Monday, May 30, 2011

Puppy Love

A few weeks ago, our family gained an addition, a long-awaited addition, at least for some of us.  It’s all the fault of Santa Claus, really, who had heard the little boy pleas for a puppy and decided to give in, although he at least had the sense to realize that December was not the time to deliver.  Instead, a letter was found under the Christmas tree promising a puppy when the weather was decent.  I’m not sure if any of our spring weather could be referred to as “decent,” but a puppy made its way to our home anyway.  And even for those who are hesitant to become a dog owner, (ME!) it’s hard not to go “AAAWWWWWW” when you see a face like this:

Puppy love hit pretty hard and pretty quick.  The first few nights were heartbreaking as we’d shut the puppy, given the regal name “REX,” into the barn.  Between his whimpering and the tears from Luke who couldn’t bear to leave him out there all by himself, it was hard not to break down.  But this puppy will never see the inside of our house, so he had to get used to his new sleeping arrangements.  Luke wanted to spend every moment outside, evidenced by this photo:

The love between a dog and his boys!  Luke and Isaiah fought over who got to give him his treats and who would feed him.  They’d cheerfully run around the house with Rex right on their heels, and I couldn’t help but smile as I’d hear their giggles as they’d lie on the grass while Rex crawled on them and gave them puppy kisses.  So Very Sweet!

Fast forward a few weeks.  Puppy love phase is over.  I knew it wouldn’t last, but I hoped it might not disappear quite so quickly.  Let’s just say the boys need a little extra “convincing” to spend quality time outside with Rex.  Thankfully, though, Rex has been a good puppy.  We all have quickly developed an attachment, and hopefully he’ll be around for a while!

Monday, May 16, 2011


This past weekend our family attended a memorial event hosted by Children’s Hospital.  It was a nice enough event – lovely music, touching poems, a dove release – 12 doves, one for each month of the year that we remember and miss the children we have “lost.”  There was a slide show with photos of the children being remembered that day…too many children, especially considering that this event was for the patients of just one hospital. 

Yes, a nice event, and I feel that the organizers did a fine job of putting it together.  But such events do little to take away even a tiny bit of grief.  There is no real comfort given, outside of the insistence that these children will not be forgotten.  True comfort for me can only come through Scripture, and naturally an event of this sort lacked a Biblical foundation. 

I didn’t expect it to be more than it was, really, (actually it was in several ways better than I expected) and afterward I contemplated why I wanted to be there in the first place, why I was willing to make the three hour car trip, each way, to take part in an event I didn’t expect to be overly helpful. I came to the conclusion that I am desperate for acknowledgements that Anna lived and that she was loved.  I look for reasons to take time to simply reflect on her life, to remember, to grieve. 

Yes, she is always on my mind and the grieving is continuous; Anna comes up in conversation often in our house, and on a regular basis with friends and family members.  But as time passes, more and more often we remember her and speak of her in the hurriedness of life going on.  It is natural, I suppose, that longer conversations and intense grieving sessions become more rare as time goes on, and even my private moments of giving into the grief are happening less often.  I think that is, for the most part, a good thing.  Yet, there can be great satisfaction (that isn’t quite the right word) in having Anna’s photo shown as part of a slide show of remembrance, of being able to speak and hear her name once again among people who understand, of having an opportunity to focus on Anna, to be reminded of all the ways our lives have been blessed through her, to remember, to know that though she is no longer on this earth that she is forever a part of our family, a very real part of us.  And so I am thankful that we had the chance to do that this past Saturday.

The slide show was the most emotional part of the day, but I was holding it together quite well, I thought.  Then Isaiah, who was sitting on my lap so he could see the photos, whispered sadly to me, “I know Anna is always in my heart, but I really miss seeing her.”  So much for holding it together!  But soon after that, in the midst of my emotional instability, Isaiah whispered, “Mom, could you please try not to breathe in my ear?”  At which point my struggle changed from trying not to cry too noticeably, to trying not to laugh out loud and disrupt the whole thing!  What would we do without kids?

We sang “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb” in church this past Sunday, as well as during the St. John chapel service last week.  I shouldn’t include myself in the “we” as I don’t know if I’ll be ever be able to make it through singing that song again.  We sang it at Anna’s funeral, and we chose the third verse as part of what will be on Anna’s gravestone.  I hope that I will always be able to picture Anna and hear her voice singing it as one of her favorite songs!  Even though I can’t sing it, I treasure its reminder that Anna is held safely in Jesus’ arms.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Love

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m feeling rather mixed-up today, and haven’t been quite able to pinpoint my emotions.  The first Mother’s Day without Anna.  Another first – difficult, yes, but not a whole lot more difficult than every other day.  Oh how I wish she had been here, smiling at the breakfast table with her brothers as I opened each of their cards and treasures.  But every meal I wish I were setting a place for her. 

I just feel unsettled, not as cheerful as I wish I would be, not as depressed as I think I could be, just a bit more numb today perhaps.

It was five years ago, on Mother’s Day, that we shared the news with our families that we were expecting a baby.  There wasn’t much doubt how I felt that day!  Some surprise, yes, as Isaiah was still a few months away from his first birthday, but so thankful for my two boys and excited that they would have, as it turned out, a sister later that year. 

Other than that, I cannot recall many specific memories of Mother’s Days past, but in the time that I have had children I really haven’t felt that the day is about me; it’s about THEM, and how blessed I have been to be granted by God the gift of my children. 

In the years before that, my growing up years and the years before I was a mom myself, I know I felt thankful on Mother’s Day for my mom and all she had done for me and my seven siblings.  Since becoming a mom myself, my appreciation for her has been multiplied.  I look back and now realize how she must have ached when her children were hurting, how proud she must have been at their accomplishments, how she probably worried when she thought something was going on in one of her children’s lives that she couldn’t quite figure out.  I imagine that she wondered how she would ever make it through something happening to one of her children, and I know she prayed that each of us would find happiness and most importantly continue in the faith we were raised in.  (And I know these things she still does, and now does for her grandchildren as well!) There were times when I would have said that my mom and I are very different from one another, but I realize more all the time how much we have in common, and how proud I am to be like her in many ways.   I thank God for blessing me with my Mom!!

However else I feel today, I am so very grateful to remember and appreciate my mom, and to consider with absolute joy and gratitude my calling as a mother.  I am the mom of three children, watching with incredible awe as Luke and Isaiah grow, and forever grateful that during the four years that Anna was on this earth that I was the one given the privilege of being her mom!!!

I do joyfully celebrate with those who are celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time or with a new baby, including the moms to these two:

My niece, "Baby Amelia" as Anna called her. 


and my brand new nephew, Baby David.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters and sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, my grandmother, and all my friends and family who turn their heads at the call of “Mommy!”