And it never fails that when it seems like it is going too smoothly....a hiccup is about to present itself.
This brings me to this morning:
This story is retold in dramatic fashion as my speech and presentation were clear and calm, but my mind was frantic!!
We were up getting ready for work. Collen had slept in his crib all night long (waking up twice) and woke up in his crib at 7am. Wonderful start to a Monday morning!! It looked as if we were going to early/on time for once! Bags were packed, food was ready for daycare, baby was dressed, milk was ready to go. On our way out the door, I let Collen hold my keys since my hands were very full. I got everything in the car, got Collen into his seat; he still had the keys. I switched them out for his sippy cup and threw the keys into the front seat. Shut the door....walk over to the driver's side....and let out a long, "Nooooooooo!!!!" and then a few, "No! No! No! NOOOOOOO!!!" The keys...and Collen....were locked inside!!! On the outside, I appeared to be calm....on the inside, I was panicking and becoming irrational! I ran (and I don't run...) to my neighbor's house....who I've never met. I bang on their door....determined that they ARE going to answer....if it means I have to bang on every window, door, surface of the house!! They come to the door to find me standing there, blurting out, "Hi...I'm your neighbor...I've locked my keys in the car, and my son is in the car!! My phone is in there, too!! I need to call someone!!" They were very gracious and quick to respond...finding a number to a locksmith, which didn't work because they were closed. So, I called 911 and explained the situation....and quickly grew frustrated because I didn't understand why the year and model of my car mattered.....and why the age of my child mattered....and why I was left being told, "Someone will get there as soon as they can." WHAT?! I leave them with my neighbors' number and go back to my car to wait. At this point, Collen has realized that something isn't right. At first, he laughed me playing peek-a-boo with him, but then he became very upset that Mommy was outside and he was inside....and not understanding why mommy wasn't taking him out of the car. So, he soon became a crying mess...and I was trying my best not to join him and just remain calm for his sake. 15 minutes later, a sheriff arrived and got the doors unlocked. Collen was pretty much traumatized....poor thing. He sniffed all the way to daycare because of the hard crying he had been doing. :( And then he wasn't too happy when I dropped him off. Poor thing....such a rough morning for a Monday.
Lesson learned: Get a spare key for the car.
We got here late, but we were able to go to the night session. Wow....amazing!! The theme of the weekend is that none of us are perfect, and God doesn't expect us to be perfect. So, why do we push ourselves to be perfect and then grow so disappointed with ourselves and our "poor performance?" As long as we are living for our Lord, spending time with Him, making Him a part of our every day lives.....then we're okay. He never said we had to be perfect. He just wants us to love him and live for HIM. I think that's a small request considering the sacrifice He made for us.
A lot of wonderful women are here presenting. We heard comedian Ken Davis tonight - HILARIOUS! Then, we heard Natalie Grant sing - she sang the song Held - I cried like a baby. Held is a song that so many recommended for us when Ayden passed away. 2 years later, it is still very difficult for me to listen to music. The loss is still so raw and fresh....I guess it always will be to a degree. I'll never stop missing him, thinking about him, loving him.....so music is likely to always affect me. I knew she would probably sing this song....and always, when she gets to the part about "when the sacred is torn from you life" - yeah....that's how it felt to lose my baby. All that was sacred and right with the world was gone in an instant. Yet, God continued to hold me through it all....as He held Ayden in His arms.
I'm looking forward to the morning session and just spending time with women of faith....soaking in the goodness of our Lord. It has been refreshing.....I needed this.
This weekend, I traveled with my parents to celebrate the life of my cousin's husband. The service was this afternoon. It was a beautiful memorial to Chris, his life, the person he was. It absolutely broke my heart to see my cousin and her two children being addressed....a young widow and two children who no longer have their daddy. I found myself in the position that I'm so many were in when Ayden passed away - I had no idea what to say. So, I said nothing. I had not been to a "funeral service" since Ayden's, and it took me back to feelings and memories I haven't visited in a while. I remember people speaking to me....so many words....so many condolencs....but the ones who just looked at me, with tears in their eyes and pain their hearts....and said nothiing....those were the ones who touched me the most. And I realize now why they didn't have any words. Nothing I can say can fix this. Nothing I can say can bring Michelle's husband back....or those kids' daddy back. Please pray for this family. They have a long road ahead of them.
I haven't forgotten the odd title of my post...
This weekend, as I said, we've been traveling, so we have been out of our normal surroundings. You know how people come to your house and say, "Oh, I love the way your house smells?".....but you can't smell your own house? Well, you can't until you're away from it, and you smell it on your clothes, in your luggage, on your linens. It is then that you can put a scent with yourself. I know this seems weird and random....stick with me.
....it has been 2 and a half years (almost) since Ayden was born. It has been almost 2 years and one month since I last smelled him. You know...that sweet, wonderful baby smell that is so unique to your baby? This weekend, I caught a whiff of Ayden. It was ever so subtle and a mixture of scents that were surrounding me....my clothing mixed with Collen's, the smell of a sterile bathroom (reminded me of the hospital), the leather of the seats in the rental car, and various other scents. All put together, I was taken back to the day we took Ayden home from the hospital. His scent, even now, is so distinct, and I was overjoyed that after 2 and half years, I knew...as soon as I smelled it...that I was reminded of my child. The connection is still there....
I have three wonderful groups of kids. Really, all of them are wonderful in their own ways. However, when you put some of their personalities together, it's a whirlwind of attitudes, conflicts, and NOISE. I have one group that doesn't stop talking from the moment they walk in to school to the moment they walk out. I don't know how they don't exhaust themselves. And their talking gets them in trouble....with me, with themselves, and with each other. My one really rowdy group is made up of kids who just haven't been disciplined. They've been allowed to do whatever they want...whenever they want....and getting loud and yelling is how they know to get their way. Yeah...that doesn't work for me. They learned this week that I won't tolerate any of it. I expect more, and they hate it. One day, though, they will learn why I demand so much of them. Looking at these kids, I see high school students I have taught who have come to me at the end of their senior year saying, "Thank you for being tough on me and for pushing me. It made all the difference, and I wouldn't be here if you hadn't." Right now, though, they just see a mean teacher who doesn't let them get away with much. And that's okay with me. :)
Sad news - my cousin's husband did pass away last night. I don't know details other than that he was in liver failure, and they had tried everything they could. His kidneys began to fail 2 days ago, and last night, he went "home." I honestly can't begin to imagine the pain my cousin is feeling. She married her best friend - literally. Whenever she had guy problems, she went to Chris....and he had loved her for such a long time, but he knew he couldn't tell her until the time was right. Finally, the time came....and she was so happy. They have two beautiful children who are 7 and 5. I can't bear the images of pain and heartache on those little faces. I can't bear the thought of the pain my cousin is feeling. I know I have felt tragedy and heartache....I know what it is like to lose someone you love with every ounce of your being. But I don't know the pain of losing a husband, and I know that losing Jeremy would crush me...absolutely devastate me. When I look at my life - I see him. When I look at my future - I see my Jerms. No one else. He is my soulmate, helpmate, and the man I have devoted my life to, and I really can't imagine life without him. (A friend of mine asked me recently - how do you really know when you're in love with someone? And I told her, "When you can't imagine life without that person. When the thought of losing that person...not having them in your life...brings you unbearable pain....I think that's when you know.) My cousin is 41 (I'm pretty sure) and much too young to be a widow. And her children are much too young to lose a father. My heart breaks for them. Please, please say a prayer for them....that they will be able to find comfort and remember all of the good times together....and that they will grieve with hope.
A quick bit of Jones family news: Collen is walking!! WOO!! He's a week away from being 13 months old, and he is getting closer and closer to being a full time walker every day!
He still prefers crawling as his main method of getting around, but he'll let go and take a few steps here and there. He's definitely becoming more secure with the idea!! He's so proud of himself!
And, I never updated on Gracie. SHE'S HOME and SAFE AND SOUND!! She had walked close to 8 miles or so. She walked up to someone's house - and they happened to be dog rescuers who volunteered with the animal shelter. We had put out flyers and someone from a neighborhood called and said we should check out a flyer at the gas station closest to our house - that a flyer with a lost dog's picture had been posted - and that the lost dog looked a lot like Gracie. I raced down there, and sure enough, it was Gracie!!! I went to get her right away, and now she's back and secured into the backyard. No more escaping....unless she digs out. It's such a relief to know she's okay and to have her home. We all missed her so, so much.
I'm so glad this whirwind week is over. I'm praying for a better week next week. If not....I'm looking for a new job! This stress is wearing me out - I have a fever blister and a cold - and it always happens at the beginning of the school year. Lack of sleep, stress, and a lot of burnt energy does it to me every time.
Y'all have a good weekend.
Let's break it down:
New job = new content to learn and plan for, new resources, having to plan all new lesson plans and read up on material I have never read so I can determine what I will teach and in what order, stress because I've never taught this grade and I don't really understand middle schoolers and what they need as far as learning goes (I'm picking it up as I go...and I hate that!), trying out said lessons...hoping my kids are receptive and actually learning something they didn't already, balancing duties with teaching and deadline after deadline quickly approaching (and I'm way, way behind!!), and trying to wrangle a very, very loud, rowdy, disrespectful bunch of students (only one class). A lot of time, energy, and tears have been put into this past week, and I feel so beaten down.
I have caught my first cold of the school year. To be expected, I guess. Collen caught it, too, so we are sharing a cold...fun times. The only thing that works for me when I have a cold is Nyquil, but that means Jeremy has to get up with Collen when he gets up in the middle of the night (yes...he's one...and he still gets up...several times). I, apparently, slept through a very long night last night with Collen. Poor thing(s)....
On the other side of things - please pray for my cousin, her husband and their family. Her husband's liver is failing, and it is looking like he could pass away at any time. Words can't begin to express the heartache I feel for them all. I hurt for my cousin for losing her husband, and I just ache and hurt for their children - 7 and 5 - who will lose their father much, much too young. It's just not fair. I don't understand it.... Please pray for them to find comfort and peace in such a difficult time. Chris has been my buddy since he and my cousin got married. He always shared my love of old movies, and we would often talk about musicals and good, good music. He always encouraged me and made me laugh....I always loved being around him. He completes my cousin like no one else can, and I can't imagine the pain she is feeling...knowing that her time with him is so limited. Please, please pray.....I know they will feel them.
I hope you are all doing well and have had a good week. I'm trying to keep a positive perspective. Although, this week, a very negative point of view has crept in. I have yelled at my students...I have lowered my expectations....and I have been very impatient. Love is not any of these things (although, I realize there has to be structure and discipline in a classroom), and I'm hoping that I can get to a point with one class where they can actually see that I do care about them....and that they can understand why I'm so hard on them. For now, we're going to have to push through with frustration and tough love....ugh...such a hard job. But very rewarding in the end...
All of that to present to you, his 12 month picture:
12 Month Stats:
Weight: 23lbs 7oz (50%)
Length: 30 1/2 inches (75%)
Head: 49cm (95%)
Things Collen is doing:
Words he is saying: "Hot", "Juice" ("jzooce") - He tries to mimick other words. He had tried to repeat "Gracie", "hurts", and "ouch." He used to say "no, no" all the time, but for some reason he has stopped saying it?? And he doesn't say "see" anymore. Not sure why he let those two go...."no, no" was so stinkin' cute!
Teeth: 8 teeth! Up until 2 months ago, he had 3 teeth. In 2 months, 5 new teeth!! Luckily, he doesn't complain about teeth much at all. They don't seem to bother him (thank God!).
Sleep: He still wakes up during the night, but we are making progress. Last night, he only woke up once (opposed to the usual...5 times a night....then him ending up in our bed) and stayed in his crib until he woke up for the day!! We had been having major issues with separation anxiety, but now that he is getting into a routine and loving his babsitter, we have seen an improvement. :)
Walking? Not yet....but we're getting close. He takes a few more steps every day and is gaining more and more confidence and balance.
Clothes - He can still wear most 12 month clothes. Around the waist, 12 month fits with a little room to grow. However, getting it over his hips is the hard part. In shirts, 12 month is too small, so we stick to one piece outfits right now while he's in between. 18 month clothes are becoming more and more comfortable.
Favorites: Elmo, any toy he can push around the room, any toy that can function as a "car" and can be pushed around while making car sounds, chicken nuggets, green beans, any kind of fruit - especially strawberries and blueberries, pancakes, sweet potato, milk, any dog or cat, kids...loves to watch them, "reading" books. He doesn't have much interest in TV, but he loves books!! He likes for us to read them over and over while he turns the pages.
I am loving this age!! The transition from 11 months to 12 months was tough for him and us - I think it was more because of routine changes than anything. But now that we are all into a new routine, I am seeing so much about this age that I LOVE!! He is so interactive and playful. He and I like to chase each other around the house. I'll chase him one direction (as he crawls as fast as he possibly can!!!), and then he'll chase me back. He's becoming more interested in actually playing with his toys....as they were designed to be played with. It's amazing watching him learn something new every day!!
Being the parents of a SIDS baby, reaching the one year mark was incredibly momentous. I think we all felt a little relief knowing that he is 99% unlikely to be affected by SIDS. But, we are still guarded. I think we always will be. We know it's impossible to protect him from everything and anything, but we sure are going to try to protect him from as much as we can....
I am so thankful for this time we've been given with Collen. Being a parent is so rewarding. It's hard work....but to see that little face and know that he loves me more than anything...even Elmo...just melts my heart. We love him so, so much and couldn't be more blessed to have him in our lives.
Started back to work
Having to relive my first year of teaching.....feeling like I am barely keeping my head above water
Hurricane Irene - fortunately we had very little damage
Charger for computer crashed....waiting for new one to arrive
Collen transitioning to daycare
Collen running 103+ degree temp for a week
Collen cutting 5 - YES FIVE- teeth
12 month shots while teething and running a fever
To sum up the past 2 weeks in one word: exhausting.
And now our dog - Gracie- is missing and I am heart broken :( I am praying she will come back.
Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.....and for always remembering Ayden.
Once my computer is working again, I promise a one year old pic of Collen!