Yesterday was the 8th Birthday of my sweet niece, Jaidyn. How in the world is she already 8?
“JJ” as all the cousins call her, was the first little one of my four siblings that grew up in our house. The baby was having a baby! We had older siblings that had children in Waco, but we were young ourselves when it happened. We became Aunts and Uncles before we were even 15 years old. Jaidyn was extra special. Not only because she was the first, but because she was the light in so much darkness in 2010. I will never forget the call from my dad that my grandfather, “Daddy Bob” had died. I remember throwing the phone across the room with an intensity and anger that my husband had never seen in me before. Following with uncontrollable sobbing and hyperventilation. I couldn’t breathe. My hero was gone and I didn’t even get to say goodbye. The man that carried a peace about him that no one else to this day has ever had. My sweet Daddy Bob had been changing a light bulb on the front porch of their Houston home and had fallen off the ladder and died instantly. Heartbreak. I believe that we always thought my Granny would be the first of the two to go. She had been battling health issues for years and my Daddy Bob was always clean on his health bills. How in the world did this happen? The days and weeks that followed were that of extreme sadness and exhaustion. My grandmother no longer had the love of her life and the man that took care of her every need. She was in shock and heartbroken along with the rest of us. I went to stay with her and then my step mom did also, but she just wasn’t the same after he died. Her will to live wasn’t there as it was before. She was transported to San Antonio via ambulance to be admitted into a rehab facility and was closer to all of us. It was good to have her physically near us, but she was never the same. She was able to make my sisters baby shower and was excited for this sweet little Blessing to come earth side. A week before my sister was to give birth to Jaidyn, Granny made her way up to heaven into the loving arms of her precious husband. Sadness again filled the family as we had officially lost the heads of our family within months of each other.
The day of Jaidyn’s birth was a happy one. The entire family was there and waiting as the birth had been a scheduled c-section. Even though the recent grief, we were all ready to meet this little miracle that God had given my sister. There were a few things they wanted to look at on her once she was born and it took what seemed like forever for her mama to hold her for the first time. And for all of us to finally meet her. She was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever laid my eyes on. A tiny little thing at 5.3oz and just perfection. I will never forget that my uncle Eddie refused to leave until he got to see her and hold her. He absolutely loved children. He was so excited to have a baby in the family finally! Once he held her he told our Nana & Papa that they could go home. Uncle Eddie had special needs and was truly a gift from God. He wasn’t supposed to live past 3 and with my Nana’s strong will and Eddie’s determination he beat all the odds! Leaving the hospital we were all so excited and happy. My other siblings and our spouses all went to our parents house to celebrate the arrival of this precious baby girl who had changed our family. Then the call came… My Nana. Hysterical. She had gone upstairs and found my uncle Eddie unresponsive. Heart Attack. He was gone. On one of the happiest days in a very long time, it was also the darkest. On the day Jaidyn was born, Eddie died. An extreme roller coaster of emotions that were almost too much to bear for all of us.
Every year on her Birthday I think back to the months that preceded and followed Jaidyn’s birth. I remember my Grandparents, my uncle and thank God for the Blessing that is my niece. It is a reminder to me that even during the darkest of times, there is light. Even if you have to struggle to find the light, it is always there. It may not be in the form of a beautiful baby girl, but God will show up. He always does. 2010 was one of the hardest years of my life to date, but I don’t wish that it never happened. I keep thinking of the sermon that I heard at church last week on the book of Judges. God sometimes has to weaken us before He uses us. (Judges 7:1-7) At the ripe age of 29 I had seen more death happen than I had ever experienced before. I learned how short life is and also what a great God we have. Even when the days seem hard, you feel like that you can’t seem to get out of “the yuck” as I call it.. look up. Look to Him and know that once you fully rely on God, the peace that comes is indescribable.
“Consider is pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
A few days ago I had a conversation with a girlfriend about this stage in our lives. The constant entertaining of a toddler, wiping a behind and all of the other stuff that goes along with keeping a small human alive on a daily basis! Being a stay at home mom is hard on so many levels. I also always have the feeling of “not doing enough.” Either with my business that I help run from our home, keeping the house picked up or keeping up with a girlfriend.
The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. My kids will only be kids for a short amount of time. In just a few months my son, my baby, will start attending a 2 day a week Mother’s Day Out. Granted that is only a few days a week, but time is moving fast. I will not beat myself up over helping in our business, having all the laundry folded or being MIA on friends. God has entrusted me with a beautiful family that I have the honor or loving and leading. At this point in my life that is all that matters. So today and everyday after this one I will be more aware of being present in the moment and enjoy this stage of parenting and soak it all in. Everything else can wait.
Yesterday while my two youngest children were asleep I decided to take my oldest to visit her Grandmother. I sadly have not been able to visit my mom twice in one week in quite some time and figured it was the perfect opportunity.
On the way I picked up some ice cream for the three of us to enjoy together. One thing my mom has always LOVED is ice cream. My daughter and I have also seemed to have inheretated that gene. 🙂
Before arriving at my mom’s facility I had a little talk with my daughter about Grandma. It had been a while since it had just been the three of us and since I didn’t have her brother and sister with us, I knew we would be spending more time with just my mom. Usually “the talk” involves me telling her about how Grandma is sick and may act different, but that we still love her very much. I have no clue what to say and honestly never thought in a million years I would have to have this talk with my 3 year old child!
My daughter was initially all about Grandma. Interacting with her, hugs, kisses and singing her songs. As the hour or so wore on Addy started to become afraid of Grandma. Mom’s erratic behavior and her not making any sense was making her nervous. At one point my daughter said, “Mommy Grandma talks like Evie!” Evie is my two year old daughter. For the last year or so my mom has also decided she hate shoes and takes them off every opportunity she can get. Addy was not happy when I had to explain to her that it was ok for Grandma to have one shoe, but she had to leave hers on.
There was also an “incident” while we were there that really put the icing on the cake. I had gotten napkins with our ice cream and had them on the table. Here recently the facility has been struggling because my mom has been “pocketing” things/food/you name it. The problem with that is the fear of aspiration. Mom could easily choke on objects and it is a serious risk. She also is having problems swallowing and eating, but that story is for another day.
I turned around for one minute and by time I realized it she had eaten almost an entire napkin! My first reaction was to look to the left at my daughter. The look on her face broke my heart. My focus then turned back to my mom and the fact that I needed to get it out of her mouth! I tried to open it and she refused. I tricked her into saying “Ahhh” and tried to fish it out and CHOMP! She bit me! This really didn’t go over well with Adalynn. She was then super concerned that her mommy was hurt. My heart was torn in half. Help my mom and this large ball that she was now chewing or comfort my young daughter who was now terrified that Grandma bit her mom.
I quickly jumped up and grabbed a few staff members and explained what happened. Long story short it took FIVE of them to get mom restrained enough to get in her mouth open and get the large ball of napkin out. All the while she was screaming and hollering “NO, NO, NO PLEASE DON’T!” Addy was done. Officially terrified.
We left soon after and my heart broke all over again for my mom. Here she was at 66 years old, not able to enjoy her Granddaughter and at this moment in time scared her to death. When we walked out the door my mom gave me a precious goodbye that left me and many of the workers in tears. I am learning that seeing her more often and when I don’t have all 3 children help her to connect with me. My precious daughter however did not want to say goodbye or even hug her Grandmother.
Today my daughter was still talking about Grandma and the napkin incident. My prayer is that the Lord gives me the right words to speak to her and that the memories that the does have with her Grandmother are good ones because my mom deserves that. My job is to make sure all of my children know what an incredibly strong and loving woman their Grandmother was and to do everything in my God given abilities to fight this horrid disease!
On a daily basis I a reminded of how hard marriage really is. Sharing your life with someone is just plain work.
When I was married over 7 years ago I went into it with realistic expectations. As a child of not one, but two divorces I knew the journey ahead would not be easy. Since I knew what divorce was and what it did to children caught in the crossfire, I was going to work my butt off to make my marriage work. There would be NO easy way out. Divorce would never be an option. Ever.
Fast forward 7 years and two children and I now understand. I totally get how people can throw up their hands and move on to something “better.” Or just give up and divorce. This stuff is hard! And you have to work on the relationship DAILY!
One major thing I have learned is communication is key. That and surprises!
Surprises- Now I don’t mean presents per say.. (but I do love presents) 🙂
Just something different from the day to day monotony of life. Sweet notes written with markers on the bathroom mirror, other special notes hidden through out the house for your spouse to find, flowers.. get creative. Money is NOT the primary here, it is the thought.
Communication- Communication sucks. No lie, I was a communication major in college. I can talk to people. I love people! Yet, sometimes telling my husband that I feel neglected in some way or that feel like I need him to help me out more in an area around the house is super hard for me. Honestly it is just easier for me to keep my mouth shut! But is “easier” really going to help this relationship long term? No.
Since we have hit the “7 year itch” mark I have found that we have been going through some major growth in our marriage. We have now been together almost 10 years and we know each other.. well. Yet, as life moves on day to day our “normal” if there was ever one, has changed. And with that becomes some serious work in the two of us. Thankfully, we are not alone and we have the Lord to help guide us and give us direction and support in our marriage.
“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10: 6-9)
Powerful. Marriage has been around forever and God smiles upon the sacred vow. Praying and calling out to Him for help or get connected to people of faith to give spiritual advice is key. I don’ t know about you, but I just love the part about “becoming one flesh.” I put this verse on our program at our wedding and it still gets me warm and fuzzy on the inside all of these years later. It is romantic to me… living out the rest of your life with one person who knows you like no one else.
I have not one doubt in my mind that on that fateful Christmas night that Chris and I were supposed to cross paths. I know we were put together to make a difference in not only our children’s lives, but those around us. We want to share our love of God and our passion for quality health for all that will listen. No matter how hard the day to day may seem of sharing my life with my husband, I will do my best everyday to work at us. Because we started with “us” and until my last living breath.. it will end with us.
We have decided that every Sunday night we will have some time for us and our week. Talk about the week ahead, our finances, pray, and hopefully finally start a bible study that we have been talking about for a while now.
I challenge you to do the same! Let’s make 2015 the year that marriages are strengthened, restored and rejuvenated!