Wednesday, October 7, 2020

10 years

10 years.

Is it the 10 yearsness or the stress of {teacher} life that has added to the gut punch?

I don't know. I keep telling myself it doesn't matter. There always comes a point when the tears will spill. It went medium well today, after a near derailment, the first remembrance GIF rolled in at the perfect time to help me dry the tears and meet my obligations. Thank you, everyone, for the messages and for remembering. It really does mean a lot and I hope to respond soon. 


The last two years books about grief have made their way into my hands during My Gauntlet. August, September, beginning of October is the time, My Gauntlet. The memories, the feelings, the missing just sits at the surface. The necklaces make it back into the rotation...emotions bubble up and feel raw. 

I am grateful for the books. I feel like they give me permission to feel and relate. They bring me comfort in all the unknowing. They are another theory about what might happen when the body cannot contain it's soul any longer. 

The Body Keeps the Score

I'm teaching again and it is 2020 tough. I was blaming the knot in my shoulder on the stress of work and the uncertainty of so many things right now. But after reading a Saturday morning away and allowing grief - the missing and the wondering - to have a moment (i.e. all the tears), my shoulder was fine, the knot was gone and it hasn't returned. I'm still learning about how my body keeps track of what my mind won't or can't.

Alligators 💚

I stood in a store last weekend, as I admittedly tried to retail therapize my sadness away, and thought about picking out your outfits. The most beautiful linen alligator baby boy jumper was hanging in a clearance section...I was able to scour my brain for impending baby boy births (only girls that I know of!) and have that memory without a tear. Sometimes the memories are just bittersweet and it's a way to spend time with you, trying to remember that first weight of a little life in my belly. Remembering how much you hated when I ate chicken and kept me sick for months. 

Remembering how much I cried when I wasn't sure if you could hear me, how I deleted my weekly reminder app of all the things you were supposed to be growing. 

This morning, it was simply looking at the clock and remembering how my heart broke 10 years ago at 7:30am when my plans for your delivery couldn't happen the way I wanted. You'd think, at 41 weeks, 20ish weeks of being off plan, I wouldn't have had any heart left to break. But I did and it did.

There's Always a Song 
Orpheus by Sara Bareilles 

I've had opportunity to listen to new music and during the last couple weeks I found this song on repeat. A few lines started jumping out at me - "we will not give up on love today" and "I hope my love was someone else's solid ground". 

Sammy - I would never have guessed how much I would learn about love from you, from your life, your existence. I will never forget thinking I found the place where love did not exist, those first days after your diagnosis. How? Why? Why? Why? 

But - it's in the songs and the scriptures - it's gonna take a lotta love, love will find a way, the greatest of these is LOVE. 

I"m not the same. I'm not the same mama, wife, or teacher. I'm not the same daughter or friend. I give you the credit for that. I am not much of an optimist but honestly, if love is what got me through 2010-2011, I will not give up on love. I hope that my love will be someone else's solid ground. 

Love can be hope. Love can be sitting, crying, listening to someone in their pain. Love can be 7 necklaces in the mail from friends and strangers, one for each day of the week. Love can be presents AND being present. 
Your life showed me what real love can be, the 1 Corinthians 13 love. 
"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Cor 13:4-8.

I miss you, we miss you. I'm grateful for friends, family, and strangers that shower me with love and understanding on the days where anger and sadness try to win. And on my best days I am striving to show that same love to others around me. 

It's been 10 years.  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Oh yeah, that thing there


8 years. Unfathomable. I didn't come here to miss you today. But I do. Amazing how those first cheeks, that first mouth, your chin! Are reflected in your siblings. Just Tuesday at the grocery store Jake made sure to point out that we have THREE redheads in our family, not just two *smile* the confusion on the strangers face...and his follow up "Sammy had red hair but he died" and Bellamy chimes in "yeah he's dead". I don't even care in those moments how uncomfortable the other person is, I'm just soaking up the memory and the love your siblings, who never even met you, hold for you. I see Haddie in those cheeks and chin today. We miss you, you are loved. 


1st professional photos were tough 
Monday night I forgot to leave an item with a customer and had to go back out to drop it off. Bellamy wanted to ride along so we got in the car and headed out. She was tired and chatty. She will make up stories for me or occasionally songs. She hit a lull in her lyrics so I told her I would find us some music. When I opened Spotify it alerted me that a new David Crowder album was available. 18 years into the journey listening I knew that was our choice for the night. I started on Let it Rain (because Mandisa) and knew it was gonna be another stunner. Tuesday morning I hit play again and when it got a couple tracks down I felt nearly knocked flat. 

I'm Leaning on You
David Crowder ft Riley Clemmons

Jesus,  take  the beauty  from  the pain

Jesus, lift these weary hands again 
  Turn the silence into songs of praise  
Jesus, I am leaning on Your name 
I’m  leaning on You    
I’m  leaning on You  

When  no  one else  can help me, Jesus can  
Every other name is sinking sand 
And even when my heart don’t understand  
Jesus, I will trust You even then, oh 

We're in a different kind of tough stage of life right now. I have lived different kinds of pain, and 8 years, 7 years, 6 years later I can see the beauty that grew from those pains. I *hate* so much, that the pain happened. That it existed. But there has been beauty because of it. Weary, silent, lack of understanding, I'm there. Now. But I've seen the beauty, I've sang the praise, I *can* trust even now.

It was the second intervention of the day by my blessed 3yo. I woke up cranky, way cranky. It wasn't anyone's fault, but I had no patience for life with children...children who take their dance leotard and ballet shoes out of their drawer so that when it's time for dance we (I, me, I am the one searching for dance gear while the 3yo wanders around) have to dig through the bedroom looking for it. ANYWAY, on the way to dance Bellamy tells me how she prayed for the monsters to go away all by herself "last night". Everything happened last night, it could have been months ago or literally last night, it's the phrase of things that happened before this moment. Oh - and the monsters are generally her bed time avoidance tactic, she's not scared of anything...until bed time.

Cool, I say, what a good idea. Mom. Maybe I could pray for Jesus to help you not be mad. 😏 That's another good idea, Bells, you should pray.

And she did. A short simple prayer ending with "the end" mumble jumbled to sound a little like amen/the end combined.

I don't know if it helped my mood or not. I didn't feel bad, chastised, or guilty about my mood even. I was grateful for the routine we're sharing of reaching to Jesus when the circumstance feels bigger than us. Monsters, cranky mommas, whatever. I hope neither of us forgets where to go, who to lean on, when life is hard.

Friday, October 7, 2016

6 years

Oh buddy. You are missed.

It always starts with the change in the weather (broken record much mama?). Last Friday, your due date, I was excited as I got in the car, the weather was cool! But as soon as I saw the temp was indeed cooler it hit. That first wave of deep that it can't be ignored, controlled, or reigned in. Cried my makeup off and had to stop and get some more before I got to school.

I've been talking about you, shared your pumpkin picture with my class even.

Thought of you last night, how we spent the night before you were born. And woke up at 4:30am and let myself have a few moments of "what if" and "remember when". It wasn't pretty. And it's quite unrealistic because your brother *most likely* wouldn't have existed had you lived...not to mention the wild card of our marriage in light of the revelations of late 2010/early 2011 that probably wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in that one online support group for babies with anencephaly. God has strange, amazing ways.

And there is all the wondering about what it will be like when I get to see you again. Who are you hanging out with? There is so much family and so much love in Heaven I know you are fine. But I miss you anyway.

I can't help but wonder if you'd be spicy like your sister or laid back like your brother.

I know 3 babies born exactly on your birthday in the last few years. Apparently this is a popular time of year to be born. Not sure what else to make of that.

6! You'd be in Kindergarten. Would you be into critters and football like Jake? Would you be adventurous and daring like Bellamy?

We did donuts and the zoo for your birthday. On the way in Jake asked if the people in front of us were going to get donuts for someone's birthday *wink* I did explain that not all people save donuts for special occasions and some people go just because they like donuts...but I like that it's connected to birthdays for us. At 4 years old, Jake has some questions and confusion about where you are and how he has an older brother that is still a baby. I do my best to explain.

You are missed. You are loved. You are on my mind often. You changed me in ways that I am so grateful for and I can't help but wish things were different.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

the night before your 5th birthday


I miss you. This year was no different than the previous 5 years. My body knows how much I miss you before my mind catches on. 

This year it started with all the friends 2010 babies starting kindergarten. You have a "bad birthday" so you would have been only starting pre-k this year...but I continually lose my breath to see another 2010 baby headed to kindergarten. 

Nana bought Jake a picture book that explains about your part in our life. Jake found it a couple months ago and seeing as we have a few pregnant women in our life he has been fascinated with reading it. 

Our bedroom

We had a slight miscommunication at Mother's Day and Daddy got my 3 babies framed (top right)...which also took my breath away. What I wanted framed was that picture on the bottom left. Samuel, in found object photography, with my life verse printed over your nickname. You have a presence in most of the rooms of the house now.

Sister's room:
I'm sure that red-headed boy is supposed to be Superman but...I see S for Sammy 

Kitchen wind sill above the sink:
I mean, it's been 5 years, there will be some casualties (broken gator tail)
The weather changed last week. I will forever remember the first time I needed a sweater in late September of 2010 outside Suko Thai. It was *only* 80 degrees and there was a *chill* in the air. So every fall when the weather finally changes I think of 2010. I start to think about your birthday. 

First I lose my appetite. Then I just want to sleep. It took a few days for me to get some time alone  this year but within 3 minutes of quiet I realized I was sad.

I have so many questions. Each new stage in Jake and Bellamy's life brings a few more.

I often wonder if you know how much you changed me. The last 5 years have been full. FULL. I wonder if you know that without you it all would have been different.

I miss you. So much.


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35, 37-39

If you want it, come and get it, for crying out loud
This love that He has, given to you, is never in doubt
**David Gray-ish *wink* 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's been a while...things have happened.

In March we added a girl to our family! Jake has a wicked picturey smile but this is was the first duo shot I found. Baby girl has Sammy's red hair! I was predicting it with how sassy she seemed in utero...and sure enough, we have our ginger. She's opposite of Jake in many ways, starting from day 1 in the hospital. Those two have nothing but love for one another, it's very fun to watch.

I am transitioning jobs! I sadly said good bye to my pre-k position in a public school and will be teaching a 3-4yo class at a Mother's Day Out program. My kiddos will be with me, the hours will be shorter, and hopefully life will be a bit simpler. We shall see! My favorite part of the transition has been a real summer break. I mean, I know as a teacher I was lucky enough to *get* a summer break, but it has been shorter than what I was used to since we moved down to New Orleans. And since baby girl was born in March it was even more extended. It has been wonderful, I've had 5 months at home with these two.

Another thing this break has afforded me is time to read. The weekend Bellamy was born something happened in Baltimore. I kept seeing references to riots and Freddie Gray. So I started reading. I wasn't one to watch the news in general but it quickly became clear that the news I was reading wasn't carried on network stations anyway. I'm finally making time to sit down and organize my thoughts about the happenings that don't make the news.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

when he was almost 2

We went to visit our new family member in Colorado a few weeks ago and someone left their camera within reach of this guy. He's almost caught up with my photography skills. **no cameras were harmed in the capture of this photo**

It's amazing to me that even though I try to soak up every moment of my life with this boy, the moments are happening so fast and some even seem to be escaping me. We have a collection of random videos on our little camera thingy that I am so glad for. They already help me remember the ages and stages that have passed in these short 2 years.

My sister in law asked me what my favorite stage is so far and I said all of them. I love being a mama to this boy and I love watching him learn and grow. I must admit, toddler hood is not so fun...but he has been much healthier in year sickness? attitude? I guess it all evens out.