Friday, December 31, 2010

As the bowl swirls...

Once upon a bowl, there was a daddy.

He felt all alone.

His wife felt alone too.

She took care of the babies alone.

Went places alone

She tried to explain to the children that daddy had a disorder.

Daddy was sad.

And cold, too.

Until one day, the daddy drove himself to the hardware store and got wheels for his potty!

And voila! Now he could join his family for birthday parties!

He could read his daughter a bedtime story- "What exactly IS irritble bowl syndrome?"

And then he could lay down his tired head. Well, kinda.

Neither one was lonely anymore. And so what if they had to wear lotsa perfume to hid the stench, they were together.

Daddy could even work!

And watch his favorite shows!

Mommy even convinced him to do dishes.

He took the kids to the park!

And joined them on family outings

A happy family is one that can be together!

And they all flushed happily ever after.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This side of heaven

I cannot explain the heaviness of my heart right now. My spirit is defeated. I am weary, I am sad.

My friend lost her baby. A wanted and loved baby. A baby created in love. A baby that would be born into a loving family.

I have a friend that is having trouble conceiving. A friend that has lost baby after baby. A friend that lost her baby in the middle of pregnancy, after it was safe to "relax".

It's just so unfair. SO UNFAIR. And I am angry.

Why, God? Why?

There is no answer on this earth that is sufficient. None. No mother should lose a child. No mother should grieve for her babies. Children should bury their parents. Period.

The only place to turn in this is to faith. And in faith, there are few answers, only comfort. But we want to know, don't we? We want to KNOW. And we don't. And we won't, until we see Jesus.

It's enough to make me want to scream.

It's hard not to look at news stories of people abusing and killing their children and become bitter that those I love lose their babies, cannot conceive their babies. It's hard to not become hard hearted.

It's hard not to think of Joshua, whose little remains lie under the statue of St Mary in my backyard.

And then I look at Sam. And I know, I know, that there is a form of redemption on this side of heaven. There is some comfort before the passing.

But still...those sweet babies.

Because they were loved before they were conceived. They were loved before they had a heartbeat. They were wanted and treasured when they were just an idea. They were PEOPLE. They were children. Babies. Beloved and longed for.

And they are gone. Swept to heaven before they drew breath.

If you are reading this right now, and you have lost a baby, I want you to know just how sorry I am. How I feel, deep down in the sacred spaces of my heart, I feel that pain with you. I will carry it with you. I will remember your babies with you.

I cannot offer you any comfort other than the knowledge that you are not alone. God draws close to the brokenhearted. He is there. He mourns with us for what has been lost. And He is not intimidated by our anger, our disappointment, or our grief.

There are no answers this side of heaven. And it is unfair. It is wrong.

But it will be redeemed. One day we will know why. One day we will hold our lost babies. One day it will all make sense.

One day.

Until then, let's carry our burden together. Rememeber our babies together. Because you are not truly ever gone unless you are forgotten.

It will never make it right. But maybe it will make it bearable. Maybe.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Google search: baby video monitors

*We are lounging on the couch, listening to the kids playing in their playroom upstairs. Mark is messing with his phone (aka the mistress), and I am doing random google searches on my laptop and pretending to be uber busy.

There is an ominus thud from upstairs....then, silence.

I look up at Mark.*

Yo, Said!!!

*At this he looks up, glassy eyed.*

Can you check on the kids? I'm really busy here.

(Google search: 12 step programs for Angry Birds addicts)

*He thinks for a minute.*

(Google search: What to do if smoke comes out of someone's ears.)



Is Sam okay?


(Google search: First Aid for bonehead moms and dads.)

*Mark keeps thinking.*



Is Sam bleeding?

(Google search: Applying a torniquet.)


Okay, good.

*Thinking continues.*

(Google search: 10 signs your spouse is an evil mastermind.)


Yesssss dada?

Is Sam sleeping?

Ummmmmm, no!

Good. Carry on.

Okay, dada.

*He tips his coffee cup to me with a grin and goes back to Angry Birds.*

I sigh.

(Google search: How not to be ashamed that your husband is smarter than you.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Did the cattle lowing
cause him to stir
to open his sweet eyes
and did she look at Him
so small
so vulnerable
and weep for his great power
this one who lived within her
would save her
this one who lived within her
would die for her
and she knew as she held his sweet hands
as she heard the angels sing
and listened to the world rejoice
she knew
that the being she held
was man
and more than man
was the beginning
and the end
as she held him
nestled in the hay, laid among the animals of the stable
did she see her future
did she know that because of him
and because she carried him
she would live forever?
the same eyes she gazed into
she would see close for the last time
the same body she bathed
she would bathe when it held no breath
the same toes she counted
she would see cling to the stones of Calvary
would see graze the wood of the cross
the head she kissed
she would see pierced and bleeding
and the ears she whispered into
would hear mocking
but she knew
that he was
come to her, through her
to be with her
to save her
there, among the beasts of the stable
she held her king

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A cry in the night...

It is 12:30 AM, a bare hour after I have fallen asleep. The cry is sharp and unrelenting, the kind that won't stop without intervention. The intervention, is, of course, mama.

We get up, warm the bottle, and I send Mark back to bed while I cuddle my boy. He lays his head on my chest, drowsily clutching his woobie. He drinks, he sleeps. I lay him back down and stumble back to bed.

It is 1:30. She is next to me. "MAMA!". She is scared. I lead her back to bed. She insists that her pj's are bugging her. I remove the pj's, redress her, and order her to go back to sleep.

I take a handful of motrin, go back to bed.

It is 3:30. She is next to me. "MAMA, where is St.Mary?" Her statue that she prays to when she wakes up in the night. She has left it next to me on her last trip in. I pick it up, take her back to bed where I threaten to return all of her Christmas gifts if she wakes me one more time. I am only half joking.

I go back to bed.

I lay there, seething. Why? Why do they have to wake me up? Why can I not just get ONE NIGHTS SLEEP!? And why does my throat still hurt? And why is it so cold in here?

And then, I stop.

I am in a warm bed. My husband is beside me. Granted he is snoring like a howitzer, but he is there. My children are healthy, if not good sleepers.

And it all changes in a blink. I think about how one day I will be sitting on the couch, coffee in hand, waiting for them to get up. How I will struggle not to reach out and fix her hair or straighten his shirt. How I will miss all of these small things- bathing them, feeding them, wiping their tears. It won't be like this forever. They won't be little and they won't wake up and want me.

I thought of all of this, lying there. I thought of God, and I smiled as I changed my complaining to praise. I thanked him for every whimper and every disturbance.

And like an arrow cast into my mind I heard- "Every cry in the night is a victory for you as a mother. It means your children know they will be answered."

Like I never knew.

It means I have crossed the divide between what I was shown and what I will live. I have soaked in the great grace of God and am parenting from a place of faith and grace, not from a place of conditioning. I have learned at the feet of the One.

Because when I cry out in the night, He answers. And until my children can put their own face on God, I am it. I am responsible to show them who He is.

The cries in the night will come. And I will come to them and carry them out of the dark. I will hold them until their fear is gone. I will comfort and shelter.

Just as He does for me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The house is quiet, the sky just beginning to lighten to pearl. I wake to the sound of stirring, sleepy baby murmurs over the monitor. I tiptoe in and pick his sleepy heavy body up. I smell his neck, nestle him into me. He is heavy, damp with sweet sleepy sweat, and warm.

His eyes open slightly, and he smiles around his binky. My heart melts on a wave of love so intense it takes my breath.

I lay down with him, running my fingertips over his soft face, gently taking out his binky. I watch as his hands move up, reaching for me, his lips open in search of my breast.

He latches on for the last time, and I cry quietly, great wracking sobs that hurt my chest. I whisper, over and over, how much I love him. I tell him what a great privilege it has been to nourish him, and how grateful I am that he allowed me to feed him from my body. I rub his head, his earlobes. My tears fall onto his face and hands.

I tell him how much I have loved nursing him. I feel the last milk I will ever give him leave my breast. He becomes sleepy again, his hand lying limp on my chest, his eyes closed in peace. I whisper of how sorry I am that I cannot give him more time to breastfeed, how I have to choose myself now, but how much I am going to miss it, and how heartbreaking it is for me to have to stop.

I know it's right. He has been self weaning for quite a while now. He has been supplementing more and more. He is busy, too busy to nurse. He loves his cups and his bottles. He likes to sit up and see the world as he has his milk.

But still, he would lie down with me a few times a day. He would nurse, and let me enjoy the stillness of his little body. It was beautiful and sacred. I never took it for granted, ever.

But in order to nurse him, I have had to be on medication so sedating that it has been hard to function. I've been on meds for my blood pressure that simply don't work well for me.

But I was determined to nurse. And I did. For him and for myself.

My heart literally hurts with the choice I have had to made. My body yearns to go in to him, pick him up, and nourish him. But I can't. New medication means a happier, more energetic me...but the cost is breastfeeding.

I know, I know. I gave him nearly 11 months. It was time. He was ready. But I wasn't, despite the obvious need of my body to switch meds. I wasn't ready to have to give up something so precious to me.

But I did. I made the choice. This morning at 6:12 AM, I nursed my precious boy for the very last time. I enjoyed every moment. I treasured the scent of his skin, the push and pull of his latch. I ingrained in my mind the feeling of milk leaving me and going to him. I kissed him a million times, and thanked God for the miracle of breastfeeding.

And when I laid him back down, I watched him for a few minutes. I looked at his full cheeks, his chubby legs. I cried as I ran a hand over his full tummy. I asked his forgiveness for the choice I made.

And then I poured a glass of water, and took the medication that will hopefully change my life.

At 6:12 this morning, I chose myself. But I will never forget the blessing of breastfeeding.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Last night I dreamed of blood. Blood on my hands. My hands on an object. The object rounded, ripe as fruit. Blood ran over my fingertips, stung my nose with it's heady fragrance of copper and wine. I sat with it coursing warm over my flesh, spilling over my wrists. It was warm, nearly hot.

I dug in with my fingertips. I scratched with my fingernails, pieced away at something that bled in running courses until warmth covered my arms, my lap. It touched my bare feet. I twisted them together against the floor, tapping my toes in sticky warm saltiness.

Pain bloomed hot and silent in my chest, twirling away from my center in tendrils. I raised a bloody hand to my breast and felt the ragged emptiness there.

My heart, then.

I lay both hands on my heart, lying silent and still on the table in front of me. I picked it up, soft and light as a dove. My fingers ran over the grooves and cupped it's curving arches, traced it's fleshy exterior.

I saw the malignancy inside. The trapped and glistening blue black of sickness. The bitterness, entrapped in the flesh. I dug my thumbs in. I worked at the mass with desperate intent as pain touched me. My body begged for the return of it's heart, agonizing ropes of feeling pulling at my lips.

I wanted to scream. I didn't. I dug my fingers in deeper, tearing tender flesh. Blood bloomed again and again. My vision was scarlet stained.

A voice.

I did not look up. I knew who stood there.

I bent again to my task, my hair tangled about my face, pooling in the blood.

A hand in my field of vision. I jerked away.

I didn't want to let go. This was mine, this pain. Mine to keep, mine to remove.


A hand on my head, the touch as warm as fire. Comforting. I hunched, cold and still over my burden. I held on with two hands to my wound, though I was bleeding.

Two hands closed over mine. They held mine as softly as air. His hands became stained as well. I tried to protest, to pull them away. But He held firm.

"Not just yours." He said.

My hands opened, the small bird of my heart sitting cold within. Drained of life, it was an empty stone. Darkness massed inside. I tired to cover it with my thumbs. His touched brushed them away.

"I see it."

He touched the dark mass. Under his fingers it rose like a flower, pushing from it's prison. It bloomed under his touch, becoming more than it was. He shaped it, slowly as I watched. Smoothed it over as it rooted deep again.

Blood flowed. Scarlet and magenta and onyx entwined. The mass of bruised and battered pain settled like a night blooming flower. It became part of my flesh.

He held my heart, smoothing his thumbs over it. His fingertips grazed every surface. My hands fell away.

I looked up only once, as he gently tucked away my burden. My chest rose and fell as my hand felt what had been ragged.

Smooth unblemished skin. A steady bump of life beneath.

I opened my lips to speak. Words failed beneath the kindess of his face.

My hand remained against my chest, over what had been. Over the healed pain. Over the brokeness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Father of Mine

There is a war in my heart right now.

I'm going to be really transparent here. I have been praying for a while for God to show me how to restore my relationship with my father. I've been uncertain of how to breach the void between us. I want him back in my life, even if it's in the smallest of ways.

I think of him now, in a home. Being cared for by strangers. It's what is best. But my heart ACHES for him. The thought of him being lonely crushes me. In one second I am in tears because of the isolation he surely feels. In the next, I am cursing myself for being so easy on him. After all, where the hell was he when I was lonely? When I cried? Where was he?

I asked God this today. And the answer was very difficult to swallow.

"It doesn't matter."

It doesn't matter where he was. It doesn't matter that he wasn't there. That I was alone. I can't fix that by punishing my father now.

I can only FORGIVE.

It makes me angry with God. Yes, angry. Angry that I have to swallow down so much hurt and anger. Angry that I cannot discuss this with my father, because he doesn't acknowledge that he ever did anything wrong.

I told God this as well.

"It doesn't matter that you are angry. You love him. So forgive him."

"But God, he doesn't acknowledge my hurt. That he abandoned me. He left me. He let me be abused."

"Yes he did. It doesn't matter."

"Well it matters to ME."

"And I will heal it, if you forgive him."

"But I want him to hurt and feel pain and cry like I did! It's not fair, Lord."

"I know."

And that's where I am. Pulled between my soul and my heart. I can't stand the idea of him hurting, and I want to do anything to alleviate his loneliness. But I also want him to pay for what he has done to me. I want to punish him.

I can't have it both ways. The whole thing is big and ugly and weighs on me terribly.

I have to decide. Do I love myself enough to let this go? Can I reach out to him? Can I love him well now, even though he has never loved me well?

I walked through everything in my life for a purpose. I believe that. His abandonment of me made me a better mother. His alcoholism made me vigilant of myself. His cruel words and his lack of care made me hyper aware of the power of words and actions.

So in his own way, he taught me alot. Teaching what not to do is still teaching.

I know he loves me. He is a selfish, selfish man. But he loves me. And I can't help but think that with no booze to numb himself, he has had plenty of time to reflect on his life.


I don't normally do this, but will you please stand with me in prayer? That I can go forward and try to mend what is broken with honesty? That my anger and need to punish him will be conquered by love and forgiveness?

I can't do this alone. I need more than my own strength.

Thank you friends.