one year later

Last November, we found out that baby B was a girl {read about it here}. This November, we decided that the fact Sadie is now sitting up was a good excuse for a photo shoot of our baby girl.

It’s amazing what a difference one year makes!

one year later

Looking at these two photos – side by side – I am once again brought back to a place of missing my mom. I remember so clearly the day we found out the sex of Baby B. I wanted a daughter more than anything; I wanted a daughter so I could be the mom that I just lost. Of course I would have been happy with a boy, but words could not describe how thrilled I was that we were having a baby girl. And now, one year later, looking at a photo of us with our precious daughter, it brings tears to my eyes. I came across this quote, “Mothers and daughters are closest, when daughters become mothers” and it really struck a chord with me. Even though I don’t have my mom here with me, I appreciate and respect the woman {and the mother} that she was in a whole new level now that I am a mother.

Thank you to Heather Finnocchiaro of Bella Fino Photography for capturing these moments for us to cherish last year, this year, and forever.

Simcha Chaya {Sadie’s Hebrew Naming}

This past weekend we had a Hebrew baby naming ceremony for Sadie at our home with close friends and family. The ceremony was very special as Sadie is named in honor and in memory of my grandfather and my mom. Sadie impressed her mommy so much as she was on her best behavior…not one bit of fussiness from her! And at the end of the ceremony, when the Rabbi blessed Sadie, she looked right in her eyes…. the Rabbi said in 25 years she has never had a baby look directly at her during the blessing. It was precious… my heart melted!

We have given Sadie the hebrew name Simcha Chaya in honor and in memory of her great-grandfather Stanley and her grandmother Jane. In the jewish religion, it is believed that a child will be inspired in her life by the good qualities of the loved ones for whom she is named. Craig and I can’t imagine two people whose lives were better suited for our daughter to emulate.

Simcha means joy. My grandfather Stanley had a special gift of bringing joy to those closest to him and to those he never met. He accomplished great things in his life, but he never lost site of what was most important to him: his family. When Sadie learns about her great-grandfather, she will know him as I knew him, as my Poppy. I will tell her about his morning wakeup calls, our monthly lunch dates, and the dozen roses he would send me every valentines day. She will learn about his giving nature and the difference he made in so many people’s lives, which in turn brought joy back to his life. Well, that and chocolate chip cookies. I will never forget what I was told by an employee of my Grandfather several years ago. She said that “if I could come back in my next life as anyone, I would want to come back as Stanley Tanger’s grand-daughter.” Her words have always stuck with me, and I know just how lucky I am to have been able to call him my Poppy. And even though Sadie will never get to meet him, she will learn about all of his good qualities and will one day realize how lucky she is to be his great-granddaughter. And with the name Simcha, we hope she will give joy to others and receive joy from them.

Chaya means life. My mom was given this hebrew name after she overcame two brain tumors when she was a small child. Her will to live was present then and everyday thereafter, as she never stopped pushing through challenges that came her way, all with a positive attitude. Her zest for life was truly contagious! And as today we celebrate the life of our new daughter, it’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago we were mourning my mom’s death. The biggest challenge that I had to face while I was pregnant and throughout the past 4 months of being a new mom, is the loss I feel on a daily basis of not having my mom here with me. And what hurts even more is knowing that my precious daughter will never have the opportunity to meet her. She will feel her presence though, as my mom’s memory will always be kept alive; she will always know who her Grandma Jane was and just how much she would have loved her. And as it is also believed in the Jewish religion that the soul of a loved one lives on in the child who now bears his or her name, I have faith that my mom’s soul lives on through her granddaughter, her namesake.

Our hope for Sadie Jane, through her hebrew name Simcha Chaya, is that she carries a piece of my grandfather and my mom in her heart, and most importantly, that she is able to find joy in her life.

You can watch (an unprofessional) video from the ceremony here:

Sadie’s Hebrew Baby Naming Ceremony from stacy black on Vimeo.

If the video doesn’t show up above, click this link to watch it:

the first year without my mom

On August 11, 2012 my mom died. On August 12, 2012 I found out that I was pregnant. The very first day of my life without having my mom, was also the very first day of my life that I learned I was going to be a mom. My body knew to stay calm and did not meltdown in complete sadness; there was a growing life inside me to care for now.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know about the emotional struggle I dealt with throughout my pregnancy; what I called my emotional ying and yang. Many of my posts reflected on my feelings of loss for my mom during what was a very exciting time in my life. Thoughts of my mom interwind into my pregnancy journey every step of the way; which in some sense helped me feel closer to her – knowing that she must have gone through some of the same experiences when she was pregnant as I was then going through.

And then the day was finally here when Sadie was born. And the flood of emotions of not having my mom around came pouring in. I’ve spent the last 4 months {of the first year without my mom} experiencing milestones in my daughter’s life — her first smile, first giggle, first everything — all worthy of a phone call to my mom to share the news; a call that I will never be able to make.

I don’t think it’s fully hit me that Sadie will never meet her Grandma Jane. She will never know the woman who raised me, the one that I turned to for hugs, the single most influential person in shaping who I am today. All of the fun things that Sadie would have gotten to experience with her … hurts knowing that they will never have that time together.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I hugged my mom goodbye for the last time. 365 days without my mom; the same mom that I couldn’t bear to be away from for 2 weeks when I went to summer camp. Only now my calendar doesn’t have a smiley face on the date when I get to see her again.

The first year without my mom has come and gone, but the feeling of loss will never end. She will forever exist in my heart and in my mind; I will carry her with me forever.

celebrating my mom’s life (UPDATED VERSION) from stacy black on Vimeo.

If the video above doesn’t play, you can go to it by clicking this link:

my first belly laughs…{a reflection}

I was looking through old pictures on my phone today and I smiled ear-to-ear as I came across these photos:

While these might look like baby bump photos, they are actually “fake” baby bumps. I thought I would share with you the story behind the pictures; or what I refer to as my first {pregnancy} belly laughs.

Flashback to August 2012..

I joined Craig on a business trip to NYC about 10 days after my mom passed away because I didn’t feel like I was emotionally ready to be home alone. At this point, I was a mere 4 weeks pregnant and we had only shared the news with my dad & step-mom and Craig’s mom & dad.

While Craig was working, I was excited to spend time with my friend Lauren S., who was on a break from law- school and able to gallop around town with me. However, I knew that it would be hard for me to keep the pregnancy a secret from her, as I’m not usually one to turn down a glass of wine! And just as I thought, the minute she ordered a glass of wine at lunch and I ordered a ginger-ale, the secret was out. But surprisingly, it was very comforting to share the news with her (even though it was so early in the pregnancy) because I was still grappling internally about losing my mom and then finding out that I was pregnant the next day; my emotional yin and yang.

We soon found ourselves [one barely pregnant and one definitely not pregnant] venturing over to Destination Maternity and trying on clothes with the help of their fake “6-month pregnancy bump” strapped around our bellies. Thus, the pictures above!

But what you can’t see (or hear) from the photos is what they truly captured – my first good ole belly laugh since my mom had died. And in that moment, I was able to briefly put my sadness to the side and focus solely on the excitement of my pregnancy.

I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown by since these photos were taken, as I’m now approaching 33 weeks with a “real” baby bump way past the “fake” baby bump that we were pretending to have. And while I sit here and reflect on the past several months, I find myself again in an emotional yin and yang; as with each week that has passed by, I’ve gotten that much closer to the day that I will say hello to my daughter for the first time, and that much further away from the day that I said goodbye to my mom for the last time.

baby shower love

I often reflect on here about not having my mom anymore and how sad I am that my daughter will never get to meet her Grandma Jane.  Some days are harder than others, but everyday I miss her and long for the love that only a mother can give. But this past Saturday, February 2nd – while surrounded by my friends, my family, and my mom’s friends – I was reminded of how much love is around me and how lucky I am to have such special people in my life.  Thank you to my step-mom for throwing me such a beautiful baby shower, giving me the best gift of all – joy in my heart!



The highlight of Craig’s week (I’m sure of it): adding another bee!

1/17/13 – 1/23/13

27 weeks down….{only} 10 more to go until I’m full term! Baby Becher is now the size of a large head of cauliflower and she’s weighing in at a whopping 2.5 pounds.

Our nursery inspiration started to come to life this week (as seen in my Notes From The Nursery post). I also started organizing the nursery closet, and the first project was to wash (using our new baby approved detergent) and hang all of the adorable clothes that we have gotten over the past few months.

As I snapped this picture above, I was reminded of something that my mom had written 28 years ago in my own baby book (which I found a few days earlier while unpacking a box from my mom’s house).

I imagine that when my mom wrote this, just as I was doing while snapping the picture of baby Becher’s clothes, she was admiring all of my cute outfits – which she had listed out on the same page with a description of each. I don’t know if I lived up to the high “hopes” my mom had for me to always be the best dressed, but that’s not the point. What I love about the fact that she wrote this, is that at the time she was experiencing the same feelings and excitement that I’m now experiencing about having a baby girl. And even though my mom isn’t here with me now to share in the joy of my soon-to-be daughter, it gives me a special feeling knowing that something as simple as getting excited about dressing my little girl, was something my mom was just as excited about for her little girl!

we are thrilled to be having a baby girl

Having a healthy baby is obviously most important, but we’re very happy that baby Becher is a girl! We’re excited about having a daughter for many reasons and there’s one reason in particular that is closest to my heart:

A few days before my mom died I was not aware that I was already pregnant, but I did hope for a baby in the very near future. I knew that my mom would soon pass away and that she would never meet her grandchildren. It hurt so much knowing that she was going to be robbed of the joy that comes with being a Grandmother and the chance to spoil her grandkids. I decided then to share with her the names that we had chosen if we were to have a baby girl and a baby boy, and I thought it would be special to write letters to them from their Grandma Jane. I would keep these letters in a safe place until the appropriate time to give to my kids(s). We started with the set of letters to her granddaughter; one for her 5th birthday, her bat-mitzvah, her 16th birthday, and her wedding. And even though the tears were flowing from my eyes as we wrote the letters, it was something that I felt was very special to do; not only for my kids but also for my mom. Sadly, my mom died before we were able to write the letters to her grandson. And as I’ve shared in my previous how we found out blog post, we learned that I was pregnant the day after my mom died. So as it turns out, when my mom and I wrote these letters to her granddaughter, I was actually pregnant with her. I would have been just as happy if baby Becher was a boy, but now that we know she is a girl, it makes everything even more special. I can’t wait to share with my daughter the first letter on her 5th birthday – one of the many milestones that my mom won’t physically be there for – but she will know from the letters just how much her Grandma Jane would have LOVED to be there and that she is watching over her from above.

Thank you to Heather Finnocchiaro of Bella Fino Photography  for the photos, taken just a few minutes after we found out the sex of our baby!