Friday, March 30, 2012

I will want these moments back.

At the risk of someone thinking all I do is dwell on the loss of my daughter, Teagan, I am writing this post. It has been on my heart and mind for several days now. I may have written about similar thoughts and feelings already, but if I have it was several years ago and well, these feelings have just been rushing over me so much that I need to just write them down and this is the place I go to do that sort of thing.

The reason I even preface and start this post the way I have is that I feel like more than ever my blog is sort of a personal challenge to me right now. What started out as me sharing stories and pictures and updates and just snapshots of our life for my family and friends to keep up on turned into something very different over the years I have been blogging. I went through a long stretch where it was easy for me to post and write and my "stories" were fresh and new all the time. Then there was my time in scrapbooking and all that played a big part in my blog too. I was meeting new people and was on a "creative personal high" and just very involved with a lot of online events.

Then I had two more babies. On top of my already busy life. And they were and truly are special little guys. But they are boys. And they are demanding. And messy. And a lot to try to keep up with- in addition to 3 other sisters, a brother and a dad who has a busy life all his own. Life just went from being a mix of reflections and lessons learned from my past and some creative stuff thrown in there with the busy-ness of having kids and feeling like life just started piling up. I felt like I had nothing new or fun or interesting or important or even just "ordinary enough" for me to post. I struggled with some of the comments that were said at times too... even one that implied I use my blog and death of Teagan for some sort of celebrity status. Granted, that was a long way back, but still I get comments at times that make me wonder why I should be so vulnerable and transparent and open. It {my blogging} certainly IS for me. But I share in large part and in no way to gain 'celebrity'. Whatever that means anyway. I would be a nobody for the rest of my life if it meant I could have my life back the way I wanted it again.

So I have gone over and over in my head and have had many blogposts in my heart and head to share the past few months. But I have struggled with never knowing who is going to read it...and how my words will hit you. Lately though I have been affirmed more than ever to share my stories and to "write for me and my family" and the record that a blog and pictures can be down the road. I have felt overwhelmingly challenged to 'not care' what anyone will think when I do write or when I share from my heart. If it comes from my heart than that's just me being me. However, the truth is I will ALWAYS care about who is reading and how you take my words to heart. A part of me was just made to care about people. My heart cares because I love and serve and believe in a God who cares. More than I ever could. So while I am not easily offended, I care a whole lot about you and what brings you to this place from time to time. I pray for you and if there is ever anything that I write that somehow touches you or moves you to live differently, love differently or just want to know more, well then I feel like no matter what I write or why, it makes it worthwhile. And that has nothing to do with me...but everything to do with God.

Now that I have written all that down I feel like I should hit "publish post" right now. But I haven't even written down the thoughts I first intended to share.

This is what I planned to write when I first sat down at my keyboard. Titled, "I will want these moments back."

I have had a mix of really good and really not-so-hot days the past few months. Let me be honest with you. Moving and resettling is HARD! As much as we love the house we are renting at this time- it's not "home". As many new friends as we have been making and feeling so encouraged and supported by- we still miss our "old friends". As much as we feel like this was the very thing {moving to MN} for our family to do in life right now- we have had to adjust and learn and start a lot of things over. And all that just adds to the craziness of our usual lives.

Much of all the moving and trying to settle in, coupled with the recent birthday we had without Teagan here to celebrate, all played a role in the thoughts swirling in my head at different times recently.

Chip and I have shared conversations in the past about what we would do, or how much we would be willing to pay, or what would it be like to get Teagan back for just one day? What about for one hour? I think we agreed that there would be no price we wouldn't pay. It is that very thought- that I would be willing to do or pay just about anything for one day back in time with her again that this post spills from. It was the tears that kept pouring from my eyes as I wept and found myself almost unable to breathe when I sat down to fold a basket of laundry one day after her loss was starting to sink in and become my 'new reality'. As I fell to my knees weeping and aching in a place I had never felt before, therein was the clarity of what had happened. Our little Teagan was gone. All I wanted at that moment was to fold her days of the week underwear one more time. But they weren't among the whites to be folded now.

All I wanted was what I had just had. All I wanted I had just lived through and sometimes had even grumbled about; all I wanted was what I had all too often wished was different in my life.

I had it now.

A quiet, clean house.

And my heart had never hurt more than it did at that time.

* * *

I took Brock out for breakfast not long ago. He was on Spring Break and our family doesn't go anywhere for such a break for lots of reasons, but that's another post. =) So this little coffee outing was a simple treat for him. And for me. I think it turned out to be more for me. Because as I turned the key in my van and looked over at his smiling face as we headed out on our short little morning together it was as though I was living a moment in my past. Our past.

I literally felt as though I was a 'future me' and he was a 'future him', and instead of me being older and more wrinkled and an older version of me and him being an older, more handsome version of him, we were both 'us' now.

I don't know if as I type that out it even translates through the screen or implies the meaning I am trying to convey. But it was so real to me. It was a sacred gift at that time. There was no loud 'boom' or shining light. The earth didn't shake, but it was unmistakable to me and since then I have had more moments like that one. Our whole breakfast together that morning felt like it was on another "plane". Brock loved his campfire s'mores latte, but didn't really care for the texture of his berry oatmeal that day. We came home to a house full of activity and a husband/dad who had to run out the door to go to work and I had diapers to change and lots of motherly chores to do for many more hours. But I was so thankful for the gift of what was sort of a "flashback in time"- even though it was happening in the here and now.

It happened at the end of a long day for me earlier this week. It was one of those days where there were too many of us who started out our day waking up on the wrong side of the bed and we just couldn't seem to turn the momentum back around no matter how hard we tried. By 8pm that night I had yelled far too many times, not hugged enough times, told my inner self that I was worthless for even caring or trying, and I spent too much time feeling sorry for myself. As I flopped down into the glider chair to rock Teague to sleep I looked down at him and kissed him and as the warmth of his cheek touched mine I realized that even this day I would want back. Someday.

You don't have to suffer great loss or tragedy or death to learn this life lesson. Each of us experiences life and it fades and is gone. One moment at a time. The present becomes a distant memory as quickly as we live it. None of us can get back a single moment in time. So my challenge to me {and to you if you choose to take it upon yourself} is to soak in some of the moments that you live in the 'now' as if they are gifts to you from the future.

I'll put it another way.

No matter what you are going through in life, there are parts of it that you will wish you could have back sometime. Whether it is a job or friends or your health; whether it is youth on your side or young kids underfoot or piles of laundry that never seem to end; whether it is the ability to be intimate with your mate or go for morning coffee with your teen or paint a picture or ride a bike. Someday one or two or all of the things you love about your life right now might not be an option. Or might simply have grown and changed or even moved away.

So to recognize that it might be the very thing you are dreading or seems to be wearing you out right now {newborn baby or long hours at your job or that professor that talks on about nothing for the whole class! or any other thing} that you will someday look back on and realize it was a really great thing to just "be" in that place and time.

I vacuumed around a bunch of rainbow-colored toys on the floor yesterday. Instead of sighing that I had to clean and that I had toys to pick up {again!} I sighed because they were my reality. I sighed, thankful that even though my life has challenges and imperfections and things I wish I could change or do over I am grateful that I "get it". Right now.

I am overwhelmed that life taught me this lesson the hard way. But I am grateful to be able to share what my heart has learned in any way I can. Which is one reason why I blog. I may not have anything too important to share nor can I compete with the creativity and inspiration all over the web these days by people prettier and more capable and more educated and more lots of other things. But I am still passionate. I am sure of many things. Today I just wanted to share with anyone that hasn't learned it yet, one day you will want this day back. Embrace it as tight as you can...or let it go if it is holding you back. That's my nitty.gritty. heart for everyone today.


PamDavis said...

Jodie, I have an overwhelming urge just to give you a big hug. I check your blog each and every day. When you don't blog for a while I worry about you and your family. I include you in my prayers sometimes more than my own family, maybe because I know you have had lots of good and bad days lately. That being said, I still come back each day because you are so real, you lay your heart on the line for us all to see and feel. Todays posts really hits home because I have been thinking the same things but for very different reasons, I miss the days you are talking about, with the toys on the floor, the yelling, the crying, the laughing, the dancing in circles, the cereal on the floor. My babies are grown. You are right, we will look back on those days and want them back.

Hoping you and your family have a great weekend.

Dara Wills said...

I love the way you write things out, so simply but so REAL. I totally hear you. I have been looking at my 5 year and 1.5 year old daughters lately and thinking, "I'll always wish that they were this little again." I love your posts! What an amazing woman you are and such an inspiration!

Desiree Chandler said...


I wish there were not those heartless people out there that have made those comments to you. That hurts my heart to know that anything like that was even thought let alone posted on your blog :(

BIG HUGE HUGS. I LOVE reading your blog and you have taught me SO much in the last few years of just reading about your thoughts and experiences. Don't stop being YOU. You are AWESOME!! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you! You don't know me but I've read your blog for years. So many days your post contain thoughts or feelings I've had and reading your words helps me. Thank you for what you've shared today. I am dealing with a medical situation with my 8 yr old right now and it requires me to get up several times a night and I'm tired. But what you wrote that you want to soak up not just the good moments but all of it. Be thankful that I am here, able to do this. I never thought about that someday I may miss this part. But you are right, I will miss having the honor of having someone to love in such a way and be needed in such a way. I will go into the night tonight with a new attitude and perspective. I can't tell you how much I cherish your thoughts and wisdom. I know God used you to teach me something this evening. Thank you for sharing.

jenny said...

Thanks, Jody. You ALWAYS bless me. And I'm sure many others feel the same way. I'm going to try to remember to squeeze all the joy I can out of every moment of life. Thank you for reminding me of this truth.

sawicky99 said...

So...I realized today that I have been reading your blog for 5 years now. I don't know if I have ever commented, but I love you and your family. I started reading your blog when my oldest daughter was 4 1/2. Every word you said today was everything I have ever taken from your blog...It has me in tears too, as I sit her pregnant with suprise #5. I appreciate your openness...and I pray that your post touched someone the way it needed to...Thank you for being so real...and I loved you, too, from the start because I am a MN welcome back :) Keep it coming...I adore your honesty, realness and adorable family!!!

KatieButler said...

Jody, please don't ever stop writing.

Anonymous said...

This was the exact thing I needed to read tonight! Thank you for sharing.
I find your blog such a blessing.

Anonymous said...

You have so much more depth and character because of what you have been through than any mean spirited person who comments. There will always be those who can't and will never understand how losing a child impacts us and those close to us for the rest of our lives. jan

Anonymous said...

I have been a 'somewhat regular' reader of your blog...probably for about 7 years or so now. I came over because you once commented on my daughter's blog and it so touched me as you spoke "truth" and love into her when she so needed it. I'm not sure how you "found" her! Not sure if you both still read each other's blogs...but I do! :-) I somehow, now, feel as if I 'know' you for real. Some day perhaps we will meet in person---if not here then in Heaven! :-) BUT you speak so much of the thoughts that I've felt (or still feel) about my life, parenting (though now my kids are grown and gone) and it brings back wishes for just a moment of 'back then'. I so wish I could have some 'do-overs' in my parenting. I miss hugging my small children and kissing them and telling them how much I love them. I wasn't a great mom---yelled way too much and stressed over non-essentials of the day. Never really took account of that one day this would all be past and the house truly would be quiet and that I'd miss my children, their messes and yes even the stressors they gave me. Thank you for being honest and projecting your thoughts as you do! God's blessings on you and your family! I pray that soon THIS will feel like home for you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I have read your blog since I saw your family on the Oprah show and have prayed, laughted and wept along with you. I have never commented before but what an inspiration you are to me and to so many. Tonight I needed your words. Thank you. Thank you for being you. For being honest. For continuing to blog. Your words mean so much to so many.....

Jennifer said...

Thank you for the reminder... I needed that. Please don't stop blogging... You truly have a gift and you're an inspiration. <3

Lauren said...

This was SO SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Super! There are many times I can feel overwhelmed, frustrated, tired and just hanging on. I love when a moment provides clarity and I realize how blessed I truly am!!!! Thanks for sharing so honestly!!

cat said...

Simply beautiful and so straight from the heart.

Kaydee and TJ said...

Jodie! I just love your blogs! Your a gift of inspiration! I wish I could express my feelings in such a wonderful and positive way like you do! Don't stop blogging :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart with us.