Sunday, June 21, 2009

Molded by Faith...........

As we traveled the long trip home yesterday from my Aunt Gin's funeral my mind was still reeling...... So much to take in, so many unanswered questions. My biggest still seems to be "why". Why now, why her. The days before the funeral and even as we traveled back to Indiana yesterday morning in truth I still hadn't wrapped my head around it all. It was all a funny rouse....... when we got to Indiana she would be there. Looking beautiful as always, her hair and nails would be impeccable. She would have the warm smile on her face and she would be laughing. Oh my, she could turn any frown into a smile with that laugh. She could make it all right, and she had a fun ornery side that would pull such a little trick like this just to get to see us sooner.
Sure, she wasn't really gone, there would be no casket, or dimly lit room, no need for multiple boxes of kleenex for all the tears. I would not see my own wonderful Mom and see her just a bit older than the last time. The sadness seeping in around the edges of her face, that she was so bravely trying to hold away. After a long trip that began in the wee hours of the morning we arrived. When we walked inside my illusion was shattered. There was a casket and inside was Aunt Gin, she looked so pretty, but not like I remember in anytime from the past. There was no warm smile or infectious laugh.... There was a lot of people there, who felt joyous for her journey out of this broken world, but sorry for themselves. Sorry that there was silence where in the past had been a voice, a very distinct voice. My cousin Micheal was one of the people who spoke, he reminded us of Aunt Gin's "voice" and heart song that made her the special individual she was. So true, it was said she walked to the beat of a different drummer. You see she wasn't like everyone else she was "special" she saw good when no one else did..... She saw beauty when others saw ugly.

My Mom spoke about her as well, speaking from proverbs.... "Train a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it." You see, this was an original 4 pack of girls. Four very different parts that made a complete set. They were "molded" by faith and by the unfailing spirit of my Grandparents James and Bertha Massey. These 4 very different women all had common bonds, bonds of faith, and caring, morals and grace. As we all set and listened to "The show must go on". Playing I could see my aunt smiling in my head, laughing and her eyes twinkling. I realized that we her family here have big shoes to fill, she has in part passed a torch to all of us. She was a part of the molding process that brought me here and now it is our job to "mold" the next generation coming along.

I remember one time as a small child that on one of their visits to our house we were allowed to use the good crystal..... something that rarely happened. We had stemmed sherbet glasses own to fill with desserts. I loved the fancy glasses! She asked me if I knew what it meant to clink the glasses together. he said you see when you click them together it means kiss my ass! then she laughed and joked, I on the other hand was shocked! Wow, she said a BAD word!!! I will never forget how silly she was and the impact she had on my life. Later that night my cousin Tim was unhappy that the girls wouldn't share secrets..... He told us if we didn't tell him our secret he would throw himself down the stairs. His sisters easily said "okay go ahead". Down he tumbled, falling into a heap at the bottom.... then he jumped up and ran to the adults, telling on us for him throwing himself down the stairs. We hear my Aunt giggle.... she said well Tim! "why didn't you tell them you would throw "them" down the steps.'

So today I find myself being nostalgic, the tears are flowing freely, my earthly selfishness is missing my Aunt and wanting her back..........

She would tell us we should never become "moldy" by faith...... sitting still and stagnant. Only existing in the past not sharing our faith with others or staying fresh. We always need to move along and grow........

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life and Loss.........

This afternoon my phone rang, I picked it up and it was my Mom. I was excited to chat with my Mom. As I answered the phone I knew this call was not a normal chat. She told me she had bad news but I never imagined what the news could be. My Aunt Virginia, had died..... WHAT!?!? How could that be? Just two years older than my Mom my Aunt "Gin" could not be gone...... Growing up she was always the "fun" aunt. Very fun and creative she just oozed life. She was the best story teller I have ever heard, she could keep us in stitches with her stories.

And now she is gone.......... gone to a better place but gone.... I just can't figure out how to move forward from here. My Aunt had 5 children, 8 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. She had a husband who loved her dearly and is lost without her. My cousin Matt found her and tried to unsuccessfully to resesitate her. My Mom is just lost, Virginia was the closest sister in the birth order. My heart is breaking for my Mom. My heart tells me that this IS God's plan. It was time for my Aunt to go.

Even the timing was part of God's plan, just 3 days earlier our big giant family had our annual reunion. Most everyone was there to be together, even my cousin flew in from New York to be with the family. She stayed over a bit to spend more time with her family, if she had not came she would not have gotten to see her Grandma live. We live about 4 hours apart so I feel very blessed that not only me but also my kids got to see her and spend some time. She was a very creative woman who loved crafts of all kinds. she was excited to go home and make some of the cute little clippies that we bought for Kendall's hair. She gave Kendall her quilt, she has given all the little kids a quilt for their birth. Kendall loves it, it was such a nice relaxing day for our family. We all laughed and had fun, now we will all grieve and know in our hearts that "Aunt Gin" is really home now. Out grief is only for our own selves.

The timing is probably perfect but so hard for me right now. Not only is it WAY too soon but just 4 years ago tomorrow June 17 was the day we lost our sweet baby Mackenzie Faith. I hope they are all together with the rest of the family in heaven.

I miss you already............ love you so much!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Potty Training 101

Potty Training................ really!?!?

Well, it seems we are once again at that point. Ugh! My least favorite part of child-rearing..... potty training. I’m sure in the end it will all work out and we will have a dry underpants wearing child, but the getting there is not something that I ever enjoy. As with all other aspects of bringing up baby there is NO silver bullet. No one way for all that really works, well at least not at our house. I do believe that everyone has their price.....their currency. Figuring that out is just the first step.

So far Kendall is right in their with the pack at 22 mo. She is asking questions and now proudly sitting on her Elmo potty seat several times a day. She is so proud, she smiles and chats about the things in the bathroom and talks about who else sits on the potty. So far I don’t think she has the foggiest idea “what” she is supposed to do there. We have had one success because the look of concentration tipped me off but other than that we are still in the sit and wait stage of the game.

I think that her currency will definitely be food. Maybe cookies, aka animal crackers. When we bought the seat Taylor wanted to know where the hats and horns were. His currency was a potty party when we had success. Lots of tooting, horn blowing, and clapping. At 6 he still vividly remembers this.... Funny to me that it left such an impression. Logan was all about the praise. Courtney went through the process kinking and screaming. But she got there....... Tiffany our oldest learned her colors and was all about “big” girl panties. She was the quickest to train, maybe because she was the ONLY distraction at the time. Poor Kendall has to jump into line and hope someone notices. So I guess we are off and as they say slow and steady will win the race.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

part of history ............. part 3

Finally, the long awaited end of the beginning!

Right after the sparkly ball dropped on New Year’s Ever, I kissed him and said “SO! What about us having a baby. He was not impressed!!! But we did talk and eventually ..... after much begging, pleading and pouting. Yes I resorted to pouting! He finally agreed that we could try again, I think more so just to get me out of my funk. He does love me so much. I made my appointment and went in and had a face to face reality appointment with the RE. My odds were not good with my own eggs and we couldn't’t afford the costs of donor egg. That was okay because I just knew in my heart that God DID intend on us having 1 more child. It didn't matter the odds because if god could part the waters to free his people he could make our miracle and I would get pregnant, what were odds anyway??? Tim saw me as being over hormonal and not thinking it was a good idea but he did agree to give it another try.
We took the class and loaded up the drugs....several shots a day, (ouch!)and to me that is no small feat. I am a true needle-phobic, although helpful Tim was not impressed having to give all the shots. I did some of them after awhile because I knew his heart was only in this for me. He had been so hurt losing Mackenzie that he didn’t want to let himself even hope anymore. I went to the appointments and in for the scans, my egg production was not stellar but I only needed one golden egg and I had 8 follicles, the RE was impressed with the production. My hopes were high that I was going to beat the odds, I was considered way into the advanced maternal age category. We went to retrieval and got 4 eggs. I was disappointed but again I remembered that I only needed 1. We kept track of the embryos and their progress waiting till time to put them back. To my total shock and dismay none of our embryos developed properly and the procedure was cancelled, to say I was crushed and confused is an understatement. Once again I felt lost and like my body was plotting against me. I just felt sure in my heart God had a plan for us, I knew there was a piece of our family picture missing. My tiny myopic view....... my God is so big and I continually short change him. I have even on occasion found myself thinking I knew better how to handle a situation. Silly humans aren't we??
Elizabeth called again................. please, let me carry a baby for you. God is getting persistent, he wants this to happen. I went into the doctor’s office for a follow up and to see out next step. They were very firm that I was not a good candidate for anymore procedures, my thyroid was not reacting correctly and without that proper balance if a pregnancy was achieved it would be lost, my veins were shot from all the IV's with past pregnancies, and our egg quality was just not good. I was so sad this had to be God's plan, didn't it?............ but again Elizabeth called and said that God was getting really naggy about the issue, we needed to consider the surrogacy. So I said Tim and I would talk, I knew this would not go well and really felt this was not the path for us. I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God for direction in this matter. It was a short conversation............ NO! He did not like the idea of all the things that could go wrong. E in his opinion and I were just being “hormonal”.

Over the next several months E and I talked more and more. I started to see maybe this was our path. I knew there would be many many obstacles to overcome. I prayed, pleaded and Tim refused. Everyone he talked to told him to run from this situation, so many things in the news said this was VERY risky. Elizabeth would call several times a month asking if Tim was on board yet. Finally she told me we needed to move! She said God told her she would have a girl for us that would be born in August. Talk about a clear message!! One day she called and I told her that Tim was still refusing, she said “ tell him God says do this, and certainly Tim doesn't think he knows more than God right??, so I told him. Finally after months of pleading and a week after that message, Tim came in one night and looked at me and said “Fine, you think you need to do this go ahead. BUT if it doesn’t work this time it is over”.

We called the RE I had always used and talked to them. They gave us a huge list of hurdles and were not open to the procedure. So we did a little research and were told that one of the RE’s that had left the practice may be willing. So we called to make an appointment we got in that same week! So we went to speak with him, for anyone how has not dealt with RE's that quick appointment with no month long wait was amazing! He scanned Elizabeth and said if we could get the paperwork ready that she was at a good place and the procedure could be done at the end of the week. WOW! End of the week, what paperwork? Well it seems that surrogacy needs LOTS of legal paperwork. The RE gave us the name of a wonderful attorney and I called her right away, and she also got us in amazingly fast. So I went the next day and she said that she would help us out and have a standard document drawn up. If we could get it back we would be in time for the end of the week and her IUI! We had a terrible time lining up the donation part for Tim and almost had to cancel. They were able to give us some “food” to keep the swimmers alive longer and we were able to do it. All worked out and 9 days after the procedure we found out that Elizabeth was pregnant. Talk about amazing!!? We told only a few people about our surrogacy journey, we just didn't want to have to deal with all the comments and negative comments.We decided to not tell Tim's Mom and dad, we knew that they would worry endlessly and it really didn't seem to make sense to have them worry, they just would get a quick surprise!

We were so excited and our due date? August 10! August, the month God told Elizabeth that she would deliver. I learned early on that this pregnancy was really different from my previous ones in one way. I was not sick, I could enjoy the pregnancy! I attended each and every appointment, I tried to be as much a part of this pregnancy as possible. We talked several times a week and time seemed to stand still, when Elizabeth was 17 weeks along we went for the “fun scan” to find out the pink or blue question. It was a GIRL! I was so excited that on my way home I shopped for pink! All on sale and I got items for 4 holidays!!! God just kept on blessing us.... ha ha.

Early in August we were all anticipating Kendall’s birth and thought that we should probably start to break the news to some of the family we had not told. On August 3rd we made a trip to Tim's Mom and Dad's and gave them the news that they would again be Grandparents. They were very confused to say the least since I did not look pregnant and even more surprised to hear that the baby was due in just 7 days!!We decided after MUCH debate to name her after Tim’s dad Kenneth. Kendall seemed like the perfect name to me. His Mom and Dad finally got to start a baby grand daughter from the beginning. After 5 Grandsons it seemed perfect since none of the boys had used his name. August 10 came and went but our baby was so comfy that she wasn’t ready. On the morning of August 10, Elizabeth decided that she would be induced in 3 days. I was SO excited this tiny baby that I had been waiting to feel and see was finally going to make her entrance. We had my parents come and stay with the boys and could be at the house when we got home with her. I went to wait out the long labor, all of E's labors had been long very long.... over 24 hours. So I went alone and Tim and Tiffany planned to come up closer to delivery. I sat waiting and watching unable to “do” anything but thanking God for the blessing that Elizabeth was working to give us. I hated that she had to go through so much pain for me. I wished I could take that pain for her. She worked through the labor like a champ, she did such a wonderful job. Within 4 hours Kendall was about ready to be born and Tim and Tiffany came to the room. Our precious baby Kendall was born within minutes and our lives forever changed. 6 lb and 10 oz of wonder and amazement!! Our life has not been the same since! I see God's plan and blessings in each and everyday. Is life perfect now????? nope! We were never promised perfect! Just a life that is blessed by our saviours sacrifice of his precious only Son.

I can easily now look back and see the miracles. God did direct Elizabeth, he was faithful with the timing and the messages that he had told Elizabeth. He changed our lives forever by allowing us to have our baby Mackenzie. Even if we only got to have her with us for a little while. God directed our paths to cross clear back in September of 2000. He made beauty from ashes....... So yea,.... I want to be able to explain just how special she has been to us. I will never be able to repay Elizabeth for her gift. She easily says that God told her to take this path and she would never trade the experience. She also told us how could she ignore a command from God and after all we had agreed and been willing to be God parents and raise her girls if need be so why wouldn’t she be willing to give a baby to us............... she is an incredible person. A true blessing to us.

Kendall is as much or more of a miracle when I look at the path God sent us on than the other babies that I tried so hard to have. I want her to know that she is and always has been a blessing to our family.

Then .... such a tiny little blessing
Now ..... my little firecracker!