Thursday, December 14, 2006

Construction paper Christmas trees...

{Note: This post was started on Tuesday, but before I could finish it and post it, I had to take Wyndham into the ER...I just got around to completing my thoughts tonight.}
I'll warn you right now that this may not be the upbeat Christmas story you are hoping to read at Nitty.Gritty. today. So much going on, yet I'm getting nothing done. Someone {Andy} isn't saying enough prayers for Wyndham because she is still not bouncing back from her bout of the flu. We are on the verge of bringing her into the Urgent Care or ER if she doesn't start keeping liquids down soon.
Poor girl. This is not new to us or her, as she has been hospitalized several times because of this same thing- she just gets so weak and has a hard time with clear liquids because of her head injury. We have learned that most often she needs a day or two in the hospital hooked up to IV's and then some anti-nausea medicine and then she starts to turn a corner. But in the midst of it, it's no fun.
Today my head is pounding from a 'lack-of-sleep' headache, and while I should be getting a quick nap in right now, my head is spinning and here I am blogging instead.
It's really not that horrible around here. We did manange to frost, decorate and set up our gingerbread village last night, so there is still some holiday cheer to be found in our home. You just have to look for it among the rest of the chaos in my house. And those Christmas cards that I'm ususally so on top of? Sitting in a stack to be written, stamped and mailed.
But, I decided they had to wait, and I needed to take a few minutes for myself and so this is it. I've had lots of thoughts and memories going around since I put up our Christmas tree this year. Some of you remember we have a Barbie Tree in memory of Teagan from a charity event that Chip and I attended that first Christmas season after Teagan died.
This year I put up the tree with all the Barbie trimmings, and my girls really enjoyed seeing all the fun stuff we put on it. There are real Barbies, plastic dress-up shoes, and mini-Barbies too. {See Dec. 2005 archives for a post or two and pictures of the tree and the angel topper.}
The best thing about the Barbie Tree is that it is a reminder of our sweet little Teagan. The worst thing about our Barbie Tree is it is a reminder that Teagan isn't here with us. It isn't that I sit and stare at the tree all day long, or cry every time I walk past it. I haven't shed a tear over the tree in a couple of years, but still, it brings back lots of memories. Mostly good, but occasionally it makes me stop and wonder.
That's where this post comes recent Christmas 'wonderings'. Brock came home with a construction Christmas tree mixed in the papers in his backpack last week. This little tree hit me in a big way- and I've been thinking about it more than I probably should. Afterall, it's just a cut-out Christmas tree.
My mind keeps going back 5 years, and asking questions and making me think. That first Christmas without Teagan and with all of pain and injuries and post-traumatic stress stuff lingering in our bodies and minds, we had more than our share of 'issues' in our home. I could probably write a book on that topic alone- dealing with the holidays when you're missing a loved one...It's true. There was so much emotion and pain and questions, and trying to make sense of everything was just plain hurtful. So, one day our local paper ran yet another article in regards to the woman who killed Teagan (and Peggy) about her upcoming court hearings or something involving our case. At the end of it, there was a sentence or two stating that this woman had a construction paper Christmas tree decorating her jail cell.
That's it. That's all I didn't need to know at that time in my life. Seriously. Ask Chip how many times I brought up the subject about the construction paper Christmas tree in the jail cell. I'm sure it was almost one too many. Remember? I told you Chip and I had moments when we almost couldn't stand to be together anymore after Teagan's death and our leftover pain and grief...that tree was probably one of the reasons we were ready to call it quits at times.
But that tree was a big deal to me. A few months earlier Teagan was to have started her first day of preschool. She never got to go. Guess what my mind imagined that her classmates did at school that year? Yep. Probably came home from school glowing and gushing about the Christmas trees they cut out of green paper. I'll bet the Moms of those kids were so proud to hang them up along with all their other holiday decorations.
So there I sat. Too many times to count, my mind would obsess about the unfairness of my life. How was it fair that the woman who killed my little girl got to sit in a jail cell and look at a tree, when my little girl never got the chance to make a tree that year? I was mad. I was so hurt- over a construction paper Christmas tree. I can remember some of the headaches I had crying myself to sleep at night because life was so unfair, it hurt more than I could believe it could, and something as little as a paper tree could affect my whole day. More like a couple of long weeks, and it affected my marriage as well.
When I unfolded Brock's tree from his Friday folder of papers the other day, you can imagine how my mind flashbacked. To thoughts and emotions I've stuffed for a long time. This time though, my thoughts have been so very different, and that's what this blogpost is for.
I couldn't help but wonder if the woman who killed Teagan got to decorate her jail cell again this year. I don't know- but I wondered. I couldn't help but think how far I've come in five much of my life is different- I have 2 additional little girls since that time, a new larger home, new vehicles, new friends, new insights, and a new attitude in many ways. I couldn't help but feel suddenly overwhelmed. Not with anger and bitterness at the unfairness, but at the realization of how life has been so good to me. And to think, this woman still sits in a jail cell- just as she did 5 years ago. Not much has changed for her. I couldn't help but wonder if she ever had someone get excited for her when she came home from school with a construction paper Christmas tree. I couldn't help but wonder if anyone had ever been proud or pleased with something so small- that it made her feel wonderful inside.
I began to feel sad. Sad that what I missed out on with my four-year old daughter was what a grown woman was doing...making a paper tree. It just seemed pathetic and sorrowful. And twisted- how could life get so twisted I have wondered, that a grown woman was making the tree my daughter never got to make? It hit me hard. It's a paper tree, but it has made me stop and think for several moments.
I can't help but feel humbled, that I have been loved and encouraged and supported and praised for lots of things and many times through my years- from family and friends and coworkers. I've had it easy. I've been very fortunate. I can only hope that my own kids will know how much they are loved and appreciated and cared about in this life. I can't help but miss Teagan when I see trees at Christmas. But this year, they are reminders of the blessings in my life. I wonder how I got so lucky in life- it could be so unfair. I have learned that lesson from a construction paper tree.


Claire said...

Jody, what a wonderful post!

You made me cry...

Christal said...

All that I can say is that was very VERY Moving!

Anonymous said...

it's so true: it's the simple things (like construction paper Christmas trees) that mean the most in this way too complicated, fast-moving world.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jody! I'm so sorry that your little girl is still not doing well with the flu! I am praying for her, you and your family as I type!!!
Christmas!!! So many thoughts went through my mind as I read your post. What is Christmas?? Construction paper trees? Gingerbread houses? Presents? Happiness?
This isn't for you...I know you "know" what Christmas is about! I should have my own blog to ponder and post.
For the others who read this blog google KTIS radio in the Twin on the a.m. tab and then Kim Jefferies. On her website page there is a letter from Jesus that is so powerful!
I pray that soon you and Wyndham will be home and well!!! Thank you again for your post and sharing your LIFE with us all!!

Janna said...

Wow Jody, your words are so powerful sometimes... and poignant. I am so glad that I get to read your blog because it really does remind me to think about what is truly important and to cherish the time we have with our loved ones now. I've already learned that lesson the hard way but it is always beneficial to hear it again and let it sink in.

I'll be praying for Wyndham to recover quickly so that she bounces back before Christmas. :)

God bless & take care!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jody-
I've been lurking since connecting to your link via the Cerak blog this past summer (I live near Fort Wayne, Indiana where our newspapers picked up the story in regards to the Taylor University campus there). I haven't written in before, but am moved now to write about this post. I lost my Mom, the nearest & dearest person to me in this world, 19 months ago -- I thought last Christmas was bad, but I am having a worse time this holiday -- last year it was more shock yet of the loss I guess. I've been crying myself to sleep where I am having headaches all the time now. I feel cheated because now it is just my Dad & I, & it is more than I can handle. I feel without joy or hope. Aside from my Dad, I have no one else, & he just turned 85, so... I feel all alone. The loss of joy & hope is overwhelming. It was good for me to know that I'm not alone in those feelings -- it is good for me to know that someone has gone through the deepest, darkest moments, & come through it -- maybe someday I can achieve the attitude you have somehow been able to find, in the end. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I pray that Wyndham will be lots better very soon!

mary h.

Jenay said...

I am a lurker, but had to post today. That was by far, my favorite post yet. I will never look at Construction Paper Xmas tress the same way again. I hope Wyndham feels better soon.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you can have sympathy for the woman who tore your life apart speaks volumes about you ad your faith. I find it amazing and inspirational.

Still thinking of and praying for Wyndham's recovery.


Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Jody. It brings the important things back into focus for me.

I hope Wyndham and the family recover from the sleepless nights :)


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear that Wyndham still isn't feeling well. I am praying that she will feel better soon.

It is so true that we have such precious little time to spend with our family and friends and your words have certainly done a wonderful job in reminding us all about that. May the Lord continue to give you the strength you need each day and continue to bless you and your family as He has done over these past several years.

God Bless