Monday, January 2, 2017

Adventures in our City

Today was a special day.  I had two choices.  I could spend the day working at school and/or at home to prepare for the upcoming week with students or I could spend my last day off with my family.  In keeping with my New Years resolution I decided it would be way more worth it to be completely present with my family.

We decided around 10:00 this morning that we would venture out and see the train display at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park before Christmas was completely boxed up and put away until next December.  I had never been there before.  The entire first room was set up to look just like our city.  The bridges were perfect, Mount Adams had a special spot up on a hill, and the trains traveled all over the city, which thrilled Johnny.  I am glad that I saw smiles and heard the twins laugh.  I am so happy that I chose to take on that adventure today.

After we finished up at Krohn, we decided why stop there?!  We have the entire day off and we can do whatever we want.  We went ahead and made our way to the Newport Aquarium.  The last time we visited we purchased passes because it is worth the money if you visit there more than twice a year.  Since this was our second time in just two months we all agreed that it was worth it.  The twins ran through the exhibits, stopping at all of their favorites.  The seahorses and the sharks never disappoint.  Macy also finally conquered her fear of the shark bridge.  Had we not made time today to go do something together we would't have had the privilege of seeing our sweet little girl so proud of herself.  She has never been able to walk across that bridge.  She battles herself literally the entire time through the aquarium until we finally get there and she cries and wants to do it but cannot make herself.  It was a victorious moment for her and for us!  John and Johnny finished just before us and turned to see her walk across. Johnny cheered his sister on and kept her moving with his sweet words of encouragement!  He was also so proud.  I am so happy that I chose to be present on that adventure today.

It was a great day.  It was a day that I will cherish.  The smiles and the hugs and the giggling made my day.  I will remember those sounds through all the hard days ahead.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hope and Dreams

Tonight I bid farewell to 2016 and reluctantly say hello to 2017.  I say reluctantly because there is something about the passing of time that makes the pain of losing Charlie rise to the surface.  I miss him so much and as more and more time separates the moment since I last held him and the present I struggle to move forward.

Don't get me wrong.  I have hope and I continue to move forward one step at a time; its just a difficult step to take each and every day.  I have learned over the course of the past two and a half years that in order to keep my footing I need a clear vision.  I need to write down my hopes and the steps I will take to accomplish those hopes and dreams.

1.  Say "yes!"

In order to better love and be present with my kids I plan to say "yes" whenever Macy and John ask me to play.  So many times in a day I say, "Hang on just a second." or "Let me finish this really quickly."  It actually makes me sad to type this.  I always have something 'more important' that needs to be done.  How quickly I am learning how unimportant those things are in the grand scheme of my life and my kid's lives.

2.  Finish my book.

I have a transcript.  My goal was to have it sent to publishers on November 17th but my nerves and fear have kept me from moving forward.  I am ready to begin the new year with a new mindset.  I am ready to print what I have and then send it along to whomever will read it.  Maybe the timing is just right.  Maybe someone out there will get it in their hands at the perfect moment and it will become a reality.  I want to publish a book this year.

3.  Run again.

I run every now and then.  I enjoy it.  I actually yearn for it when I don't do it but I let my depression and laziness get in the way more often than not, especially over the course of this past year.  So I am going to commit to some kind of schedule.  I am not positive that means any certain race or expectation at any certain time but I am going to commit to a schedule.  I am going to do something.  Cheer me on!

4. Keep my head up.

Things at work have been especially difficult.  I'm not one to talk work on the blog but I need to make sure that I say I plan to keep my head up.  Regardless of the circumstances I am going to rise above.  I am going to keep doing what I know is right.  I am going to keep working hard.  I am going to keep my students in the forefront of my mind.

5.  Honor Charlie.

I want to continue the birthday tradition that we have for Charlie with random acts of kindness.  It is important to me that we continue to talk about him and continue to teach the twins about their brother, but more importantly about heaven.  This year however, I want to honor Charlie every single week, not just on his birthday.  I want to have a special moment where I complete one random act of kindness in his honor every single week of the 2017 year.  By the end of the year I want to have 52 random acts of kindness that I can attribute to #charlielove.  Keep an eye out for more on these random acts.

As I wrap up this post I feel less reluctant and more hopeful.  I am excited about what God has in store for me.  I am excited about how I can share His love and #charlielove with others as I fulfill these hopes and dreams.    

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Child Died, I Don't Need Advice...

This hit me hard today.  It is so true for the many of us grieving the loss of our children.  I read it and immediately felt glad that I am not the only one that feels this way.  

"My child died.  I don't need advice.  All I need is for you to gently close your mouth, open wide your heart and walk with me until I can see in color again."

If you have this weird desire to say something to help, do not say it.

You may not realize it, but time does not heal all wounds.   I do have faith.  I am thankful for my blessings.   And everything does not happen for a reason.  I can't even begin to count the number of times I have heard these things; all in an effort to make me 'feel better.'  

I was somewhere this weekend and I overheard a part of a conversation where someone said, "There is not a good reason that my child is buried underground while my feet keep walking on this earth."  My heart stopped.  I understood a place in that person's heart that many people cannot understand.  It is backwards and it takes everything in me to see things in color.  It is hard to smell the roses.  But I take one step at a time because I know that is all I can do.  On the hard days, I sit and rest a lot.  I look at the bigger picture and the long haul that is eternity and realize I get to see my son again.  I get to kiss his sweet face when I get to heaven.  I can't wait for that day.      

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Grief Landmines

As a bereaved momma I have learned that as I try to grieve in a healthy way I absolutely cannot ignore my pain. I cannot ignore how sad I am.  I cannot ignore how grief impacts every aspect of my life.  It seems obvious to me now, but I feel like I need to continue to say it on my blog, not only for myself but for anyone else that may read this at the beginning of their journey or still walking this seemingly lonely path.    

It's all so weird though because as the holiday season sneaks up on us I am beginning to hear people say, "Make sure you count your blessings..." to not only myself but other people that may have a hole in their heart.   And trust me when I say there is no one or nothing anyone can say that could change or alter the unconditional love I have for my family.  I count my blessings daily; hourly.

However, what some people can't understand is telling me to focus on counting blessings instead of the very obvious person that is missing from our home is like asking someone to forget about their hair that has just caught on fire.  How would that go for you?  Would you be able to stop and let your hair just burst into flames without reacting?

I have been forced to learn to balance this empty place for Charlie while still being present for my family.  I have learned that there can be joy and sadness that exist at the exact same time.  As I walk through and around these grief landmines I continue to put my faith and trust in Jesus.  While he may not move the mountains I want him to move or part the sea I want him to part I know that my trust must remain in him.  He is infinitely better than anyone I know!  He is infinitely more concerned with me and my well being that anyone I know.        
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