Monday, September 28, 2009

13

Tomorrow is Emma's 13th birthday. I can't even believe that. It is hard to fathom what it would be like to have two teenagers in my house. There are times, like now, when the grief is doubled because I am missing not only the Emma we all knew but also the Emma that we might have known if not for SLO. Smith-lemli-opitz syndrome took that Emma away before we ever even knew her. On nights like tonight I think about that girl and wonder what she would have been like. I try to imagine what it would have been like for Allie to grow up with a sister to laugh with, fight with, play with, someone to talk to when mom just isn't cool, which is probably most of the time. I didn't know her but I miss her. So very much.

Thirteen. Such a milestone. Emma didn't get to reach this milestone but in a way I am reaching it for her. Thirteen years on this journey of searching, reaching, growing, trying to understand why this happened. I can look back and see that I have grown but I haven't arrived. I am still questioning and sometimes a little angry. I guess maybe kind of like a thirteen year old might be.

I never got to know that Emma without the SLO but I did know and love Emma exactly the way she was. She was such a sweet, joyful little girl. I can only imagine how much more sweetness and joy would have filled all of our lives if she had been whole and able to show us just who she was inside of her broken body. The only peace I can find on nights like tonight is the promise that I will see her again. And I will have the chance to know her for everything she is and it will be more than I can imagine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Whatever..." Wednesday

One of my least favorite words in the English language is "Whatever". Just like most words it isn't the actual word but it is the way it is used. When you hear a teenager say "whatever", you usually hear, "What you just said means absolutely nothing to me. I am going to do what I want anyway.".


Thankfully, the word "whatever" can be used in a positive way. One of my favorite verses is found in Philippians 4:8;

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."


I have always loved to go to that verse when I am feeling down or overwhelmed because of the things going on in my life. It reminds me that dwelling on the negative will only push me further away from the truth and the truth is that God has given me so many gifts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Why am I thinking about the negative?


So, I hope you will join me for "Whatever..." Wednesdays because I will be taking a moment each Wednesday to focus on the positive things going on in my world and I hope you will do the same. It will be cheaper than therapy!




Whatever...
You know I have to start with my girls!!
My parents have been there for me all of my life and I miss them so much but I am thankful we got to spend some time with them a couple of weeks ago ...
.
Is there anything more pure and lovely than a girl and her teddy bear?
I love living so close to the Amish community. Seeing them in Walmart or passing them on the road in their buggies really makes me stop and think about what is important in life. In fact, right now there is an Amish man and his son right outside my window cutting down a tree in the back yard. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I think because they have the right focus.
I love fall! And it is finally here and I am finally going to get to enjoy it! Dean and I went on a drive the other day and the leaves are just starting to turn. I intend to enjoy every minute of this fall season!


I'll end with some specific "whatevers" from this week.


Whatever would I do without the friends and family who sent cards and messages to encourage us on the anniversary of Emma's death this week?

Whatever am I going to cook on the grill that some friends from church bought us since we didn't have room to bring ours from Florida?



Whatever can we do to thank the special people who provided us with dinner on Monday so that we could go out and focus on our family on that special day?



Whatever did I do to deserve a husband who always puts me first and puts up with the emotional roller coaster I seem to be stuck on?



Whatever did we do right to have a daughter who chose to get up early this morning to go to the "Meet you at the pole" so she could find out who the Christians are at school? She is the definition of noble and true. I pray she stays that way.



I hope your day is full of "whatevers" today!!!



Monday, September 21, 2009

My Broken Hallelujah

Four years ago from this very moment I was sitting in a hospital room holding the lifeless body of my precious Emma in my arms. I was wiping her hair from her face and the tears from my eyes as I felt the weight of her against me one last time. It was a horrible, yet wonderful moment for me. As I held her and looked at her I knew without one doubt that the Emma I had known and loved was not living in that shell any longer. I knew that the part that made her Emma was no longer trapped in that broken and sick body. Like a bird released from a cage, she was finally free!



After watching her struggle for nine years, how could I, her mother, not rejoice for her? How could I not feel such great peace in knowing that she was released from the pain and the fighting? I had known in the end that she was holding on for us. I could see it. I could feel it. Just days before she left us I had held her in my arms, sang to her and kissed her neck as I looked into her eyes and told her that the next time she heard Jesus calling her name she needed to go to Him. I told her it was okay, that we would be sad and miss her but we would be okay. I had to let her go. I had to release her. I had to give her permission, for my sake and hers. And when the time came, how could I begrudge her that freedom? I find such peace in that picture of her hearing that voice calling her name, turning her head toward the voice, and running into the arms of the only one who loves her more than I do!




Yes, that was a wonderful moment. She was Happy ... Whole ... Healed ... Finally free!




But it was a horrible moment. I was Sad ... Broken ... Grieving ... Trapped in my loneliness.




How do you reconcile those opposite emotions? That is the journey I have been on for the past four years. Living in two different worlds. Caught in the in-between. I am trying to fully live this life I have here on this earth, yet I am so longing to go Home. I want to see my girl! I want to hear her say those words I never heard her say, "I love you, Mommy.". I want to see her run, walk, jump, dance for joy! I want to hold her in my arms and feel the weight of her against me once again. That day is coming and that is what I hold on to when the darkness of grief threatens to overtake me.


Yet, I am here. And I do love the life I live. I love my family and my girls with everything I have and I don't want to waste one single day dwelling on the past or longing for the future. I want to appreciate and experience these gifts I have been given and I do! Watching Allie and Anna Grace grow and change is my greatest joy.




So, today I give a broken hallelujah. I lift the shattered pieces of my praise to God and I say thank you for the gifts He has given me. The gifts here on this earth that I enjoy every day and the gift that awaits me. I am caught in the in-between but it's okay. My Emma is where she needs to be and we are living the lives we are meant to live for now. And some day, some glorious day, we will be together again! All of the people that I love, together, in one place singing not a broken, but a New Hallelujah!




Thursday, September 17, 2009

Milestones

I meant to post an update on Anna Grace when she turned 18 months but time just seemed to slip by and now she is twenty months so I guess this is the twenty month update. Where do I start? This girl has been growing and changing by leaps and bounds. She keeps our life oh so interesting and fun!

She is still a peanut. She weighs 19 pounds and is about 28 inches tall. She is still wearing her twelve month clothes which is good for the budget! She is small but mighty.

She may be tiny in stature but she has a huge personality! She loves people and says hi and bye to everyone we pass in the store or anywhere we go. If they do not respond she will just say it louder and louder until she is acknowledged. Her new thing is "hugs" and will go up to total strangers requesting a "hug" with her arms open wide. She is very vocal and says tons of words. At church she is known to shout at "dada" when he gets up to pray or preach. The church, of course, thinks it is adorable but I know it can be distracting so I take her out while she waves and yells "bye-bye" to everyone. It is pretty cute...

She has a great memory and if someone winks at her or gives her five or something like that she will remember and next time she sees them do the same thing.

I think she has almost all of her teeth, thank goodness!

We are still working on the bottle thing. She loves her "bobble" and I have read not to rush it with adoption so we are letting her take the lead. She is down to just eight ounces a day so it isn't too bad.

Sleeping has become an issue lately. She seems really, truly scared of something so it is hard to let her cry so we end up bringing her to our bed a lot of the nights. Last night I put a CD in and that seemed to help so maybe we have a solution. I sure hope so. We are tired!!

She is pretty attached to all of us but especially me. I don't mind this most of the time but it can be a bit much. I haven't been able to hear one of Dean's sermons in months. We are slowly working on that. Again, we were very careful to make sure she attached to us only because of the adoption process. It can be draining at times but I am so thankful she has bonded with all of us the way she has.

She loves Sesame Street and "Elbo and Abby". She will bring me the remote and tell me "Elbo! Elbo!". She can say A-G of her ABC's and count to ten kind of. She can sing the Barney song. She loves to sing and dance.

She loves other kids and she goes to Storytime and Tumbling every week as well as church so she has quite the social life.

I am not good at this so I will stop for now. I'm sure I will think of many more things to write after I post this but that's enough for now. The most important thing is that she is loved and thriving and the source of so much joy to all who know her.








Oh, did I mention how much she loves her blanket and bear (Bee)? I have found her feeding him, kissing him, hugging him, singing to him, sitting on him, talking to him... you get the picture.













This summer was also a milestone for Allie. She turned fifteen!!! I can't believe that myself! I won't embarrass her by going through all of her achievements but I have to say how very, very proud we are of the person she is becoming. It has been such an honor to watch her grow up and somehow, through all of the stuff that has happened in our lives, she has blossomed and learned to keep shining!
She is in public school now so that is a big change for all of us. It was such a hard decision but we believed it was the best one for now and she is proving us right. She is doing so well and mostly enjoying it. I know she misses our relaxed schedule at home but this is a part of life! I can see her self-confidence really taking off lately.
Anyway, she is so very beautiful, talented, and smart. But I think the greatest thing about her is her love for her Lord and people are drawn to her because she is so very sweet and authentic. How could I not be so very proud of this girl?