Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nine Years

Dear Joshua and Caleb,

It has been nine years now.  Goodness!  When I think of that number it seems like such a long time ago!  You would be in third grade.  I often wonder who you would be, what you would look like, what things you would be into.  School?  Sports?  Friends?  It's fun to think about how our family dynamic would be different if you were still here with us.  Five boys (six counting Daddy) under one roof would make for some interesting sounds and smells.  I'd probably just give in all together and put in urinals upstairs and downstairs.  And oh the schedules... I just can't imagine adding two more schedules into our already crazy lives.  I'd do it in a heartbeat though... if that had been part of the plan.  God had much bigger things than busy schedules, peeing on walls, and helping your brothers master the art of armpit farting, planned for you.  You live in SO many other ways here!

You changed me.  You taught me compassion.  I used to feel sad when I heard that someone lost a baby but I couldn't fully grasp what that meant.  You gave me the gift of true understanding though.  Now my heart breaks every time I hear of another momma's loss. I can easily feel the hurt and shattering of my heart on the day that I found out you were never coming home with me.  I can't breath thinking of these mommas that are just starting this journey.  It's totally unnatural.  You can go from painting a nursery to planning a funeral in a matter of moments.  The shock is just too much for one person to handle.  God never made me walk alone though.  I may have frequently felt lonely but never alone.  God carried me every step of the way and gave me your daddy, who never rushed my grief.  He knew I couldn't walk it alone.  My first prayer for these mommas is just that they would let God be a part of their journey.  There will still be bumps and sharp turns and gravel roads that shake you to your core but they will NEVER be alone.  And the roads will get smoother and more manageable until you can actually do life without the constant pressure of grief pushing down on your chest.  Laughter comes back and all of a sudden you find yourself seeing the true beauty of everything and everyone around you.  All God's gifts.

A few months ago we stopped our monthly support group.  Families stopped coming.  I'd love to believe that there just weren't any losses but I know that isn't the case.  This was a very hard decision for me.   Did I not do enough for these mommas?  I pray that no one ever felt forgotten or like I didn't care enough.  Was it our location?  I don't know.  Is it that there are so many virtual resources out there now?  Maybe.  Whatever the reason I had to make the decision to walk away from it.  It was a beautiful when it worked.  It was such an honor to walk with and see the progress that these mommas made to go from completely shattered to picking up the pieces and living again.  I'm so sad though.  I can't imagine not having the girls that were there for me after I lost you.  My online support girls were all wonderful but there is something about sitting in a room seeing other mommas getting emotional because they can feel the same things you feel.  And seeing firsthand what time does for grief.  Sitting in a room with mommas a few years out, there is hope where there once was darkness. I'm sad that I can't offer that support to other moms anymore.  I pray for God to show me another way to keep honoring you!  I don't know what it is but I'm always going to feel the need to keep your memory alive here.  I'm reminded every year though.  You are not forgotten.  I get calls, texts Facebook posts, even before I've said a word about what today is.  I can only assume that is because you left your mark on those people too.  It reminds me that you are still living on in each of the people that you touched.  Your time was short but your footprints are large.

Nine years and I can still smell you.  I can still go back to that day and it is all very real.  Not like a memory but like I can still feel everything.  I'm grateful that this doesn't fade with time. Maybe walking with other mommas makes it easier to remember.  Maybe that's one of the biggest reasons I'm scared that our group is gone.  Maybe it's because that group was helping me more than them.  I don't know.  But the fear is real.  I don't ever want to forget, even the hard parts.  That was my day with you.  I pray it NEVER goes away.

I hope that you know that you live on in me each and every day.  I pray that I never miss an opportunity to use your lives to help another.   It is my goal to keep your memory alive in kindness towards others.  I hope that I never let you down!  Never!  You made me a momma and your brothers gave me the job to go with the title.  I'm so grateful for all of my boys.  I will never be able to fully explain it but this job... being your momma and Case and Ty and Knox's momma is MY job.  This is who I am and all that I ever wanted to be.  Thank you for making a mom!  I love you so much!  Sleep well my forever babies.


Sometimes on the long drive out I wish we had
buried you in a closer cemetery and then I look
around the closer we get. You were buried in
the perfect place.

Your view

Our traditional cookie cake

We bought you three balloons but in true
grandma and grandpa form they came with
three WAY bigger balloons :-)

Annual family picture

Subway at the cemetery

So grateful for your grandma and grandpa.
They miss you too!
We released all of your balloons... some of us
before others (ahem... Ty).  

I came home to a box of flowers on my porch.
These were sent from Ben and Court.  So grateful
that they never forget you boys!  They miss you too!
I can't wait to see these when the sunflowers open up!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

15th Anniversary

15 years ago today I was dressed in the poofiest white dress you've ever seen.  Even today I still don't regret that dress.  I walked down the aisle barefoot because that seemed safer than taking my chances with heals or tripping on my dress.  My wedding planner almost lost it... on more than one occasion with us if I'm being honest.  It was a perfect day though.  Cinderella themed, hair and makeup done for me, an amazing photographer capturing so many wonderful moments, bagpipes during our recession, a super fun band at our reception.  It was the start of life with my best friend.  In that day I was pretty sure things were going to be perfect.  How could anything go wrong when we had such an awesome beginning?

Turns out he's not perfect and I'm far from it.  Two imperfect people doing life together is not a recipe for perfection.  It's a recipe for a flawed marriage.  In 15 years we've completed 2 bachelors degrees, 1 masters degree, had 5 jobs, 2 houses (with 6 months in between at my parent's house), 7 pregnancies, burying our stillborn twin boys, a 7 year old boy, a 6 year old boy, and an almost 3 year old boy.  You can imagine that two flawed people doing all of that together doesn't happen without bumps, craters, tears and a whole lot of laughter along the way.  There was one point early on before we even hit the really complicated stuff that I was all but sure we wouldn't make it but God had other plans for us.  God entered our marriage and grabbed the steering wheel.  We both went through changes that I totally didn't see coming.

I learned that there really is nothing that I am capable of without God's hand guiding me through.  I couldn't wish a fix for our marriage but I could pray for one.  We both learned the difference between fairy tales and agape love.  Agape love is the love God calls us to have in a marriage.  Fairy tales are just that... tales.  Agape love doesn't quit just because quitting would be easier.  It is sacrificial, not self serving.  It is a choice, not a feeling.  It is folding the laundry even though you have no idea which kid the clothes belong to.  It is emptying the dishwasher even though it would be way easier to pretend you hadn't opened it and seen that it was clean.  It is giving your wife the one empty room in your house to be her craft room even though you really want an office of your own.  It is being the first to apologize after an argument.  It is going to work every day to a job you don't always love so that your wife can be home with your kids.  It is not batting an eye when your wife says she needs to get out of the house for a bit even though you've just worked a long day.  It is Wayne.

He chooses to love me even when I'm not lovable.  I screw up a lot.  A lot.  He still reaches out to grab my hand or tells me I'm beautiful even when I know I've been ugly to him.  He gives so much of himself to make sure that no matter what I know that I am loved.  I have more than my fair share of self-doubt but one look from him and I know that none of that matters.  God gifted me a marriage that allows me to be loved despite my flaws.  He gave me Wayne.  My best friend.  My partner in everything.  My rational side when I get worked up and filled with anxiety.  My smile when all I want to do is cry.  

15 years has flown by but when I look at all that our marriage has been through it seems like it should be even longer.  I can't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for the marriage that God has blessed me with.  There have definitely been hard times but He has seen us through them.  We still aren't perfect, neither is our marriage.  We have a lot to learn but we are learning together.  There are days where I barely see him or we have so many things on our schedule that we are just running from one place to another in opposite directions, but at the end of the day I know he's there.  Even if he's traveling to the other side of the country, I know he's there and I know he chooses to love me.

Happy 15th Anniversary Wayne.  Look at all that God has done for us...

From this... this.