Tag Archives: anniversary

Five Minute Friday | Breathe

Ready, set, go…

Last year, I was tucking Graham into bed when he started a difficult conversation. One I wasn’t yet ready to have. We had just lost Laurence and Flannery the day before. 

“Mama, I’m so sad our babies died, but I’m glad I get to sleep in yours bed. How long we gonna be so sad? And can we be sad and happy? Cuz I wanna be sad sometimes and happy lots of times. Will we get babies again in your belly? Can we be mean to people? Cuz I wanna be mean to people. Am I still your favorite boy? I’ll be okay if you get more favorite boys. I’m so happy you aren’t in da hospital again tonight cuz I missed you last night. Someday you gotta tell me about the dead baby surgery. Da hospital was pwobly too quiet, huh?”

“We will be sad when we need to be sad and happy when we want to be happy. We can be sad as long as we want to be, as long as we don’t hurt ourselves or be mean to other people. That’s not being sad, that’s other things that aren’t showing God’s love to ourselves and others. I don’t know if we get to have other babies in my belly. But I love all five of you so much! And, yes, you’re still my favorite boy. And I’m so happy I’m home with you. The hospital was very quiet, which was nice. But I missed all our noise.”

“You forgotted da surgery part.”

“When you are older.”

How that was exactly one year ago yesterday, I’m not sure. Time is so strange when you’re 33-going-on-34. 
We made it through the anniversary of the twins’ birth and death. I had been dreading February 1st, but it ended up being easier than I thought it would be. Partially because my kids kept me completely busy and I barely had time to think about it. And partially because I decided to place zero expectations on myself. 

I didn’t make plans to commemorate it at all. No tattoos. No visit to the cemetery. No “one year later” post. Just regular life. Just breathing in and out. 

My word for 2017 is breathe. For whatever that’s worth. It came to me at the very end of December. 

Yesterday, in conversation with Nicole, while our kids were running through the house laughing and screaming, I realized I had found my word for 2017. Nothing profound. But the last several years have been more difficult than not, and I’m choosing to focus on the basics in the new year. Breathing in my husband. Breathing in my children. Breathing in new baby smell. Breathing in friendship. Breathing in the Holy Spirit. “Nicole, I think next year is my year to breathe.” She nodded, then we cleaned some weird orange goo off Graham and Thatcher’s hands, changed Adelaide’s diaper, hunted for Chandler’s missing drink, and averted a near disaster as Bess stuck her head into a birdcage. I was breathing in motherhood, and I felt alive.

I breathed my way through February 1st, the anniversary of losing two children. And I breathed my way through February 2nd, the anniversary of coming home from the hospital empty-handed. And I breathed my way through preschool drop-off and pick-up. I breathed my way through homeschool and pottytraining and dishes and laundry and calling in prescriptions. And I breathed my way through making room for another baby. A baby brother. Who probably eased some of the pain on February 1st. But in the words of Graham, “Getting a new baby doesn’t make me miss our dead ones less. I wish we could have all free of dem!” We’re all breathing our way though pregnancy after losing children. One breath at a time. 
Time’s up.

Join me over at katemotaung.com with your own five minutes of raw and unedited thoughts on the word “breathe”…a safe place to share. 

Tagged , , , ,

I Bet Jesus Was Sad About Joseph

“Why do all the good dads die?” I mumbled it after Dave came into the bedroom to tell me that our friend’s dad had died during a surgery that was meant to save his life. We go to his memorial service on Friday. His heart failed. It had been failing for two decades.

Sunday will be the 11th anniversary of Mike’s death. Dave’s dad died after one heart attack. And I still remember our second Christmas without him. I don’t actually remember the first. I was numb. And so many people brought meat and cheese trays. I put bags and bags of party platters into the freezer. No one knows what to do when a woman is unexpectedly widowed.

I did laundry and dusted and helped write an obituary. And Dave sobbed on my shoulders so many times that I started carrying a dish towel. I looked like a grandma during the Dust Bowl. So much sadness, wearing my future mom-in-law’s apron. And I don’t remember much else.

We went to the midnight service at a local church and the pastor preached about how difficult Christmas is when you lose someone you love. Perfect. Because we really needed to be told that our life was difficult at that candlelight ceremony. Not even two weeks after Mike’s death. “You’re an idiot.” My thoughts toward that poor clergyman. He was right. But my heart was on a continuum with apathetic at one end and overfeeling everything at the other. Each day was a surprise.

That second Christmas was heartbreaking. And I can still feel the pain. Enough time had passed to make the ache unbearable. I had just graduated college, and Mike wasn’t there. He was supposed to be there, but he was dead.

“Everyone dies, Lyndse. Everyone.” I knew Dave was right. Bright and early Thanksgiving morning. “I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving and their dad is dead. I wish mine was dead instead.”

I don’t understand how we go about decorating and baking and wassailing when Mike and Bob and Randy are dead. This holiday season that’s about new life. And life for everyone who wants it. But there are heads of tables that are empty this year. Or they’re seating first-born sons or beautiful granddaughters or a strange plant sent to the funeral home.

This is our first Christmas without Bob. And I will remember every detail of this season. Because several months have passed. I’m no longer numb. I’m aware that he won’t be here. We’ve survived his birthday, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Linda’s birthday, Elizabeth’s birthday, Graham’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Adelaide’s birthday. And every Sunday. So many firsts. So many times he should’ve been here. The sting of death doesn’t dull with time. Only songwriters who have never lost anyone pen those words.

But this is our first Christmas without him. Last year, he was on hospice dying in the living room. We were celebrating this tiny baby in a manger, while my children’s only papa was weaker than a newborn.

I’ve lost two dads, who were barely mine to even claim, in two opposite ways. The sudden and the horrifically prolonged. They are both ghastly. Each in their own way.

My second mom is a widow again at Christmas. I wish my own mom was a widow. And even though Dave is right, that everyone is dying, I want the good dads alive. Death wasn’t the original plan. And I’m often at a loss about how to reconcile it all. Knowing Mike and Bob and Randy are all safe. It doesn’t take that heartbreak away.

I don’t know if Alissa gets a numb or engraved-in-her-mind Christmas this year. Her loss is unique to her. But I know that Jesus lost his earthly dad, too. Jesus knows how we feel. I bet Jesus was sad about Joseph. And Joseph was missed. And remembered. And there were festivals and banquets and recitation of prophecy, and he wasn’t there. And Jesus knew that He needed to march to that cross to save his own earthly father. The man who loved his mother and siblings and worked to care for her and protect her. 

And all the good dads die, because everyone dies.

So I’m extra thankful this year that we’re still not fatherless this December. Emmanuel, God with us. He went from creator of the universe to a baby to a man who lost his own dad to a man who saved his own dad and everyone who wanted it. And Mike and Bob and Randy and Kess and Kevin wanted it and received it and that makes this Christmas bearable.


Photo credit

Tagged , , , , , ,

Sorry, Girls, He’s Taken

Dave worked all day, went and helped a widow, then came home just in time for nighttime toothbrushing duty and putting our kids to bed.  Since we are actually celebrating our anniversary next weekend, I was surprised when he carried in a bag of goodies. I had mentioned last week in passing that I really wanted some wedding cake. He bought me a layered coconut cake. Which I ate while he was cooking me dinner.


I had also mentioned last month that I wanted Taken. I love vigilante justice movies. I ended up with Taken and Taken 2.


And this card. Who says the cobbler’s family never has shoes? I become absolutely giddy when my designing husband designs something for me.



Nine years ago, you took the heart of my good friend, Dave, and have since held it captive. If you were looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you….

…or at least, would make me a nightmare if I were trying to recover Dave’s heart. Lucky for you, he doesn’t want it back. Says you can keep it. Which begs the question, “What am I doing here, making yet another Taken film?” The answer: actors guild insurance. I can’t let them take it from me. I’m 63 years old for crying out loud.

Giddy, I tell you.

I love my witty, caring, gorgeous husband. Nine years. He took my heart, too. And I never want it back.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Strange Anniversary

One year ago today, we received the news of Adelaide’s chromosome array and other genetic tests. You can read about it here.


Let me be honest and completely transparent: At the time, we thought the test results were great. Learning that Adelaide most likely did not have a degenerative condition was amazing news! Now we understand that they really didn’t tell us a lot. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to even have a 15% chance of figuring out what could have caused Adelaide’s brain abnormalities and hypotonia. Even if we knew, it would really only help with insurance claims and benefits. We will never know what Adelaide can and can’t do until she can or can’t do it. She is undiagnosable at this point. It makes insurance a nightmare and paperwork even worse.

Today, a woman in a waiting room said, “Wow. Your life must be really hard sometimes. It would be hard never knowing.” It was probably the best thing anyone has ever said to me upon hearing about Adelaide. I don’t usually acknowledge how hard it is to have so many things wrong with your child and have no answers, but it isn’t easy. Adelaide is doing well and progressing, but we don’t know just how far she will be able to progress before her body just can’t compensate for all the issues. So, today was a weird day for me. I can’t believe it has been an entire year. So much has changed since we received that phone call. But some things are still exactly the same.


Adelaide is just as pretty now as she was then… {heart-melting}


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Five Minute Friday {Last}

first diaper

We started cloth diapering in August of 2012. Next Tuesday is actually our cloth diaper anniversary. It has been an interesting change for our family {pun intended} and I am excited about cloth diapering 2 under 2 in just four short weeks. We started using cloth because our budget could no longer support buying disposables. We did not know that we would receive life-altering news the next month. When this photo was taken, we still hadn’t ‘officially’ learned that she was just not developing normally. But I knew. I was still pretending on Facebook that everything was okay. I was propping her up for photos so people wouldn’t know that she still couldn’t sit. I was taking several photos in order to find one that had semi-normal eyes. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I figured I must be the reason my little girl wasn’t reaching any of her physical milestones. I knew that 9 month appointment was going to kill me. When we got the news, one of my first thoughts was, “We will never be able to afford everything she will need.” And we can’t. We immediately started cutting back on everything and trusting God for inspiration and provision. I was so relieved that we had already made the switch to cloth. It was an established routine for us, and not just one more overwhelming thing among tests, procedures, trips, medical bills, insurance claims, phone calls, and all the processing of emotions. At the beginning of the year, God gave me the words ‘Creativity’ and ‘Inventiveness’ for my 2013 focus. I didn’t realize at the time that I would be pregnant again. And needing all the creativity and inventiveness He could give me. Not just in the area of finances, but in time management and organization and all the practical hurdles that come with fitting one more person and all her stuff into this little house. But organizing those little cloth diapers for our last baby girl was one of the highlights of my to-do list. And a reminder that we made the right decision a year ago. Even without knowing why it was so important. God was guiding us. Even in the small things. The little newborn-sized things…

baby girl diapers

Time’s Up…


Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,