interwebs. It can be hard putting it all out there but I hope you have reaped the benefits by seeing all the love, concern & support that people offer. I wish your little family the best and I will be coming back to read posts about Will’s shenanigans.

  3. Fuck. Tears. Not sad tears but tears at the amazing ability of little people to see life so succintly sometimes. I love your little guy right now for all he’s worth and that’s so much more than any of us can even really fathom. Your family is in my thoughts. I’m so happy to hear there’s laughter in your home again! I laughed out loud (I refuse to use LOL it makes me want to punch kittens) when I saw the photo last night! Cheers =)

  4. That was so cute – the kid cracks me up. Like when I sat him on the potty and he looked up at me seriously and said “It’s not working, Papa!”

  5. The title had me fooled. I thought, “finally! I can read this one at work!” Ha! Tears again. I’m glad you’ve found a way to deal with all this, Thank you Will for helping your mom and dad, even if you don’t know it.

  6. 2 years olds do have an amazing healing quality about them. I’m glad you have Will there to bring back the smiles and heal your hearts.

  7. Hi there. I have been following your blog for a short while and I think it is excellent. It is one of the reasons I get out of bed in the morning. Well…that is a bit of an exaggeration…but your blog is excellent.

    I have selected you to be one of my fifteen recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award.

    Shoot on over here http://www.chalkboarddad.com/2010/07/award-to-hang-on-my-fridge.html to check it out.

    I continue to look forward to reading you.

    -Brian

  8. Very touching story! I could feel your initial pain when Will asked about the baby. Isn’t it amazing how we just melt when we’re with them and how easily they can take our pain away? Thanks for sharing and I wish you guys the best!

  9. If there can be any “hidden luck” as it were, in losing your second child, it’s that you are blessed to have your first to help you through the pain. Lucy quite literally kept us going, day after day after Ariana died. You will always have bad days, or bad moments, but one look at that gorgeous son of yours will pick you right back up again. And from Will, such a beautiful tribute and goodbye.

  10. Great picture! Two year olds sure are amazing, huh!? Deepest sympathies to you and your family for your loss. I can’t imagine what you’re going through personally but thanks for sharing. You do have a great support system that not only includes your family and friends in real life but also all the friends you’ve made online who read along. That had to be tough when Will said something about the baby; you handled it well, his response was priceless. I also think it’s very cool your lil guy’s rockin’ to the Dropkick Murphys. Besides a wide variety of live music I’ve been raising my lil guy on Flogging Molly.

  11. find peace for your heart in that sweet little boy of yours… i know what it’s like to have an ‘insane’ little person flailing around your house. they make you laugh at the most inopportune times, but it’s always exactly what you need. we call our daughter the mayor of crazytown!

  12. Would love to share a pic of my son, same age as Will, with you. Seriously, kids really crack me up sometimes. When I saw this pic of Will it immediately reminded me of one of my son, only he is in the exact opposite direction….face plant on floor(where I have a pillow for any falling out of the bed) with legs up on the toddler bed.

  13. There’s nothing like a two year old to break your heart and heal it in a single moment. We lost our first son, and the two-year old recently discovered the picture we keep in his room of his big brother. Every once in a while he’ll carry it out and say “Mama, Daddy, Baby Aiden”. I never know in those moments if I should be happy or sad. Fortunately, we have a two year old to help teach us the really important things that we’ve forgotten over the years. My heart goes out to you and your family for your loss. Thank you for having the strength to share your love for Alex with all of us.

  14. I had a miscarriage when my first born was 2 years old. Except, well… I didn’t miscarry. The doctor, during a regular scheduled 12 week visit, told me that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. It was just… gone. Just like that.

    I have to tell you that I appreciated my daughter more and more after that. My heart went out to parents who had miscarried their first child. I already had one child so I, at the very least, knew that my body could produce a healthy, wonderful child.

    The problem was, I was not only depressed but obsessive. I wanted to have another baby and this time it was IMPERATIVE that it happened soon.

    My husband (now ex) was depressed but never shared it with me. His was of dealing with it was “move on”, “don’t talk about it”, and “get over it”. Needless to say, that didn’t help either of us. As I obsessed on fertility and ovulation and demanded sex, he moved further and further away from me emotionally. I finally did get pregnant and deliver another healthy baby girl… and my marriage disintegrated shortly after.

    I’m telling you this because (and please recognize that I’m a brand new reader) I wish for you and MJ that you stay connected during this time of grief. I wish for you both to talk and cry and allow each other to feel. Work through it in a way that brings you closer.

    It sounds like you’re both wonderful parents and a loving husband and wife. Your baby boy, Alex and other babies to come are blessed to have chosen you both.

  15. Hi, I’ve just discovered your blog (which is simultaneously hilarious, reassuring and moving! Keep up the great work!) and this entry really touched me. My daughter is just a month older than Will, and we have gone through the pain of losing 3 babies this year due to ectopic/miscarriages. My heart certainly goes out to you both. Your entry reminded me of the second loss this year, and the way my daughter handled it. She too kissed my belly and said “Baby all gone, it was broken. We can get a new one soon. I am Mumma’s baby now”. She gets me through the days sometimes. I wish you guys all the best.

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