Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"I Want You To Be There"

Remember this post? Well, there's another part to the story.

Jake's mother is my good friend. And she has been dealing with a lot. A part of the story that I didn't mention is that when she found out about Jake's diagnosis, she was also 8 months pregnant.

That was a month ago. This past month has been filled with phone calls and emails and tears and updates and information and meals and child care. It's been filled with an outpouring of prayers, generosity, and kindness that has astounded me.

That baby that she's been carrying . . . number 8 . . . was a surprise. They weren't planning to have her. But after Jake's diagnosis, it occurred almost immediately to many, especially the doctors, that that baby's cord blood could be an enormous life-saving blessing to Jake.

Jake's mom and dad had talked about several different name possibilities for the baby. But after the diagnosis, they told Jake that he could name the baby. He thought about it for a minute and then said decidedly, "Hope."

I can't tell that story without crying.

Not too long ago, my friend told me, "I want you to be there." I was very touched and I also thought she was just saying that she would love to have me there. But she actually meant it.

I am so incredibly honored by that invitation.

Hope entered the world today and I was there to see it. I was holding her mother's hand and crying as I saw that beautiful baby be born. It was an incredibly spiritually uplifting experience. That family could use some sunshine and happiness and they got it in the form of a beautiful baby girl.

As I drove home from the hospital, the thought came to my mind, "I feel more spiritual in this moment than I could possibly ever feel from one hundred church sermons." This is what life is about -- life, babies, friendship, family, love, hope. This is the good stuff.

A few weeks ago, I left the hospital and came home and cried. I was so down and so sad from having seen Jake in discomfort and pain. I came home feeling like life is hard and unfair. And then today, I got to witness Ellie's (that's what they're calling her -- her middle name is Elizabeth) birth and I left that same hospital feeling happy, peaceful, uplifted. I am so grateful for that gift.

On my way in to the hospital, I saw the word "Hope" no less than three times without even trying. I smiled each time and took it as a joyful reminder of what was to come.

As I walked out of the hospital today, with a feeling of such happiness and peace in my heart, I stepped outside and felt the sun warm me, enhancing even more the feelings I was experiencing. And then I looked up ahead of me and I saw a woman walking toward me and she had a shirt on with four big letters -- HOPE.

I cannot help but think that those aren't all coincidences. The word "hope" everywhere, that super long cord (the doctors and nurses kept exclaiming that they had never seen one so long!), the abundance of cord blood, that beautiful little girl, and the lucky and loving family that just welcomed her to be a part. I cannot help but feel very full of HOPE for Jake, for Ellie, and for their family.

It was a beautiful experience. I haven't felt this good in a long time. It feels fantastic--beautiful, happy, and peaceful. And oh so uplifting.

Hope is grief's best music.
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I've Come To Realize . . .

I love, love, love these writing prompts. I can't resist them! I saw this on someone's blog and immediately copied it to fill out for myself.

1. I've come to realize that my chest-size...isn't a bad thing. No sagging when I'm older! See? Glass half full.

2. I've come to realize that my job...reminds me how lucky I am. If I could go back in time, I would still choose to do the same thing. I don't know that everyone can say that, so I feel extraordinarily lucky.

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving alone...or with people, the fact remains-- I don't parallel park.

4. I've come to realize that I get a lot of stuff done before my Mom's 70th birthday.

5.I've come to realize that I have lost...some free passes to Hershey Gardens, but I know they're around here someplace.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when...people think they're better than someone else.

7. I've come to realize that if I'm must be on something like love or chocolate. I don't drink alcohol.

8. I've come to realize that money...tends to stress me out. Well, debt does. Money is useful, but there are some things that just don't have a price tag -- love, family, friendship, etc.

9. I've come to realize that certain people...push my buttons. Mostly, though, I really like people.

10. I've come to realize that I'll always...ooooh, this one is tough. I don't get into "always" and "never," so let me think. Oh, I know! I'll always love my children.

11. I've come to realize that my sibling...and I are very, very different, but I still love him.

12. I've come to realize that my someone I VERY much enjoy. I am really enjoying our adult relationship very much and am grateful for her love, openness, generosity, advice, and respect. I think she's great.

13. I've come to realize that my cell phone...has capabilities of which I am grossly unaware.

14. I came to realize when I woke up this morning...that I am tired when I get under 7.5 hours of sleep!

15. I came to realize last night before I went to sleep...that I don't like going to bed as late as I used to.

16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking..."I should stop filling in this writing prompt and go use the bathroom." Too much information? Too bad.

17. I've come to realize that my someone I miss so much that it hurts. I especially grieve his absence as a grandfather to our kids. He's so warm and loving and generous with us and our kids and I miss that more than I can say. He is exactly what you picture when you hear the word "grandfather" (or "VavĂ´" as the case may be).

18. I've come to realize that when I get on Facebook...I am reminded why I closed my account and then didn't ever get back on. I don't miss it at all. So many time-sucking, inane conversations. It's great for some stuff, but for me, the cons outweigh the pros.

19. I've come to realize that less crazy than yesterday.

20. I've come to realize that tonight...I might go out with a friend to the local coffeehouse! And that's something I really enjoy.

21. I've come to realize that tomorrow...brings me hope. :)

22. I've come to realize that I really want...some homemade cookies. Oh, and the ability to travel by "beaming up" like Scotty used to do in Star Trek.

23. I've come to realize that I value...thinking for myself and those who support me in that quest.

24. I've come to realize that precious and something I value greatly.

25. I've come to realize that this already July! How can that be?!

26. I've realized the best music to listen to when I am probably none. As much as I love music, sometimes I need quiet, down time.

27. I've come to realize that friends...are awesome. I love having friends, making friends, reconnecting with friends. I love seeing our children make friends and nurture their friendships.

28. I've come to realize that this year...'s phrase of the year ("live intentionally") isn't going as well as this past year's phrase ("live authentically"). It may get a 2-year stint. At least.

29. I've come to realize that my one of the most pious people I've ever met. Refer to number 6.

30. I've come to realize that maybe I should...get up and go to the bathroom. Just kidding. Already did. Maybe I should stop writing about my bathroom needs on our blog.

31. I've come to realize that when I love...I feel profound joy.

32. I've come to realize that I don't understand...why some people are super zealous about the health benefits of breastfeeding and then feed their kids cheese curls and soda pop. :P

33. I've come to realize my part of who I am and something for which I am grateful.

34. I've come to realize that parties...are something I love to plan and organize for others.

35. I've come to realize that I'm totally terrified...of heights.

36. I've come to realize that my great. I often, often find myself saying, "I love our life!" to my husband and kids. So, I feel pretty dang lucky in that regard.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Funny Thing 1 Stories (and a Thing 2 story)

The older kids get, it seems the less "little-kid" funny stories there are to tell. As they gain more knowledge of the world around them and acquire more street smarts, the innocent humor seems to fade a little (though potty jokes remain very much alive and well).

Thing 2 is at a great age for those kinds of stories. That being said, I'm excited that I have two Thing 1 stories that I've been itching to share for a couple of months.

Two-Minute Mystery

I so wish I had written this down sooner, because now the details are fuzzy, but here goes. You'll get the gist, though the actual story was really far more clever than I'm recalling at the moment.

The other day, we were trying to get some stories straight involving money buckets, the amounts therein, and a big sister and her little brother. Thing 2 vehemently said that he did NOT switch money around or mess with it in any way.

Thing 1 claimed she was missing a $5 bill. Thing 2 had a $5 bill in his jar that he claimed was his. We were trying to figure out what was what. We went over and over (and over) the stories again and again (and again). And it seemed there was no way to prove what happened. (Incidentally, this is when we started having them keep ledgers, which has been a brilliant money-teaching tool as well).

We started to rehash how much they make each week and what they'd each recently spent. We figured out that Thing 2 had saved 8 dollars and then he said, "Wait a minute! I spent $4 on (something I don't recall)."

That's when the light bulb went on for me and Thing 1 at about the same time. We looked at each other and that's when she said, "Wait! Then he can't have a $5 bill! If he had 8 and spent 4, he'd have only ones!"

I stood there impressed. Thing 2 looked sheepishly caught.

Thing 1 then excitedly declared, "It's like an Encyclopedia Brown case!"

And for the record, it turned out to be a different mix-up. He really hadn't stolen 5 bucks from his sister. They have multiple money jars (savings, tithing, and fun money) and there had been a slighter mix-up among them. Again, I don't remember details. But the point is . . . ledgers? Good. Encyclopedia Brown? Funny.

Sacred Catholic Rituals

Around the same time, we picked Thing 1 at her friend's house. They'd spent the afternoon together and Thing 1 had stayed for dinner. Thing 2 missed her VERY much, by the way. Thing 1 hopped in the van, excitedly telling us all about her adventures. After a while, she started this story:

"Oh! And Kirsten (her BFF) told me something you shouldn't do with your finger. She says it's like swearing at the other person."


"Yeah, her little sister was pointing with that finger and Kirsten yelled, 'No! Sophie, don't use that finger!' and then she explained it to me like this."

Thing 1, holding up 3 fingers said, "She told me, 'Now, imagine if I put this finger down and this finger down.'" Thing 1 pointed to her pointer finger and then her ring finger. "'The one left? That would be like swearing at someone.'" (Her cute friend didn't actually put the other fingers down, but merely explained how to imagine it. So cute.)

And then the best part.

Thing 1 then shrugs and says, "I don't know. I think it's part of their religion or something."

7-year-olds and hell

Well, this was going to be a Thing 1 post, but Thing 2 graced us with this gem today.

Thing 1 is sitting on the chair playing a lute she bought as a souvenir at President James Buchanan's house (AWESOME field trip, by the way).

Thing 2 is sitting there listening and then says, "That sounds horrible, because you're blowing the hell out of your head."

It took me a minute and then it registered, but I thought I hadn't heard him right.

"What did you just say?"

He happily responded, "She's blowing the hell out of her head!"

"The hell out of it?" I verified again, just to be sure.


"Where did you hear that?"

"I don't know."

"It's not a nice thing to say."


And that was that.

It's reminiscent of this story when Thing 1 was 7. I love that story, too. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Can you come to my house right now?

That's what the text said. And then there was a missed call from the same number.

I looked at it, saw that it was from my friend, and knowing that she wasn't the type to demand anything, thought, "Oh, funny. Her kids got a hold of her cell phone and sent me a text trying to get us to go over. Ha!"

I put the phone down and started to walk away.

But then I thought, well, I better check just in case. So I called her back and happily said, "Hey Kristie, this is Stacy!"

Her voice answered, between sobs, "Can you come to my house right now?"

"What's wrong?!?!?"

"Jake has cancer."

That sentence. Her voice. Her cries. They haunted me for days.

And it's been craziness ever since.

What do you say to your friend who has worried for months about her son's health and who, 5 minutes before that follow-up phone call from the doctor's office, had been relieved to learn that it was arthritis?

You go over and cry with her.

And then you jump to action finding ways to help them with the hellish reality that has become their life as their 11-year-old starts bone marrow draws, spinal taps, and chemo treatments.

And you try to explain to your children why their friend is so sick.

And you don't blog, because 1. you don't have time and 2. you don't much feel like it.

So, that's partly what's going on around here. We're totally difficult to reach these days and I know I haven't blogged much, but that's okay.

Sometimes things that once seemed so important suddenly seem pretty insignificant. And you're reminded about what really matters.

About a week ago, I had a whole list of things that I wanted to do. I know they seemed like a big deal at the time. But for the life of me, I can't remember what they were.