Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Quick Commercial Break

(Because, you know, I've been blogging SO much lately, we need a commercial break).

A day's worth of popcorn & pop refills: $3.96
Ice cream (for him), caramel apple (for me): $6.98
An "I survived Tremors" sweathirt, adult small: $15.47
Lunch for two: $22.56

A WHOLE day devoted to putting a smile on the face of my oldest son?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Words, Part 2

I hadn't intended to do a Part 2 to Wounding Words, Healing Words (as indicated by the fact that it's not labeled Part 1!). But I had a "revelation" of sorts earlier today and I wanted to share it.

Kayleigh and I play this little "game" where she says "I love you" and I say "I love you too" and she says "I love you more." Sometimes I follow THAT up with "Uh UH." and sometimes I just let it go.

But here's the crux of that conversational game. Of course she doesn't love me more. I've been a daughter and a mom and as much as I love my parents, I SO love my children "more." Kayleigh, at 3 years old, does NOT understand that. Of course she doesn't. She has no context for it. Just like someone who has NOT lost a child has NO context for some of the things they say. If I can not hold Kayleigh responsible for her assumption that she loves me "more", how can I hold these well-intentioned people who love me accountable for their ignorance?

When Seth died, Cary said he wanted to pick out flowers for the grave. On the day of the visitation at the funeral home, Cary, Sean & I showed up first at a local florist with a set amount of money to spend, looking for flowers for Seth's casket. I was so awkward and I remember telling the florist "I don't know, I've never done this before." She said "Thank God for THAT." Seriously, if my friends, loved ones, don't know what to say because they have never done this before, thank God for THAT!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Walking With You - Wounding Words, Healing Words

Kelly at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace is hosting Walking With You and this week, she suggested talking about the things other people said. (Last week was sibling grief and I'm totally annoyed with myself that I missed it).

People say hurtful things. Not intentionally (usually) but because they just don't know what to say. The hardest one for me (and I"m still working on letting go and forgiving) was when someone compared our losing Seth at 6 1/2 months of age to be less painful than someone losing an older child (and in this case, the other child was 18 months old).. (Clarification, this was NOT the other bereaved parents but a third party). I was crushed. From the day we found out we were HAVING him, Seth was no less a member of our family than any of his older siblings. THAT was the motivating factor in all the decisions we made for Seth's care. (If we had taken our then 2 year old to the doctor and they said some thing's wrong with her heart, she needs 3 open heart surgeries; we would have unquestioningly got her the best care possible. We were going to do the same for Seth from the beginning!) Unfortunately, this wasn't the only example of that. People often implied that it must have been "easier" to lose Seth than one of our "big kids". I find that offensive.

I KNOW that people just don't know what to say. I know they struggle for things that are comforting and not offensive. I get that. I'm pretty sure I've done that. I was blessed to have people come alongside Leland and I who had walked this path. A good friend who knew that just sitting with me on Leland's first night back at work was enough. And I had good friends who were aware of their shortcomings and inadequacy to offer comfort. A couple of people quite simply said "I don't know what to say so I'm not saying anything, but know that I love you." I was very grateful for that. I think it takes a lot of courage to admit that you don't know how to help someone you care about.

I struggle as much though, not with what OTHER people say, but what I say. I don't know how to share how I feel. That some days I still hurt so much I can hardly breathe. That yes, we've HAD a fun summer.. and I still miss Seth every single moment; even if I don't look like I do because of all the fun I'm trying to make sure my "big kids" have. I don't have an answer for that. In some cases, I do believe that it helps the best for me to be honest. And in other times, I just want to will myself to feel better. I occasionally still think that I can "fake it until I make it."

Mostly though, I am grateful for the people who quite simply let me know they are keeping our family in their prayers. I know that the fact that we find any joy at all is because we have hope in the Lord and seeing Seth again. I am blessed to have people in our lives willing to help carry us through the dark times!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oh, OH....

I've had a weird couple of weeks.. I've been cranky, crabby and tired. I've been weepy (which I'm partially attributing to being tired). Yesterday was August 12th, which means it's been 10 months since we kissed our sweet baby Seth goodbye. I didn't even notice the date until 9:30 last night! I'm not claiming that as good or bad, it just is.

But today, we got exciting news!

(this is my kids looking happily surprised.. sort of)

I won the Memory Blanket from Mapleberry Designs off MckMama's last Not Me! Monday giveaway! I am stunned. I'm going to have to re-think that "I never win anything" default attitude, since it's so obviously NOT true and be VERY grateful for all the blessings God brings into my life!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Me Monday - Out of the Mouths of Moms

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I haven't done Not Me! Monday for awhile but I really want a chance to win the quilt. I do NOT want a quilt made out of Seth's baby clothes...

We spent yesterday at the lake. I did NOT walk down to the little resort store with my husband leaving my kids alone with our hosts. While we were gone, Kayleigh did NOT get stung by a bee on her left foot. She also did NOT get a HUGE splinter in the big toe of her right foot.

I am not the type of mom to just leave a splinter in my daughter's toe because I don't want to pin her down and dig it out with tweezers and a needle. I did not recently leave a splinter in her hand for that very reason (If I had, I should let you know that said hand looks perfect with no splinters! And no infection, yay!)

And because I think it's almost as much fun as "Out of the Mouths of Babes" stories, I would like to leave you with a short list of things I have NOT said to my children so far this summer:

No, you can not have a pop before 7am.

No, you can not have candy before 7am.

Please don't lick your lifejacket.

Honey, your stomach makes a great canvas but if you can't use the markers on PAPER only, you won't be allowed to have markers.. or a pen.. or crayons.

And having NOT said all the above things this summer, I have most definitely NOT said:

"Please do not chew on the car." And the neighbor did NOT overhear me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

In Other Words Tuesday - Relying on God

My first time actually HOSTING in Other Words Tuesday.. Gotta get up a MckLinky, etc. I hope I don't mess this up.. Can I confess; I kind of feel like the hostess who's been running around stuffing papers, and laundry into boxes and closets, throwing dirty dishes into the oven. I started to hyperventilate a little and remember that THIS is "virtual reality". You're not REALLY coming into my home (Thank goodness!). So, pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable.... and don't look in the oven!

Relying on God has to begin
all over again every day
as if nothing had yet been done.
C.S. Lewis

I don't remember when I found this quote exactly. Sometime between finding out something was wrong with Seth (in utero, when he was still the unexpected baby, and not yet Seth!) and actually giving birth to Seth. It has been on my email signature since then. Initially, it was impactful and I read it often. And then it reached that point where I barely saw it there.. Oh, I acknowledged it if I happened to stumble across it but mostly it blended into the scenery (Yes, I'm talking about the ACTUAL quote, those 18 words). Recently, I've gone back to reading it often and pondering it and finding myself what it means.. Wondering if it was actually true.

My initial response? But we DON'T rely on God as if we never had. We remember. I remember. And that helps me. Wondering why I haven't heard from God lately? I remember having heard from God in the past. Wondering if God can provide, pull me out of the muddle I'm currently in? I remember a time he's done EXACTLY that. My history with God AIDS me in my relationship with God.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face
always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and
the judgments he pronounced
1 Chronicles 16: 11-12
So remembering helps me to rely on God, as it did the Israelites in the days of old.

But I think of something else. Very little in this world that is good and worthwhile comes easily. Having children requires 9 months of pregnancy and labor (and that's AFTER the conception which is easier for some than others in and of itself). Being successful in a chosen profession requires effort and continuing education. Effective parenting doesn't come without a fair amount of struggle and difficulty.

I am embarrassed to admit how many, MANY years it took me to realize that my marriage wasn't going to be good if we didn't WORK at it. There does NOT come a day (or at least hasn't for us and we're over 16 years anyway) when I can admire how well we're doing. I have yet to be able to say "We've arrived!" and sit back and rest on my laurels. (Oh, believe me, I've tried a time or two. Probably don't have to elaborate how disastrous that's been!). Relying on God is like THAT.

I'm not going to "arrive" (not in THIS lifetime anyway!). To continue relying on God, I do NOT get to sit back on my laurels and admire how far we've come. As enticing as that may be (and I may succumb to that trap a time or two), it does NOT build a relationship with the Lord. EVERY day I must consciously CHOOSE and ACT towards relying on God. Sometimes EVERY MOMENT of every day. I MUST choose to rely on God, lest I begin relying on other things (which is a complete blog post in and of itself!).

Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not
choose to fear the LORD Proverbs 1: 28-29

Relying on God is aided by remembering what God has done for me. And it is a DAILY choice that I make, continuing to trust and rely on God, stepping out in faith EVERY day.. as if it had never been done before.