Blog Time Out

Hello friends,

Long time, no see, right?

I am so sorry for the silence.  I have sat down to update my blog so many times, but then I just draw a blank and feel overwhelmed, and then I just walk away and plan to update another day.

3 months I am.

I recently visited The Holiday Show at our town's convention center.  Every year I look forward to The Holiday Show!  Christmas is by far my favorite of holidays.  The bright colors, the lights, the joy and wonder in the eyes of those around you.  It is truly a magical season, and I love it!

While I was at the holiday show, I was stopped by a sweet lady who said, " I have followed your blog for years!  So nice to meet you!"  This doesn't happen as often as it used to ( started freaking me out for a while), but as usual...I was caught off guard, completely humbled, and fumbled through my words to say, "Thank you so sweet!"  I then went into explaining why I haven't posted anything lately.  It's definitely not that I haven't had anything to post about.  Our lives seems to stay so incredibly busy.  I have really just hit a roadblock with my blog.  I don't have the vision I once had.  I'm struggling with the purpose of my blog today versus the purpose of my blog 4 years ago.  4 years ago, the purpose was clear.  My blog was my outlet - where I expressed my grief and became completely transparent to those out there who might stumble upon my grief journey and the life of our sweet Ayden.  Now, 4 years later....I just don't know where to go with it.  Possibly because the past few months have held a lot of uncertainty...and a lot of self-reflection and soul-searching.

I want my blog to continue to be centered on Ayden.  However, our lives are not centered on Ayden.  Now, before you get huffy and say, "I can't believe she said that!  Has she just moved on and forgotten him?!"  Absolutely not.  He is a part of every single day.  However, he is not the center of our lives.  Jesus is the center of our lives.  And the past 8 weeks have shown me a lot about myself that I was not aware of....or maybe was aware but was just ignoring.  I have spent the past 8 weeks in a book study with a friend from work (Emily -my twin - she has been featured on the blog before ;) ) She and I embarked upon a journey together...blindly.  And I'm so glad we went into it not knowing how we were going to be slapped in the face (numerous times) while reading this book together.  Several of you are probably familiar with Emily Freeman's book, Grace for the Good Girl.

In my 30 years of life, I have always been "the good girl."  I didn't rebel.  I never went to wild parties.  I'm just going to lay it all out there - I've never had alcohol, don't use profanity, and am the ultimate prude. I was a leader in my youth group.  I was told, very often, by the elders in my church that I was an example to the younger kids...that they were watching me. (pressure much?)  I grew up with a mother who told me frequently that she prayed a strong conscience over me from day one and stressed upon me disappointment that would result should I go against the expectations set before me in my Christian upbringing.  In no way am I begrudging my mother. (Her prayers worked, by the way, because I couldn't even look at someone the wrong way without feeling guilty!) This was a smart tactic on her taught me the value in having high standards and the importance of respecting my parents and more importantly - my savior and the unwordly life I am to live as a Christian.  But goodness gracious....that's a lot of pressure on a kid.   And I felt it early on.  It was semi-self-inflicted, but also a reflection of my upbringing.  I don't fault my parents for this at all....I think anyone who grew up in a Christian family, and was involved in church, can relate to the pressure and stress that comes from trying to be "perfect" when it just seems so impossible!  So, you just try your best...and keep pushing through looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Guess's a long tunnel.  With no end in sight.  So, now what?

Reading this book completely opened my eyes.  Week one slapped me around like you wouldn't believe.  I was blind to the masks I had been wearing.  I began to question if I even knew myself at all.  Was the 30 years of my life a total and complete lie?  Was I that good at deceiving myself?  I put the book down after the 2nd or 3rd week and just felt completely lost.  Blank.  Uncertain.  Luckily, Emily felt the same way (that sounds terrible..haha!).  In retrospect, it was good for me to feel so lost. It meant I was peeling back the layers and seeing what was underneath the masks.  I gotta tell ya...for a while I was pretty crushed because I had no clue how to move forward.

After losing Ayden, and then my dad passing away, I got very good at masks.  I can put up a wall in .5 seconds.  I can keep the tears at bay with the flip of a switch.  I can hold back my anxiety, panic, and worry with a "put together" face like a pro.  However, reading this book....broke all of those masks.  I can't tell you the freedom I feel in knowing that those masks are not necessary.  They are a hindrance.  And they do nothing but put my focus on ME rather than on HIM.  The fear...the pain...the anxiety....I shouldn't be trying to hold that in or pretend them away because whether I like it or's there.  There's no quick fix for them.  But I have a savior who says, "Give them to me. Rest.  I will take care of you."

My usual response to that - "But...."

I haven't trusted God for a very long time.  And especially not in the last 4 years.  How do you trust a God who allows your baby to die?  How do you trust a God who removes the one solid rock you have in your life by taking your Dad way too soon?  How do I not move forward with life waiting for the next tragedy...wondering who I'm going to lose next?  Wondering which of my children might be taken from me?  Wondering if my husband will be taken?

"What if" tugs and pulls at me every single day.  And it has weighed me down for so long.  Too long.

This world is not perfect.  It was created by God and it is wonderously beautiful.  But we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people...and bad people.  It's understandable to question - oh yes, it sure is!  How can you not?  But the root of to just trust Him.  Trust the He will see you through.  Could He have brought Ayden back? Absolutely.  Could He have given me 20 more years with my dad? Yes!  But it didn't happen that much as I wish it would have.  Somehow this was a part of the bigger picture for my life.  I don't understand it.  I'm not particularly happy with it.  But I can resolve myself to find peace and to allow the Healer to bring me comfort in the knowledge of His goodness, His grace, and in HOPE. 

When we finished the book, Emily and I both felt that we were ready for this new step.  A fresh start.  Not allowing our past to determine the way we approach the future.  It's going to be one step at a time, but I find so much comfort in knowing that I'm not stepping out alone.  He will be (and always has been) right by my side.  And all along He has been saying, "Lindsay, you don't have to do it alone.  You don't have to be the one in control.  Let ME guide you.  Let ME walk WITH you.  LET ME IN."  And I'm so ready for that.

If you haven't read this book.  Stop what you're doing, go to Amazon, and order it. NOW.  It is life-changing, and one that I intend to read over and over again.  It's something ALL women - mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, etc. can benefit from.  Please, do yourself a favor and change your life by looking deep into yourself through the pages of this book.  It's scary at first....but I promise you, it's worth it.

I've learned my idea of being a "good girl" and God's idea of a "good girl" are two totally differently things.  I've been defining my life while HE should be defining my life.  And from this moment forward, He is in control.

And just like that....

...a whole year passes by, and our little girl is one.

To my sweet, sweet Charlotte:

   Today, you are one.  A whole year old!  And what a beautiful, surprising, happy year it has been.  And it has been all of those things because of YOU!  On January 6, 2012, I was home from work with what I thought was the stomach bug all my students had been passing around.  I decided to take little test just to be sure (sorry TMI already...)  and to my SHOCK, I learned that another baby was on the way!  My first reaction, "Whaaaatt?! I'm not ready for another baby!  Collen wasn't even two, yet.  We had planned on having another but definitely not so soon.  

   Once the shock wore off, and time went by, I began to get so excited about our new little one (you!). One of my fears - that you would be a girl.  Why would I be afraid of that, you ask?  Because girls are scary.  Trust me.  I was one, and I look back on my teenage years and wonder how my parents survived it.  But do you know what I LOVE about you being a girl?  Your sweet, tiny voice; your innocence; your beauty; that you will someday be my very best friend.  What scares me - disciplining you and knowing that one day you won't like me very much; one day, you will probably break my heart.  But all of that will be worth it the day you realize everything I (hope to) teach you about this world, life, treating others, making good decisions, being a woman of honor and integrity was because I love you and want the best for you (you will probably learn these things the hard way because by then I'll be too old to "understand" and you'll make your own mistakes only to realize mom wasn't so out of touch after all).  But, all of that is for another day...

So, today you're a whole year old!  The year flew by!  I still find myself staring at you, drinking you in, in disbelief that you're really here.  So much of this year is a blur, but when I let it all slow down, I can remember so many beautiful moments:

You're birthday - September 4, 2012
You share this day with several family members!  Somehow, it has become THE birthday for Glovers. Since I'm part Glover, you count as one of them, too. ;)

You are most definitely a mommy's girl.  From day one, you and I were inseparable.  I would joke with people that I wasn't sure who was more attached - me or you!  

You love your big brother!  You love to watch him play, and he can make you laugh the biggest laughs!  You think he is super cool.  When Collen first met you, he was enamored.  Having a new baby in the house didn't seem to affect him too much.  He has had his jealous moments, for sure, but he has been so good about sharing his time with you.

We love you so, so much!!  It must be fun to be the baby of the family.

You look a lot like Collen.  A LOT.  But, you - like Collen - share features with your big brother, Ayden.  I see him in your smile and when you turn your head a certain way.  Your ears remind me of his.  And that and Ayden have the same nose.  My nose.  Bless your heart.

We've never worried about you standing your ground and taking care of yourself.  You do that quite well.  Too well sometimes because recently you've begun biting.  You bit your brother out of frustration the other day.  We are working on that one....

Always remember that you are beautiful.  You are a daughter of Christ.  He loves you MORE than we do.  Can you believe that??  Sometimes I can't, but I know it's true; and if He loves you more than Mommy's A LOT!

You have, by far, been our easiest baby.  Honestly, you didn't have a choice.  Since day one, you have been laid back and so flexible.  You fit your routine around ours, and you're happy almost all of the time.  I love that you love life, and you love spending time with your family.

You are a lot like your daddy.  You are contemplative, and I can already see the connection between the two of you.  Lean on your daddy, baby girl.  He will be your first hero.  He will be your first love.  He will be your confidant and your sounding board.  Dance with you daddy, and always tell him you love him.  Respect him and know that he has your best interest at heart.  He will always fight for you, encourage you, guide you, and love you.

It is my prayer that you and your brother grow to become the best of friends.  When we're gone, he will be all you have left of us.  The two of you will need to stand together and find strength in one another.  He will always be there for you.  I promise you that.  Even when he might not want to admit it, he loves you and will always love you.

Look at this picture of you and I.  I love it because it's candid.  It's REAL.  Those smiles are not fake.  On the tough days - the days when mommy is being "unreasonable" I want you to look back at this.  You make me THIS happy every second of every day.  You have no idea, none whatsoever, how my heart delights in you and your brothers.  You three are my greatest gifts and accomplishments, and I thank God every single day for the three of you.

Have I mentioned that you are beautiful?

Learn your history.  Your family history.  Your legacy.  Where you come from.  Your roots; your heritage - that's what makes you, YOU.  You have been fortunate to know three of your great grandparents on your mommy's side and one on your daddy's side.  These individuals are the core of our family.  They hold the secrets to a long and happy life.  What's the secret?  I'll go ahead and let you in on it.  LOVE.  Loving each other. Cherishing the present and living in the moment....then never taking those moments for granted.  Love your family and make an effort to know them.  This will make your life richer than you could ever imagine.

I loved dancing with my Daddy.  I loved dancing with my grandfathers.  I loved watching you "dance" with your Great Grandaddy.  You won't remember this moment, but I will never forget it.

Your quiet nature is deceiving.  You tend to stay very quiet that I don't let you out of my sight very often because your quiet nature lends itself to mischief.  You are busy and like to get into anything you can.  You have all these toys, but you're not big on playing with them.  You'd rather steal your brother's crayons and stickers or climb on the furniture.  You're quiet, but your spontaneous.  A combination of both of your parents.  We're in trouble!!

You love life.  And life loves you!  You fill up a room just by being in it.  Your smile is electrifying, and the number one compliment you always receive is about those big, beautiful eyes.

We love you so much Charlotte.  We have been so very blessed to have you in our lives and we pray that we are able to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you!  Happy Birthday sweet baby!!

Yesterday - 4 years ago

I was going to write this post last night, but I didn't feel like doing much of anything....except loving on my kids.  That's all my heart wanted and needed yesterday....and every day.

4 years ago, yesterday, was the day our lives were changed forever.  Sometimes, it feels like yesterday. Then, I find myself wondering if it actually seems like it happened so long ago.  Then, that ache in my heart starts to grow and build and I find myself crippled once again.  That's when I'm brought back to reality.  It's a reality I would have never, ever chosen for myself.  Who would?  But, it's mine, and it's a part of every single day.

4 years later, and there is still not a day that goes by that I don't think of him.  Just like Collen and Charlotte run through my mind all day long - Ayden does, too.  As the years pass, I don't expect this to change.

I don't know where I thought I'd be 4 years later.  The last 4 years have felt like a lot of unexpected.  At 28, I had experienced more loss than many people don't see until much, much later in life.  At 27, the grim reality of life hit me - the rest of my life will be filled with loss.  That's a dim realization; but it's the truth.  But it isn't a perspective I like to carry with me daily; that would be incredibly depressing.  I can't say I don't dwell on that, though.  It's hard.  Very hard.  At 28, I had buried a child and then had to bury my dad....two people I thought I had many, many more years with....gone.  Two people I never expected to lose.  Through those losses, though, over the last 4 years, I've been able to shift my perspective from what I've lost to what they have gained.....not to look at the loss, but the blessing.  Do I mean it was a blessing that my child passed away?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  But the blessing for him and for my dad....they are in glory.  They are not living in this fallen world.  They are whole.  And best of all...they're waiting for me.  For my family.  There is no goodbye....the pain is only temporary....a separation for now that will be no more someday (soon, I hope!).

With that said, and with that perspective in mind, it doesn't mean I don't miss them any less.  Somedays, it's unbearable, and just functioning to make it through the day is about the best I can do.  As many who are on this journey with me have said, the anticipation of the anniversary of "the day" is usually worse than the day itself.  This has always been true for me.  Friday was a terrible day.  All week I had noticed my mood changing.  The heaviness was settling it, and no matter how I tried to fight it, it wasn't lifting.  It's strange how that happens....subconsciously, your grief starts to take hold as the anniversary nears.  All of the emotions from "that day" start flooding back.  Memories come back....and I still remember every moment of that day.  I can still see his face when I dropped him off.  I can remember, nearly word-for-word, the words from the voice on the other end of the phone.  It is all still so clear.  So as the day approaches, it hits hard.

Yesterday wasn't that bad.  It was busy.  I actually went home to help sort through of my grandma's belongings, and the kids napped at my mom's so Jeremy could catch up on work for school.  So, my mind was busy with a lot of things.  But my heart was with Ayden all day.  Today, not so good.  The day after is typically worse for me.  4 years ago, yesterday, I saw him.  I have happy memories from that morning even though the rest of the day was a nightmare.  But the next day, August 26th, began the journey I never imagined I'd be on.  August 26th was my first day without my child.  That was the day I woke up to silence, an empty room, toys...diapers...bottles....all to go unused. That was the day I had to plan my infant son's funeral.  I had never seen a casket that small.  I had to pick out the clothes he would wear.  I had to come to grips with the fact that I would never hold him again. That was the day my new reality hit me, and my heart hasn't beat the same since.

4 years later, I still have "why" moments.  It still doesn't make sense to me.  He was fine.  He was healthy.  He knew how to roll over and had good control of his head.  How did he just....die?  I've accepted that I will never have the answers to these questions, and I don't ask nearly as much as I used to, but I think it will always be there.

Despite all of this, I have seen healing.  God is amazing...let me just throw that out there.  God and I have had some hard talks.  I've blamed...accused...questioned...doubted...all of the above and more.  There were moments when I thought I'd have to walk away from my faith altogether because I wasn't sure I believed strongly enough anymore.  But I held on.  I let Him walk me through step by step....and He was patient with me.  Being a Christian is easy when things are good.  This was the ultimate test, and I'm so glad my faith won out.  I can look at my life and still say God is good.  He has brought renewal to our lives.  I still have tough days when I say, "Ok, Lord....give me some grace today.  Just bear with me."  I've had to look at my faith and question "Do I really believe this?  When I read these scriptures and sing this worship music, do I mean it?  Do I believe it in my heart?"  The answer is a resounding YES.

This will never be easy.  4 years later, and I am still brought to tears at the thought of "that day" and all that we are missing without him here.  The weight of the grief is not as heavy, but I continue to miss him more every day.  Every day, we become one day closer to seeing him again.  That keeps me moving....along with his two beautiful siblings who fill my days with laughter, purpose, and joy.  Thank you to all of you who sent messages, texts, comments....just saying you were thinking of us and praying for us...and most all, remembering Ayden.  He touched our lives in a way we never expected, and he continues to touch the lives of others.  We are so very proud of Ayden, and we love him more and more each day.

Here are some photos of Ayden that are not the "typical" ones I post.  <3 nbsp="" p="">

We love you, Ayden. 

Happy 3rd Birthday sweet Collen!

To my sweet son:

    On the day you were born, we were full of anticipation, worry, joy, fear and hope. Your entrance into this world and our lives brought so much joy, so much renewal.  You will never know just how much you changed our lives when we heard that little cry and saw your beautiful face for the first time.  In that moment, we were healed.  You won't understand that for a long time, but are more than a blessing.  You are a promise.  You are our rock.  We look at you and see the promises of our Lord - we see that He is faithful, and He is good. 

 This is among the most beautiful moments of my life.  Meeting my 2nd was love at first sight.  You reminded us so much of your big brother, but you had qualities all your own as well.  You had dark, dark hair and more playful disposition.  You are uniquely you...but you do share qualities with your big brother.  One day, you will understand just how special that is! 

You stole our hearts from the moment we saw you.  You grew so, so fast!  We spent so much time just staring at you in awe.  You were really here; we were blessed with another baby boy!  We made it a point to soak in every moment and appreciate each day we were given.  We continue to do this because we love you so very much, and each day with you is better than the one before!

Look at you at one year old!  Boy was that a celebration!  Again, one day you'll understand just how momentous that day was in our lives.  In our minds we were thinking "we get to keep him!!"  In your mind, it was "cake??? They're finally letting me eat cake!!" :)  At one, you were doing so much!  You were saying your first words (hot, ma ma, da da, pa pa) and mastering walking.  You were so full of life and laughter (and still are!).  

A year passed so quickly, and before we knew it, you were two!  At two, you were so very smart and seemed to be soaking up everything around you!  You loved puzzles, coloring, Curious George (you had a George birthday party at 2!), and reading.  You were so very silly and filled our days with laughter!  Mommy was still the one you clung to, and I held on tight to you, too.  You had a baby sister on the way, and your life was about to change...for the good. :)  We spent as much time with you as we possibly could because your days as the only child would soon come to an end.  You were so excited about being a big brother! 

 Today, you are three.  I look at you and can still remember the moment I first held you.  How can you possibly be three??  Oh how you've changed and grown in this past year!  You continue to be full of life and personality.  You love people.  You don't know a stranger, yet at times you are shy.  But you open up quickly and consider someone you just met a friend for life.  I love this about you because more than anything else, I want you to love show them love and always be a helper to those around you.  You continue to love puzzles...we have had to get you more challenging ones, though, because you quickly master the ones that are meant for your age group.  I have a feeling math will be one of your stronger subjects.  You love to paint, create, color.  You love to play with your cars, but animals continue to be your favorite!  You've just recently become interested in superheroes.  You've never seen a Spiderman movie/cartoon, but you know who he is, and he's your favorite!  You also love Thomas the Train, Daniel Tiger, and Caillou.  George is still a favorite as well.  You adore your little sister, and you even let her play with your toys sometimes.  She thinks you are super cool...she follows you around the house and laughs at all of your silly faces.  I already see your protectiveness over her, and I pray that will continue to grow as the two of you get older.  She's going to need you, buddy.

Collen, you are so very special to us.  You will never know just how full my heart is with love and adoration for you.  You are my joy and my heart. You are one of my three greatest accomplishments!  Each day with you brings abundant happiness, joy, and learning on my part as a parent.  You are so much like your mommy - spontaneous, exuberant, a dreamer, and full of imagination!  Daddy is your hero, and the bond between you two is so strong!  You are Daddy's best bud, and I love seeing the two of you together.  We love you so very much and are so excited to celebrate another year with you!  Happy Birthday sweet boy!  You're three!!  I look forward to many, many more birthdays with you and thank God for you every single day.