Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Goes In Must Come Out

For those in the know, you will be very glad to hear, with a title like that, this is NOT a post about how the entire family is recovering from the stomach bug...although, let me just say, the past few days have been motherhood trial by fire.  I passed...but just barely!

This is more about what has been going on inside my head these days.  Last week was, for whatever reason, a week where I was teary.  I give myself a hard time about that, about being sad.  But we lost Rip a little over a year and a half ago.  I try to think about what my reaction would have been before I was this girl to hearing that someone else had lost a child a year and a half ago, and I am sure I would be horrified and wondering how they were still dragging themselves around! People who hear about me as "the girl who" probably feel the same way (although, if you are going to talk about me behind my back, you may also want to mention that I know everything there is to know about Great White Sharks, just to add a little dimension).

Before we lost Rip, I always expected good.  I've noticed some of that slipping away and I don't like it.  I hear sad stories on the news or in passing and they shake me to the core.  I find myself questioning God, not really that He is, but how all of this bad can keep happening.  I know there are answers, a fallen world, a plan we don't understand...but that's hard to remember sometimes.

It takes me really coming back to God, to prayer, to get my head on straight again. And I truly do feel peace...I will be very honest, without my faith I have nothing.  No hope of my child in heaven and no hope for the prayers I whisper daily for my child on earth.  I believe, with all of my heart, but it isn't always easy.

So what to do about the negativity I have found slipping in to my old "glass half full" self...

I said after Rip died that I was still the same person, the same Anne "with an e" girl that I was before, and that is partially true.  But you can't go through something life changing without being well...changed.

I said I wanted my life to be a celebration of Rip's life.

And, maybe most importantly, I said I wanted to be the same mother to Gracie that I would have been two years ago...but, I think that is not true either...I want to be better.

The closest I can come to answering any of this is my favorite Bible verse from childhood, I found it when I was about ten and worried about one thing or another (my poor parents) and used it many times since...

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

I think the problem I've been having is that I have forgotten to think about such things.  I'm not talking about burying my head in the sand, not acknowledging anything painful or sad...but remembering the good that comes with the bad.  Realizing that bad things happen, but not to the exclusion of expecting good.  

What goes in, must come out...what I put in my mind on a daily basis, the thoughts I choose to concentrate on (and most of the time, at least now, it is a choice) if those are pure, lovely thoughts...maybe that glass will start to fill itself up again (maybe even a little over half full, that is certainly how I like my wine glass anyway!) And maybe all of those things I want for my life, my little Anne "with an e" who celebrates her firstborn and rocks mama-hood for her second, life...those things will be just as lovely and excellent.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In This Minute

I have been dreading and worrying (and worrying) and praying and down right obsessing over something for the past couple of weeks.

Yesterday, at daycare, Gracie held her bottle by herself for the first time.

These things seemed completely unrelated until last night when I was putting Gracie to bed.  I was giving her a bottle and rocking and fretting and fuming away, when a phrase popped in to my head, "Be in this minute".

So I took myself out of my head and brought myself back to this minute.  This minute is where I get to give my baby girl a bottle before she gets too big and sassy and wants to do it herself, where I can just listen to her hungry little suck-suck-suck noises gradually slow and become lazy as she drifts off to sleep.  This minute is where I watch her pudgy little fingers rub the sleeve of her pink owl pajamas (something I used to call "collecting soft" as a kid). This minute, all I really have to think about is how impossibly long my baby's eyelashes are and how anybody can have such a perfect little tiny nose.

I don't know what the outcome will be to my worries, I would like to believe "it all works out in the end", but sometimes that is hard to do when you aren't at the end.  But what I am trying really hard to remember is that this minute is just that...a minute.  I flash of time that will be gone before I know it.  So, regardless of anything else, I need to enjoy being in this minute.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day Parke Harris!

My intention was to do a sappy Father's Day post to Parke, about how much he deserves this day, about what a wonderful father he is and has been to both of our children, about how proud I am that I picked him to be the Daddy...

And then last night, I went to run a few errands.  By the time I got home, about 45 minutes after I left my smocked dress/ bow wearing princess of a child, this is what I found in my front yard...

And I realized that is what a good Daddy really is...someone who takes you outside in your diaper and socks, lets you get aways with all the things your Mama never lets you do (by the way, I love Gracie's face in this picture..."uh oh Daddy, she's back!")

So Happy Father's Day Parke Harris, We love you!!! To many, many more years of getting away with stuff when I'm not around.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

" I Will Listen"

Tonight I opened my Bible and a folded piece of paper fell out.  The outside read "To be opened December 2011"

The inside read:


Dear God,

I do not know why you had to take Rip from us, but I promise to try to accept that there are things that I cannot and will not understand.  I will try to put my trust in you.
Here are the things that I ask (beg) in your name
- I ask for peace for Parke, my family and myself
- I ask you to keep my marriage safe and full of love
- I ask you for a healthy child, born to us so that we can show him/her all of the love we have
- I ask you to never again let me take any moment for granted

In your name,

I wonder what the girl who wrote this note would have thought had she known that she would have been too busy to open it in December 2011...or for almost six months after...because she was spending every moment loving her healthy baby girl?

"In those days when you pray, I will listen."

Call on Me Brother

Remember that "good" brother I was telling you about?  Well, he is at it again!

In all seriousness though, click on the link below to help a very deserving family.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

That's My Girl

Note home from Gracie's school yesterday...

"Could we get an extra ounce or two in Gracie's bottle, she gets REALLY upset when they are empty.  Thank you!"

That's my girl!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What a beautiful mess

Today some work colleagues and I were talking about a girl we know and what kind of guy she was looking for...tall, funny and willing to travel.  To which I said, "until she falls in love with a short, serious homebody"

Because isn't that the way life is? You plan and you plan and you watch all of those plans go right out the window.

Sometimes it is heartbreaking.  All those plans I made to bring my firstborn home...and poof, gone.

Sometimes it is better than you could have ever imagined.  All those fears I had that my second born would never come home...and every night I get to rock her to sleep.

I love to tell God what to do.  I have to laugh when I look back at some of the prayers I've written down over the years...they often start with, "I know you have a plan and you are in control BUT..." and then I go on and tell Him how I think things could be done better.

Life can be really hard and unfair.  There have been times where I have been left wondering what the heck we are all doing here.  And then there are those happiest of times, the times that you wish you could put your arms around and squeeze like one of those big stuffed animals nobody ever wins at the fair.  And somehow it all kind of comes together and makes

Someday I hope I learn to let go, to stop trying to control everything and everyone around me...but I think that is probably unlikely, it's just not who I am. What I have learned is that not everything in this world is good, some things are just no good messes no matter how you try to dress them up.

But oh gosh are there ever some wonderful, beautiful things behind all that mess.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Let's Hear it for the Boys

I write a lot about my family on this blog, but there are three members that don't get nearly enough shout outs..."the boys" (minus Parke...who will get his own special Father's Day post soon enough) include my Dad (better known as Daddy, or Pop to his granddaughter) and my two brothers, Will and Tee.

I lucked up big time in the Dad department. Picture a mix of Steve Martin a la Father of the Bride with a pinch of Clark Griswold and a dash of Andy Taylor.  If you ever see him running around without a shirt on it is probably because he has literally given someone the shirt off his back.  We don't call him Dudley (as in Do Right) for nothing.  He is a man who loves to breathe salt air and played endless hours of "bucking bronco" with his children, even after a long days work.  Gracie loves her Pop and it will only be a matter of time before she is holding on to his hair and screaming with glee while she rides wildly all over the living room.

"Uncle" Will is what I like to call sneaky sweet.  He spent a majority of our childhood "frogging" me in the arm and racing me to the car for front seat privileges.  While he is still known to throw a sly frog or two, he will also on occasion buy my lunch, load my iPod with "cool" music, drive my pregnant behind to and from Greenville, and compliment his niece.  Sneaky Sweet.  It is common knowledge within my family that one day this brother will be a millionaire and I can only hope he will find a job for his older sister (may I suggest "Fashion Consultant/Wine and Chocolate Taster")

"Uncle" Tee is the good child.  The child that makes the rest of us look bad.  He just finished a stint for Teach for America, is headed to law school in the fall, and has been known to go the soup kitchen in his spare time.  The rest of us pretty much accept the fact that we will never be this good, and it would all be rather annoying if Tee wasn't one of the funniest people I know.  His one liners are legendary. Nice with a good sense of humor...what's not to like? Seeing my 6'8" brother with my teeny tot of a daughter is pretty entertaining, Gracie's face as she looks up (and up) at her Uncle Tee is priceless.

So there you have it, my unsung heroes. Not a bad looking bunch either! Let's hear it for the boys!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ask, Seek, Knock

A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote this post about Baby Grace Frick, I had not met her beautiful Mama, Sarah.  Now I have.

Sarah is me, or was me, eighteen months ago.  Sarah is a mama without a baby.  Sarah misses her girl.  Sarah wants a baby so badly she can hardly breathe.

When I met Sarah I wanted to physically pick her up and carry her through time to that place where she could have a baby in her arms.  Because even though we all know (say it with me now) having a baby does not replace the irreplaceable, that one and only child you miss so much...losing a child does not change that desire to hold your baby in your arms, it only makes it stronger.

So this morning when I got a group email from Sarah with prayer requests, I had a flashback of a doctor's appointment I had with of the many where I left in tears, having heard "one in" or "soft marker" or something else that was just the last straw.  I told Parke that I was going to have every person in the world pray for my baby...I don't know if every person in the world prayed for Gracie but sometimes it felt close.  I believed in those prayers, I believe those prayers delivered my girl safely to my arms...those same arms that were so empty eighteen months before, wondering if they would ever feel full again.

So, here are Sarah's prayer requests.  You can read more about Sarah and Baby Grace here...but please take a minute this morning and pray for Sarah and her husband John.

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."

Sarah's Prayer Requests....

Prayer Requests for the week 
1.) Please pray that John and I's genetic testing comes back with good results (we find out in the next week to few weeks)
2.) Please pray that my body heals quickly and properly so when the time comes we can move forward with conceiving again
3.) Please pray for John and I's hearts to heal and for us to accept God's plan and bigger picture for our lives so we don't live everyday looming in sadness as I know God not Grace wants that for us.
4.) Please pray that John and I are blessed with a healthy baby(s) soon.  The baby after a loss is called a rainbow baby and we want ours to love and hold~

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just Weight

I love to eat.  I also love to fit into my clothes.  These two things have often caused conflict in my life...except when I was was like a dream come true.  Everywhere I went people shoved more food in my face and my clothes were actually designed to accommodate my ever expanding belly.  Sure, every once in a while I wondered (doughnut in hand) how I would fit back into my regular clothes...but, wait, are those CREAM FILLED??!!

After I gave birth to Gracie, I'd basically been pregnant for two years and reality set in fast.  Not to worry, all the other mothers assured me, you will be so busy you won't have TIME to eat. The weight will come off Clearly, these mothers did not know me at all.  My husband had not dubbed me "Anne the ice-cream animal" for nothing.

And yet...over the last five months and half jeans have slowly started to fit again.  Given the fact that I haven't so much put on a running shoe since Gracie Harris entered this world, I started to wonder how this phenomenon was occurring.  Possibly I had a tapeworm?

Yesterday, the light bulb started to go off.  Parke, Gracie, and I and were on our way to a birthday (pool) party when we made a quick stop at the grocery store.  To make a very long story short:

We needed to bring adult beverages to the party
Parke was the only person in the car with an ID
Parke had to take a very long work call, for which he needed his computer hooked up to the car
Gracie started screaming her head off and would only stop if she had continuous movement

So for forty-five minutes, I walked laps around the Harris Teeter parking lot in my bathing suit with a sleeping fifteen pound infant on my shoulder.  I got some strange looks.  I was really dreading what would happen if anybody asked what I was doing..."Yes, see my husband is working in that air conditioned car right there...and we can't leave because we want a beer...but I promise we are very fit parents."

But there you have it.  With nary a running short in sight (and in a bathing suit no less), I got a forty-five minute workout in, with weights!  Glamorous, no.  Effective, yes.  

So, if I am blessed and lucky enough to be a mama again some day, this is a reminder to myself...enjoy, eat up...and remember... just wait, and it's just weight.

Jolly Old. St. Anne...1/4 Gracie, 3/4 Anything I Could Get My Hands On