Why am I drawn here on nights like tonight? Ugh. I feel like such a raw mess sometimes. This blog that I once so faithfully updated has lost its main character, and I still don't know what to do about that.
It’s been quite some time since my last post. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it means that I’m coping a little better these days. Or maybe it just means that it’s hard to keep finding words to describe the insane highs and lows of our crazy life. This post will have to include the both the highs and the lows- it seems only fitting.
Oh, Carter. What can I say to even begin to describe our little ray of sunshine? He’s not quite as sunshine-y as he used to be, but he’s still the happiest baby on the planet. His Charlie Brown head is massive, and it stays decorated with bruises most days. (It must be hard to hold it up. :) ) He’s a butterball, but he’s gotten longer and leaner since he (FINALLY) started walking. He waited almost seventeen months to take the plunge, but he’s finally walking on his own. Nothing is safe in our house these days, and even with two boxes overflowing with toys, he manages to find entertainment elsewhere in the house. Things like shoes (a favorite), the dishwasher (that he prefers to use as a recliner) and paper (that he inexplicably loves to eat).
He LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with a passion that’s almost comical. He has a little Mickey chair that he got for Christmas, and he’ll hand us the remote and go sit in his chair when he decides it’s Mickey time. He also loves the Nutri-System commercial with Terry Bradshaw. He’ll drop anything he’s doing to go grin at Terry when he’s on the TV, saying, “ba-ba” (Bradshaw?) the whole time. If he ever gets the chance to meet him in person, I think it would be the highlight of his life.
We still have some issues with his eating habits, since he’s super picky about everything. The foods he still loves are string cheese, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, goldfish, spaghetti and pizza. The foods he still hates are… Well, pretty much everything else. We’re working on it, but it looks like he’s destined to be a picky eater like his Daddy. That’s hard for a Mama who loves to feed people.
One of his favorite activities is opening and closing doors. Cabinets, drawers, doors- he loves them all. And I really think he has bat ears. That kid can hear a door open across the house, and he’ll make a beeline for it, trying to get there before the door shuts.
He loves the animal sound song, still, and loves most animals. However, if
moos at him like a cow, he’ll pucker up and cry like somebody burned him. He
has no issues with pictures of cows, or cows on his beloved Mickey cartoons,
but don’t moo around him! The kid is definitely quirky, but he didn’t stand a
chance, with parents like us. Trent
Speaking of quirky, he can’t stand the feeling of grass in his toes. (I think he gets that special quirk from me.) Even crawling, he keeps his feet raised in the air behind him. It’s about the cutest thing ever. :)
The girls continue to grow like beautiful little weeds. Kaitlyn is as tall as me now, and Rylie is pretty close, too. Kaitlyn has the sweetest heart, and she constantly amazes me. She’s one of those kids who has it all- she excels at sports, she’s super smart, she loves to read, she is beautiful, and she is an amazing artist. Her dream is to become a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, so she can help other babies like Holden. She makes a Mama proud, proud, proud.
Rylie bug is stuck at that age where she’s not quite a teenager, but she’s not a little girl, either. She gets a new freckle every day, it seems, and even though she hates them, I love each and every one of those freckles. She is still smiley Rylie, even with the attitude that comes along with this age. She loves animals with all of her heart, and she’s going to be an amazing veterinarian someday. She looks so much like me, it’s scary, and she’s going to be a full-fledged teenager before I know it. It’s a terrifying thought, but I can’t wait to see what kind of woman she’s going to become.
I don’t know how we got so lucky, but we hit the jackpot with our kids. We have been blessed beyond belief with all of them.
Our other sweet blessing is the reason I’m up in the middle of the night, pouring out my rambling heart. I woke up in a cold sweat, with tears running down my face, after another one of those dreams. I pray every night for one of the good dreams. I would love the chance to relive the moments we spent here at home, rocking and snuggling, oblivious to what would soon break us in a million little pieces. Instead, I get the dreams of his last few days. The ones I would give anything to never relive again. I can’t even describe the horror of holding a child while he runs into our Father’s arms. I can’t even try. I so want to forget, but I have solid weeks where the dreams haunt me nightly.
Sometimes it feels like the hole in my heart will never grow smaller.
Sometimes it seems like any healing I’ve discovered in the last two years can disappear in a heartbeat.
I’m always on the edge of panic, thinking the worst. I just know that something horrible is going to happen- something else beyond my control. Again. A text message from the girls’ father? Something awful must have happened. Carter’s running a fever? I keep myself awake thinking about the many things that could be wrong with him. We need to run labs, check all of his numbers. We need to fix it before it’s too late. Of course, it’s usually teething or an ear infection. And my ex-husband is usually just asking a simple question. I know I’m being ridiculous. But I can’t stop the crazy sometimes.
It’s so hard to remember that all good things aren’t temporary.
Everything was always beyond our control. We were so helpless, even as we tried our best to help. Most of the time, we were running on faith alone. You have to have faith in something when everything else is gone. Along the way, you lose faith in everything else. In the medical system. In the doctors, who aren’t gods. Even in ourselves as parents.
I can hold Carter when he falls down and bumps his head, and I can tell him that everything’s going to be okay. I can promise that the pain will go away, and his happy little life will continue as always. I never had that chance with Holden.
“You are loved”. That was the only promise I was ever able to make to him. Not, “You are safe.” Not, “It will be okay.” Not, “Mommy will make it all better.”
“You are loved.”
It’s not a bad promise, really, but it’s a lonely one. I wish with all that I am that I was able to make and keep more promises to him.
I try to continue to give him purpose. To make things better for other kids like him, even though we can’t help our Holden anymore. I know that he’s alive in all that I do. That helps, a tiny bit, to keep him close to me, even when he’s so very far away.
July is almost here, and while I’ve always loved the time of barbeques, snow cones, fireworks and sunshine, those things are now shadowed by a brave little heart we lost too soon. While most people are looking forward to the 4th of July holiday, I’m remembering the nightmare. July is anything but a happy month for us.
I lived close to the edge for so long, and almost two years ago, I fell over it. I lived to tell the tale, but just barely.
As Christians, we’re supposed to celebrate when one of our own makes it to heaven. I’m finding it really hard- impossible, really- to celebrate Holden’s Heaven Day each year. I don’t want to celebrate. As selfish as it may be, I want him here.
I’m dreading this coming month, and I’m praying for mercy. I’m praying for my sweet little man to stay close to my heart these next few weeks. July is brutal.
Many days around this time of the year, I wake up and forget to be thankful through the pain. For another day on the planet. For three remaining children who are happy, healthy and safe. For friends and family who have been with us in our darkest hours, and continue to walk beside us in this journey. For a husband who remembers that “Daddy” is his most important title in life. I can’t promise to be better today- it’s already a rough one, and I’m pretty busy feeling sorry for myself. But tomorrow, now that’s a new day. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and remember to be thankful. For everything.
Until then, I would really appreciate your prayers.