Monday, February 27, 2012

Most certainly blogworthy!

A few weeks ago we celebrated a big one(s).

the 60th Birthday of our parents!!!

These two have always enjoyed being born on the same year and only 5 days apart.  My Dad likes to joke that he had his eye on Mom while they lay in the hospital nursery together.   He looked at all the newborns and picked Judy for himself.    Probably not true,  but a great story.

We celebrated with a winter trip to Avalanche Bay at Boyne Mountain.  
It was 84 degrees indoors and 11degrees outdoors that weekend and after a vomiting episode by one of ours,  we all stayed healthy for the weekend and had fantastical family fun!

Thank you Dad and Mom for the memories made!!
Here are a few...

Happy 60th you old Poop(s) !!!

 Me and my gals.

 Mom and Dad with the babes.   Easton and Naomi.
 Mom and Pops were so eager and helped us manage all of our kids and let us have fun as well.

 Juliet doing what she does best... setting up play areas and quietly fiddling around with her things.  We wondered if she preferred the afternoon with Grandma at the condo over the waterpark.

 our middles,  Joy and Drew.

 the trips  enjoy snack time. 

 shooting hoops with Grandpa

 One of Dad's favorite poses.   Best looking 60 year old award,  anyone?

 Our oldest and youngest :)

 Enjoying the hilarious poop cake.

 I think this photo says it all.   5 girls one, room!  You can only imagine.

 Even Dan and I joined the fun!

Dan's surfing experience...
 He and Bart did get to ski while at Boyne

 One last forced family photo before hitting the road.

Thank you Grandpa and Grandma!!!!!!
Happy Birthday,  We Love You!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

damaged goods/beautiful things

Hearts will Mend in time...but they will never be the same....

This phrase says it so well.
This post is a bit heavy and lengthy,  but bear with me (or not) -- it does me so much good to get the swirling thoughts out.    I promise my next post will be airy and full on minivan musings.

Anyone who has ever lost a loved one--be they old, middle age, way too young,  or even unborn knows that it changes your heart.  That is the way of this life.   Hearts will Mend in time...but they will never be the same....

This of course was true of me after April.

I was gifted this necklace at Christmas and it's such a cool visual.
The lines represent the mending of a broken heart.   
The birthstone is for the month of April.  

Truly,  my life has resumed the normalcy I longed for and a full, full heart beats this day.  
But,  I do see evidences that I am somewhat damaged goods.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but it's okay.

Allow me to explain.    There are things that bother me about my now mended heart.    Today, when I hear of a new pregnancy announcement I still mentally hold my breath until that baby's live birth.   That bugs me.   Why can't I assume that all will be perfectly fine?  Because statistically speaking,  it nearly always is.  But still,  my heart worries.

I'm not sure I can accurately write about the guilt I feel for the time when my dear friend was fighting for the life of her baby.   I had doubts that God would heal.   Even with Naomi at my breast (my proof that God gives) my damaged side ached and angered they might be asked to give this baby back to God.    I really longed for the absolute conviction (that many did have)  that Tessa would be born whole and live a full life.   I was filled with fear for a pain I did not want my dear friends to know.   I wish I could go back and change my thinking.  

And here's more...
Recently,  I was able to participate through singing at a service honoring the sanctity of human life, specifically unborn life.     This is a yearly event in our area and last year as well as this  brought about for me intense emotion.
The music,  the images on the video presentation,   the life like models detailing second a trimester baby.
If at any time my damage was felt,  it was that night.    I held it together during the service but following it,  I hugged my mom and for some reason then and there, the pain of my loss came rushing back.
I had not felt that pain in quite a long time,  and it surprised me that yet,  there is still was.

Our pastor shared this with us once... 
"Grief can be fickle. 
Everyone seems to experience it a bit differently.   
It's also a bit shifty.  Profound sadness, anger, and fear
can also be replaced by calm and joy--
but then pop up again

Damaged goods.   Like a dented soup can.   Still functional and purposeful but with a bruise that can't be perfectly erased.

Beautiful Things.

We sang a song that aforementioned night titled Beautiful Things.  ( you may or may not be listening to it in the background)  If I spend all this energy explaining why I am damaged goods,  I also need to talk about the beautiful things that have come.

Last month I passed by the 2 year mark of learning I was pregnant with April.   Since I learned that information in our church bathroom,  I just had to have a moment there a couple weeks ago.    I walked into the same stall and sat there thinking about the wonderful shock I learned there and how my life was about to change in so many ways.  I said a true bathroom prayer of thanks for her life and death--every bit of it.  The hope, the joy,  the sadness,  the fear,  the pain,  the confusion. What her life and death meant to my husband,  to our kids.   It is a beautiful thing.   

For me, April's life had so much meaning.   I am still discovering the blessing that she was.   
My friendships deepened.  I felt truly loved and learned how to truly love,  in all things.   

We were given Naomi.

My Drew has said to me more than once,
" Mom,  if April didn't die,  would we have Naomi?"
"I guess not",  I reply.

It didn't always set well with me when folks said just that.   If April wouldn't have passed away,  I wouldn't have Naomi.  True as that is,  I wanted them both.   Today I can find peace in knowing that one waits for me and I will know her again.

With hindsight I can know that when grief pops up unexpectedly (or even expected) it is a Beautiful thing.  
Because,  feeling is more nourishing than avoiding.  
Remembering how we were held during that time, initiates deep gratitude.
Experiencing that loss gifted me a new compassion,  a new heart for the hurting.  

This list could go on.  And it will, my whole life through--
because I choose to see the beauty shining through the damage.