Friday, July 24, 2009

Four Years Ago Today...

I became a mother.

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor having "the talk" with your Daddy about starting a family. He was so ready. I remember bursting into tears and saying, "I want to have children but I don't want to change." How did I somehow know you would change everything?

I loved my job and I was a success junkie workaholic. The more I worked, the better I felt, and the better I felt the more I worked. My students were my life. Then there was you. I remember those first days back at school after you were born. I'd be in the middle of teaching a class and remember how your little head smelled when I kissed it. It would be all I could do not to run out of the room and go get you.

I'm getting ahead of myself. It was Christmas of 2004 and nothing felt right. Everything I ate made me so sick and your Daddy smelled terrible to me. On the way back from visiting family in Alabama, I made him stop at the store so I could buy a jar of pickles and a pregnancy test. We were going to have a baby!

You scared me from the beginning. New Year's Eve was spent in the emergency room. Slowly, though, we got comfortable with each other. School let out for the summer and I began to prepare for your arrival. I loved every minute of setting up your room and folding and washing your little clothes. August the 18th could not get here soon enough.

You must have agreed because early on the morning of July 24th, I was certain I was feeling contractions. For an hour, I timed them before waking your Daddy. We sat and timed together and called Gramma and Poppa. They arrived from Alabama just as we were leaving for the hospital. Once there, everyone wanted to help you, to give me pitocin, to break my water. I refused and you did it all by yourself. After my water broke, suddenly the mild contractions were not so mild. I reluctantly agreed to an epidural because I could not stop shaking. I think it was the world's best. I enjoyed your birth.

I pushed for almost an hour until things became urgent. After 16 hours of labor, there you were. A tiny, furry, six pound beautiful girl. You had wrapped the umblicial cord once around your arm and twice around your little neck. I think you fought so hard to be in this world because the bigger you got the tighter your necklace became. They began to test your reflexes. Your Daddy had been a trooper, but when they picked up your little arm and it just flopped down by your side, he nearly hit the floor. I barely held you before they put the world's tiniest oxygen mask on you and wisked you away for some special attention. You fought your way back to me, though.

I remember every moment of that first night. It seemed so magical to me to touch you and hold you and see how real you were. I could not believe God had given me this miracle, and I still feel that way every time I look at you. Four days later, we all got to come home together. I dressed you in the one preemie outfit we had and even that made you look, according to Gramma, like "one tater in a ten pound sack." We came home with a bilibed for you because you really looked more like a carrot than a tater. You had to spend 23 hours a day on this bed in nothing but a diaper. How I ached to hold you. You fought your way through jaundice too.

I wanted so badly to feed you like Mommys around the world have fed their babies for centuries, but between you being early, so little, me knowing so little, and not being able to hold you, our bodies just didn't work well together. Over the first five weeks of your life, I had five infections. Eventually, I was too weak to hold you and went to the hospital to get better. And as I laid in that hospital bed away from you every day I began to walk with Jesus like I never have before. This time I fought my way back to you.

In September, I went back to work and you went to a daycare that before you were born seemed adequate and clean. I barely held myself together dropping you off, cried in the car, and walked through the doors of the school. Though I was greeted by children that were so happy to see me and so eager to have me back, my heart was somewhere else. I made it to lunch time and drove over to visit you. I found you wrapped loosely in a strange blanket with the wrong paci, screaming your little head off in a crib in the far corner of the room away from all the teachers. I went and picked you up and whispered sweet Mommy things to you and as you quieted, the teacher looked at me and said, "She's spoiled, ain't she?" Well, I think my heart finished breaking that day. How I returned to school and what I taught that day blows my mind. Thanks to some good friends, I found a new place for you and God began to work on my heart.

I realized with the mentorship of my friend Sheila that for me, my work was to be your Mommy. My workplace was to be our home. Two weeks after returning to school, I was ready to come home. I told my principal and agreed to make it to the end of the sememster. Though I did it heartily as unto the Lord, it was the longest semester I ever remember. Then I came home to be your Mommy, and it has been the greatest, hardest job of my life.

Hannah, you are my joy and the greatest avenue of God's blessing in my life. Having you showed me the depth of my strength and my dependency as well. Thank you for changing everything about me. You are such a fighter, and you have a will of iron. So far you have defeated premature birth, jaundice, tonsil/adenoidectomy, a scary version of bronchitis, a deer coming through your car window, and nearly drowning. Because I hope one day you will read this, let me challenge you to always know why you are fighting and to count your costs. Fight for Christ. Pursue him above all others. I know you love things your way, but His ways are higher than ours. Choose His way. I love that you look like me, bless your heart, and that you are my number one buddy. I love your tender heart, weird sense of humor, big sister compassion, and indomitable spirit. I know God will use you mightily for his kingdom, sweet girl. I love being your


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thirty-three years ago today...

my precious husband was born. Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Before starting college at Auburn University, I had decided I simply would not date. Yes, hang out with friends and go out for fun but I didn't want to start out college with a serious relationship. Second day at Auburn, I met Daniel. Two weeks later, we were dating, and we both knew we'd be married one day. Nearly thirteen years later, I am thankful that God's ways were higher than my ways.

Daniel, for being someone who has seen me at my worst, loved me, and brought out my best, thank you. For being evidence in my life that God works all things together for his good, thank you. For showing me that God can transform those who are yielded to him, thank you. For being a wonderful husband and father, thank you! I love you. Happy birthday.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Cause of "the smell" still to be determined. Have concluded it is coming from something that
A. used to be alive and is now dead
B. used to be dead and is now alive.

Anyone want a ride? Bwah ha ha!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anyone else?

It happens infrequently enough that you don't see it coming. You walk out the door with the children, ready for an innocent outing. You open the car door and THERE IT IS. A stench, rising from the vehicle. Why? Where? How? You search frantically while the children ask you a hundred questions and give endless suggestions. Is it a sippy cup long forgotten? Maybe an abandonded bag of snacks? You check the trunk, under each seat, behind the seats, sniff things you don't even want to touch, and it's still a mystery. Am I the only one this happens to?

Friday, July 10, 2009

More Interesting Pool Phrases

Emily was giggling in the pool at swim lessons last night. She said something and giggled again. I leaned closer and yes, she said what I though she said, "I tooted in the water! I tooted in the water!"

Eh. Swim lessons have been quite the adventure.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Words You Never Want to Hear

So we started swim lessons this week. Here are a few pics of us getting ready for our first day and a few of our warm up in our cousins' pool in Alabama this weekend. We've had a great time.

The words I never wanted to hear? Well, parents actually sit and watch the kids from the bleachers for Hannah's age group. There's a pvc pipe dock/platform dropped into the water that keeps their heads above water. Daniel and I were sitting together. I was running my mouth and Daniel says, "Hannah's drowning over there." Just like that, calmly. Then he jumps up and points. Sure enough, her little head is barely above the water (she must have been fighting like a dog to acheive that). The lifeguard jumped in and her teacher pulled her up but not before she'd bobbed at least 3 times, thrown her little hands up again and again, and swallowed a gallon of water. I rushed over, wanting to grab that baby up, but I held back and let people do their jobs. The tears are now finally coming as I write that Hannah "was a trooper" as another parent commented. She cried a little, wiped off her face, cried a little more, and stayed in the pool for the remaining 20 minutes of the lesson. She kept going. According to her account, someone accidentally pushed her and she fell off the platform into the deeper water and she couldn't get back. I am so proud of her, and I think this victory will make her quite the confident swimmer. I am glad I did not interfere but Mama wanted to hold her baby. Her very big girl, I mean!