But it was broke…

You hear people all the time say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…”
Usually, they’re referring to a sleeping baby someone wants to wake up.
Let sleeping babes lie, scream the exhausted parents!

Scott and I were never broken, we told ourselves.

We had some cracks around the floors of our home; we had a bit of water damage on one patch of the roof.
But we painted the cracks and we fixed the ceiling and moved on to the next task.

We weren’t broke, we told ourselves. And so we never fixed it properly.

The cracks extended much further in the foundation than we realized. The ceiling wasn’t the issue; the roof was.

But our little home was so pretty — people complimented it all the time. It looks great, it seems perfect. Well, if they say so, then it must be so, right? So we carried on.

And then, after years of unintentional neglect, we woke up one night and the roof had caved in all around us and the foundation of the house was in shambles.

“We can never get this to look like it used to,” I said discouraged.
“We don’t have the time or motivation to start all over again and get where we were,” he added with a sigh.

And so we thought a For Sale sign was what we needed. We played he-said/she-said. It was my fault for doing a bad paint job but his fault for not realizing how deep these wounds went in our lives.

By the way, the house did not crumble and we are not selling it. I hope you’ve figured that out by now, but just in case, I don’t want an Open House with my living room filled with kids’ toys currently.

And after months of staring at these walls and contemplating new floors or the hiring of a new contractor, it hit us.

The house was never perfect.
We were never perfect.
OK, maybe we were. But things change, people change, circumstances and environments definitely change and stress does NOT decrease with money, careers, houses, kids, disabilities, illness, etc, etc, etc, etc.

So we sat down in our living room and looked around us.
We still liked the home, we decided, and that was the biggest decision to be made.

But it WAS broke, so we DO have to fix it.
We took down some pictures and added some new ones. We listen to the creaks and hints a little bit better and we pay attention to the leaks and cracks.

And it’s the best this little home, this little family, has ever been.

I thought not so long ago that the damage done was irreparable. How wrong I was. The only thing that can’t be fixed is something that isn’t given a chance.

My favorite photograph from my time in Argentina shows a banner from Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in never-ending hope that their loved ones, taken by a military coup three decades ago and likely killed, may still come back. The banner, hung on fence with thousands of long-lost faces, reads:

La unica lucha que se pierde es la que se abandona… roughly, “the only fight you can lose is the one that you abandon.”

And so, we are not abandoning each other. We will not lose this fight.

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Sunshine

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.

I’ve sung these lyrics to Zack nearly every day of his life for three and a half years. I even rubbed my pregnant belly and hummed it when he was in utero.

It was always his song, never even shared with Addie.

After some thousand days of these 30 or so words, sung softly in the dark after a nightmare, while rocking during post-surgery snuggles in a hospital room and before bedtime tuck-ins each night, he returned the favor.

It happened the first time at my aunt’s house last month. She, a much better singer than me, was cuddled up with the three of us, loving us with the sweet melody.

There was a smile from that little boy of mine and what sounded like a “happy”… A fluke, I thought.
And then, “grey.”
“Dear.”
My favorite, a sound like “love.”
“Sunshine” and “away” and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks.

It was my happiest moment as a Momma so far.

A couple of mornings I awoke to him singing it, to me, I like to think.

And we continue our duet to this day.

Zack has still never said “I love you,” maybe he never will. His sister says “La You” on command but saves her kisses for her baby dolls and a really weak moment now and then. Her love is in clingy hugs and “Momma” uttered with a mischievous smile. She grabs my hand and shows me a new treasure — toy or empty box or cat fur. She watches in amazement when I put on my make-up and she pets my hair while saying “Nice, nice.”

But Zack, he sings me his love at least once a day. And he gives me the sweetest, albeit drooly, kisses without hesitation.

He is my sunshine.

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you…