update and dance and squirrels and such

Hmmmm.  Where to begin?  It’s been a crazy month life and lately, I haven’t even known what to write or say to do it justice.  It’s hard; it feels terrible.  The end.  However, life continues and so shall I.  In truth, there are just so many things I can not share over a blog.  There are so many things that are not public details and many, many things I am contending with that require I not state them publicly.  I have many mixed and layered emotions about life and to wing something out there without a bigger context could be harmful to many people, including my family and Terry specifically.  So what’s left to write?  Well, (insert long pause) I’m not quite sure.  I would have never opted to start a blog after Terry passed away, but since I have already been doing this for quite some time, closing up shop isn’t such an easy decision.  There may come a point in time when various things in life demand that I stop…my career, my family, etc.  We’ll see how it goes.

For now, I can say that I feel very lost on this journey of life.  I’m not lost in knowing who I am, but I’m not certain how who I am and what my life is fit in to anything.  They don’t fit into the life prior to Reece’s passing or after Reece’s passing.  And honestly, I’m exhausted.  I re-read my posts from months and even years ago and in some sense, it’s as though I can’t identify with the life I lived.  At times, I truly don’t know up from down when I read some of my posts.  However, I know they were written in truth.  I just don’t know what I think of some of my writing at this point.  Some things are encouraging and others seem like platitudes.  Dare I say some of it sounds naïve?

I’ve tried to explain to a few friends that after Reece passed away, at least we had the comfort of each other as our own little family.  We had immediate things we could lean into and rely on and we had each other.  Most importantly, we could rely on ourselves for daily functioning.  This situation has left very little comfort in any sense.  I’m grateful my parents have been willing to step in and incorporate my household into their home.  I’m grateful I have very close and trusted friends and advisors.  I’m grateful for the outpouring of support I’ve received.  I’m grateful that despite the difficult nature of losing a child, I know who I am and how I handle crisis because of it.  I am in a rare class that can honestly say, “I’ve been there before.”  (At least in some sense.)  But the day-to-day is quite raw.

There is no comfort in my marriage or my home.  There is no comfort in hearing things like, “You’ll do it for your kids,” or, “God can do anything.”  My kids feel overwhelming to me.  Yep, I will eventually do it for my kids, because I love them more than anyone on the face of the earth.  But right now, if I don’t do it for me, I absolutely can’t do it for them.  And I know God can do anything.  Anything includes things we also don’t want to have happen but do happen anyway.  I’ve had a lot of that type of “anything” happen, so that also doesn’t feel that great or encouraging.  I know it will get better, but better right now feels theoretical.

I’ve said a lot of swear words lately.  My mind is mush in regard to what I’m going to do going forward.  I have a lot to contemplate and that includes the knee jerk desire to try to fix everything and act from a fear response versus trust in God and His plan.  I know in my heart that he is good, but I’m just not sure how that’s going to turn out in my life.  It would certainly be nice to have some clear direction.  I’m not going to hold my breath.

The kids are doing as well as can be.  They are involved with a few things and I am attempting to keep them in a few of the activities they were in prior to this all happening.  Britta and I had our dance show earlier this month.  I say “our” because we were in a “Mommy-and-Me” class all year.  I took dance lessons as a child and I really thought it would be a fun activity for us to do together over the year.  Other than the times I had to remind her that we were there to dance together and it wasn’t just a class for me to dance and her to goof around, it did prove to be enjoyable.  The parents participated in the year-end show and, under the circumstances, I was not exactly looking forward to getting up on stage.  It turned out to be a fun and fairly normal thing for us to do together.  We danced to “Rubber Ducky” and it turned out to be pretty cute.  Here we are, pre-show, after changing in the car (ahem…every dancer must know this skill).

Dance show! Dance show!


One final thought.  I’m taking some liberties in this post and allowing some pretty raw feelings to come out.  Before you get too depressed and decide to never read the blog again, let me disclose my previous statement, “I know who I am and I know how I handle crisis.” I truly have been here before.  They aren’t the exact same circumstances, but there’s enough overlap.  Had I not walked through those things, I would not be able to confidently state that it will get better.  And it will.  But it is a process and this one, unfortunately, is even messier than the last.  There is more to clean up and it requires perseverance and time.  One I feel short on and the other feels excessive.  I’ll let you decide.  Additionally, there are incredibly uncomfortable feelings of depending on others for just about everything.  But seriously, there are bright spots and they will continue to increase.  It feels totally ridiculous to come out here and say life is wonderful and every day feels better than the next.  It isn’t and it doesn’t.  That’s part of this.  That’s what it is like two months into this process.  That’s why I’m exhausted.  BUT–it will eventually feel a whole lot different.  If the blog stays up, perhaps you’ll feel you can read it long enough to see those bright spots again.  It’ll happen.  If you can’t stick around, that’s fine too.  Regardless, should you happen to run into me somewhere remember–I’m just a normal person like anyone else.  Just a squirrel trying to get a nut.

life with the littles

It’s been about a month since I last posted and I just can’t seem to get things on here more frequently.  I really enjoy writing and hope that I can figure out a way to make it a more regular event.  It is a true reflection of how busy things have been around here and how much time I have to myself these days. I’m not complaining–nope. It’s just a fact of life.

The summer has been flying by and I–unlike so many Midwesterners–am not at all sad that this is the case. I’ve never been a huge “summer person”–whatever that means. Mostly, I am antsy for this baby to get here and to be finished with the chapter of life entitled, “Pregnancy”. I’m trying my best to savor it, but it is getting harder and harder with each passing day. Pregnancy alone is fine, but combined with an active one-year-old who gets into just about everything, it is brutal. Pregnancy is one of those events in life, where you simply forget about all the ins and outs of it after you get through it.  I get to certain stages and have very little memory of what I experienced in previous pregnancies.  Additionally, I was so stressed out and distracted during my last pregnancy (plus, my parents and aunt were primarily chasing Britta), that I don’t recall many of the normal pregnancy-related happenings other than the crazy monitoring at the end.  I really can not remember back four years ago (or seven, in Reece’s case) to remember all the nitty-gritty details I experienced with Britta. Plus, I think I was spared (mercifully) from some of the aches and pains during the last pregnancy.  Even the fourth time around has its own set of surprises.  Still, one thing that I have experienced in all four pregnancies is this: I get tremendously excited when I see food expiration dates on packages that are either my due date or even beyond!  I’m not talking about cans of soup and boxes of Uncle Ben’s wild rice.  I’m talking about milk, cheese, and anything that, should you eat it past that date, it could really get your tummy turning.  That’s right–every time this gets me super excited.  You should have seen me buying milk at Target with the family the other day.  Terry just stared at me in bewilderment when I enthusiastically shouted out that the expiration date was only a day before our due date!

Since my last update regarding my pregnancy (found here), things have calmed down a bit as far as our doctors’ monitoring of the Little Dude (Britta affectionately calls him, “Pineapple”).  My follow-up ultrasound showed that he was measuring at the 40%–a bruiser in this household–and that they had originally had the wrong due date in radiology.  Basically, he was never as small as they originally thought and he made up for lost ground in the month between ultrasounds!  I go back in for what may be my last ultrasound prior to delivery (assuming all growth has held steady) in another week.  We’ll see what’s happening, but right now they are treating this as a, “boring, normal pregnancy.”  We’ll take boring and normal!  This baby is quite active and while Scarlett has no clue how her world is about to change, Britta loves feeling him kick around and is always proud to tell everyone that she is having a baby brother.

As one can imagine, these last few weeks are full of baby and house prep.  We have not become more efficient at front-loading our baby prep work with each successive pregnancy.  We must be clutch players or clutch parents or clutch whatever.  Actually, I am not a clutch kinda gal at all, so while I await the upcoming dates set aside to get this stuff done, I find myself nesting like crazy to try to control something…cooking, cleaning, and making lists of things for Terry to get done.  Which always goes over really well.

We haven’t been the epitome of health this last month either. Between colds, sinus infections, and reactions to medications, we are thankful to be a healthy foursome for the time being.  We spent one entire Saturday in the ER with Britta.  She had a fever the day before and woke up complaining of head pain.  We were advised to take her to the ER for fear of bacterial meningitis.  In the ER they initially suspected strep throat, but when the initial test results came back negative and her CBC revealed elevated bacteria levels, they felt there was enough ambiguity that they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out anything serious.  So, we immediately clicked into hospital mode and it fit like a glove.  We naturally began silencing beeps, finding supplies, understanding a disturbing amount of “hospital-speak”, and engaging in our regular, light-hearted, distracting hospital banter which is our joint way of coping with various amounts of stress, depending on the circumstance.  As the doctor was prepping us for the procedure she was apologetic and kept telling us she wouldn’t want her own child to have a spinal tap.  Confused as to what the procedure actually entailed and trying to gauge how worked up I “needed” to be in my own mind, I looked at her and said, “Is this as invasive as a bone marrow biopsy?”  She replied, “Oh goodness, no!!!”  Terry, as he always does, stayed in the room for the procedure (I rarely opt to do so).  Again, as the doctor was discussing the procedure Terry asked, “Do I need to gown up?”  She looked startled and said, “Oh no, it’s only me that needs to use a sterilized surface.  You guys really have seen a lot.”  The difficult part for us was the partial sedation she was placed on that lasted for hours afterwards where she was in an awake-but-somewhat-vegetative state.  We had never experienced this with any other child (full sedation is more like going to sleep and waking up normally).  Thankfully, the spinal tap results looked great and were negative for meningitis.  We were released in the evening and given a call the next morning saying that the overnight culture for strep came back positive!  We were humbled with the actual results and grateful it was nothing more.  The doctor was apologetic that we had to do the spinal tap and I was thankful we did it so we could be released of the worry.

One funny story came about from that night after we returned home.  As Britta came out of the sedation further, she acted almost drunk.  The doctor warned us about this as it is usually what happens.  (My gut reaction when the doctor mentioned this was to ask, “So you mean she’ll get slightly cocky and demand to sing karaoke?”  But I refrained.)  Sure enough, as she further awoke, she began to slur her speech when she started chatting with us and needed lots of help moving around.  It was a two person operation to take her to the bathroom.  So as Terry and I crouched down about eye-level with her sitting on the potty, she looked at me and said, “Mommy…Mommy is mean to me.”  (Again, sounding like a very drunk person and wobbling as she tried to maintain her balance.)  Terry, feeling badly that I was getting accused of being mean, chimes in and begins to say, “Britta, why would you say Mommy is mean?”  But she cut him off mid-sentence when she pointed to him and said, “And thaaaat guy!  He is mean to Scarlett!”  We couldn’t help but sit there and laugh.  She finally disclosed that we are mean for putting them in time-outs.  No, we do not put our one-year-old in official time-outs.  But Terry did use the verbiage with Scarlett recently after she maniacally crawled across the floor to bite Britta.  Just another day in the life with The Littles.

The week of July 4th (and 5th, of course) went really well.  We ended up spending those days at my parents’ home.  On July 5, we took the girls strawberry-picking.  It was fun and fitting as Reece absolutely loves strawberries!  They are one of the few things he ate on a regular basis–even in the hospital.  The girls enjoyed the time and we did as well.  As predicted, I did feel a sense of relief after that week passed and yet I found I was met with heavy, heavy feelings about a week later that continued throughout the month of July.  But I’m not going to blog about it today.

We are so thankful for the many people who reached out to us over the month of July and mentioned Reece to us.  People from many different facets of life reached out to either share a memory or let us know they were thinking of us and it means a great deal.  I continue to feel a sense of gratitude for what we are given and hopeful in the direction life is taking us.

“The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.”

~Max Lucado