Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I frantically dug through my suitcase, my hands moving clothes and books aside as I looked for the only important item that I had taken with me on my trip.  It was nowhere to be found.  Aside from my light pink shirt I had packed, nothing else of that shade existed in my bag. 

It was Sunday night and I had just returned home from a wonderful and enjoyable weekend with 3,400 other moms for the annual MOPS convention.  It was my first year to go and I was so glad to have been able to attend.  I had left Daddy in charge of the three munchkins and headed off without a single child-like article anywhere near my body or in my purse.  I was kid free for 3 full days.  It was just what I needed and at the time that I needed it. 

I take that back.  I did actually have one baby item, but this item belonged to my first baby, sweet Molly Ann.  I had packed her pink baby blanket that we had wrapped her up when she was in the hospital and had touched her skin and wiped her tears and mine when we were sad.  It holds immense value and is one of my treasured items from that week with her.  My other treasured item is a set of photos that an angel from Heaven took of Molly, just a few hours after she was born.  In these photos, her entire face is free of tubes, tape, and wires.  She is beautiful and whole, just as I imagine she is with Jesus. 

So I took the blanket with me, to sleep with at night like I do every other night whether at home or away.  I have slept with this blanket for 5 and 1/2 years.  It's even gone with me to the hospital when I delivered my other three girls.  

Back to the present.  It's nearly midnight on Sunday when I am finally ready to fall into my bed when I realize I don't have her blanket on my pillow.  I dug through my suitcase for it, willing it to show up underneath a sweater or pile of books from the weekend.  Please, please let it be here.  But in my heart, I know right where it is.  "It's probably stuck in the sheets of my bed in the hotel," I sob to Jake as I keep looking.  I can't believe it's not here. I can't believe I left it! 

That was 2 days ago and it feels like forever.  Molly's blanket is still missing and my heart is missing her even more.  Last night Jake asked me how I was doing and I told him that it felt like I was grieving Molly all over again.  It's hard to explain but it almost feels like an old wound has been opened back up again and I thought it was getting better.  Or like getting a new wound on an old scar, it hurts pretty bad. 

Someone told me today that this is just part of my story and God would use it to weave something new into it.  She's right, I just wish it didn't have to mean losing another piece of Molly. 

Will you pray with me that someone finds it?? 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

May 2009

*Disclaimer: I wrote this post in May of this year, but never posted it that month due to the busyness of life. So it's finally happening. As you read it, imagine it's still May 2013. :)

Four years ago to the month, Jake and I found ourselves driving along the Peak to Peak Highway in agony and anger.  We needed an out, a place to get away to. To breathe, to cry. 

We finally stopped at a National Park with a glistening lake tucked away in the valley of Longs Peak and Twin Sisters Peak.  We got out of the car and started walking, holding hands and silent. We couldn't get away from what was coming but it felt good to try.  To physically exert ourselves with the pent up emotions and hurt in our hearts.

We rounded the far side of the lake and took a trail off to the right and up into the hills.  After walking for a bit, we decided to spend some time alone, to think, pray, and process.  I continued to pound my feet along the rocky path until I found a large stone that overlooked a valley and snowy peaks. I sat and gazed at the beauty around me and wondered where God was in my suffering. The wind picked up and I thought about how God must be in it. Strong and fearsome, and yet right now, so quiet.

We had just learned the day before that the little one being knit together in my womb had stopped living. This baby was gone. Not to be carried to term. Not to be brought home like I desperately longed to. And yet again we were being plunged into grief.

We had gotten away to think, to process this new loss. Eleven months out from watching our first baby, Molly, die from a rare brain aneurysm, we were just 14 weeks pregnant with baby number two and starting to tell people of this new life.

On this walk by the lake we both struggled in different ways. Me with my anger and questions of how God could do this to us. Extend hope only to pull it away. Jake struggled with his faith and attempted to make deals with the Creator in order to make sense of this fresh loss.

That was four years ago. 

Today, after an early morning surprise date in which we road horses in Estes Park and walked around a historic hotel, we found ourselves back on that same highway looking for a good place to hike and talk. No agenda, just looking for something to do before we had to be home to relieve our sitter.  We have discovered in our 7 years of marriage that long car rides or walks often yield really good conversations between the two of us. 

And where did we end up?  At that same lake and trail we had been at only four years earlier.  Oddly enough, that lake is called Lily Lake and across the road is Twin Sisters Peak and trailhead.  Pretty neat, huh?

The twins' middle names are a reminder of what God allowed to happen in our lives by giving us Molly only to take her back a week later.  Piper Marah (which means bitter turned to sweet) and Lily Mataya (which means unexpected gift from God).  

On that hike today we realized so many things.  God was indeed with us when we felt Him the least.  Even though we had lost another baby, He had other plans in store for us.  Plans that we couldn't fathom or see possible at the time.  And isn't that so gracious of Him? To give us more than we asked for?  To bless us even more than we imagined?  That is our God.

Piper was our baby A, the only baby we were expecting when we discovered I was pregnant in August of 2009. Because when most women take a pregnancy test, they think, "woo hoo!! We're pregnant! We're going to have a baby!!" Most people don't expect to be pregnant with twins.  Well, several weeks later, we discovered an "unexpected gift from God", Lily Mataya, our Baby B. 

This second time at Lily Lake, I experienced so many emotions.  Jake and I stood at that same rock that I had sat on 4 years earlier and I just cried.  I cried for the babies we had lost, the road we had traveled, the hard days of not understanding why God had allowed us this cup, and how much my heart was missing my babies in Heaven.  And I also cried tears of immense joy.  Tears for the incredible gift that we have in all three of our living daughters: Piper, Lily, and sweet little Rainey.  I am overjoyed at what God has given us.  

He has given us so many gifts.  And that's just what our girls are: unexpected gifts that we do not deserve, on loan to us from our Sovereign God. 

Thank you, sweet Jesus.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Birthdays

First year we gathered with my parents and Jake's parents, each of us wrote her a note on a pretty 4 by 5 card and read them aloud.  We spent time in prayer and reflection over what God had done in the last year since her birth and death.  That time was so neat as all six of us were together again in honor of Molly and her life.  The last time we had all been together was when she was alive.  So in some ways I felt like her memories were even brighter that first anniversary having everyone together.

In 2010, we celebrated with two extra special guests: Molly's little sisters, Piper Marah and Lily Mataya.  The twins were just a few months old and we ate cake while they laid on a blanket watching the balloons that were tied to their wrists.  That year I felt like I had sort of accomplished a huge feat, carrying twins and bringing them home felt so good.  And they were healthy too, such a praise!!

For the third year, a close girlfriend of mine asked me how we were planning on celebrating that year and I told her I had no idea.  With the twins being 14 months and starting to walk, I was a little busy and overwhelmed.  She suggested that we get together and have a picnic there.  It was a perfect idea.  Several close girlfriends and I gathered together on a denim picnic blanket and had little sandwiches, fruit, and birthday cupcakes and looked through photos of Molly.  Through tears we sang happy birthday to Molly and then we sang Jesus Loves Me.  It was so nice to get together with friends, most of whom had never been to her doorway before.  I was honored to get to share that time with them.

Then in 2012, it was Jacob, myself, and the twins.  I was pregnant with Rainey.  I made a chocolate cake, one that Jacob requested and we all sat together by her doorway.  The twins wandered around gabbing about this and that and pausing every now and then to smell the roses in Molly's vase.  It was really sweet and fun.  We stayed late and let our balloons go in the dark. Lily didn't want me to write on her balloon so she grabbed it and let it go.  It was pretty funny.

This year, 2013, as we celebrated the fifth year since Molly's birth, I was struck with the realization that I didn't know what I wanted to do to celebrate her.  I was having a hard time deciding how we were going to honor her for the five years that had flown by.  After talking with my family and some friends, we decided to do her birthday party like we had every year before: At her doorway, singing to her and Jesus, and celebrating with cake and balloons.

Besides our family, we had Jake's brother Ozzie and his wife Johanna, their baby boy Shiloh and we also had Mark Mutz there, another brother of Jake and Ozzie's. The time at her doorway was easy going, relaxed, and just wonderful. We ate a delicious picnic lunch provided by Johanna, had tasty high hat cupcakes with pink sprinkles on top.  After we ate, we blew up some balloons and started writing notes to the birthday girl of honor.  I read some entries from Molly's red journal and a few of us cried.

Then we sang Happy Birthday to Molly, Amazing Grace, and then we kissed our balloons and let them fly high into the blue Colorado sky.  It was the perfect ending to a beautiful celebration.  Especially perfect for our Mighty Molly and her Fifth Birthday!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday Molly Ann!

Sweet Pea,
Today marks 5 years since you were born!  It's amazing to me what has happened in these past 5 years.  In some ways, I feel that I am living the life I hoped I would after handing you to Jesus and then in other ways my heart has a perfect Molly sized hole that will only be filled in glory.

Lately I have been volunteering at church in the kids ministry.  It's something we haven't done since I was pregnant with you.  In fact, the picture I have when I check in to serve at church is a photo of me carrying you in my tummy.  It was taken when we served in the 2 year old room and hasn't been changed, which is always something I think about each time I check in to volunteer. Instead of serving with the 2 year olds, this time I was placed in the 5 year old room.  Each week I am there, I get a little taste of what it would be like to have you here with us.  A busy little girl, who would choose out her own clothes and shoes and maybe take some money for the offering.  Your hair would be golden blonde, held back by a headband at your Daddy's request.  You would dance silly and wave your arms during the songs and probably spend most of the free time at the coloring table or in the dress up section.  You would make friends with some of the other little girls and you would giggle and talk about  how you don't like bugs or how your shirt matches your friends' shirt.  While I will never know exactly what you would be like, it's been soothing to my heart to be able to serve with that age group.

Oh Molly, I am so ready to be with you in Heaven.  I miss you so very much!! I looked through photos of you just now and was taken back to our days with you.  They were so wonderful and so short, too short.  I wish I could jump back in time and spend an hour with you, talking to you and rubbing your back or little hands. Having your baby sister, Rainey has given me a small glimpse into what life would have been like with one baby.  I think of you often when I snuggle her or hug her tight. Her skin reminds me of yours, so soft and smooth.

I imagine your birthday party in Heaven is a smash hit!! The cupcakes I will be making for you won't compare to the sights, sounds, and tastes of glory and being with Jesus. I love you sweet girl. I cannot wait to see you again.

I love you so much precious girl!! You are and always will be my favorite Molly Ann!

Hugs and Kisses from here to there,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I am blessed beyond measure.
I am filled to the brim with joy.
I am delighted to be called Mommy!

Three beautiful daughters to hold and kiss as much as I want!

My heart is happy and full!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Easter Fun 2013

I had a baby 7 months ago...

And about four weeks into that tiny little girls' life, we decided we needed more chaos so we started potty training our twins who were just 2 and 1/2 years old.

People told me I was crazy. And they were right. I was sleep deprived, hungry, hormonal, tired of changing three sets of diapers multiple times a day, and yet we did it anyway.  I stopped nursing Rainey multiple times to run a toddler to the potty with pee running down her legs, or to clean up an accident before it became part of our carpet for good.

The twins are now truly potty trained.  Even at night, they stay dry which we are super grateful for.  Now I am only changing diapers for one small child, which I don't mind one bit.

Rainey is now 7 months old.  She likes to sit up, smack her hands on her legs and the floor, grasping for anything to wrap her delicate fingers around.  She loves sweet potatoes, carrots, yogurt, and chewing on anything she can get her hands on.  She especially loves it when I wear long, bubbly necklaces that she can stuff into her mouth and gnaw on as drool pours out of her mouth.  It's messy, but pretty sweet.

Sweet girl!!She is so happy and loveable!

 Play time with cousin Shiloh!!  They are best buddies!!

Bundled up in the front pack on Mommy for a nice long winter hike!!

Bathtime with big sisters!! Rainey absolutely loves this.  She is so enamored with all that the twins are doing on either side of her.

She is sweet, giggly, and brightens our spirits whenever we see her.  She loves to watch her big sisters running circles around her.  One evening, I was trying to feed her some solids after her bottle and I had a hard time getting the spoon into her mouth because she had her eyes trained on Piper who was opening and closing the shades in the kitchen, over and over again.

We have had a busy season since she came into our lives.  When I find time to write again, I'll tell you about some of our adventures and trips we've been on.  For now I'm so tired, I'm not really focusing on the computer screen, just trying to think of how to finish this post. Oh.. I know!

The end.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A New Tradition

I know it's a little late to be talking about Christmas, but I just felt so compelled to write this very moment.  I started a new tradition with our little family last Christmas, in 2011.  I can't remember where I thought of it, but it's a really sweet one and something I hope sticks around for awhile.

If you were to visit our home during this past Christmas season you would see all the great decorations that I have an absolute blast hanging up and displaying. It is probably my favorite holiday to decorate for.  You would hear Christmas music playing throughout the house and you would probably smell a warm scent of cinnamon or peppermint as a candle burns on our kitchen counter.

You would also see our mantle and what's hanging from it.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just the typical group of stockings dangling from their perch upon the mantle.  And your eyes would glance from left to right and enjoy the various details on each one.  There's Jacob's stocking with it's incredible needlepoint depiction of the three wise men, one his amazing Grandma made for him.  Then you would see mine, also a needlepoint but from Lands End and not someone's Grandma. :)  It has an angel on it that I think is declaring the glory of God.  Then there's Piper's with a ballerina on it, Lily's with a red doll, and then Rainey's with an ice skater.   And then your eyes would stop.  Hang on a second, you've got an extra stocking up there.  Let me count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  Six? Why are there six?  Oh.  There's a stocking for Molly hanging in the midst of the rest of our girls' stockings.

Sweet Molly.  Her stocking has a beautiful angel on it dressed in white, with blonde hair.  I bought it for her our first Christmas without her in 2008.  And in 2011, I finally put something inside of it.

We had my husband's family in town for Christmas that year and since we spent the holidays in the mountains, we brought our stockings with us.

I have never really known what to put in her stocking or how to incorporate her during Christmas.  I have some ornaments that are hers and sometimes I add another one that made me think of her.  But quite honestly, that was all I had done to remember her during Christmas.

So in 2011, I bought a small notebook with sheets of colored paper in it and propped it up with a pen on the ledge above her stocking.  And then I waited.  And then someone asked, what's the notebook for?  Yes! I get to tell them my great idea!

It's for Molly, I say.  You can write her a note and stick it in her stocking.  Draw her a picture or do whatever.  No pressure, of course, just wanted to throw it out there for people if they wanted to.

Several days after all the family had gone home and we were back in our usual routine, I sat down at the kitchen table to read those six precious letters.  Something I treasure more than any gift I could be given on Christmas day.  I remember crying through each one, even the one Lily had down where she scrawled on it with a pen and then I wrote her name on it, the date, and a short note, I love you Molly.

And then today, January 17th, when I should have been making dinner, I finally sat down to read five more letters placed in her stocking less than a month ago.  And I just cried.  I did. I wept like we had just lost her.  The pain was so fresh and the memories so clear.  I glanced through photos of her precious face, already with Jesus, and I sobbed.  Hunched over at my desk, I felt that familiar ache and the longing that I have to be in the presence of my Savior and my sweet Molly.

I realize that we may not always do this one tradition and one day we will probably forget.  But for now, it's sweet and something I cherish as I think of our sweet girl and long for the day when I will go to be with her.

(Now I gotta go make dinner for my family!!)