Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy 11th Birthday, Tookie!!

I'm not liking today. 

My baby is 11.

And since it is also the last day of school, my 11-year-old is also a 6th grader. 

That is just too much to emotionally process in one day. 

Here's my baby with her baby picture and her bead jar. 
There are 2,555 beads left in this jar; one for each day until her 18th birthday.
I take one out each day....a visual reminder to make each day count.

As if looking at her all grown-up-and-11-looking wasn't reminder enough.

Tookie was a scheduled c-section.  Exactly 11-years and a day ago, I knew she was getting ready to arrive.  She always has been on time....never a minute too soon and never a minute late.  It's funny how this little tidbit is true to her character even now....She is a rule-follower, and she takes things in  the most literal context possible.

(which sort of makes in hard for those of us who like to talk in figures-of-speech)
(funny when we are just messing around with her, though)

When Tookie was a baby, we were undergoing some remodeling on our home.  I slept with her in Nathan's room while he camped out in the living room.
There was a little trick I used to get her to sleep through the night.
Whenever she would start to stir a bit, I would snuggle in close, put my cheek on her cheek or forehead and whisper:

It's okay baby.  Mama's here.  Mama's right here.

And the most wonderful thing happened every time.
She would turn her face in towards mine, snuggle up and rest again. 
She just wanted to know that mama was close.

Tookie loves it when I tell her this story.  This is what the story looks like 11 years later:


Dear Danielle Renae,

Mama loves you.  I am so proud of you and the sweet girl that you are.  I know that you sometimes feel like you are being ripped off for being the youngest.  The last to get get to do everything fun and the first one to get tucked in at night. 

And I don't help matters.  As much as you want to hurry up and grow up, I am clinging to every moment, hoping to hold on to them for just a little bit longer than each moment is supposed to last. 

I am so thankful to God for giving you to me.  I am so grateful for the privilege of raising you.  Grateful for the 2,555 beads that are still in that jar.

Even though I have to let go of your hand and step back every once in a while, there is a little secret that I want to tell you:  

It's okay baby girl.  
Mama's right here.  

I'll always be close by.  

Love, Mama

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bring on the High School Softball Season....

I couldn't be more excited to watch the next season for my Wildcat Softball player:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Photo Dump

Brady at his first outdoor National track meet. He had to qualify to get in to this meet.  We are so proud of his hard work his first year of college. 

Brinn makes her first trip to the State Track Meet.  Here she is running the second leg of the Sprint Medley Relay.

Nathan spent the last couple of weeks battling concussion symptoms.  I am happy to say that he has passed his concussion test.  Now....if only he can do as well on his spanish final.....

A little bit of tickle torture going on with some siblings here. 

Found this photo on my camera.  "Three-fingers-and-a-pinch" is the message for me from Claire.  Thank you sweet girl for the secret message.  Three-fingers-and-a-pinch to you too....
In the middle of running to doctors, running to track meets, running to work, running kids everywhere, it was necessary to my emotional well-being to "stop and smell the roses."  Or in this the birds.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Snapshot from Friday, May 3, 2013

I remember situations in terms of stories and snapshots. 

When I look back on a photo, I think of the story behind the picture. 

When I tell a story, I have a picture in my mind. 

It is weird how I am wired that way.  And probably why I like to write and take pictures.  It gives me a clearer understanding in my mind. 

I don't have any snapshots from last night.  I will have to create the slideshow in words.  Please understand that this is only 1/6th of the story, and in all fairness, not even that because it is the story told through my lens... as the night played out for me, and none of the key characters.

Friday, May 3, 2013:

I fall asleep downstairs while watching the T.V.  and my kindle is laying on my lap.  The news hadn't started yet.  Or maybe it did.  Apparently I was going to stay up for the news.  

Brian came downstairs to check on me.  I notice that I have one missed call.  

The dogs upstairs start to bark.  Brian turns the T.V. on mute.  We hear a knock on the door.  Brian checks it.  I follow slowly behind.

Slowly, until I hear my son's name.   

 A police officer is standing outside of my door.
There has been a car accident.  A car is flipped upside down on a fence just outside of town. The kids appear to be okay.  But they are not sure where Nathan is.  The kids on the scene say that Nathan was there, but then he walked away.  
My mind is not keeping up with the scene in front of me.
"So was Nathan in the accident?" I ask?  
They think so, but he is not there.  They need to find him.
"Was he driving?"
I'm told that 3 to 6 kids were in the vehicle from what they know so far.  If Nathan was one of them, he either walked away or was thrown from the car.

While I am talking but not understanding what is going on with the conversation in front of me, Brian calls Nathan and he answers.  
Yes he was in the accident. 
He ran back into town, got in his truck and drove to his dad's house.
To get help?
Because he was scared?
Is he okay?
He was on his way back to the scene.

Brian drives me just barely outside of town.
We pull up as close as we can.
The only lights are flashing ones.
I get out and run towards the lights.

I see the car.
It is upside down in the ditch and along the fence.
I hear my name.
One of the EMTs on the scene pulled me into the ambulance.

I am relieved to see Nathan sitting up.
I am relieved to see two other kids in the ambulance with their eyes open and conscious. 
I want to know what has happened. 
I see tears just barely at the surface of Nathan's eyes.
So I hold mine back.
And I hold him.

We drive to the hospital.
I'm on the phone with Marz. 
Trying to reassure her that everything is going to be okay.
There have been too many car accidents in the last few years involving their friends.
Car accidents that did not turn out to be okay.
That realization hit me right at that moment.
I thought I was going to throw up.

I call the person I had a missed call from.  
It was one of the EMT's I met on the scene. 
Her daughter was in the car as well.
She is okay.

Not everyone went to the hospital. 
Those who did were seen and discharged.
Nathan is still scared.
He has a concussion.
I have my son.
And he still has his friends.
We all get to go home and sleep in our beds.
And wake up to a new day.

My mind races back through every scene.
Sleep does not come without the dreams that haunt.
I replay the story.
I hear the officer tell me that Nathan is missing.
I hear Nathan's voice on the phone. Not the words, but the panic.
I see the flashing lights
and the car.
My stomach turns as my mind replays each snapshot.

This morning I still don't have all the answers of what happened last night.
I know the kids were looking for a lane to turn around in and head back into town.
I know they were going too fast and it was too wet and probably not taking the situation too seriously.
I know there were not enough seat belts for the number of kids in the car.
I know my son panicked and ran.
I know that the kids are all okay.
They all know that it is a night that could have turned out very differently.

And I know that too.
I'm praising God for his mercy
his compassion
and a new day.