The pack of three…

Who knew that a little pack of three toothbrushes could cause such empathy, love, and heartache to roll around in one’s heart all at once?

It all started with a family outing to Target in which there were a few million items we needed. It was fairly simple. A present for a child’s party, some half and half, some soap, you know how it goes. Next thing you know, the whole cart is full of crap you never knew you needed.

After we got home to unload, the kids want to try out their new toothbrushes. Hubs had grabbed a pack of three toothbrushes that were on sale. They were excited to brush their teeth with something new!

While my seven year old was looking at the box they came in, he examined it and said aloud, “If Baby Bailey were still alive, there would be a toothbrush for him too.”

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And there it was.

My son remembering his brother.

The one we lost 5 years ago.

The one who never got to choose his favorite superhero toothbrush.

The middle one.

And what I love so much about it? Is that he remembered without any mention of it from me, though it’s never far from my mind.

There should be three boys. I know. He knows.

And they each chose a toothbrush on either side, leaving the middle.

Just where Baby Bailey’s place in our family is.

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Coming back to myself…

Two weeks ago:

I couldn’t stop crying. Exhausted, broken, sad, and feeling hopeless.

My sweet toddler was getting us up frequently through the night only to have a 12 hour shift in the NICU to follow.

There’s only so much that coffee will do to help that kind of exhaustion.

Work is very stressful and crazy. The hours are ungodly. SO MANY HOURS.

I was feeling isolated and lost in my own tired world. I was seeing everything with bleary eyes, a sad heart, and wishing life was so very different than it is.

Then, I called for help.

And I’m not talking about just asking the angels to help.

I called my doctor and got on Celexa.

It was time.

I’ve braved this new job for nearly 5 months, working ALL THE HOURS. And my brain chemistries are off. They needed some help. And the vitamins, yoga, exercise, prayer, and wine wasn’t cutting it.

Today:

I feel much better. I know it’s mostly a placebo effect, but I’m one for HOPE. And when I have hope again, I can climb mountains.

I’m not weepy.

I have gotten a little more sleep.

And I even called in sick for a day and took care of me.

I took a nap.

I’m finding my gratitude instead of attitude.

I sat on the floor with my boys and cut out construction paper leaves, writing everything we could think of that we were thankful for on them.

It’s so sweet to see what my 7 year old thinks of! And trying to explain to my almost 3 year old what it means to be thankful.

But I’m coming back…I’m getting there…slowly but surely…I’ll be damned if this job ruins me.

This is me giving the middle finger to the stress in my life.

I GOT THIS.

Our thankfulness leaves hanging from the chandelier!

Downloading good memories…

We are in the business of downloading memories.

There are lots of pictures taken, lots of extra hugs and tickles, and a lot of eye contact around here.

In this nutty world, we are trying to go a little more low key.

A little more old school.

Less crazy new, and more repurposing the old.

Since it was Rowan’s 7th birthday, we celebrated exactly that way.

At home, in the backyard, with delicious homemade food, made from scratch carrot cake cupcakes (per his request), Batman capes made from T-shirts, and Lego crayons made from old crayons.

He wanted a Lego Batman theme, and since there aren’t too many things out there with exactly that description, we modified and combined the two.

And he loved it.

We loved it.

And it was simple, lovely, and good.

Just how life should be.

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I don’t claim to throw the best party in town…

I just know that I love my family more than anything, and nothing makes me happier than to make memories that they’ll carry with them forever.

The end of summer and its beauty

Somedays there isn’t much wrong in life.

Like when my husband makes us breakfast and I get to drink hot coffee.

Like when the kids play quietly for a millisecond.

Like when we all go the waterpark and cling to each drowned rats in a swimming pool.

Like when my 6 year old talks about angels and how he can still see them.

Like when my 2 year old laughs hysterically about something so simple like a wave pool.

Like when we all go to sushi and they try new food and love to use chopsticks.

And then when we all climb into the big bathtub full of bubbles to get smushed clean.

Somedays there are happy times.

This was one of those days.Imageand the sky couldn’t have been more beautiful or more full of angels…at least my 6 year old says so…

 

Tie that binds…

So last year at this time, I was wringing my hands with worry, not sleeping, and doing craft projects galore in an effort to decrease the amount of anxiety I had about my boy starting kindergarten. There’s something ridiculous in my mind that tells me that if we do craft projects then our memories will last longer. Or that my attempts to download every single detail of my kids’ lives will be engraved somewhere in their handprints on a canvas.

Although my crafty neediness isn’t totally gone by the wayside, I am not going crazy about it. It rears its ugly head around the holidays and that I completely attribute to losing our baby during that time of year. I somehow think if I can’t do projects with all three of my babies, I’ll sure as hell do projects with my two surviving children. And I’ll go over and beyond with the ideas in a hope that someday it will lessen the empty space that will sit in my heart forever.

Last year, I needed something to do with my hands. So I made my son a friendship bracelet for his backpack to hold this little cardboard cutout of Yoda that he insisted be on his backpack. He chose the colors and I immediately got to work on it. He loved it. And I did too. He still has it.

Well this year, he wanted a new backpack. And I decided we were going to keep up this tradition of making a friendship bracelet for the start of first grade!

He chose colors to match his Spiderman backpack and couldn’t wait to try it on. But he’s way too much of a sensory child to be able to handle a bracelet on his wrist, so onto his lunch box handle it went.

Of course, the little one had to get in on the action and chose two colors for his bracelet to go on his lunchbox too.

And so here’s to a new year. A year of change. A year of growth.

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Letters for Lucas guest post

Thank you to Tonya from Letters for Lucas who invited me to share my letter! It was not easy to process all of it, but I feel better having done so.  Thank you to all who read it. xo

 

 


Letters For You-1

To God and the Angels,

I thought You’d explain the mess.
I thought You’d teach me before I’d have to ask.
I thought You’d speak directly to me so I didn’t have to struggle to hear You.

Where were You the day my body failed our baby?
I took my vitamins, wrote my affirmations daily, meditated, and prayed for a well baby.
I thought my children would be two years apart and in matching clothes, maybe even sharing bunk beds.

As the needles punctured my abdomen, the anguish my heart felt was far worse than the pain.
Watching the black and white screen with a baby who barely moved crumbled my spirit and made me wonder what I could’ve done to make this happen.

I blamed myself. My hormones. My distrust.
My faith was truly shaken to the core.

I wanted only to blink and see a thriving, moving, active baby with a great heart rate and perfect anatomy.
Not one with cysts in his brain, transposition of the great vessels, and a multitude of other problems.

“I’m sorry, but your baby has a slim to no chance of survival.”

I took a deep breath as the perinatologist gave me his card and told me I could go to another hospital to be induced for a terribly sick baby who would never survive.
I decided against a different hospital and went to my hospital. To the birth center I work at.

And I saw You there. I saw You in the way the sun shined through on my face during my long labor.
I saw You in my husband’s face.
I saw You in my friends’ faces.

I saw You when I delivered our stillborn son in all his peacefulness.
As we held him I felt Your love surround us.
I knew there was a bigger plan for us, but I struggled with what it was.

Then the grief impaled me.
I tried to trust You.
I tried to believe.

I cried. I took out my anger on my sweet husband and toddler.
I struggled with everything. The simplest things made me lose patience and strength.
I didn’t dare dream of anything. I was so afraid You’d steal it away.

Then, the day I fell to my knees when I found out I was pregnant again.
I told You I couldn’t do it.
I told You I wasn’t ready. It had only been a little over a year.
I couldn’t do it again. Not again.

You told me to just trust You.
I told you you were on crack!
I felt like I was trapped, but had nowhere to turn.
Except to You.

I did turn to you.
I did my best to believe.
There were many tears.
There was much anxiety.

And then, he arrived.
Safe and sound.
In my arms.
Screaming.

And part of my broken heart healed.
It trusted again.
It believed again.

I have to say, it hasn’t been the simplest of times, but it’s what You allowed.
You must have known something about me.
I must be stronger than I thought I was.

And I am reminded of the fact that I was given this life because You must have thought I was strong enough to live it.

So for that, I thank You.

Healing in nature…

The trees seem to gather together in families.

They stay close.

They protect each other from the elements.

They get it.

I just wonder how they do after one of them dies.

Do they fall apart like we do?

Or do they trust that all will be restored in time?

What’s so beautiful about it, is that they thrive during the harshest conditions.

Including fires.

Amazing.

Their thick skin can save them.

I think I may have just gotten some valuable information from them today.

Thank you, trees.

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