Saturday, January 21, 2012

oh such a copycat

I did this today with the kids.

Not my idea, wagon or house pictured above.

{But it's super super cute and we have one now.}

I've been thinking today about what a shameless copycat I am. . . it's really quite pathetic.

As a new gym member, do I come up with my own exercise routine?  No, I trot after Deeann, panting trying to keep up, and just copy hers.

Do I come up with my own homeschool curriculum ideas?  Nope, just copy my mother in law.  If my kids graduate from college two years early like Daniel's little brothers with degrees in physics engineering and political science. . .I'm good with whatever curriculum got them to that point.

I worry after reading Ann Voskamp that I'm going to blog like her.  *hit return key five times*  deep, thoughtful sentence.  *hit return key five times*

Hmm.  I try to copy my sister in law's unbelievably organized household.

I want to copy my mom's easy, relaxed hospitality.

I wish I could copy my little sisters' crazy-amazing hairstyles.  (How do you backcomb again?)

I think about copying the mommy-bloggers like my friend Michelle who resolve to not spend any money in January.  (I think I just heard my husband laughing his head off ten blocks away at the FD.)


Nothing's original here, folks.  It's all duplicated from some other brilliant soul.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

when carpe diem seems like a good idea


Little Eli fell.

The details aren't important; he cried and we both soothed him and worried a little. 

Then he quit crying and started holding his breath with silent, jerky little sobs.

oh, Eli, don't do this. . . Daniel was telling him and my whole body went cold again.

We are going to get some help here. . . I was shaking, running for my phone.  Couldn't find it.  Couldn't find any phone.  Wasn't thinking.

Yes, yes, call. Daniel is saying, just standing there, dazed, holding him.

We can get there faster ourselves, I say and start putting shoes on my man and starting the van and crying to my son to breathe and be okay. 

Drive drive drive I say and then realize he can't drive while he holds him and I can't leave the kids so they have to come with us. I call them out of bed, hating the fear that they are going to feel and load them in.  I am moving like the wind. I leave the door open and candles burning.  I am not thinking.

Still jerky weird gasps from Eli.

I pray, out loud, and words stream out of my mouth as I drive the route I rode fourteen months ago to say goodbye to Gabe.

God, make him breathe,

You are a Healer, God.

God, I need my son,

God You are a Giver. . . be a Giver, God!

Daniel tells me to park at the ER and I refuse and drive to the double doors.  Go, go go, just go get him in there. . .

I see my husband carry my son through those doors through a haze of tears as I park and I hate what he is reliving and I hate what I could find when I too, walk through those doors again. 

I should have come back sooner, I think as I go in, realizing that I'm barefoot.  I just couldn't bring myself to return.  Daniel is here every other day. . . how does he do it?  Same corridors, same trauma rooms, same little private family lounges where peoples nightmares start.

I find my husband and two nurses and I lean against the door jamb and take it all in.  Eli is sitting up in Daniel's arms and making sad little coos to the nurses and they are all smiling and agreeing with Daniel that his respirations sound good but it's good to check and how far did he fall and they have a relaxed camaraderie from working together and everyone knowing why we're paranoid.

I am limp with relief and my face is wet with tears as I sit on the cot and hold him close to my heart.

He's okay?  All that heart-stopping stress?  The doctor looks so young and I feel so old and tired and weary.  He says our son is fine and that he'll run any x-rays or scans that we would like, but really doesn't think it's necessary.  Why was he jerking and not breathing? I ask and the doctor shrugs and laughs and says he was probably really mad.  Eli. . .seriously. . .you took another couple years off my life and reinforced the need for my Loreal 5N.

I left the room, I left the emergency department, I walked out into the parking lot. . . retracing awful steps.  But I was holding my son.  I got into the van and held his face to mine and sobbed. 

I know in my head that these are just childhood events that happen to everyone and and yet . . . he fell and immediately my mind spins an awful movie reel that my heart has already lived.

I'm sorry.

There's nothing we can do.

Going home with empty arms.

Newspaper notices with a photo of my baby.

Tiny grave.

I can't believe Eli's okay because I find myself always braced for the worst.  It's eleven pm and I hold him and think back on my demanding words to God and wonder why He even answered.  I don't deserve any of the good gifts He's already given me.

I am not entitled to my children.

My heart twists and I think of the sweet couple in our Compassionate Friends group who lost both of their little boys in a tragic car accident. 

Their days are not promised.

I think of the Don't Carpe Diem post that has been wildly popular among all of my mamma friends and even though I totally agree and have so been there . . . I realize that each day is an incredible gift.

It all blurs together in my mind and I drift into a troubled sleep.

And unbelievably I dream of Gabe.  This is a first for me.  I have wished that I could dream about him because then I could have another memory, even though it wouldn't be real, only a figment of an exhausted imagination.

Someone brings him to a party as a gift to us.

I know he's there, but just assimilate him back into my little nest, like he never left at all.

There's crying and eating and unwrapping gifts and breaking up children's fights, smiling and taking pictures and then the party is over.

The nameless person who brought Gabe as a gift hands me a photo from the party of all of us together and I realize that he had been there.

Where is he??  Why didn't I go crazy with joy??  Why didn't I realize the gift??

He's not here anymore.

And I am left with only a picture, again.

I wake up and can't sleep again, disturbed by the realness of the dream and the reality of never seeing Gabe this side of Heaven. 

Eli is wiggling and talking and I take him downstairs in the early morning dark and start some coffee;  I lay him a blanket and sit next to him, my back propped against my favorite big chair, and I take it in.  He laughs at my feet and I wave them at him.  I pick him up and kiss him.  I take in the moment.  I feel the joy. I am still tingly with gratefulness and relief.

Daniel comes downstairs, headed to a long twenty four hours at work, fixing other peoples emergencies and seeing their raw grief and pain and he stops, too, and takes Eli in.  He picks him up and holds him close.  I tell him about my dream and cry against him, thankful for a man to lean on and love me through life.

And Saturday begins.  Eli goes back to sleep.  Cambria is up, asking in a demanding and whiny way for pancakes. I'm pretty sure I have poison ivy on my face (no idea how it got there).  There are piles of laundry to fold and put away and beds to make and I don't feel super organized today.

It's real life, and it's not glamorized and I know that I will feel irritation today and I know the edgy surreal gratefulness for an uneventful ER visit will wear off and I won't always feel this thankful.

I will wish Eli would just stop crying.

I will say Cambria, you are entirely too old to be sucking your thumb!  Take it out of your mouth!

I will say You will not say "I want pancakes and put syrup on top" to your mamma.

But that gratefulness is right there, under the surface, springing out in a big hurry when I realize how quickly life can change.

So if you're reading this, wallowing in bad attitudes and sleepless nights and groceries and runny noses and toddlerhood. . . I know. 

I am too.

But just maybe carpe minute. In the middle of the crazy unending childhood drama of the diem.

Hug your babies. 

Breathe them in.

Tell them you love them.

Kiss their little baby toes, their little preschooler noses, their little I'm-almost-seven-and-too-big-for-kisses cheeks.

Because tomorrow isn't promised and today -though long and weary and sometimes frustrating- today is what God has given.

Live it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

{all things richly}

Leftover chex mix and Eli snuggles;  

kids in bed and my value pack pecan pie candles from Walmart showing up Yankee;

living room a little bit bare from the lack of decorations and our tree;

I had great plans of compiling a massive 2011 faves list, complete with thumbnails of recipes, trips, music, and even purchases. . . but. . . it's not happening any time soon and since I'm in the middle of reading this amazing book. . .

. . .compiling that sort of list also seemed a bit narcissistic.  As a side note, I am so challenged and convicted by Tim Willard and Jason Lacy's thoughtful critique of how our culture has damaged the individuality of people.  It's an excellent read.

So I'll skip the sweet idea of my year in a nutshell (you didn't wanna read it anyway) and pass on my absolute favorite online reads from the past year.  These posts were well worth my time and the words lingered for days and weeks after reading.  Enjoy and be challenged!

On Forgiveness

"I am a daughter failed and I am a parent failing

and I know it in ways now I never knew.

If I rip apart the bridge of forgiveness for my own parents

with my own hands

I destroy the only way my children can come to me."

On Motherhood.
(Don't you just want to read her blog when her shoes are that cute?)

(on the wild ocean life vs. motherhood )

 I absolutely can't wait to travel the world again, but this time, take a little pair of wide-eyes with me, and show them everything there is to see.

I can't wait to pursue my dreams and ambitions, but this time, teach a little soul along the way how to be a feminine woman in a feminist world.

I can't wait to be best friends with my little girl, and one day, best friends with a woman who will know me like no one has ever known me.

. . .it's possible to live a "wild ocean life". But just what exactly that looks like, may change.

. . .as your life changes, your vision changes too,
and you start to see things more clearly until one day, you realize, you are finding meaning and value in where you are, and what you're doing.


On Being Real.
(my beautiful childhood friend Wendi. . . beautiful inside and out)

It was all going to be beautiful
with lightly falling snow
and sugar plums
and holly decking the halls
and mistletoe kisses
when we all changed
out of our matching pajamas
and into our Sunday - Christmas Sunday - best.

Except we don't have mistletoe.

. . . .

There was no snow.

Everything was brown.
Dave went to church by himself.

I managed the chaos of four little boys, most coughing, a few sick, and all a little hyped up on Christmas excitement.
And no one had matching pajamas. ;)

I took a deep breath, tried to erase preconceived notions of how it was supposed to go, and breathed in my reality.


And just cause I can't help it,

can I just give a shout out to



Dunkin Donuts Dark Coffee





chalkboard paint


Loreal 5N


the library


my Bible study group


Goodwill & Salvation Army

(and Forever 21 too)

for bringing beauty to my little world.

Trust. . . in God. . .Who gives us all things richly to enjoy.