Cassy and I had always planned to on having her home with our children. We did everything we could to scrap and save each month, paying down our debts, paying off our cars and maintaining them so they would last as long as they could. We decided as a family that if we could position ourselves appropriately, we would have the ability to raise our children on a daily, moment to moment basis.
So we worked. I made spreadsheets (because of course I would). We revisited our progress every couple of months, talking about how our payments would snowball into each other until we were finally at the point that we could make plans. When we became pregnant with Luke it became real. Like, ‘we had better get this thing moving’, real. We weren’t ready yet, but we were going to do this thing one way or another.
We never thought that having children at home would be the hard part.
Losing Luke was so difficult in so many ways. The dreams and memories we were preparing for were ripped right out from under us and all of the saving and spreadsheeting we did was a cruel reminder that we were no closer than we had been six months ago simply because we couldn’t bring our first baby home. To worsen the blow, Cassy had been looking forward to leaving a type of work that was a grind on her heart – she was a creative person working in a grey cubicle world, pushing papers and building schedules. It was draining for her. She went from waiting to leave that world with Luke to wondering if she was going to leave.
We went through the same cycle a year later, only with Jonah we went full term. Jonah never came home, and neither did our hopes and dreams of starting life as a family together. We were saving enough that Cassy could change jobs when she wanted, and work where she wanted, but so much time was spent waiting for our children to come home that we never really got to a point where the time felt right. It has been three years of waiting, working and hoping. And we were spinning in circles.
So we shifted our perspective.
We had enough baggage in our first house at this point that we decided to move – a fresh start in a new house that would have a chance to see a child in its nursery the first time we made it instead of the third. We loosened our spending belts a little bit, allowing some things that we hadn’t while we were building for the life we wanted as parents. And we took a deeper look at the reasons behind Cassy leaving her office beyond family-building. It became more important to choose the things that made her happy – or at least find things that fit her better – outside of the context of being parents.
After a few months of near-constant discussion, but we made the choice to trust in her skills, refocus our vision, and bet on ourselves. Aside from reduced bills, one of the gifts from Luke and Jonah that we never thought of was the amount of savings we have been able to accrue over these last three years. It ebbs and flows like any savings account does (and sometimes more than I want it to), but it is enough to float us through for several months if that’s what it takes to find the work that fits our needs but also Cassy’s heart.
Without Luke and Jonah, this wouldn’t have been possible.
This Memorial Day Weekend, I want to encourage you to think about the things you’re doing and the freedoms you have because of those we have lost. Look at your neighborhood and community and give some heartful consideration to the incredible amount of struggle that has preceded all of the smiles and laughter you see every day. We grieve because they aren’t here, but we also work to make them proud and that includes doing what it takes to truly believe in yourself.
Our children were the beginning of our dreams, not the end.
It’s time to evolve in our grief and take the next step. Will you?