Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Everything And Nothing.

I have everything to say and nothing to say all at the same time.

I looked back at the last birthday post for year ago today.

Heartbroken as I was, I was in such a different place.  A place of restored hope and belief that I was again happy on this earth and would get to be happy in Heaven too.

This year, his birthday has hit me much harder.

I've since lost another child.  That certainly colors my optimism of last year, I guess.

Last year, I was 50-50 for bringing home a baby to raise.

This year, I'm 1 for 3.

And done.  No more to come.

Why should that have anything to do with Matthew's birthday this year?

It shouldn't.

But I'd be lying if I said it didn't.

Two weeks ago, out of the blue, I was overcome with emotion.  Standing in church, singing a song I wasn't really even into, much less really moved by, and my mind wandered.

Wandered to the last breath that Matthew took.

What was that like? Was he scared?  Did he know?  Did it hurt? Did he know I wasn't with him?

Thankful that I did not have to be there to witness it.

Isn't that terrible?  I would have given anything in the world to hold that baby as he left this world...let him know his mama loved him and would be with him every second she could.

But I am so, so, SO thankful that I don't really know what that was like because I think I'd have committed suicide that night.  Truly.  The flashbacks and the PTSD I suffer from his birth and death are bad enough.

My greatest regret is not being able to get to the hospital and hold him, and yet, such a blessing to my mental health as well because there's no doubt in my mind I'd have made my last breath not too much longer after his.

I have not been sleeping for weeks.  I've been depressed.  My therapist said it stood to reason...these are pretty heavy-duty days.  My husband is leaving soon.  I should be in the throes of newborn-hood and instead am now mourning two boys and the knowledge that my child-bearing days are over.  I'm still regulating from high doses of hormones and Matthew's birthday is here....but he's not.

Whew.  I guess she's right.

Still, not much to say.
Spend a lot of days going through the motions again.
Wishing I could stop intrusive and morbid thoughts about Matthew from invading normal moments in my life.
Riding the roller coaster I feel like will never end.

Blissful with Luke and debilitatingly heartbroken at the same time.

Not at all how I'd like to be spending Matthew's third birthday.

Some birthday post, huh?

To me, though, every day is like his birthday was.

The best and worst day of my life.

One of the happiest times in my life!  A day to celebrate...

....What should have been

...But Never Was.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Confessions From "That Mom"...

I've never denied it.

As a teacher for many, many years, I saw parenting styles that made me cringe.  Don't get me wrong...I saw far, far more that gave (and still give) me some of the best parenting examples I know.

But some.  Oh, some...some made me so angry.

Sick, literally, if I am honest.  Just complete and total disgust for some people who totally took for granted the precious children they'd been given.

Of course, I knew that would NEVER, EVER be me.

And obviously, it's not.

I've come to realize, though, that I still am "That Mom," and you know what?

I dig it.

You know her.  You know you do.  She's the one you look at and think, "Wow.  The AAP recommends no TV for children under two and that kid is watching an iPad at Olive Garden. OMG."

"That Mom" who gives her kid juice without it being watered down.

"That Mom" who lets her kid stay up waaaaaayyyyyyyyy later than he probably should because we are all having too good a time visiting and as long as he's not crying, good enough for me.  Yes, we may pay for it the next day...but the memories made the night before?


I'm the mom who gives in and gives her kid a cookie at 8:30 in the morning.

He has an iTouch and works it like a champ.

Yep, we take it with us to restaurants, and he plays with it and watches videos (the same handful of Sesame Street, WonderPets and YoGabba we have seen a hundred times).

I bribe him.

With candy.

To wear his coat.  To sit still for half a second to take a picture.  To sit on the potty.  To give Daddy a kiss.

The boy loves his Skittles and Smarties.

I take him to therapy to work on feeding skills.  Yes, there is such a thing.

Yes, people laugh at me and think I am hovering over him and can't believe I'd waste good money on trying to get a picky toddler to eat.

I don't care.

I used to.

But I don't anymore.

My kid is happy.  He is healthy.  Given a handful of cookies or brownies over a handful of cheerios, he'd choose cheerios because they were 'safe' and 'known'.  Don't believe me?  Ask his therapist.  She tells me every time we go that a 'picky' eater would gobble up what he was holding out for and Luke will take a bite of cookie, decide it's not the cookie he is familiar with, and be done with it.
There's more to him not eating than him just being a picky toddler.

And I don't care if anyone believes that or not.

I think I've spent the better part of his life trying very, very hard not to be 'judged' as a parent.  Not to be too overprotective and give people the pleasure of saying, "Well, she's just that way because...well, you know...she needs to get over that so that Luke will have a 'normal' childhood."

Or, I've known that Luke has his little 'quirks', and the teacher in me has been working feverishly at home with him and all sorts of sensory integration exercises so that he's 'normal' to everyone.  To my friends.  My family.  My colleagues.

Every day, I realize more and more that he really is going to be it.  The one I get to raise.  The one I pour everything into.

And I am completely, completely, completely ok being "That Mom."

Life is too short.  And I could be Mom Of The Year and someone, somewhere would still judge me.  There is never, ever pleasing everyone, so as long as John and I raise Luke to be the man God wants him to be, I'm happy.

Luke knows he is loved.  He has a wonderful, wonderful life.  We often joke about how nice it would be to live the "Life of Luke!" because basically, it rocks.

Every decision I make is made in his best interest.  Could I be more hardcore?

Sure I could. And every time I get "That Look" or hear "That Tone" of voice from another mom, I cringe a little and wonder whether or not my "Mom" account just lost a ton of points.

But no more.  Tonight John said something...I don't even remember what it was, but my response was, "So what?  I'm completely ok with the parenting I do."

And I am.

So he has a love affair with Skittles?

He has an amazing vocabulary.  He already has a hysterical sense of humor.  He is focused.  He is driven.  He has a wonderful attention span.  He has manners.  He's sweet to kitties and puppies.  He loves to read and he can entertain himself for long periods of time.  He sings songs about Jesus and smiles at me like I am the most brilliant thing he's ever seen.

Good enough for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"This Is Me Now"...A Raffle!


I never, ever cease to not cry when I read John's blog Act of Kindness about the missionary work he and his family are doing in Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the orphanages.

This is a small story he posted the other day.  From John's blog:

"There is a new boy at the orphanage today .  He spent some time living on the streets after the passing of his parents.  There is more to the story, but you get the idea.   Life has not been easy for him.  He has had to face more in a few short years then most of us will in a life time.. yet he is not BROKEN.... he is PATCHED.    After spending the afternoon doing crafts, interacting with the kids he began to loosen up, then Andy sat at the piano and started to play , a little honky tonk , a hymn or two then "Amazing Grace"  at which point there was a smile that came over this young boys face filled the room 

  You would think that language would be a difficult barrier , but when you approach with genuine LOVE, it really does not have to be difficult... in fact maybe what this young boy  needed was the security of knowing he did not need to talk, but just be..... Before we left, he did want Andy to take a little message home with him  .. he drew this little picture , then told Andy with a little smile "This is me now"

This child...this sweet, sweet boy who has seen and lives a life so filled with heartache that so many of us can hardly fathom living and still breathing...he wanted them to know that now that he was in the sights of the missionaries and their work, he felt his heart wasn't broken anymore, but patched.


How many days have I felt so the same?  Knowing my heart has been broken into so many pieces, and yet miraculously, so much more often than not, the patches that God has given to me have just been...well, like I said--miraculous.


Truly, my heart has been patched too, and in life-changing ways.

Matthew's birthday is in 16 days.  My sweet boy would be three years old.  Watching Luke run around and becoming such a fun and funny little almost two-year old (gasp!), I can't help but wonder how much like his brother he'd be. 

What would my Matthew be like?

The birth and death of that little boy changed my life.  I've always had a passion to help those who needed it (I wear the title of "Bleeding Heart" proudly), and especially children.  I cannot do much to 'parent' Matthew, but in his memory, I can certainly do things to help other children.

Children with broken lives and broken hearts who need our help to patch them.

John Wright and those who help him restore hope for the future for those children.  They share love with those children and let them know that broken hearts CAN survive...with the blessings of patches given lovingly by those who care.

Where would any of us be without the 'patches' we've been given?

So my sweet friend Karie at Two Kwik Kwilters has again offered a prize to be raffled and all proceeds will go to the Pie Challenge for Christmas parties for the orphans in Kyrgyzstan.  She has offered to make either an awesome iPad/tablet case or an adorable cosmetic/whatever-else-you'd-like-it-to-be bag. 

Some of Karie's creations!  The little bag in the front left is the "Cosmetic Bag."  It is so cute and versatile!

My favorite sample of the "Cosmetic Bag!"

iPad/Tablet Cover example!

Another BEAUTIFUL iPad/Tablet cover!

She is talented, talented, talented and the winner will be able to choose what she/he wants and in what fabrics!  Fun for you, or an awesome way to score a great Christmas gift AND give love to orphans across the world.

To enter the drawing, please do two things for me. First, just donate $5 to the ChipIn I created.  I'll enter your name for once every $5 you donate, and Luke will pick a winner when it's done.  If you'd like to donate directly to the Contest page, you can, just be SURE to let me know you have, so I can enter your name in the drawing.

Second, please go to Karie's Facebook page and "Like" her.  She is generous beyond belief to so many of my heart's desires, and I'd love to say thank you.  Karie is at 125 "Likes" as of the creation of this post.  For every "Like" she gets between now and December 5, I will donate an extra dollar. Even if they are likes that are not associated with the drawing!  How easy is that?  Heck, we could meet the challenge on "Likes" alone!

I know I say this every year, but seriously.  Think about what $5 does for you on an average day.

A cup of coffee.
A breakfast at some fast food place.
A Sunday paper for a few weeks.

Or the most amazing thing you can imagine—smiles on the faces of children who feel forgotten and unloved.  Joy in knowing you are telling them that they are KNOWN and LOVED.

Priceless, friends.  Priceless.

Talk about how cheap it is to patch precious little hearts.

Thank you in advance for your help and support.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Luke has been on this "Mommy Only" kick.

I can't lie; I don't mind it that much.  I love when he wakes up in the middle of the night and mumbles, "Mama, Mama," and then goes right back to sleep.  Daddy is getting a raw deal if honest, because Luke is not being as nice to him as he could...I told John it's a phase, and my time of wistfulness while he's all about Daddy will come.

Which leads me to those moments when my heart is so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for Luke...but mixed with aching and longing for what should have been.

I rocked Luke this evening, as normally I do, and as I started to sing, he started to say, "Night-night..." which is typically his cue to me that he's ready to go to his crib and go to sleep.  Or at least have some "Luke time" and then go to sleep.  So, I put him in bed, said my good-nights and left.

About thirty minutes later, he's still up, and he started to stand up and cry for me.  I figured I might have better luck rocking him and singing when I went back in and I was right.  He wanted Mama, but as I sat with him in and started to rock and sing, he started pulling out all his tricks to make me laugh...raising his eyebrows like Groucho Marx, laughing with squinty eyes and wide open mouth to make me giggle, and singing all his songs so I would sing with him.  He started singing his ABCs, and then giggling to get me to join.  Then he started to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star ("Inkle, Inkle") and of course, I sang with him.  As he played with my face and was telling me where my nose and my eyes were, he started saying, "unshine? unshine?" and then started to hum the tune...hoping to get me to join.

I did.  How could I not?

But I cried.  As that sweet boy went all out to show me just how darned cute he was, I thought about how I should know what that joy feels like THREE times.

I should have experienced it with Matthew.
I should look forward to it with Trey.

I should get those sweet, priceless moments with THREE different baby boys and I only get it with one.

Which is one more than so many ever dream of...I know that.

But still.

The weight of what I miss with those boys sometimes screams at me the loudest in the quiet, dark, night time moments with Luke..moments when I realize how amazing it is to be able to have those big brown eyes look at me with nothing but pure love and innocence and how priceless those never-to-be-had moments with my other boys would be.

That weight crushes my soul sometimes.

Like right now.