Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Sadness Revisited

Grief catches me by surprise. I'm sure it's everyone, but I can only speak for myself.

I am always startled by how quickly the pain of losing that heartbeat that was in my care for nine and a half precious weeks can resurface. Weeks, sometimes even months can pass that I can talk about him with clarity and composure. Then an innocent picture, quote, song, or sunset can open the wound in an instant.

I have so many questions that I may never have answered. I read that if there is a heartbeat at nine weeks there is only a 2% chance of miscarriage. According to that statistic, it shouldn't have happened. If life were fair, it wouldn't have happened.

In my case, there was an abnormally small gestational sac. There are only two reasons I have been able to find of this happening: you have your dates incorrect, or "something" is wrong. No one can say what that something is, because I know the fact is it could be one of a million things. The best available answer is that sometimes it just happens. That doesn't give me something or someone to blame. I can't say definitively, "I shouldn't have done _____," or "I should've done ____."

Baby James was less than two inches long. He had fingers, toes, and a strong heart that beat until the end. That heartbeat left a sadness in me that will never completely go away. I felt Jesus by my side during those long nights, even though I didn't think I wanted him there. When I cried out in anger, I felt him weeping with me. I felt the breath of heaven when I finally said I was ready to let go.

Subsequently, because of my time with James, I experience joy more fully. I appreciate the fragility and mystery of this world, and I have less fear of the unknown.  I have more compassion, and more grace. I love without apology.

James Michel Grant
March 17, 2011-May 22, 2011
From the day we knew of you to the day you left.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Understanding the Prodigal

From Luke 15:11-32
I've always struggled with the story of the prodigal son. You know the story about the little brat who takes his inheritance, parties it away, then comes back when he has hit rock bottom, and Daddy is thrilled to see him anyway? Maybe because I'm the older child and a goody-two-shoe by nature, I totally relate to the other son. What's up with that, Pops? I've been here the whole time and he gets the welcome home party?? Jerk.
I accept that God takes us back no matter what we've done, even though it doesn't really sound "fair." But on a human, earthly level, it just doesn't compute.
It kind of hit me the other day though how to see it from another perspective. Let me attempt to share my thoughts.
Most of us have the goal as adults of being independent and successful. We may have different ideas of what exactly that means, but that's what it boils down to. We make our choices based on what we have, financially and otherwise. The wise follow a budget, build their savings, and live within their means. The average American (according to Dave Ramsey) uses credit cards some, has some debt, and gets by ok. I would venture to say we all hope our situations get better as we go along, or at least stay the same.
But no such luck. Stuff happens. Bad stuff. And even if you're somewhat prepared, it takes some major adjusting. And sometimes some help.
Which would you choose? Staying independent, comfortable, and able to help others, or would you choose to go through a bad experience that creates the opportunity for others to show you kindness you might not otherwise see? I know I'd choose the first. Being sucker punched sucks, no matter how much good comes from it.
I am immensely grateful for the blessings from others we see in hard times. I'm hoping to learn to be even more of a blessing to others when they are in the same situation, whether it was from bad choices or circumstances beyond their control. Thank you, God, for letting me see what it's like to be both the prodigal and the older son.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Dear Baby,
 Your brother's birthday was hard. I feel like, well, I felt like a failure as a mother because of the overwhelming sadness at such a joyous time! Max was a year old. Oh and what a year! Old people say "time flies" a lot, so baby, I must be getting old. Time is flying so I'm losing track of how long since I told you good-bye.
So why the sadness? I suppose it goes back to the fact that there is no light without darkness. There is no good without evil. There is no joy without sorrow. Every time I rejoice about my beautiful son, I remember you. God's plan is perfect, I know. I cannot imagine my life without my Max, yet I know if you were here I would never have had him. My human mind cannot wrap around that. It makes me start to unravel.  A mother can never choose among her children, even those she has not met.
So, Baby, does that mean you were meant to be an angel from the beginning so that your brother could be with us here? Did I make a mistake in trying for a child before it was meant to be? Or was it simply the free will of nature?
There are so many questions. Still after 2 years. You have taught me about grief. I can be perfectly fine and then an unexpected trigger upsets my peace. The 22nd on the calendar. May 22nd I lost you, December 22nd was supposed to be your birthday. A round pregnant belly may remind me of the joy from your brother and sister, but sometimes it reminds me of the fear. The fear of having little control over the miracle inside.
Baby, one thing that makes grieving for you so difficult as compared to grieving a loved one you knew for longer is the sparse memories. I saw your tiny heart beating three separate days, most mommies don't get to see that when their baby is so small so often. But we were waiting to see if you would hold on. If a miracle would heal you. If the dark cloud around you would grow like it needed to for you to survive. Those are my only real memories of your life. My other memories are the ones I imagined for you. Dreams of you joining our family. Growing to make a family of your own. Those memories were not real, but I lost them when I lost you.
Baby, I love you as if you were here in my arms before you left. I know there is a reason you could not survive, even if I may never know it. I'm working to let go of any guilt I have in thinking somehow this was my fault. A mother always wants to protect her children, and I feel that I failed you in that way. I couldn't make you better. I sang to you, prayed for you, talked to you, and wept for you. I want you to know I love you. I did everything I could when you were here. I still believe I will finally get to hold you one day. I have to believe you are not alone.

God, comfort all the women who are grieving for their babies they never met or only knew a short while. Help people that have never known this loss to understand it is a loss like no other. Hold our babies in your loving arms until we can be there to do so ourselves.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I wish I were Kelly Ripa.

Wait, is that what I'm doing wrong?

Okay, not really completely her, but I got your attention, right? (although I wouldn't mind meeting Mr. Consuelos...)
I have got to be the most boring person on the planet. You know why? Because if I had TiVo or some other fancy thing that VCR's used to be able to do, the only shows I would record would be Live with Kelly and Michael and The Price is Right. And Jeopardy if my stupid antenna would ever pick it up. Okay, so maybe I'm old. Or old and boring.

I got to actually watch Kelly and Michael yesterday morning since we got the day off. (and that's how I choose to spend it..hmm...) and Kelly said, "I don't believe in depriving yourself of anything, just everything in moderation." To that, the audience politely applauded. Yay, you weigh 74 pounds and you eat whatever you want! Yay!
I'm not saying Kelly isn't telling the truth, and clearly that's how people got along for oodles of years. I don't remember Jesus discussing with the disciples whether Atkins, South Beach, or Jenny Craig was the best path. They ate what they had, and of it what they wanted, and walked everywhere they went and got enough sleep, and all that other stuff.  I am saying that Kelly has got to work out like crazy too to have arms like she does.

But my main issue is the key part about eating whatever you want. That does NOT include quantity, unfortunately. I want an apple doughnut from the apple farm. It's okay to have A doughnut from the apple farm. It is not okay to have what I really want which is a DOZEN doughnuts from the apple farm.
So it turns out quantity is my main issue. I'm still trying. Like tonight I made our weekly breakfast for supper. I WANTED six biscuits. I only had 2. I think. I may have eaten half of Brynn's when I was cleaning up. It's hard to be sure.
Like I said, I'm trying.

***Note: My ADHD is running rampant tonight. It was really super hard for me to stay on topic. I just thought some of you might enjoy hearing that andIcouldn'tholditinanylonger.  Phew.....***

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Putting Wind in a Box

I've identified and admitted a behavior of mine. I have had it forever, but not always realized it was what I was doing.
Obsessing over things I can control when much of my world is OUT of my control.

For example, for the last couple of weeks I have been scouring some combination of Pinterest, Amazon, and Mommy-blogs to plan how I would pack my kids' lunch when they started "school." I wouldn't be with them during the day, and my situation is unfortunately not as ideal as it once was, but DOGGONEIT I CAN PACK A LUNCH! I'm going to post my own Pins to show just how awesome they are. (Reality check: 4/5 days one or both of them is getting some pre-packaged something.)

Ok, seriously. Name one person who has time for this and one kid who would appreciate it for what it's worth.

Just today I was sassy-fying my room more than I have in my seven years of teaching. I usually hate doing bulletin boards, but I maxed out with all kinds of fancy duct tape, layers of borders, and still haven't gotten to my cutesy-but-functional Teachers Pay Teachers content decorations yet.

My dear aunt asked what in the world was wrong with me. Then, "Oooh. I know what you're doing. You can control this environment."
She's right. I can choose, monitor, and dictate everything in that tiny classroom (at least until the students come, ha!) while I feel right now I'm white knuckling my way through everything else.
I crave stability and security, just like everyone else. I know my God is bigger than all the powers of the Earth combined (and Captain Planet), and I'm not saying He's not enough, but like a quip I heard long ago, sometimes I need someone with skin.
 Being a woman is hard. Being a mother is hard. Being a human is hard. There are so many forces out of our control every day. We have to be strong enough to fight them or strong enough to walk away. Either way, it ain't easy.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 MSG
"No one can control the wind or lock it in a box. No one has any say-so regarding the day of death. No one can stop a battle in its tracks..."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Just "Eh"

This whole "being honest" thing is hard. Because I want to tell you right now that I have done an awesome job eating healthy and making the best choices since my last post since in the last one I wasn't doing that great.
Well, I've been making mediocre choices most days, could have done worse, definitely could have done better. The words "lackluster" and "blase" come to mind. For example, today I had a good breakfast, measured my coffee creamer, the works. Then, hey, I wasn't going to just throw away the half of Max's frozen waffle he didn't eat. That couldn't count much, right? Then I went to an awesome 6-year-old's birthday party, which involved me getting in the pool, though nothing I did (or ever do) could be considered swimming. I only had two slices of pizza and I shared my delicious Spiderman cake with Max and Brynn. (Which meant Brynn ate all the icing off the top and Max ate most of the ice cream.) So again, I could have done worse.

For supper, I made everyone else pancakes (my favorite whole wheat recipe that uses honey instead of sugar and only 2 tablespoons of oil) and I had an egg and a piece of toast instead because it's easier to count points-wise. But then, hey, I wasn't just going to throw away the chocolate chip pancake I had already cut up for Brynn that she decided that she didn't want. (Obviously my daughter did not inherit my inability to recognize being full. Learned behavior, much??)
Not a problem in my house!

I am proud of myself because in spite of the terrible heat today and a borderline migraine part of the day, I was determined to go for a run tonight. I got the babies in bed and was giving the temperature as much time as possible to drop before I went. There were some dark clouds in the sky, but I thought they were far enough away, so I threw on my digs and went out the door.
Dadblast it, I'm running.
Dark. Wind. Thunder.
Sigh. I made it halfway down the road I run the length of and decided I had better turn around. Thunder does make for good inspiration to run at a bit more brisk of a pace. I literally had been back inside my house for a minute and a half and the sky fell out.

Thank you, God, for waiting! I said.
Once upon a time, I would have used any and all of those factors not to go exercise. Granted, it was only 17 minutes, but that was 17 more minutes than I could have.
So yeah, at this rate I'm not going to be losing as much as fast as I could if I made perfect decisions every hour of every day (and just threw away what my kids don't eat). But you know what I'm kind of deciding? This is life. Is it better to be "perfect" for a good solid week or two then go stark-raving-eatitifitain'tnaileddown CRAZY until I can't take the guilt anymore than start over OR do the best you can at every given moment that you can?

Surely, eventually, some more of this "fat suit" I feel like I'm in will melt away at this rate. I really believe once the initial stress of starting school back settles as much as it does, the structure will help my decisions improve too since I won't have TIME to eat or ACCESS to anything except what I bring from home.
So, here's to blase being better than berserk any day.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Everybody has figured out by now that words can--and more often do--hurt people much more than physical abuse ever could. That's usually what bullying is, and day to day getting your feelings hurt.
That being said, as an adult, I've never had anyone tell me I was fat or say something directly hurtful concerning my looks, at least not that I can think of right off. Well, this isn't counting the numerous people that said something to the effect of "You're huge!" when I was pregnant, which somehow is apparently acceptable??? Anyway, that's another blog another day.

However, I can think of at least a handful of things that people told me after I had LOST weight that were particularly scarring.

At a get-together a lady seeing me get small portions, "Well, gosh, you could eat more than that."
 This one may not read as particularly hurtful, but if you saw her face, you would have felt the tone. Also, as one who does not generally enjoy bring attention to herself except when given a particular role to do so, this made me way more conspicuous than I would have liked. I wonder if this remark is one reason I have a very very hard time making good choices at public eating "events." I don't want anyone to look at my plate and know I'm dieting, because then they might feel the need to talk about it.

Someone I don't even remember who, "You sure are showing off your new body, aren't you?" 
If any of you have lost a considerable amount of weight before, you'll know why this was disturbing. You don't know HOW to dress when you have a "new body." When you've been dressing in clothes that just cover and hide, questions like How tight? How loose? are very difficult to answer. So for someone to suggest I was being inappropriate was embarrassing to me. I've always dressed on the modest side, and just because I was thinner didn't change that--I thought. So then I really didn't know how to dress.

After seeing a friend after a while, "Lacy, you used to have such a pretty figure! Now you're just.....nothing."
This one doesn't require an explanation.

I'm not blaming these things for making me gain weight back (plus some) again, but it certainly didn't do a thing for my self-esteem.  Why do we know it's not okay to remark (at least to people's faces) about them being overweight, sloppy, an overeater, but the same doesn't apply if you are thin and eating healthy?
Jealousy is a big guess at least when it involves women. I know to make myself feel better I've said (to myself) things like, "Well, she's just too thin." or "She can't be happy. She's just hungry."

It should be a rule that unless your comment looks something like this template :

you should just keep your comment to yourself. Because you may think that your statement about how thin someone has gotten will make them feel good, but it probably won't. It has been 10 or 11 years since I heard those lines, and I still fear what I might hear as I lose weight again. Hopefully I'm stronger, more mature, and less sensitive now, but it certainly has taught me to be even more careful with my words.
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