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All of Me

I freeze. I hesitate.  I hold back. 

From the minute I walked into her office, I had a plan of how I would share things.  After all, I am a classic case "internal processor".  I think, edit, rethink, and then share.  As all good therapists do, Mirna asked me what brought me in to see her.  I began sharing bits and pieces of our son's life journey up to that point to help paint a picture for her to understand where I was coming from.  For her to help me process grief. 

My plan, my agenda was to better understand grief to ensure I was able to do it "rightly".  Because Heaven forbid this perfectionist does anything wrong. Yet she surfaced deeper things in me than I would have ever imagined in those 45 minutes.  I left with a literal headache and no real answers (or at least answers I anticipated) to my motive for seeing her.  My head was spinning because she was so right.  She saw deeper.  The root of my question in the first place. 

You see, it's not that I …
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To be blessed means what? When do weuse the word "blessed"? Is it getting married, building your dream home, getting the promotion you've dedicated yourself to achieving, or maybe it's the raise you weren't running after that just fell in your lap?  Is it enjoying a much needed vacation, having a baby, buying a car, living a comfortable life, or getting your body in bikini-ready shape?  If I look at any social media outlet these are some of the most "#blessed" events in our lives.

I am concerned.

The first few months of our journey with our youngest son was blow after painful blow of hard news.  Riding the roller coaster of the ever present ups and downs resulted in emotional whiplash.  I would process my heart with my husband and be feeling such pain, heartache, and ambiguity to our future yet be so certain of the steadfast truth of the Lord's faithfulness to me.  He's committed to me. He would never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I r…

I Can't

"It takes a village, Amy," she said with a sweet smile and innocent intent.  
I nodded politely to the remark while deep down believing the lie that it would never be me.  I would NEVER need that kind of help.  I would NEVER not be able to manage my own life by myself.  At the time, I was a new mom and had the primary responsibility of being a stay-at-home mom and working part-time with a college ministry. A simple life; how could it not be easy to manage what the Lord had entrusted me with?

As the weeks of having a newborn drug on, I would think about that comment often, yet not allow myself to acknowledge my desire for help.  I would look around and see others in much harder circumstances and carrying more responsibilities and managing.  I refused to admit my feelings of failure.  I refused to admit that I wanted help, that I needed help.  After all I was just a mom - as my culture tells me.
Fast forward a few years and the lie continues to fight for control.  "Amy, you…

A Confession and Honest Plea

I have done it. I have noticed you at the park, grocery store, football game, or dentist office. I have seen you and in an effort to not be rude, I look away so as not to gawk. In my own discomfort, I assume avoiding is the "right" or "nice" thing to do yet curiously sneaking peaks. But now I am you. I am out in public with a child that looks different. And now that I am in your shoes I am learning. Learning what it feels like to be the recipient of gawking or looking away feels like. I am not hurt; I realize people generally and genuinely are curious more than anything.
My son may have ample accessories in tow, an entourage of helping hands, and look different which naturally draws attention to himself - but he is perfect. Yes, I see his tubes, umteen machines hooked up to him, his seemingly uninterested gazing, and his head banging. At the same time, I see so much more. I see right past it and see him for him: my son, an eternal soul, a boy who has m…

Dear New NICU Parent

Dear New NICU Parent,
Congratulations on your perfect, little miracle(s)!  I celebrate with you over the gift of life that you are entrusted with!  What a journey you are about to embark on, what a journey you are already enduring. 
For whatever brought you here, you are here.  No matter the duration of your stay, simply being admitted feels too long.  A place no one wants to be, a club no one aspires to join.  It is interesting, though, most “members” grow to not only accept this new club but welcome and rely on this new-found community that embraces them.  Among the doctors, NNPs, specialists, nurses, RTs, OTs, social workers, and even the other families you share soap with at the scrub-in sink there is a unique bond, a connection, a feeling of being understood when life is unimaginable for “nonmembers”. While no two journeys are the same – I know I can’t completely relate to your individual story – I empathize with your pain, your heartache, and the “simple” things worth celebrating.…

Sprinting a Marathon

"I wish I could know if we are sprinting a short race or running a marathon."  It was the only answer I had when my dad asked me how we were doing.  He was standing across from me, with Beckett in his hospital crib between us.  It was last September - about a week after Beckett had been trached and only a few days past one of his desatting scares in which nearly a dozen medical staff flooded his room in the NICU to help him recover.  "I think you've already been sprinting a marathon," he responded.  

I felt a weight lift immediately.  It was freeing to have him affirm that this journey had already been long, heavy, and hard.  Freeing to have my pain acknowledged.  Freedom to call it a marathon, to slow down and pace myself.  

Last weekend our little family was able to participate in our local marathon and the events included.  Brody ran in a youth fun run.  His little three-year-old legs pedaled out a full mile.  He wasn't the fasted but he was steady, enjoye…

New Ambition

I have heard the phrase "new 'normal'"  or "your 'normal'" all too often in the past 15 months; I have used it for myself and more people have said it to me than I can recall.  I hate it.  I really do, and I use the word hate incredibly sparingly.  "New 'normal'" means a very different life than anything I had pictured.  It means adjusting to change, significant change.  It implies there is at least some sense of a "normal" that we all come to expect in this life and that chance of "normal" will never be my reality.

Over the months I have been grieving many "normal" things I expected at the discovery of pregnancy #2, things that are rightly anticipated when one finds out they are pregnant: I grieve my boys wrestling, I grieve Beckett running, I grieve having Beckett on my hip while I make dinner in the kitchen, I grieve juggling two kids while running errands, I grieve taking my two boys by myself to t…