Thanksgiving isn't so hard for me to get through. Tyler would spend every Thanksgiving with his mom. It was so important to me that he be with us at Christmas, that I was willing to forgo this holiday, so I don't have great Thanksgiving memories about him, except for the last year when we broke into his house to borrow his X-Box. I felt like it was fair since he was always breaking in to get to my fridge!
Thanksgiving is almost here, and my heart just sometimes wants to burst with love for the things I'm thankful for. What a cliche thing to say, but I don't know how else to describe it. Sometimes my kids make me so mad. Sometimes I don't like being the mom, but at the end of the day when I kneel down, I'm thankful for them the most. If I didn't have anything else except for them and my husband, I could live with that. I watched a video of them when they were little, and I've been smiling all day, thinking of their cute faces. I did what every mom does... I kissed the tips of their toes, ran my fingers over their backs, memorized every marking, breathed in their newness. It's an intoxicating smell.
About a year ago, I would catch a whiff of newborn, and I would scramble to find the source. Usually, I'm looking for the smell of a wet towel that has been dropped in an obscure place, so this was a pleasant hunt. It took me weeks to discover that it was a combination of shampoo and hair gel that my boys were using. I would grab them and start inhaling the smell of their hair. Of course, after about age 2, you stop breathing deep when you hug your boys, but I was begging them to sit next to me. I would smell them at random times, and they started avoiding my hug because I was "weird." I didn't write down the combination, and they have since stopped using that kind of hair gel, so I don't get it anymore.
I miss having young kids sometimes, but I know that every year that goes by makes me very aware of how much I'm going to miss this time too.
If you were to ask me to recall happy memories, I would immediately recount every horrible minute of childbirth. It's funny how something so traumatizing brings you so close to Heaven. Those are days that no matter how sad I am, or how frustrated, I will always start breathing slower and my eyes will fill with tears at the memory of those wonderful days.
I always felt that little disconnect because I had that experience with my kids, but I never got that kind of bonding with Tyler. It would be borderline creepy if I started kissing his chubby little toes at five years old.
I spent a week with my newborn Aidan in the hospital when he got RSV. I prayed harder than I had ever prayed. I held his little body close to mine and I wasn't going to leave the hospital without him. I marveled at the strength he had at just a few weeks to continue to breathe, even when it got too hard for his little body.
I marveled again when I learned that Maddie had been born with Failure to Thrive. For some reason, she had stopped progressing in the womb and was slowly starving to death. That feisty little girl held on long enough to be born for me to try to take care of her. She was born on time, but was the size of being 4 weeks early. I held her and nursed her back to health, doing what I could to protect her.
I have spent countless hours sitting next to the bed of Aaron this year, watching his body not function right. I've watched him starve for days at a time in order to get control of his pancreas, only to want to gag him when he gets feeling well enough to talk back. I watched him go into septic shock. Watched his perfect little toes (Now big ugly man toes) turn purple because of lack of oxygen. I stood there with tears falling as he asked the nurses to make sure I wasn't alone when they had to tell me...
I sat and cried with him and held my sweet dimpled boy that wanted to give up because the pain of what he was going through was just too much for him.
I watched with awe as Tyler, one day being so distraught because the doctors told him that because of severing his tongue, might not be able to swallow again because of nerve damage.He sat there for a day or two, giving up, but then one day he decided he was not going to stay there and he was not going to leave with a feeding tube! He willed himself to find whatever way necessary to get food down his throat. He was resourceful! I watched his body miraculously heal, and every time I looked at the scar that ran across his face, it reminded me of how grateful I was that this handsome man had come so far.
I've watched my husband overcome things that have plagued his spirit and work so hard at creating a better life so those things can't thrive.
I have been lucky enough to not have this level of stress with Jordan, but I have watched him go through some of the most mentally trying times and he has held his head up and surprised me with strength I didn't know he had.
Each time that my children needed care, I did the best I could to take care of their wounds, give them medical help, hold them, kiss them, do whatever I could to ease a pain, but I have never been able to control or take away the mental and emotional trials that they have to endure, and sometimes I think that's harder to watch.
|Aaron, Jordan, Madelyn, Aidan. Tyler in front. How can this picture NOT make you smile?!|
As I stood at the head of his casket almost 4 years ago, I remember looking at him and thinking that it had to be a horrible prank, because he didn't look like himself. I kept studying him and looking for little things. I picked up his hands and looked carefully at his fingers, I pulled up his pant legs to see his tattoos and the way his calves looked. I was horribly disappointed to recognize and know for certain that they did, indeed, belong to only him.
I wish I had kissed him more. I wish that I didn't stop hugging him as much as he became a surly and back talking teenager. I'm glad, though, that I got to know him and love him.
He would walk through the back door and I would hear these big work boots clomp down the hallway into the kitchen, and before I got to finish screaming, "Take. Your. Boots. OFF!" he would be at the fridge, smiling that Cheshire cat grin that made me go nuts. He would talk to me for a few minutes while scarfing down some food and then he'd leave again, laughing as I swept up his foot prints. What I wouldn't give to hear him clomp through the house and hear him laugh at something the kids said.
His grandma and 2 of his uncles wanted to hike the Grand Teton with Tyler, and we laughed about his training. He hiked Table Rock a couple of times and figured that was good. I know climbing the Grand for him was an emotional and physical feat. It was so much harder on him than he expected, but he knew that there was no way he could come down without having to still work. His uncles gave him a good pep talk, his grandma said a prayer with him, and he was able to finish what he had started. He was so excited when he came off the mountain that he drove over to the house and couldn't stop smiling. He had stowed some rocks in his back pack and gave them to the kids. He had finished something I would never dare to attempt. His body was strong, the air went through his lungs fiercely, his heart was strong, as were his legs and his back. I'm humbled by the things the human body and the human spirit can endure.
As a Post Script: As we were planning the funeral, Kim, Glen, James and I were trying to figure out music. We were looking through a hymn book and I opened to the page with "I Stand All Amazed" I read out loud the words and we all began to cry. This song was chosen to be sung and I get chills whenever I listen to the words. I do stand all amazed.
"I Stand All Amazed" If you would like to hear the music and the words, click the link, thenclick to the right where it gives the option for both.