Are You Ryan's Mom?

This morning felt like it was going to be another hard one. I wish I could crumple the last few days up like paper and throw them away. I guess I am more sensitive because the holidays are here. Talks of gift giving and sparkly decor is spreading like wild all makes me feel anxious and depressed. Really, I wish I could crumple up the holidays like paper and throw them away ... just for this year at least.

Anyways, I had to go to Target for laundry soap. When I got there I became side tracked by the Christmas ornaments. I immediately started searching for ones that reminded me of Ryan. I don't want anything to do with the holidays and yet it took two seconds for me to become obsessed with trying to find ornaments that somehow related to Ryan. It doesn't make sense, but in that moment I felt strongly about finding the perfect ornaments. Thats the thing about this grief, it has me all over the place sometimes. While reaching for a Raphael Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle a kind woman came up to me and asked,

"Are you Ryan's mom?"

I smile and pride begins to beam out of me. At least I feel it beaming.

"Yes! I am Ryan's mom."

I had lost the feeling of being a mother the second I lost my son. How am I still a mom? I don't feel like I am anymore. Everyone told me otherwise and I never truly believed them.

I miss my daily responsibilities like;

making school lunches and making baby food before that, preparing healthy snacks, thinking of fun activities that foster creativity and learning, making sure we head outdoors for adventures, preschool drop off and pick up, doing his little laundry and keeping a good clean stack of underwear just in case, breakfast making, singing Katy Perry and Bruno Mars in the car (which isn't a responsibility, just me being silly with my son), our bedtime routine, story time, teaching him where money comes from...

Does this make sense? I miss the act of motherhood. I miss my days as a mother. A real mom.

This afternoon things sort of clicked. This stranger asked me a simple question which gave me a sense of validation.

"Are you Ryan's mom?"

I am a mom. I am still a mom. A real mom. Just a different one. It clicked that I still have major responsibilities as Ryan's mother. The most important one being to honor my son in every move I make.

I have new responsibilities like; getting up and dressed to show my son that his mom is strong and hasn't lost her will to live, planning adventures with my husband to show Ryan his mom and dad haven't lost their will to love, smiling and continuing to make people laugh to show Ryan that his mom is still funny and silly, going to work to further teach Ryan where money comes from. I also sing louder in the car as if the louder I am the clearer he can hear me.

What a blessing it was to meet this kind stranger who knew about Ryan and was willing to hug me in the middle of Target. I told her I was trying to pick out Christmas ornaments that reminded me of Ryan and she didn't even give me those 'sad eyes' when someone feels sorry for you. No, she smiled with me. We hugged and talked about life. We talked about school for our kids and I was able to refer her to Ryan's preschool with out turning into a bubbling hot mess! We also discussed how cruel this life can be and there were a bit of tears. We understood each other and in that moment it was what I needed.

As soon as she walked away I texted Dan "I just met the nicest girl!" She was a gift. Things have a funny way of working together. Having a crappy last few days, feeling like I can't do this anymore. Questioning myself and what I am doing, what are we doing here with out Ryan? I never see these gifts coming, but I am so grateful to have them pull me out of my cloud and give me a sense of clarity. It is all so emotional and moment to moment this grief. I have to lean on these gifts and really use them to get me through...

I left Target with two Christmas ornaments, a new friend and a proud smile that screamed

"I am Ryan's mom!"

... I forgot the laundry soap though.