I met my husband when I was 34 years old. We both had no children. We both loved Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. We fell in love at warp speed.
Within weeks we were speaking about how much we wanted our own little Hobbits to be running around. Within months we moved in together, then eloped in Lake George, NY.
We knew that we were meant for each other, and we knew that we wanted to try to have a baby as soon as possible.
Due to past issues with ovarian cysts and Endometriosis, both of which I had to have surgery for, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to have children. I didn’t know if the force would be with me in this endeavor.
We went to see the specialist who had performed my surgery for Endometriosis, at Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC. He said that in his professional opinion I should be able to conceive.
We went home ecstatic and I was pregnant within a month. We were so happy, and began making plans and discussing baby names.
I fell in love with the name Jaina, after I saw my husband creating a Photoshop wallpaper of Jaina Solo, a character from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
He told me about how he had been dreaming of having a son named Ryan for as long as he could remember.
I loved that name for a boy, and he loved the name I picked out for a girl.
A few days after our doctor appointment, we went to Michael’s craft store for some decorations for our first Christmas together. One of the first things I saw was a little stocking that had the name Ryan imprinted on it. I felt a feeling of warmth rush through me so I bought it.
We found out months later that we were having a baby girl. We were thrilled that our little Jaina would be coming, but I never forgot about that stocking and kept it on my shelf.
Our first year as parents was amazing. Our little girl looked like an Elven princess, and was so easygoing. She made us want to have more kids, and we wanted to make her happy by providing a sibling.
We were pregnant again when our daughter was thirteen months old. We were so happy that our children would be close in age. They could be Jedis together and fight the dark side. We heard the baby’s heartbeat and thought everything was fine.
Then it wasn’t.
At our thirteen week pregnancy checkup the heartbeat was gone. I tried to let out a scream but couldn’t. I wondered why my sweet baby left me.
This happened four more times, for three more years. Each loss was very difficult. I put a blanket on the pain, each thread kept the sorrow in.
Some people told me that maybe I should consider adoption, or maybe I wasn’t meant to have more children. But each time I glanced at that stocking, I knew that I was on the right path, and that a Christmas miracle would occur.
Though I was very sad about it, and struggling with it, I never lost hope. Deep down I always knew he would come. I didn’t know how or when, I just never gave up trying.
Then in October 2010, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Ryan.
Someday I will tell him this story. I will tell him how hard we tried to have him, and how we never gave up. I will tell him how we loved him years before he came. I will tell him to have faith and to listen to his inner voice…or the voice of Yoda.
I will give the Christmas stocking to him one day. I hope he will cherish it as much as I do.
I hope he will believe in miracles, for he is one….
I think all moms remember where they were when the news broke about what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Though it took place three years ago, the memories are still so vivid.
What happened was a mom’s worst nightmare. It will always haunt my dreams.
I remember counting the minutes until I would be able to pick up my daughter from school that dark day in December. She was in second grade at the time, and close in age to the 20 young children who were killed.
I never wanted to hug her more.
I never wanted to let her, or my 2 year old son, go.
That night when I put both of them to bed, it was like no night before. Everything had changed.
My senses were heightened, my fear was raised, my love for my children had never been more clear. They were all that mattered, and I was very lucky to be able to tuck them into bed that night.
I turned on the news once they were sleeping, and it was very hard to watch. I think I cried the whole night through.
The crying lasted for weeks. I think my husband thought I was losing it.
Though I was very lucky to not have been directly affected by the tragedy, it caused me so much pain. I had to find an outlet for this pain. I had to try to do something to help.
I lived about 5 hours from Sandy Hook, so going there wasn’t an immediate option, plus I knew that they did not want many outsiders visiting.
So I started a Facebook page called “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.” The only purpose for this page was to say that I was sorry. I had never had a page before, and I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that I had to do SOMETHING.
I didn’t care how many people saw my page, I would have been happy if only one Newtowner saw it & felt a little comfort from it. I wrote a poem for Newtown, through many tears. I was glad to have something to occupy my time while I worried about my daughter while she was at school.
My page only grew from there and I was able to reach and talk to many people from the town, and even raised some money for them. I really didn’t know what to say at first other than I’m sorry, but I managed to find words for the past three years. I wrote many poems, including 26 individual poems for each beautiful Angel taken too soon.
Through the work on my page, and contact with many residents of Newtown, I have become a much better person and a much better mom.
I followed the stories very closely and watched many news reports. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the grace, humanity and love pouring out of the residents of Newtown, including some of the parents of the victims.
They came together and supported each other through one of the worst events in recent history. People all over the world sent cards, gifts and prayed for all of them.
The many images of love, began to shine a light on the darkness.
I felt my own darkness lift, as I saw the best of humanity come out to help a broken town.
Watching all of “the helpers” these past three years has really affected me in a positive way. I started to gravitate to these stories more, and it has managed to change me in many different ways.
I now seek out inspirational people who are trying to make this world a better place. I read their stories, I commiserate with them, I learn from their life lessons. They are my heroes and role models.
Many of the families who have lost loved ones at Newtown have started charities or foundations in order to continue their family members legacies of kindness, service and love. They are managing to help so many children, people, and animals lead better lives. Though they will always be grieving, they have not let this stop them from helping others.
This has truly humbled me and brought me to my knees a few times. If they can manage to do this after all they have been through, why can’t all of us?
If they can still find hope and see the good in others, after what they have lost, why can’t we?
Many of these families share pictures and memories with the world of their beautiful loved ones. They are showing us what extraordinary children/people they were. They are showing us how they are still making a positive difference in the world. They are showing us what great parents they are. They are showing us what true love is.
I have learned to open up and share more because of them. I have learned to be more charitable and search for ways, big and small, in which I can help those in need.
But most of all, I have learned to appreciate my kids more. My time with them is not guaranteed. I must make the most of it. I must show them how to be kind and compassionate by the way I treat them and others. I must tell them often how much I love them, and how much they mean to me.
I will never forget the 26 Angels of Newtown. I will never forget the lessons I have learned from a little town in Connecticut that was shattered by pain. A town that is still learning how to heal through hope and kindness.
I will always remember what they have lost, and try to make my time here on Earth count. I will do what I can to make my family and others happy in the time I have left.
I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and make the tragedy never happen.
But I can’t.
So I will continue to love with all my heart….
Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown
You can find out more about the 26 Angels and their legacies via this link to the family run website: