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Posts Tagged ‘Happy Birthday’

It happened. 

Yesterday, my son turned 16! It’s such an exciting time of life! A time of found freedom, of new independence! It’s a huge milestone…one that I’ve never experienced with one of my children before! 

To say I’m proud of my son…..would be a huge understatement! He is such a great kiddo….hard worker….and has the sweetest heart! He shares stories with me of what he thinks and small things he does that makes my heart melt. I would share all…but he would probably hurt me. 😉

Many people think this is a hard one for me because it means he is growing up….getting older…..all those  “normal” things and emotions most parents feel. But to be really honest…..and I’ll admit….I’ve only been honest about this with VERY FEW….. that isn’t at all what I’ve been feeling in the months…weeks….leading up to this monumetous day!

You see…..I’m SO proud of this young man. I’m proud to be his mom. I’m thankful God gave him to me! I have loved watching him grow up! I truly enjoy our talks and the times we laugh and can talk in ways we couldn’t when he was younger! I am great with him….growing up and getting older! It’s something I never got to see in his brothers…..and it is truly a miracle to watch him go through so many stages and ages and I really just love it all! He is so grounded. He is involved in the youth….he is making great choices and very goal oriented in school and in life!! He has made a plan and is working his plan…and I’m just honored to watch all of this process.

But to be honest….and I mean…TOTAL TRANSPARENCY HERE…..I’ve been struggling. 

My struggle isn’t with him…..but rather…with God.

Let me see if I can adequately put into words the wrestling match God and I have been engaged in…..

In the endeavor of looking for a car for Bryce….it started to get more real to me. It became very real that there was coming a day in the near future that I would hand him the keys to this new car….and he would drive off……without me!!!  I don’t think it hit me….until this realization came fully into my brain….just how much that scared me!!!!! It was almost….paralyzing at times. And at the same time…it hit me…..

I was truly wrestling with God. Somewhere in my brain….I had gotten this illusion that I was able to protect my baby boy. I had become so accustomed to this illusion…that I felt like handing him those keys and letting him drive away without me….was giving up the control….of being able to protect him. In this very moment….I began praying….and crying….and screaming at God. 

For you see…..whew…..vulnerable here…….

In this illusion…..of control….of being able to protect my children….I had somehow lost my faith. I lost my faith in my God whom I say I trust!!!  In my God whom I say knows ALL things! In my God….whom I know…has plans to prosper and give hope!!…. not just to me…but to my children!

In this struggle with my faith……I cried out to God…”Okay God….I give him back to you!! He has always been yours anyway! But God please…..with this illusion I’ve created…I’ve not felt scared! And I realize….if I let him out into this big, broken world…… I could lose him….and I just can’t lose another child!!!!!!!” 

Yes, the reality hit me…and I knew my struggle was my fear manifesting itself of not being in control to protect my son. I wasn’t there to protect his brothers….and look what happened!!!! I have felt….without even realizing it….I was here and so present in his life…that somehow I had taken on the roll of his protector…and that…took away my faith…in GOD as his protector!!

I’ve been wrestling…and crying out to God since that day over a month ago. I’ve shared with my closest circle and they’ve encouraged me so much!! One told me she was proud because I was….”DOING IT SCARED!” because I was still looking for a car…. I was still going to give it to him….even though I was scared and wrestling……I was doing it anyway and in that I was trusting GOD!!!!

So, yesterday….it happened….he turned sixteen!! 

  
And last night we did it…..we surprised him with a car!!

  
Then this morning….he drove away…to school….by himself!
  He called to tell me he made it when he got there… 😉

My husband called to see if I was okay with everything…. I told him I had to be.

No….I haven’t just let him go out on his own into this world……alone.

I’ve sent him into this world…..with GOD…..and an army of angels!!!!

This morning I woke up and watched him drive away. Yes….tears streamed down my face as he drove off. But my heart wasn’t (as) scared as it was before. Because this morning…I knew….God is on my side. God is by Bryce’s side. And I was reminded…He was also by his brother’s sides…. 

My feelings had gotten the best of me….and again I’m reminded…..FEELINGS LIE!!

The truth is what is important!! And I know this. I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father that loves me even when I wrestle with Him. I’m thankful He doesn’t get angry when I take (even unknowingly) control! I’m thankful He is gentle as He brings me back towards the truth! 

My comma….is just a small part. The book has already been written. I KNOW who wins! I know the battles I face may seem big to me….so they are big to Him! I know there are battles I can’t even see being fought on my behalf…and on behalf of my family! I know….for my part….I just have to raise my son to be the warrior for Christ God calls him to be….and trust God to do His part. For He has promised me He will. He has promised me He will watch over us. He has given me….a glimpse into the end of the story. 

I also know…and see…God has such a huge plan for Bryce’s life! I see such a huge purpose for him and it has NOTHING….to do with me! So….I’ve got to get out of the way and LET GOD….do His thing! 

So, please pray for me….for being able to release my son back into the hands of the one who created Him…into the hands of the ONE….who holds his future! I’m SO EXCITED to see Bryce grow into the man God intends him to become! I’m so humbled God gave him…….to me!!! I’m so thankful….to be given this rainbow…and to watch it grow!

Father, thank you for sixteen years (and a day) with this sweet boy! You’ve been so gracious to give him health, a sound mind, a wonderful heart….and I know…you have such great plans for him! May your angels continue to battle for him! May they watch over for him and fight for him…..all while encouraging him to become your warrior! May he step through the doors only YOU open…and walk the path you’ve put before him! Help guide us, as his parents, to point him towards you. For we know…if He only chases after You….everything else will work for YOUR good!! Thank you…from the bottom of my heart….for trusting me with another child. Thank you….for sharing this gift….with me and the world. I, in turn, trust you WHOLLY with his life! 

Amen…..

Happy Birthday Bryce!! You are loved….with an army of angels! And a mom and dad…who stand ready to fight the world on your behalf! Love you more than you could ever dream or imagine! ~mom

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I can’t put into words the emotions going through my heart right now. God has literally broken me…in so many ways recently. I am watching as the world around me is hurting…people close to me are hurting…and I feel so helpless. All I can do is pray. 

I know….there is hope in every situation. I know..there is hope…in a God who loves us and works ALL things for good according to HIS purpose! But…I also know….that when you are walking through the big, fat mess of life…sometimes…you just don’t want to hear it will all be okay. You just want someone to let you hurt…for a season…. but I know…that seasons change. 

Today….would be my sweet son Cory’s 29th birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CORY MATTHEW!!!  I love you more than I can ever express with simple words! I miss that sweet face of yours….those cheeks…that honery grin…..that smile.. It has been so long….so long since I’ve been able to hug you….or hear your sweet voice. I long to watch you sing….and act silly….and feel your feet slide across the bed to be sure I’m still next to you!! I remember holding you….as a baby…and even as a 4th grader! You were never too big for my lap! You were a sparkplug…giving others your energy and sweet spirit. You loved deeply….you were a great friend to others….and you were always smiling!! I miss you…and can’t imagine you at this age. I celebrate you today! I celebrate the life you lived! The ten years on this earth…that gave me so much joy! I thank you for those memories! So grateful to have them….so I can go to those places in my heart…that only you and I shared…until I meet you again! I can’t wait to see you singing in the choir of angels….praising God with your voice…..and be with you for all eternity! That is where I place my hope….and I’m so thankful for our shared eternity!

  
Three weeks from today…Bryce will be 16!! Yes….16!! As I was sharing with my sister earlier…..even though his brothers would be much older…this is my first experience with it. Seems so much younger…but since it’s my first time…well…it’s just weird! She told me that was a great word for it! Yup…..weird! Like I say…where my two worlds collide!

In the past week…I’ve been to two funerals. 

The first….someone who was only 30 years young! He was in a single car accident…killed instantly. Took his son to his first day of kindergarten that very morning…but never came home! He was so loved…it was evident. But my heart breaks for this sweet little boy….and all the family. Please lift them in prayer…

The second, was just two days ago. It was for a sweet young lady…who was eleven. I won’t say she was “only” eleven…because she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder at one…and told she wouldn’t likely make it to her second birthday! Well…she miraculously surpassed everyone’s expectations! Her story is now the one others are pointed to for hope…when diagnosed! God used this sweet girl and family…to minister to others in so many ways! I was impacted by the ministry of her life. And, I’m impacted by the faith of her sweet mom…in more ways than I can express. Please pray for this family as they maneuver through the grief and loss of this sweet girl….yet rejoice in her complete healing and the knowledge of her eternity!!

You see….just last night…as my daughter was drying her hair and getting ready for bed…I received a text. It was her…asking me to come back to my bathroom where she was. I went back there…and found her in a heap of tears. She was sitting on the bath mat and just looked up at me with her big, tear-soaked eyes. I just fell to the floor and took her in my arms! The sobs began again….she stopped for only a moment..and asked me, “Why did they have to go so soon?”.  I held her tightly….because by then…I was sobbing too. I didn’t have an answer. At least, not an answer she was ready for or wanted to hear. You see, in the past 18 years, God has taught me that there is hope…and there are things that happen outside of what we want or understand….but that He will work them for good….and according to HIS purpose! But…we must look for the good! We don’t always see it…not at first. And I’m not saying it is good….what happened to my boys…or the hard things in all our lives. What I am saying…is you have to find the silver linings. The ways God is using your situation. 

After sis and I sat there holding each other and crying for what seemed like forever…we looked at each other. Both of our faces were tear-stained and our eyes were still filled with tears.  I told her I was sorry…I didn’t have the answer to her specific question. She told me….it would be easier if I did! Wow!! I hugged her again. I assured her there were reasons. But we might not ever know or see them…..but through it all…He is strengthening our faith…our trust in Him! She nodded and then cried a little more.

She asked me if she looked like Cory…… My heart skipped a beat. She said someone had told her once he was the one she looked most like. I looked deeply at her features….at her eyes…her chin…her cheekbones…and just smiled. They all look so much alike to me…yet so much like themselves. I can’t compare. Never have been able to. She reminds me of him. She sings….and I think of the times he sang. I think of the performances he had…and the ones she has to come. I think of her sweet nature and caring heart…and I’m reminded of his prayers and heart for others. She smiles….and loves people…and I’m reminded of the way he loved others and included everyone! She is secure in who she is….and I’m reminded of the security he had in Christ…and his faith….so much like hers.

So yes….she looks like him….but mostly…on the inside! Where it counts! 

She knows our eternities will be together…and sometimes it scares me….how badly she wants to be in heaven with them! But for now….I’ll just smile….with a tear creeping down my cheek…as I remember….and look forward…to the assurance I have that I will spend my eternity in heaven with ALL of my children!!!!!!

Such is my life! It is a collision of what would have been and what is….. It is a collision of who I was…and who HE is molding me to be!  

Friends, we all come to a place in life where we have to acknowledge there is a beginning and an ending date of life on this earth. There is a lot of joy…and a lot of pain that happens between……… My question to you…..is this…. Do you have the hope and assurance….that you know without a shadow of a doubt where, and with whom, your eternity will be spent? Don’t think it won’t happen…because it will. And nobody knows how long, or how short, our time on this earth will be. 

The hope I have…in knowing my family will be together again…makes this life so much more bearable!! 

If you aren’t sure….then I urge you to consider this….

We are born with a sin-nature…and for that reason we are separated from God. There is nothing we can do to change that! But, He loves us so much…..He sent His one and only son to die on the cross..taking on all our sins….even though he was without sin…. for us!!! He was resurrected and defeated sin! He wants nothing more…than for you to just accept Him….and his free gift of eternal life with Him! 

I encourage and pray for you…and look forward to eternitiy with all of you!!

Much love…and happy tears! ~c

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Allow me to share with you….the past 24 hours in my life.

I’ll start with yesterday….

To almost everybody….it was a 3 day weekend and Labor day was just a fun time and a great day to be off work.

To me….it was going to be the first high school football game for my sweet boy!! To say I was excited….would be the understatement of the world!!! I didn’t realize just how excited I was, really, until after the game was over though…..

After he went early….sis and I did a “craft” project together. She had bought a HS team shirt to wear to her brother’s game and we “blinged” it out! It was fun sitting at the table with her coming up with the design.

Then, we got to the game! He had his own little fan section of family and friends there to watch! The game was awesome! It was a close, well played game. Our boys played hard! MY BOY played hard! He honestly played harder than I’ve ever seen him play! He was punched….and the way he reacted…made me proud! He told the kid….to play it out on the field…he wasn’t going to fight him…but he would kick his ass on the field! Reminded me of his brother….the way he walked away…..wouldn’t fight…but did the right thing. To say I was proud….man…doesn’t even begin to tell you how I felt. I got to see him make tackles like I’ve never seen before…..and just watching him….realizing this is HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!!! I just can’t put into words…or properly describe all of the emotions going on in my head and my heart!

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Just a few from last night! Can I just tell you as he sat at dinner next to me…after the game….and talked and talked about the game…what the coaches told him….tears were welling up in my eyes. Sitting there…just listening to him go on and on….I was loving every minute of it. I love being his mom. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me…knowing God trusted me again with another son….with Bryce….with my rainbow. He is such a light in my world…and to the world around him. I see great things within him….and the coolest thing right now…is I believe he is starting to see the potential in himself. I am just blessed to be along for the ride!

Then, after my boys fell asleep…..my sweet girl…my night owl…..just wasn’t tired at all. On the way home from dinner we saw some pretty cool lightning that I could tell was pretty far away……and she commented how pretty it was. So, both of us in our jammies…went into the back yard…and got on the swing and just sat there talking and enjoying the light show God was providing. What was really cool…is that if we looked straight up….we saw the prettiest of bright, shiny stars…but then if we looked north…the lightning was just as bright and beautiful. We sat……we swang……we talked…..we laughed. It was a beautiful night and it was a beautiful time with my girl. Just sitting out there enjoying the quiet…the beauty….and each other. I am amazed that after four boys….God gave me A GIRL! I joke about it a lot….but really….I’m totally in love with that little cutie. She is growing in to such a lovely young lady…and I am so proud of her. She has a heart that is totally sold out to Jesus. She struggles with normal stuff….but it is so easy to bring her back down because she really is grounded in wanting to be HIS girl. I tell her she has so much that I didn’t have at her age. I probably had more maturity and responsibility…but she has such an innocence and a thirst for God and His plan for her life….it really just leaves me speechless some times. So…after a great day….I got to end it with my girl. My daughter. My love. What a great day.

Then, I went to bed knowing they would be out of school and I’d be off work another day. But it wasn’t just any day…..

You see, I woke this morning…after such a great day with my two wonderful kids…..to …… another birthday. Today is Cory’s 28th birthday. I woke…thinking of the day he was born. I tried…..oh I tried so hard….to try to figure out where he might be today…what kind of life he would be living…and let me tell you something…..MY BOY would be LIVING LIFE to its FULLEST! That is just who he was! He enjoyed everything he did! He had such gusto! Such a love for life!

Cory was my dreamer…my actor…my singer! He was my clown…my sing when you are down…..He was my constantly smiling….always loving….sweet baby boy. For the life of me…I can’t imagine him as a man. He never got to hit the time like Bryce is now…where his voice changed and his body changed…. I know…with his features…his eyes….his sharp jaw line…that he would have made a very handsome man! But…I can’t quite see it in my mind…I can’t imagine it….not at all….

I spent his birthday making great memories with B & B! We had a great day together!

I know Cory would love his brother and sister….and I know he would have been in the stands last night cheering his brother on! I also know he would have loved sitting on the swing with us last night looking at the stars too! But…you know what…as sad as my momma’s heart has been today….and as many tears that I’ve shed today…and so many other days…..

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my Cory….and Cody and Caleb too….WERE in those stands with me….and WERE sitting on the swing with us….and they ARE with me….every day! They will forever hold pieces of my momma heart that nobody else can have. They will continue to live in the way I live…in the lives of my children now…because they are a part of me….a part of US! And most importantly…..the ministry of their lives will forever be continued…..as long as I live….and as long as their story is shared.

All of my children…all five of them….are leaving a legacy that I am so proud of. They are leading and loving others…they are being disciples….now and always. To say I have a blessed life…is an understatement. I’m blessed…because I “get” to be the mom of five absolutely amazing kiddos. They all hold my heart….and forever will. I will spend the rest of my days…trying to live MY life..in a way that would make each of them proud to say…..yup….that’s MY mom!

Happy Birthday, sweet Cory. Thanks for all the smiles….the lessons…the laughs and songs! I miss you…more than I ever thought possible… But I’m so thankful for the promise of eternity with you! To hold you again…..makes me long for that time to come soon. But…until then..I’ll go on enjoying your brother and sister…and trying to live up to the mom I think you’d want me to be!

Forever in my heart…~momma

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Yes…you read that right….I’m the mom of a 29 year old boy!

It’s hard to believe that it has been 29 years since Cody came into my life! He was born with brown eyes…and they continued to show me love for the entire 11 years he spent on this earth with me! They could definitely melt this momma’s heart.

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When I looked at this picture I just sobbed because I miss these eyes….and that smile…more than words can describe.

There are so many things that are spinning through my head about this birthday……

You see…..

Today my oldest would turn 29…….
I was 29 when I lost him.

Today was Bryce & Breanna’s last day of school…….
Cody was born on the last day of my junior year.

Cody was 11 and in sixth grade when he died…….
Breanna is 11 and getting ready to start her sixth grade year.

Cody…..my oldest….
Breanna….my youngest.

So many other things fill my thoughts and swirl around in my head. Sometimes it is hard to be still…and be quiet…because of where my mind will take me.

But I must remember what a blessed momma I’ve been! The past 29 years….have been filled with joy and sorrow! Being a mom has been the easiest and hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But definitely ….. it has all been worth it.

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I remember so vividly the day Cody was born! I remember the feeling of being a mom on that first day! I remember the way he looked up at me…..and how he stole my heart. I was such a baby still myself, but I knew I would always love and protect him.

Protect him……..but I didn’t. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t able to stop what happened….and for that….I’ve had to work really hard to overcome my “survivor’s guilt”
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Just because I wasn’t there that day…doesn’t mean it might not have happened on a different date. And even if I had been there….doesn’t mean I could have stopped it. That …… has been hard. It still jumps up and tries to grab me….tries to make me feel guilty…..but…that is the enemy fighting against me and the plan God has to continue my life……to continue my purpose.

Cody and I had such a special bond. We talked…..so much. This part of him reminds me of Bryce. Cody was very protective of me….as is Bryce. He loved my fiercely…..as does Bryce. He just had a way with people. A way to put them at ease with what was going on around them. When he would smile at you with that big grin…..oh GOD HOW I MISS THAT SMILE!!!!! He would light up any room just with his smile and his attitude.

What I want people to do now…..in remembrance of my sweet baby……is to be real with the people around them! If someone’s smile lights up the room….and makes your day just a bit brighter…tell them! If you respect someone who walks away when things get difficult instead of fighting or being a part of drama….tell them! Or even better…walk away with them! If someone impacts your life…just tell them.

The reason I say all of this is because when Cody and I would talk….he would tell me how he felt so alone. He would say he didn’t have any friends because he was “different”. He thought others made fun of him for being different. But……after he died…..almost ALL of his friends wrote me and told me how much they admired him for walking away from a fight. They told me about his smile…and how he was friends with EVERYONE! I remember crying in the hallway outside his room the night he shared with me about how he was hurt. I cried because I didn’t want my baby to hurt…..but also because I was SO PROUD of him for being different! I wish he had known the impact he made on the lives around him. I want him to know how proud it made me to read those letters…and how sad I was that he felt so alone…when really…he wasn’t.

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I know….without a doubt…..Cody was different because he loved Jesus! He loved his friends and wanted them to know about Christ and the sacrifice He made for them. He invited his friends to church and to church camp. I often wonder if he would have been a missionary of some kind. He was so kind, so gentle….so caring. He would have truly been a blessing to anyone he came in contact with.

But you know what I’ve realized…..?

My son IS a missionary. He IS changing peoples’ lives. He IS still caring about others.

HOW? you might ask…… Because I’m his momma….and I know that God left me here to fulfill a purpose. Part of that purpose is to share about Cody and his brothers. He wants me to share about their life…and their deaths. He wants me to share about how He has carried me through all the ups and downs of the past 29 years….and how much He has loved me during this time.

Cody’s mission work continues in and through me! But without him…..I wouldn’t be doing it. Without HIM….I wouldn’t be strong enough. Without the story of Cody…..making me a mom…..and then living such a beautiful….but short life…..I wouldn’t be on the mission field that I am on now. So once again…..I’m thankful for him….and that I “get”….to be his mom.

I miss Cody Brian…..more than my words can express. That part of my heart that he stole….29 years ago this afternoon….at 2:55 pm….he took with him to heaven. My heart won’t be whole….until I see him…..and his brothers again. So glad my eternity will be with him. So glad…God chose me to be his mom.

Cody….you continue to make me better. You continue to push me….to try to make you proud of me. I will…until I see you again…continue the mission of showing others how much they are loved…and how good life can be!

Until we meet again….and our eternity will be together! Loving you!
~momma

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On this date back in 1946, in a small town in Oklahoma…Prague..to be specific, a baby girl was born. She had black hair and dark eyes. She was the first girl to this family. They already had 3 boys….all older, one already grown. She was quite a surprise to her family…but a blessing.

Growing up she was rambunctious. A tomboy, of course! With older brothers she had to be. But her beauty was there also. She learned much from her family. She learned how to cook and nurture from her mom. But being a daddy’s girl, like so many girls are……she spent most of her time with her dad. She loved fishing and camping and animals and dirt! She became very resilient from these days…..and though I don’t know all of the details from that time….I know it was during her growing up years, she was gaining in the strength she needed later in her life.

Her family moved to another town, Shawnee, where she graduated in 1964. She also attended Business College there. I wish I knew more of the stories from that time in her life. I know she was well liked and learned a lot…..and had a lot of fun!

After school she was working at Tinker and met a young man, transplanted from another state. That was in October. By February they had wed and she was off to the east coast to meet his family. My grandmother tells me as she looked out the window waiting to catch a glimpse of her son’s bride, she was taken back as mom got out of the car….by her beauty. Mom was tall, slender and very stylish!

I was born in Indiana a few years later. My parents had moved up there to be close to my mother’s youngest brother. Shortly after I was born, they moved back to Oklahoma to take care of her mother though. So, I grew up with my parents and my grandparents being the only family close by. Until my second grade year when my baby sister came along. Our family was complete.

It was less than three years later, mom had cancer. I’ll never forget. But there are some cloudy memories during that time. I know that is because she tried to shield me and my sister from most of it.

What I do remember is helping as much as I could. I would take care of her and my sister! I also remember my birthday party. It was at the skating rink. I remember she had a beautiful curly, short black wig she wore. It was the only time she had ever had curly hair. She smiled a lot. At least with me she did. She was strong. She kept going.

Then, I remember growing up, going out on my own and becoming a mother. She was there the night before I delivered my first child. She would hold her hand on my swollen belly and tell me when I was having contractions. She was always the one I would call. Every day….for no reason…or for any reason…she was there.

I remember when she was diagnosed with cancer again. She didn’t want the treatment. She got so sick the first time….and she couldn’t do it again. I, selfishly, didn’t “get it”. I didn’t agree. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t fight. She had kids, grandkids to fight for. I didn’t agree with her at all……but it wasn’t my choice. She was only a little over a year older than I am right now. And I can honestly say….as I sit here typing….I finally understand. I’m not saying I could agree….but I finally understand. The fear of the past…sometimes overtakes the reasoning of the now. We let it grip us and hold us in a way that makes us feel utterly terrified. I get that now.

After this diagnosis and surgery, they told her it will come back. They told her when it came back, it would be fatal. They couldn’t tell us when…but they did tell us where. And sure enough, two years later…..it was back.

This time, something in her had changed. Because she fought it! She fought hard. During this time I was going through a hard time. I had moved in with mom and dad….the boys and I…..when she was first diagnosed. I watched her fight. I watched her resolve to win. I watched her strength.

I saw her in a new light. I saw her as a fighter. She never stopped working….even when she was so sick. She never gave up.

Then, when the boys died, she checked herself out of the hospital so she could be at home when I got there. I remember laying with my head on her lap and her just rubbing my hair while I cried. I remember laying in her bed with her and just being with her. She was there for me. She was fighting for me.

Over that summer mom and I talked so much more than we ever had. Yes, we talked before….but this was about so much more. We talked about us. Our family. God. Heaven. We mended every fence we had broken. We spoke words that needed to be spoken. We also just spent some time in silence just being with each other.

I remember the day she called to tell me the cancer had moved to her brain. She knew this was truly the beginning of the end for her. She wanted to keep fighting but she also wanted to be realistic. She asked me to bring a pen and paper to the hospital. When I arrived we hugged and cried for a bit. But then she asked me to get the pad of paper and pen out. She apologized first, but then asked me to help her plan her funeral. She wanted to take that burden off my father…but she also wanted what she wanted! 😉 As I sat and did that with her, for her, we bonded even more. I was overwhelmed at how strong she was….at how strong she had always been.

She worked from then, the first part of July, up to her birthday. She finally received her medical retirement. She knew my dad would be taken care of. I don’t remember the day exactly….but it was the week after her birthday…..I saw it in her eyes. She was tired. She was tired of fighting. She was worn out. She had accomplished all God put her here to accomplish. She had fought and survived well past what the doctors had expected. She stayed with us….until each of us…in our own ways knew it was better for her to experience the joys of heaven instead of the pain of this life.

The night she left us…..she looked at me….and I remember saying I love you that one last time. I remember telling her it was okay …… she could go. We didn’t want her to hurt any more. She did just that…but waited until we were all there in the room…..loving her…before she did.

So, Happy Birthday Momma! Here is to all the memories I have tucked in my heart of you!
I thank God for giving me the wisdom to know…..if it weren’t for some of the things in my life I used to see as hard times and difficulties, I wouldn’t have been able to be as strong as I am today.

A huge part of who I am is because of you. I am strong and keep forging ahead…because I saw you do the same. I am strong and won’t give up….because I watched you do the same. I am motherly and protective…..because I watched you be the same way. I “kill them with kindness” because I will never forget your teachings! 😉

I am so glad, on this date, back in 1946…in Prague, Oklahoma……you were born to be my mom!
Until we meet again! ~rrb

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20121217-094540.jpgToday is my baby girl’s 10th birthday…or as she likes to say…”She is going DOUBLE DIGITS!!” I took the day off today so that I could take her to lunch and prepare her favorite meal tonight! So I had my alarm set for really early, so I could be up and ready before the whole family….but I decided to reset my alarm……and I’m so glad I did.

Thirty minutes later my birthday girl came and crawled in bed with me. I told her “Happy Birthday” and kissed her as she nuzzled into my arm and wrapped her body around mine. I laid there……and tears streamed down my face as the multitude of thoughts filled my mind.

First, thankfulness for this sweet baby girl. You see, I almost didn’t have her. I almost didn’t allow myself to consider another child. After Bryce was born, I went through two miscarriages. After the second, my doctor said I would have to have surgery, and I remember looking at my husband through sobs and telling him I just couldn’t do this again. I couldn’t put myself through the possibility of losing another child. He was super sweet….and beyond okay with it. He said Bryce would have cousins and we would love him and be thankful for him. So that was it. No more kiddos for me. Then, God gently, and over time worked on my heart. I remember going to my husband, who, by the way, hadn’t pressured me even once to reconsider, and telling him that I was ready to try again……BUT…..I had put some conditions on it.

You see, I didn’t want to have kids at 35. I know, not a big deal…but to me….there was just something about it. My oldest would have graduated when I was 35….and so in my mind that was when I wasn’t supposed to be having babies. So my deal with my husband was….I would try for another baby….BUT … if we weren’t pregnant by a certain date….we were done. That was my sign it wasn’t meant to be. Smiling…my husband agreed.

And this, is when I realized…you don’t bargain with God. He has such a sense of humor. Not only was I pregnant just in time……but He gave me a girl! After 4 boys…. A GIRL……AND to top it off…..she was born just 5 DAYS BEFORE MY 35th BIRTHDAY!!! See…..sense of humor!!

But what a joy she has been! I remember asking for a fourth ultrasound, just to be sure, before I would paint her room! I just couldn’t believe it! I remember begging my doctor to allow me to have her naturally after Bryce came by c-section. I remember scheduling her induction on December 18th……but waking up at 3:30 am on December 17th in full on labor. I got up…walked around…then at six I got in the shower. When Bryan woke to the sound of the shower he asked what I was doing, I calmly informed him I was getting ready since we would be at the hospital soon! My goodness….he started moving quickly!!!!

We called family, and met them at the hospital! My grandmother was so excited because she was going to be there during the delivery. After having 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandkids…….she was finally going to get to do something, that in her 80 years of life she had never been able to do…….witness childbirth! She was asleep during her own and never seen one of the other grandkids…so she, along with my husband, was by my side.

I had to be put into an “overflow” room…because they were so busy. They didn’t even have me put on a gown……because they weren’t sure if they’d even keep me. I told them no worries, I’d be staying. Come on…this wasn’t my first rodeo!!! I knew I was closer than they thought! When they checked me the first time….I was already at a 5 1/2 and things started moving quickly! One of the funniest things that happened that day…..was when my doctor made his entrance.

You see, my grandmother had never met him and hadn’t realized he was an African-American man. When he peeked his head around the corner to tell me they were getting a “real” room for me….she just froze. When he walked away…….she said, “I didn’t know Dr. Huxtable was delivering this baby!”. To which I laughed…and still laugh!

Not long after that….I was ready to go….but this stubborn little girl wasn’t….she was sideways and wasn’t “fitting”. So he told me to not push….after pushing..and to just roll back and forth. So for the next two hours I did just that. I was writhing in pain…while my husband and my Grandmother were talking, and at one point….laughing so hard she peed her pants!!! I’m glad they were having fun. After two hours, the nurse came in and said they were going to go ahead and do an epidural since they might end up doing a c-section. Then, not ten minutes after it was in, the Dr. came in to check….and in one push…..I delivered my sweet baby girl! All 9 pounds 2 ounces of her!!!! Yes, you read that right….my sweet petite little girl……was the largest of all 5 of my kids!!!

20121217-094150.jpgAnd to this day I thank God for her. I thank him for how different she is…for how insightful she is. This past year I got to experience this….. look at the picture and see the joy she had that day and even now…she makes me want to be better! She makes me a better me. She sees things through the sweetest view!

But as I was there holding her this morning, my thoughts went to the parents who were mourning the loss of their morning snuggles with their babies. My thoughts also went to the fact that she is now the age of her second brother when he died. Cory was 10 and in 4th grade when he died.

All of these thoughts made me hold her closer…..tighter. As she breathed in each breath, I thanked Him for life. For the opportunity to be her mom. For the time I have had with her. For the things she has taught me about this life.

I love you sweet sister and am blessed for you to call me mom!

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