Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 25

I have started a few post as we camp out in the basement for market. I just didn't feel the groove to finish them. May at some point, but not now. I was beginning to think that maybe this drive to write was over. Good while it lasted and may come back later. BUT THEN, something just fell into my lap which really could not be passed over.

Yesterday, when school was dismissing, Sadie set off the fire alarm. I am NOT KIDDING. Before we go any further let me clarify that every eye witness confirms to me that it was COMPLETELY ACCIDENTAL. My poor, poor little girl. She was jemmying along the wall waiting with my fellow car pool mom (bless her heart) for the 3rd graders to be dismissed. Her back was to the wall and with arms held over her head, she somehow hit the alarm (which did not have a protective cover). She had no idea she was the culprit and even asked the mom, "What is that noise - is that the fire alarm?" The unfortunate thing was that the middle school who was not due out for another 45 minutes to an hour had to completely clear out as well. I am sure there was some chaos as students and parents were trying to connect on a Friday afternoon and some classes still had to go to their designated fire alarm position. I can only imagine - just really, really glad I did not have to deal with that.

It must have been a blessing that the car pool mom was there instead of me. I mean, I would not have been kind to Sadie - even if accidental. I was mortified when my carpool mom told me in my own driveway and I can only imagine how I would have been had I been present. I praise God that Sadie was spared that humiliation as I know, sadly, that I would not have been able to control myself. I would have destroyed her little spirit. Pride is a terrible, terrible thing in my life and I pray to God to destroy it in me.

Thankfully, fabulous report cards came home Friday and Sadie's behavior improvements over last year (even with the same teacher this year) were amazing. I am so proud of her! Ethan rocked as usual. Rewards to come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To every thing there is a season

Just two or three days before we moved out for market, Jay decided to finish up the bookshelves in our study. Not only did this mean fashioning the shelves out of wood, staining and then installing the shelves, but, it included hauling, from the basement storage room, 8+ boxes filled with books. The boxes were quickly unpacked and loaded up on the shelves.

These 8+ boxes were very interesting to say the least - truly embodying the curious tincture of the stages of our lives. Some of these boxes, I think, had not been unpacked since I moved from my last apartment as a single gal - over 10 years ago. The rest were packed when we moved from Greensboro about 6 years ago. So, it was with much curiosity that we started unloading the boxes, and randomly placing the contents on the shelves. Man, we have a lot of books.

The varying books are so significant because they basically chart out our lives - which is very hmmm - eclectic, diverse, changing, revolving. Here is a snippet:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Hiding My Candy by The Lady Chablis (yes, I typed that correctly)
Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell
Let's Go Europe (1995 version) - travel Guide
She's Coming Undone by Wally Lamb (2 copies of this book and I don't recall ever reading it)
From Potter's Field by Patricia Cornwell
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Word
Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster by Phillips
Left Behind by LaHaye/Jenkins and a three follow-ups to this series
Ledford Senior High School year book - 1989 (eek!)
English Words from Latin and Greek elements
Chicken Soup for the Soul (also Woman's Soul and Christian Soul edition)
Build Your Own Kitchen Cabinets by Proux
Catamaran Sailing by Berman
Power Prospecting by Hansen
The Office - Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD (not a book, but boxed up from when our floors were redone when we had a leak.
Lies Women Believe by DeMoss
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by Piper

I see a survey of college life, vacation reading, high school memories, hobby interests, work enhancement and finally, what actually dominates the collection, our spiritual walk. Except for the latter, it is probably time to purge.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

nothing in particular

Entry from two weeks ago - never posted:

Obviously, something is going on with my hormones. I just teared up over "Barbie, Island Princess." Maybe market cleaning has pushed me over the edge. Dunno. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. Things are definitely looking good!

Soccer games today - Sadie scored two goals, Ethan came very close and had several assists. It was a blustery, but nice fall day.

Lily couldn't seem to find any place to sit except for my lap, but seemed to have much to complain about when I would yell in support for the team.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Remembering the End - draft 2

I first published this post in March. I have since revised a few things. It is October - the official Pink month. May none of us ever endure what she did. Here is how I remember the end.

The call came in the middle of the night. As was the custom over the past three years, my sleep was light. Calls in the middle of the night always make you jump, giving you a quick stab in the stomach. This call was no exception. It was Todd. The hospital had called. Ansley wasn't breathing well and they thought he should come to the hospital. Had they not given Todd clear information about Ansley's condition, or was he holding back what he knew?, He gave me the option of meeting him there. He also said he would call me once he got there and assessed the situation. We hung up. I sat on the floor of my bathroom thinking. The floor was cold and I remember working through my mind if I should head over there or wait until the morning. I realized that I didn't feel well - my body was incredibly achy and my head hurt. My stomach was churning. Was it from the news or something else?

I went back to my bed and waited, not sleeping, not even close to sleeping. The next call came some 20 minutes later. I answered the phone before the ring had finished sounding. This time it was from Mom. She said she was going to the hospital - Todd had called. The information was still foggy and her tone was a little vague. I wasn't sure whether to go or not. She told me very clearly that I should go. I woke Jay in his coma-like sleep to tell him. I quickly got dressed and prayed that I would start to feel better. It was a very chilly February night - I remember shivering and feeling my stomach continue its roller coaster. Halfway through the drive, ironically in my mother's neighborhood, I pulled over to vomit. My own body was fighting sickness. The continued drive was silent and lonely and long. There was only one other car on Wendover and I realized that with its flashing lights that it was Pastor Bill. My stomach and heart did another jump - it was more serious than I had worked in my mind. I no longer felt the sickness of my own body as adrenaline took over. We raced together down the empty streets, a tandem team, to reach someone before she was gone.

I walked down the silent hospital corridor and into ICU. My pace quickened as I neared her room which was more like a large open cubicle with some sort of sliding glass door. My countenance collapsed when I saw her for the first time. My hopes vanished. My heart hurting. She was gasping for breath, her defeated body shuddering and fighting each inhale. She was pale with her eyes closed. I cried, "Oh, Ainie." I was quickly given the update - it was still a little unknown but she was not doing well. This might be the end.

I stared at the monitors hoping to see some positive change - to see the numbers inch even slightly up to give me some sort of hope. Even with the oxygen mask she couldn't muster above an oxygen level of 85. My face fell. I cried softly.

I went to Ansley's side and held her hand. I told her that I was there. I loved her. I went in close and kissed her cheek and forehead. Her body not changing, recognition not there. I stayed in my spot, planted, holding the hand of the person I loved longer than any other in my lifetime.

This hand. The hand that had dressed many dolls with me, had made me meals, who had patted me on the back, had angrily pointed at me, had held my wedding bouquet and Jay's wedding ring, had stroked my hair, had found buckets of seashells and shark's teeth, had punched me, hit me and loved me, had drawn pictures on my back to help me sleep, had created beautiful pieces of artwork and had held me crying from a broken heart. The hands that held each of my three children in the first moments of their lives. The same hands that would clap in excitement when great news was at hand. A hand that was pressed together when praying the sweetest, most heart-felt prayers to our Father on my behalf. Her hand was soft from the lotion I had applied just a day earlier. They were always our connection, even when we were small. She loved to have her arms scratched and being the only sibling, that duty often fell to me. It seemed only natural that while we waited on doctors, treatments, and most often when she was trying to brave the pain and suffering, that I would try to bring her comfort with my well-practiced strokes.

I was only there a short time - or so it seemed. I felt the strong urge to read to her from her bible. I opened up to Isaiah, her favorite book from the Old Testament. I began reading...

The monitor displayed ominous signs of the end. The warning alarm of a condition that would normally bring in the nurses was turned off. Flashes of memory of that time - Pastor Bill praying over Ansley, John asking questions to the nurse, Todd whispering his love to Ansley in her ear, my dad and mom standing across the bed from me - both of them with red eyes, tears, and contorted hurt and pain on their faces - coming together to say goodbye to one they created together. Pastor Bill and Tammy at the foot of the bed - Tammy crying quite audibly.

Was this it - is the day I had imagined and begged never to arrive, finally here? I am so unprepared, God. This can't be happening. No, not now. I want to scream. Someone do something. She can be saved for a few more days. No - no - no.

The weight of the moment was too much for me - I was overwhelmed. My head, heavy with sorrow, bent over and drooped onto the bed and Ansley's legs. I could only mutter, "no, no, no." I never wanted to raise my head and body again as if I could somehow suffocate this moment away in the sheets of her bed. Somehow I forced myself to straightened up. My tenuous composure barely hanging on. The monitor slowly descending. Mom was telling Ansley to run to Jesus. My Dad telling her he loved her. Todd telling her to go. My mouth was silent as I felt paralyzed from the tears in my eyes. I couldn't give her permission to leave as I didn't want her to go.

Her breathing became less became smooth. It was slower, but peaceful. Her body stopped fighting for life. The elevated sound of grabbing for air was replaced by soft sighs. The mood changed from urgent to inevitable...from crisis and on edge to knowledge and peace. She opened her eyes just slightly and appeared to strain under heavy lids to look in my direction. She knew we were there. We all declared our love for her. The monitor reached the end. She was no longer breathing, but her heart continued for a while. The strongest part of her pushing to the end, symbolic of who she was. Then nothing. The nurse marked the time. It was silent except for sniffles and a phone call being made. My dad slumped in a chair in the room. His voice eerily several octaves higher than normal as he strained to tell Terry that Ansley was gone. We left the room for a brief moment while they removed all of the wires and tubing that had fought to keep her going, but comfortable. I realized that I had not felt sick once arriving at the hospital. I knew I needed to call Jay and struggled to find words to verbalize my new reality. We were allowed to see her again, to say goodbye.

I held her hand, our connection over 35 years, for the last time. I recognized with brutality and cruelty that coldness was creeping in. It was a stab to my entire body. I talked to her for a short, short while. It was my deepest and most difficult moment. I leaned in and kissed her still warm head. The stubble of the hair that was just beginning to show again pricked my lips. I didn't want to leave her. I would never see her again on this earth. I walked away. Alone.

a little wet dot

I am sitting down, for a spell, on the bed for a little rest. I am in the crazy, haze of market cleaning. I have come the conclusion (on my own though I don't know if it has any support) that my entire blown disc, incapacitation and resulting surgery was all caused from last April's cleaning. I spent the better part of two weeks bent at the waist, cleaning baseboards, organizing closets, wiping out drawers, and being my usual OCD self. Thankfully, this season is a bit better than last because I have some help. Bless their hearts - seriously. Jay realized that it was better to fork out a bit of our rent money to get the house clean than have me useless for three months post. Basically, I am handling the organizing, sorting and de-clutter. It feels gooooooood to purge!

So, I sat down and noticed a little tiny wet spot on my duvet cover. Hmmmm. What in the world would have caused that? More importantly, what is it? Oh. Yeah. It is one of Sadie's tears. My heart sank a little when I realized it. I know I have never seen her so dismal and joyless. Her class went on a field trip to the Natural Science Center today. I let her take $5 of her own money for the gift shop (though I have some issues with this entire system allowed by the school, but I digress). She plucked down what I hope was less than a $1 for two little rings. They had clear and pink stones in them. When she proudly showed them to me she announced that they were the same as her teacher's, Mrs. Newell. Well, as she said, except that Mrs. Newell didn't have pink stones; hers were all clear stones. She was clearly quite pleased with herself. She skipped away into the yard. I allowed Ethan and Sadie to play in the dirt/mud field for just a bit which was recently cleared by a bulldozer (more on that later). They came in, took baths and settled in for dinner.

At some point, Sadie realized she didn't have her rings on. She said she put them in her pocket while she was outside. Racing up the stairs to find her shorts, panic was on her face. I heard her let out a little shaky yelp as she realized they were gone. She came downstairs absolutely distraught. My heart hurt a little even though it was over two little plastic rings. Of course, she asked if I would take her back so she could get two more. I had to break it to her that we would not be able to do that. I offered that maybe she might find something she liked at the fair when we go Friday. I held her and hugged her and left her sniffling on my bed as I continued my purge. Not a few moments later, Jay came home. He knew by my face that something was amiss. I quickly explained the situation and sent him back to our bedroom where Sadie was still musing over her loses. As I walked by the door, I saw a dad laying close to his little girl, whispering comfort and consoling a broken heart. I suspect this won't be the last time either.

As I type this, that little dot is nearly gone. All over something rather mild in the scheme of things. Still, her heart was hurt and I felt inadequate because I could not make it all better. The rings are temporary. Forgotten by tomorrow, I bet. But, what will her life bring that will wound her soul, to the core of her being? How long will the affect of those tears last?

Inspired words by Lily

This kept me giggling for at least 30 minutes. Then, I started all over again when I retold this story to Jay and my mom.

The kids (particularly Ethan and Sadie) have been going through a terrible arguing stage. It starts the moment they wake (sometimes before their feet even hit the floor) and they don't stop until someone is in tears and someone else is hurt. Then, they cycle through it again and again throughout the day until it is time for bed. I have turned to the only definitive resource I have - the Bible. So with that in mind, I worked on drilling in Ephesians 4:29 on the way to school a few days ago. Our discussion involved not only what this scripture means, but the impact it has when we are disobedient to God's commands.

In case you are wondering:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

So, after I dropped Ethan and Sadie (and our two other carpoolers) off at school, I drove around the building to walk Lily into school. On most days, she LOVES school, but isn't as always keen on the "holding room" which is where preschoolers wait who have older siblings at the academy. As we were walking in Lily announced:

God says - Children should stay with their Mommies. Something 8:33

Me: What?

Lily: 8:33, Mommy. Children should stay with their Mommies.

Me: Ok, Lily. But this morning you are going into the holding room. Giggle - giggle - giggle.

Ephesians 4:29 is a very powerful verse. Wouldn't it be grand if everyone tried that one out? Wonder how that would affect the presidential election, our daily grind at work, our relationships friends and family? Sifting everything that spews forth from our mouths through the colander of Ephesians 4:29, would require us to put others in front of ourselves and put our feelings, desires and attitudes last. A challenge for me for sure. I am convicted as I write this for several conversations I had just yesterday. I think I need to have a conversation with God this morning. Then, I'll giggle some more over my little Lily.

Friday, October 03, 2008

the mother of all blogs

When I find something really great I usually can't keep it a secret. This blog is awesome if you are a mom with kids. (not sure that there is anyone who reads my blog who isn't)

Seriously - easy crafts, food, outdoor activities, art. Can't wait to start doing some of these things with the soon as the house gets cleaned for market.

Let me know what you think of the link.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

weapons of mass destruction

The year: 2000
Me: Ethan will not have guns and weapons. I will not promote that sort of thing. It just breeds violence. (said with a little piety)

The year: 2008
Me: Well, let's see Ethan. That is 10 varying plastic, metal and pop guns, one large rifle-type pop gun, 5 light sabers, three swords, two shields and one mini-potato gun. I guess I need to buy a little storage tub to hold all of this.

Comments, anyone?