Saturday, June 30, 2012

Calendar days

Each month, the anniversary of Pipers death comes rambling at our home. Slowly. Lumbering. Leaving me wondering how am I ever going to truly live this life I am left with without measuring each calendar turn.

This month I feel especially weak. Pipers death will have been three months on the 3rd of July. Four very short days later we will have to figure out just how one celebrates the birth of a child who no longer lives. How do I honor her and remember her and miss her without losing myself in the grief that wells up in me and threatens to consume me.

Twenty times a day I fight it.

I hear it will be someday be less painful. That the gaping and fresh wound that is living beyond your child will subside to a dull ache. Even this frightens me, all I am left with of Piper is memories. Reminders of how she smelt and felt and lived and gave and loved me. Even my grief, as physical and aching as it is, is a balm. It allows me to know that she was indeed real. Piper was my child that I chose to fight for...with every fiber of my battered mothers body. I'd do it again in a minute but this is no longer an option so I chose to keep my grief and tears close.

I keep them quietly next to every smile and joke and plan that I deal out in a days length. Mostly I let them escape slow and silent but there are moments like the one I am in where they stream out of me and bring prayers even I cannot comprehend.

I miss Piper. Fervently and fruitlessly.

If I live to be an old lady I will constantly turn the calendar each moth and await the date that took my girl. And once a year I will celebrate her birth with a firm frustration that things went sadly awry from my plan. My only prayer is that I won't miss out on the many other days that are filled with hope and joy and happy occasions.

That is the goal. Today the goal is getting out of bed. Linley wants to go to the pool. Chad is at work. The house is a disaster. And I am crying on the couch and feeling overwhelmed with this sadness that has been thrust upon me.

Mostly I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that I must keep living and missing and turning the calendar.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pass the Pringles and wine, please.

Proof we are still kicking around.

And doing some cooking today.

And truly, not often doing the two at the same time at 1:00 in the afternoon though I needed it later on for sure.

Because I calmly responded to Linleys epic meltdown tonight outside the movie theatre with an early bedtime and no tv for a week and the amazing ability to turn a deaf ear to her yelling.

I also drank two lovely glasses of wine quite quickly when returning home.

I still struggle with boundaries for Linley. I never did before Piper and her life, but now I find there is an incredibly fine line between "picking my battles" and addressing heart issues with a consistent hand. There has to be a special patience to mothering that allows you to put aside your own frustrations or expectations (of every flipping thing) and address issues that are gray. Sometimes I just show grace and can see in Linleys eyes that she is hurt and confused and angry and needs me to hold her tightly. Other times I see that she has her mommies temper and that needs to be corralled and refocused...

But this is never, ever easy.

Sometimes it is funny though. Like tonight while she screamed and thrashed about in the backseat of my Camry and I just stuffed Pringles steadily in my mouth to keep from laughing. Really, if you can't laugh while parenting...what can you do.

The girl is amazingly loved.

This much is true and as I reminded her in the quiet moments after the storm of her mood, I love her dearly. Nothing will change that for her...just like nothing will change that for me and the God whose love enables me to mother with grace, joy, wine, laughter, Pringles and the sweet ability to walk in and kiss her cheek long after this epic fit has passed and she rests silently.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


"comparison is the thief of joy"

(Theodore Roosevelt)

Sometimes I get a quote or a phrase stuck in my head and I mull it over and over and over and wonder why that is.

And other times I get a quote stuck in my head and I just know that there is something there that God has for me.

And sometimes I just make things up in my head but that is neither here nor there and of no benefit to you.

But when I have a quote like the one above from Teddy Roosevelt, I find it resonating in me as a truth. My life in this moment has me living it and it's been a very vivid reminder to me. When I compare what I have with what I no longer have or what I long to have...I am unable to appreciate what I currently AM able to hold.

Perhaps it's just a good reminder to me that God is probably not going to be blessing me much if I keep checking out what my neighbor has going on.

Of course this is so simple for me to spout off as a chastisement as I am not by nature a fancy woman. Cars and homes and jewelry are not where my heart finds joy. Never has been and at the rate I am growing up, probably never will be. But when I sit in a room filled with women who have swollen bellies and I smell the sweetness of a chubby, healthy baby or when I hear the stories of what 2 and 3 year old kiddos are getting into...

I loose it.

Sometimes I loose my composure.

Sometimes I loose my patience.

Sometimes I have even lost my lunch.

But mainly I loose sight of my joy.

My family has always been my treasure. My joy. My life. As you know, I lost part of my joy and my life and sadly this half is what I focus on more than the half that I kissed good night a few hours ago. My comparing what I had and what I want is stealing the joyous part out of raising Linley...and that is not fair.

This past Friday night, me, my sister Hannah, my best friend Miriam and her two girls and my own Linley went to Stone Mountain for the southern extravagance called the Laser Show. While there we had a great time, lots of food and laughing and running around and good conversations...anyone watching us would have thought we were normal moms and girls just living life. Behind us was another family. This family had a young girl in a wheelchair...she was totally dependent on her mother, who cared for her with a smile. But as a mom of a child who was medically fragile and who looked unlike other, healthier children, I am certain she noticed us. Us carefree mommies and healthy beautiful little girls...she saw us. And chances are she wondered what it would be like if her own little girl were able to run and play like our girls. And chances are she compared and questioned the fairness and if she were a normal woman she would fight to keep her joy. But if she were an excellent woman she would love on her sweet girl and focus on the warmth of her little body and the smiles that she will bring to a mom and know that her sweet girl is her very own joy...comparisons be damned.

She couldn't tell by watching me that my daughter was dead...and that I would have given anything to be allowed to continue to care for my medically fragile but ever so spunky Piper...just another day. Another moment. Anything, truly.

If we compare, we lose joy.

When Piper was alive, I rarely compared. I chose with a fierceness to love her and know that she was my own joy that wouldn't be taken. I chose to plan to happily catch her up to that which I desired for her to achieve. I felt this same tenaciousness when Chad and I began to desire to expand our family...I wasn't going to be bowled over by other fertile women, I was going to love on Linley and subsequently on Linley and Piper together while I waited, patiently. But these days, after watching my family become so much more achingly different that I ever desired, I am fighting to maintain my joy.

I am fighting to maintain the part of me that is faithful enough to know that Gods plan is truly better.

Not easier. Better.

And when I hold Linleys hand to walk through a parking lot, I chose joy. When I kiss her goodnight, I chose joy. When I congratulate a new mother, I chose joy...

I may not have all that my heart desires but I have more than some...and she will be the sole joy of my heart until God sees fit to bless us with more and until I am reunited with Piper in eternity...though this is a constant battle of ups and downs and faithful and angry questions. This is not a superficial thought but rather a deliberate decision to not allow my heartache or unfulfilled desires to steal away from the things I have been blessed with...a decision and a choice.