Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hurry up and wait

Today was the big dreaded doctor's appointment. All the dreading was for nil. It was the biggest anti-climatic appointment I think I've ever had. And it was for M!

Today, I thought we would have a big meeting to discuss surgery, plan surgery, plan post-op care, etc, etc, etc.

H took off half the day to go with us because we had to travel to meet with the doctor at his main office.

Surgery is not scheduled. We have to wait one week to CALL and schedule the surgery date. Um..why did no one tell me this when I was rearranging the schedule of half the United States of America to go see the doctor today????? Why didn't we just schedule the surgery when I called for this appointment??? Oh, well. I really, completely trust this doctor, so I feel that there is a reason for the hurry up and wait.

Do I really understand the surgery? Not so much. I know the doctor is going to rearrange a tendon and attach it with some type of arrow-device to a bone. She will have this device for the rest of her life, but it will not interfere with anything and it will fix her club foot.

After that, I don't really know much at all. She'll be in a cast from her foot to above her knee for 3-4 weeks (I believe he called this a permanent cast), during which time we'll transport her in a wagon or her stroller. Fun times are comin', people. REAL.FUN.TIMES. Then, we think we understood the doctor to say she'll spend 3-4 additional weeks in a temporary cast, which we hope will allow her to walk. Then she'll be back in regular shoes!! Oh, how I dream of brown and navy mary janes!!!!

After the surgery, no physical therapy, which is good. He did say, "Look at her. She's so healthy. There is no way you'll be able to keep her down." That's a huge compliment to us and to her. As apprehensive as I am about this surgery and the next few months, I know, in the end, this is the best thing for her. Taking care of this residual club foot at 3 years old is going to be MUCH better than ignoring it until she's 7 or 10 or forever, and preventing her from doing all that she wants.

So, we are a little disappointed by the appointment--just because we wanted to know more, to be closer to the end. Instead of taking one (or five) steps forward, we just took a sidestep. We are not closer, but no farther behind.

We'll just hurry up and wait some more.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Best Shot(s)

After many weeks away, here are my best shots from this weekend.

Technically, the most fun. I'm always a tad envious when someone captures an unusual "pose" or angle. I was excited when I got this one. I LOVED that M wanted to wear her giraffe boots with her party costume. I love the pumpkin at the bottom of the picture to always remind us that this was the pumpkin fall festival party. I love the orange tutu peeking at the top of the picture. I think this is one of my recent favorites.

What's not to love of a birthday girl who is LOVING all the attention? Everyone was singing to her and she was glancing around like a queen on parade. If you look closely, you can see food smeared all over her chin. About 2 minutes after she blew out her candles, she said, "Can I PWEASE take off this coshtume NOW????"

There is nothing technically great about this image, but I LOVE that my entire family was here and we all took a picture together. It was really my parents' idea. I was too braindead by that point in the day to have many ideas at all, much less a good one like a group picture. But I was able to set up the tripod, set the timer and capture a few good pictures. My favorite one from the family photo shoot is the one I grabbed when I was setting up the image. Zach, my brother directly to my right was texting on his cell phone. My mom was looking at the baby. Lindsay, my sister-in-law (in the blue) was fixing her hair, Trey, my brother on the far right, wasn't paying one bit of attention, H, beside me, was standing at attention, like a good photographer's spouse. It's hilarious.
Give me some feedback on the first image. I'd love some technical help. Any PSE ideas? Photographers advice? Try it in b&w? Layer it with some texture? I'm ready to explore my photography again and really spend some time improving my limited skills.
For other (more talented) MBS, visit Tracey. Maybe she's got something fun brewing over there. I've set aside a good hour Monday evening to indulge in some blog surfing to see what everyone else posts. I hope you'll join me!

Set your TiVo or DVR

M has a doctor's appt in Atlanta Tuesday (all prayers would be SO appreciated, but more about that later), so we'll be setting our DVR to record Oprah.

I'll admit that I loved Oprah in my pre-motherhood days. I would rush home from school to catch it or stay at school and watch it while I worked. Now, I rush to pick M up and get on with our day.

But Tuesday is super special. Eliot's story will be aired Tuesday. Matt and Ginny, his parents, had the privilege of raising an amazing son for 100 days. Oprah is doing an episode on Miracle Children. Eliot is the only child who is no longer alive, yet he is included. His story is a miracle. Matt and Ginny, who is a sorority sister of several of my friends, have faith that will bring you to your knees. I encourage you to read his blog. Read Eliot's story.

So, please set your TiVo or DVR or sit down and watch it live.

Oh, get a box of kleenex first. You'll need it, trust me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reap what you sow

Preparing for a birthday party takes hard work.

Hard work by Daddy and birthday girl.

Hard work by Mommy (and dear friend Susie--a million thanks, Suz!)

But every single second of the hardwork was worth it for this moment.

The birthday party was a great success. M had a great time and was doing great until it was time to open presents. She even got a few open before falling apart. We bribed her to finish opening them, which she did. This afternoon and evening, she had a great time looking through all of her new stuff.

I think her friends had a good time, too. We had games set up like a festival. When the children arrived, they made their goodie bags at the bottom of the driveway. The games were set up on one side of the yard. As they finished playing the games, they earned prizes for their goodie bags (caramel apples, chocolate suckers, bubbles and toys). After they played the games, they played in M's play area, ate lunch, sang happy birthday and had cucpakes (seen above--made from scratch!!!!). Most left while we were opening presents. I'm proud to say that we stayed mostly on schedule.

I'm glad birthdays only come once a year. We had fun getting ready, but it was SUPER hard work. This weekend marks the end of our busiest month in a long, long time. I'm looking forward to some down time for everyone around here.

Thanks for all the well wishes as we prepared for the big day. You were right: it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Had a good day?

So glad to report that my sweet M is back, although three is turning out to be a tad more difficult than two was. There is more limit pushing, more sassiness, more "big girl" behaviors. It sort of takes my breath away.

We're frantically busy around here as we prepare for the big birthday party this weekend. I doubt I'll be posting or reading much until next week. I hope all is well in your bloggy-world and in your reality. I look forward to catching up when all is said and done and we've had long naps.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Had a bad day?

You know that song, "Had a Bad Day?"

M had a day like that.

Today was a huge Jazz Festival that I've been preparing for all week. As in, enlisting the help of multiple friends to cut fabric, watch my child, sitting at the sewing machine for hours, asking H to cut dangly thread. You get the idea. (Pictures and more information about the Jazz Festival will be posted soon)

All week, I've been talking to M about how I needed her help today. How she was going to be such a big girl and help sell some of Mommy's fun sewing. ETC, ETC, ETC. She acted so excited at the thought of being my helper and doing fun things.

Apparently, the Jazz Festival wasn't so fun for her. Someone (thing) came in the middle of the night and took away my sweet, easy-going, most-of-the-time-obedient child and put in her place a demon-child.

Friends, let me tell you. It was UGLY. U.G.L.Y. UGLY. Uglier than ugly. She pulled on my clothes. She screamed my name whenever I spoke with ANYONE. She needed to visit the port-a-potty twice in less than 10 minutes. She spilled hot chocolate all over herself. She insisted she was hungry, but when given food, threw it away. She was told not to mess with my sweet friend's jewelry, but then messed with it NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE. (We're talking more than touching...bending, moving, flipping over) She tried, repeatedly, to crawl under Aub's table to hide, or play with the beads on the table cloth, or whatever it was she was doing on the ground. She put my jacket on the ground and stomped all over it. She put HER sweater on the ground and stomped all over IT. She threw everything that was in my chair on the ground, curled up in and it and told me she was tired. When I walked over to her to comfort her, she screamed at me, got up and marched off. We had to make a trip behind the bushes for some corrective discipline.

M had a bad day. Mommy had a bad day.

I'm praying that overnight, my sweet M is returned to me. That the demon child that inhabited her little body today is gone and my sweet girl is back in a few hours.

Monday, October 13, 2008

7 Years of (bitter)Sweetness

Seven years ago today I said, "I do" to my one-and-only, my greatest man, my heart throb.

How in the world could I have predicted this roller coaster we've been on? I wouldn't trade one single second of this breath-taking journey. Not a single nanosecond.

Despite my actions, every single day, I'm glad I'm married to you. There is no one else on this earth I'd rather spend my life with.

Seven years ago, could you have imagined all the joy we've had together? All the moments of laughter? All the little secrets that only we know? All the forgiveness? Did you imagine our lives with M? I didn't. I couldn't.

Our lives together have been so much MORE than I could have imagined. I couldn't imagine the late nights playing games and laughing until I hiccuped. The moments of complete togetherness when we just know--whatever it is that we know. The highs have been so much higher. We are capable of so much more, together, than I ever dreamed we would be.

Our lives together have been so much harder than I thought, too. Struggling to find the money to pay the bills in the early years. Struggling to align our steps with each other. I never thought I'd lose two of our babies. I never thought we'd struggle with misunderstanding each other in our grief. I never imagined pain so deep that lasted so long. I never imagined door-slamming, screaming arguments. The lows have been so much lower than I imagined. But, my sweetheart, I wouldn't want to find comfort in any one's arms but yours.

Seven years. Did you think we'd make it this long? Did you REALLY think we could? Seven years ago, I remember meeting someone, casually, who had been married 10 years. I remember thinking to myself, "Ten years??? That's possible?" Ten years sounded like a lifetime. Now that seven years have passed so quickly, I see that ten years is nothing. We're going to make that--and so many more.

We have so many memories yet to make. We have so many experiences just waiting on us. On us to do them together, hand in hand.

Grab my hand--we've got some things to do. Happy 7th anniversary, H. I love you a so much more, so much deeper, today than I did 7 years ago. I can't wait to see what the next 7 bring...and the next 7 after that and even after that.

I love you.

My Best Shot

My little M had a big birthday yesterday. We took her away for the weekend to "her mountain" where there is a little village, a train, and a historic town complete with a petting zoo with sheep and goats. M was so excited to see the animals. It was all she could talk about. It was another story when we actually got in the fence. She would have NOTHING to do with the animals. Then she discovered this little guy. He stole her heart. They whispered secrets to each other for quite a while. She wouldn't pet him, but she sure enjoyed talking to him. I have hundreds of pictures I could post for MBS, but I just love this one of a heart-to-heart between a goat and my child.

I can't wait to see other MBS.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

3 Years Older

Dearest M,

Three years ago today, right this moment, you were 4 hours old. You were the tiniest, squeakiest, squishiest, most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. Today, you are the most animated, funniest, opinionated 3 year old I know. I'm amazed by how much you've grown and changed. You're in a strange place between baby-hood and little-girl-hood. You still want your snuggles at nap and bed times. You still want to be held and carried. You still want to drink out of a sippy cup. On the other hand, you say things like, "Mom…(long pause) I was talking to Daddy." Or "Mom, I don't like (fill in the blank)" as if I should know and realize this particular thing about you. "I can do it myself" is a phrase your daddy and I hear ALL THE TIME around our house.

Today when people asked how old you are, you responded, "Three years older."

How did you get this way? How is it possible that you changed SO MUCH in just three short years? I tried so hard to savor each moment with you, yet somehow, so much has slipped by, unnoticed. When did your vocabulary become so diverse? When did you learn so many songs? When did you decide what you like and don't like? How did I miss all that? How could I possibly miss that baby I knew morphing into this amazing toddler who knows so much? How in the world can I keep up with who you are becoming?

I love you, precious girl. I love every single thing about you. I love the never-ceasing talking. I love that sweet singing. I love the bazillion questions…even the ones I've answered 100 times.

I love you when you're like this.

And I love you when you're like this.


Mommy (AKA Mom)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hibernating in my busy-ness

Seems strange to say hibernating in my busy-ness, but that's what I seem to be doing. Wrapping it around myself like a cozy, comfortable blanket. So much has been going on. I'm aware of how much just by listening to the Presidential Debate going on behind me. I'm so out of touch that I'm truly not even worried about the economy right now. I'm too busy to be worried about money I don't have-and most definitely will not have if this economic crisis continues!

Along with this cozy busy-ness wrapped around myself, a heavier blanket of sadness is wrapping itself around me, suffocating me, almost. When I arrived at school Monday morning, I learned the devastating news that one of my former students died. I can not begin to describe how my heart breaks for her mother and her younger sisters. I'm reminded over and over again that this life is NOT OUR OWN. Every day that we are granted is a blessing from above.

It pains me to say God is in control. God ordained this. God decided the precise moment this precious child would take her last breath. Just as God knew how long each baby would live in my womb. I don't want to acknowledge that God designed those things for His own glory. I want to fling every imaginable items on this table at the walls and scream about injustice; about pain; about LOSING SOMETHING YOU LOVE; about SUFFERING; about yearning for something you can never have again. I can not, for one single second, tell you how much it hurts me to admit that my God, my Heavenly Father, the God of LOVE, knows how much we hurt and yet allows us to do so. In our darkest hour of pain and suffering only He can sustain us. I know this moment is not about me. I know that my pain and heartache is not the nucleus of all of pain and suffering in this world. But from my own hurt, I understand the heartache of a mother who just lost her oldest daughter. It is because my own mommy heart has cried out in the agonized cry of loss that I carry the tiniest burden of this other mother. From the core of my own sadness, I cry for this mother who has loved her daughter for just 3 weeks shy of 15 years.

It might be a few more weeks until I can shed these blankets in which I am cocooned. I'm living in a place of lists right now. Ordered tasks that must be completed before moving on. Simplify is not happening at the Benson house right now. What is the opposite? Busy-fy? Over commit? Fill-every-moment with must-be-dones? Tonight, for 2 hours, I put everything aside and made castles with blocks on the floor with M, threw the ball with the dog and laughed until I cried at the funny things M did and said. That is the only thing that makes the busy-ness and sadness bearable.

Oh, and when you're having one of those hectic, too busy to really live moments (or months), feel free to make up your own words, too. It lightens the load a bit!