I know that many new moms experience moments of panic. The constant checking to make sure the baby is breathing. The way that stairs become suddenly terrifying when you're holding a newborn. These were fears that, for whatever reason, I didn't experience when Tate was born. But it was a different story with Ames. Throughout my pregnancy with him, and since he's been born, I have been plagued by this never-ending unease, a sometimes crippling fear that something will happen to one of my boys (Zach included). I am not sure what led to this, but I find myself having to willfully turn off certain news stories so as to not feed my paranoia.
Even still, some stories inevitably leak through and although many of them haunt me, some have the power to uplift, to inspire, and to remind to be grateful every day.
One such story belongs to my friend, Susan Dieter-Robinson. About a year and a half ago, her two girls were celebrating fall by playing in a pile of leaves. Meanwhile, a young (only 17 years old) driver swerved into a large pile of leaves while driving with her boyfriend, not realizing that Susan's girls, Anna and Abby, were hidden in the pile. Susan lost both her girls that day. You can read more about Susan's story here.
When I learned about what happened to Susan's girls, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I spent days crying. I couldn't sleep. At the time, I was pregnant with Ames and I would feel simultaneously overwhelmed with worry and so, so grateful for my healthy boys. My mind would race into overdrive as I tried to imagine what Susan must be experiencing, and just thinking about it was so paralyzing and terrifying that I would find myself up at 2:00 in the morning shaking, heart racing.
Unbelievably, what got me through this was Susan herself. Trust me, I realize the irony that the person who was experiencing the greatest suffering was also the one who helped me gain much-needed perspective, but that speaks to the power of who Susan is and the power of her choices in the wake of her loss.
As Susan puts it on her blog, she and her husband Tom view their life with their girls as the ultimate love story. And in honor of those girls, Susan began creating "love rocks"- rocks modge-podged with fabric hearts just like the ones the girls had created for her and Tom's wedding. And now Susan leaves those rocks everywhere, as signs of love and celebrating love, all in honor of her girls.
So many of us who love Susan and her girls and who believe deeply in loving in the face of tragedy are making love rocks, inspired by Susan, her bravery, and her girls. I took Love Rocks to Tate's pre-school this year, and had so much fun teaching the kids how to make them! It was so therapeutic and it was a really easy set-up.
I cut out all the hearts in advance, and each child got to pick 3 rocks. The teachers and I supervised and helped the kids glue the hearts to the rocks. While they dried, I told the kids about how they could leave their love rocks anywhere they wanted, and I left all the parents a note in their cubbies about the meaning behind Love Rocks. We had such a great day!
Susan's story and incredible grace and love while coping with such tremendous loss is an inspiration to me. Her relentless focus on love helped me find a way to appreciate each moment I have with my boys instead of wasting those moments worrying about what might happen in the future. I can't say that the crippling fear isn't still there, that I don't have moments where I inexplicably feel a sense of dread, but in those moments, I think of Susan, I think of Love Rocks, and I squeeze my boys a little closer and amazingly, the love wins out.
P.S. Want to make your own Love Rocks? Buy a kit here.