I am a Hoarder.
I've gone over this before. And the truth is, Thank God I am. It has served me very well in these dark days of self/un-employment as I try to figure out where to steer my career now, because so many of the things I have hoarded in my life can be sold off as needed to make ends meet.
I hoard personal stuff too, though. Photos, letters, and not just those made of paper. The digital kind. I recently stumbled across both types, each related to the other, while I was trying to organize what is, essentially, the un-organizable.
One was a small cache of ACTUAL physical printed photographs of Bennett when he was in the NICU, that first week or two when he was born. I did not take them. I think his Aunt Mandy did, though I am not entirely sure. And I am not entirely sure how they ended up in my hands either.
But they did, and I found 'em, so I eventually got to them in my rather large 'TO BE SCANNED' pile.
The other find was that of the digital variety. I might have mentioned that I used to blog at some other places, like Palisades Toys, and after that on a blog called Grey Matters for a small business I started called Creatus Maximus.
While Creatus Maximus exists now only as the branded name for my freelance work, it used to have its own website when it was an attempt by me to facilitate the production of artists' products, but I ultimately made some stupid decisions and couldn't get over the humps needed to make it work.
Even though that CMX website is long gone, I have a textual archive of the Grey Matters blog, thanks to my good friend and former Palisades and Creatus Maximus mate Chad McCoy who, VERY sadly, has been more in touch with me recently because of a seizure event his daughter had.
I am the 'Resident Expert' on Epilepsy when it comes to my friends. His daughter had what I think was a febrile seizure, and so far only the single event, but we are still sifting through some stuff, and not sure how much or how little he would feel comfortable with me sharing.
So thanks to him I at least have the text, and the HTML references to the images that accompanied the text. AND, since I saved all the images on my computer, and labeled everything by a very specific filename with a date stamp in the title, they are, naturally, easy to find and match up.
If only the PALISADES Daily Bit stuff I have saved was that easy to manage. I was not that web savvy back then. It is so all over the place it is frightening, and much of it is lost, too, since a TON of the Made in China stuff was entered directly into the website by hand, with no copy saved by me in the computer, and since the website is gone so is the content.
I WAS A FOOL.
Be that as it may this weekend, Saturday, I stumbled across an entry from the weekend that Bennett was born, then Sunday, the VERY NEXT DAY after I found these new photos...that I had previously not published and forgotten I even had.
Of course I SAY previously unpublished, because even though I went back and looked through the past year of Bennett-labeled posts I could not find these, who knows? I might have published them...but I think I haven't. I did learn one thing. JESUS I repeat myself a lot. No wonder no one comments. It's like watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island.
Anyway...here is the text, with the photos peppered about.
Grey Matters: Unexpected Events
Sunday, November 11, 2007
What a weekend I have had. It's amazing how much life changes on a dime when you never really expect it to.
My wife is expecting our second son in the first week or so of December. On Friday night, she went to bed feeling uncomfortable, and at 3:30 AM she was waking me up saying that we were going to the hospital. She was in labor and she had called her doc and that's what he told her to do.
Honestly, when we got there, we both thought that it was a false labor. The doc figured it probably was also, and gave her some medication designed to stop the contractions in the event that it actually turned out to be just that.
The meds did not work, and so by 8:00 in the morning she was being prepped to go in for a C-Section. It had to be that way because that was how she had our first son, Carter, since he was breach, butt down, and couldn't be turned.
The last time she had the procedure, I had a grand daddy anxiety attack and had to leave the delivery room and lay on a gurney in the hallway outside. This time, they all talked me into staying out completely, so as to avoid any possible complication with me hitting the floor.
I hated that, though I understood it, and I stayed out. I got to see the baby VERY briefly, but then they had to whisk him up to the NICU, that's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, in case you didn't know that, and that is where he has been ever since.
He has to be given oxygen, fed through a tube intravenously, injected with antibiotics, and kept fairly isolated in an incubator. While his chances of reaching a point of 100% normalcy are good, I gotta be honest with you and say that there is nothing that prepares you for seeing your baby hooked up to junk like that, especially when you can't really touch him for long and you can't hold him.
It has been tough for Jen, and for me...though she was able to hold him for a little while early this morning. In addition, we can't take him home for a week or two or possibly more, so you can imagine how difficult it might be.
At first I wasn't going to show these pictures, but I think in the end I decided to because I can't expect to treat his birth differently than I would if everything had gone really well. If it had, I would be posting some pictures and talking about the experience and him, and since it didn't go well I should still stay as true to myself as I can. But the pics are probably much harder for me to look at than they would be for someone else.
That's to be expected.
So that's it really...it will be a more difficult time for now, at least for a little while, but as of 8:25, at 5 pounds (TEENY), we added Bennett Leonidas Lilly to our family.
Hopefully, soon, we'll get to bring him home.
You know I tend to always cringe when I read older stuff of mine. I didn't cringe as much when I read that, since it is, at least, from the heart.
But a couple of things leaped out at me.
One, the fact that I was convinced that everything would be 100% normal. Fact is? IT WAS. For 15 months, after we got home from the NICU, everything was 100% fine. We had NO idea about the time bomb being built inside that boy's brain or what catalyst would set it off.
The other thing I notice is that I was holding back. A LOT. I've changed in that regard.
I didn't reveal how bad things were for Jen and I. How I was not supporting her at all. How shitty of a husband I was at that time. I would today. I would use this space as a place to work through that and try to come out better on the other side of it somehow. But then? I think I was still timid about revealing too much about the darker aspects of me. Maybe I felt like I had an image to maintain or something.
But now? I just don't care.
No, scratch that. I care, certainly I care, and I do take a risk by opening myself up like this, but it is the path that I choose and I find it the most comfortable...I just have come to know and ACCEPT that I am flawed human being who makes mistakes, but that doesn't make me a bad dude.
Not too much. ;)
Owning my mistakes and being open about the crap in my life is what works for me. Doesn't work for everybody else and that is totally cool.
But it works for me, cause I get to own the good stuff too. And I like that.
Anyway, just thought I'd share a bit of that buried treasure. Maybe it will inspire some of you other Hoarders out there who take crap from your significant others to dig up some stuff like this and use it as a shield the next time you need a little 'D'...