7.19.2010

The difficulty reconciling old and new


This... is Edie. PJ and my baby girl, born May 20, 2010. She's two months old and doing great.

Baxter is still trying to figure her out. He pretty much ignores her - sometimes complains of her crying, sticks her binky back in... and occasionally says, "She's so cute! She smiled at me!"

I'm hoping that as she laughs at his antics his love for her will grow stronger.

I'm writing because I don't really know what else to do when I'm feeling low. When Mike died, I wasn't sure how I was going to function. I knew I wanted to repartner and move forward, but it took a lot of writing, crying, and talking to get to the point that that even made sense. And now, here I am, wife to PJ, Mom to Bax and Edie. A very calm and content homelife has emerged. Lots of love, lots of laughs and a normal family dynamic.

Yet, reconciling the old life and the new life has proved difficult. There is the question of how to move forward while honoring and respecting Mike's memory. Baxter's adoption was finalized on June 10. He's now Baxter Newland Young Gallagher. Was adding Gallagher to his name the right thing to do? Is it ok that his last name is now Gallagher? Edie's full name is Edith Eileen Young Gallagher. Is that weird? My late husband's last name is now a part of my new baby's name. What does that mean? Who the Eff knows?

Then there are the relationships that I still haven't figured out how to transition from Danna and Mike life to Danna and PJ life.

This one is a real bugger. In my life with PJ, Mike is part of the fabric. We talk about him. Baxter knows that Mike was a ComedySportz guru. Baxter knows that Mike played with him as a baby and loved feeding him baby food. PJ and I just gave Baxter several of Mike's amazing comics from his (perfectly organized) comic book collection. And - for me, there is my participation with ComedySportz - a place where Mike's energy is so present, it's unmistakable. So, overall we have found a new place here where Mike coexists with us in a healthy and positive way.

What I have yet to figure out is how to reconnect with the dear friends who were a part of my like with Mike. I think there is hesitation on my part and their part.... The whole thing is very messy. I'm hoping we can find our way.

279 comments:

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Anonymous said...

HI- random stranger from Kansas here. Long time reader- first time poster. What a beautiful baby! Was hoping that all was well you and yours. I know that everything will sort itself out for you- just give it time and do what feels right. Don't worry what it looks like or how you think it might look to others.
Happy to read your writing again.

Anonymous said...

It has been such an experience to watch you progress through this journey. As one of your former students from Bryn Mawr, I've followed your blog from its inception. It gives me peace to know that we, as people, can somehow continue to thrive in the face of whatever life may bring. You are one amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

Danna,

You are the epitome of resilience!

I have been thinking about your post for a couple days. I was wondering if the scientist in you isn't trying to impose a platonic ideal in your search for answers to questions. It seems to me that the search for answers based on such ideals causes much angst because you are searching for Truths that probably don't exist for some of your questions.

Maybe critical scholars have it right (in part). I am willing to bet that to most questions in life (95%+), there are no Truths, just choices (or truths with a little "t"). And which choice you makes doesn't really matter as much as how you decide to interpret it.

RE: Was adding Gallagher to his name the right thing to do? Is it ok that his last name is now Gallagher?

There is no right or wrong answer to the first question. My answer to the second part is "sure, why not?" I think that was a nice decision. I interpreted the choice as a full commitment for you all as a family unit. And that strikes me as a beautiful thing.

RE: Edie's full name is Edith Eileen Young Gallagher. Is that weird? My late husband's last name is now a part of my new baby's name. What does that mean?

It's funny, Danna, because I don't associate the name "Young" exclusively with Mike anymore. I definitely did when we were in graduate school. But YOU are a "Young" too and so is Baxter. Part of being a "Young" was obviously influenced by Mike, but that's not solely what it is or means anymore.

So what does it mean that your beautiful daughter is a Young Gallagher? It means that she's a combination of you and PJ. No weirdness there. :)

Haven't talked to you in awhile. Hope that we'll be able to catch up at NCA.

Best wishes!
== Kate

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