Sunday, April 27, 2008

Leaving him

This morning, I planned to take Jesse with us to church. I wanted to wait until he's 6 months old before I would take him with us to church. Now that he is 6 months old, today was the day he'd go to the nursery at church for the very first time!

But he almost didn't.

Right at the last minute, right before we were going to leave, I started feeling nervous. I didn't like the idea of leaving him in the nursery while I attended services. (The parents usually aren't allowed to hang around.) I just didn't like the thought at all. I talked to my husband about it. He was not going with us to church (he doesn't attend) and I said, "I want to leave him with you."

But my husband couldn't watch the baby while we attended church. He had too much yardwork to get done today. So, I had to take him with us. But first he wanted to know WHO would be watching the babies in the nursery. I explained there'd be 2 or 3 volunteers in there. He wanted to know what kind of volunteers and I said, "Members of the church."

"Do they take just anyone?" he asked.

And I said, no, the volunteers have to go through a background check first. I know because I once received paperwork from the church shortly after joining, inviting me to volunteer in the Children's Ministry. Part of that paperwork was a form I had to sign agreeing to a background check. (It was A LOT of paperwork! With A LOT of questions.) Next he wanted to know where the nursery was located and if it was in the same room as the older children. Satisfied with my answers, he shrugged and said, "He'll be okay."

We COULD have stayed home today, but I didn't want to. I HAD to go to church. I felt a strong need to go. And apparently, I had to take the baby with us, too.

So when we got to church, I dropped Jennifer off at her classroom. Then I took Jesse to the nursery. I signed him in there, explained that he'd already has his bottle and cereal, and said that he'd probably just take his nap. I watched them carry him to a part of the nursery. They left him in his car seat and sat it in an area where a volunteer was sitting, holding another baby.

So I walked out the door, determined. I looked down to see that someone had lost their calling slip. Each child is given a number, which is written on a calling slip. The parents keep the slips with them. There is a screen in the sanctuary where a number will flash. That number is for the parent who is needed in the Children's Ministry. I looked down and saw the name "Josiah" written on it. I picked it up and took it back into the nursery and told the volunteer that someone had dropped it. When I walked back out again, I froze. All of a sudden, my strength and determination just left me.

I could not leave.

I lingered outside of the nursery, by the door. I tried to walk farther away, but I couldn't. I just felt so scared to leave the baby in there. I knew he wasn't alone. I knew he was clean, fed, comfortable and in a calm atmosphere. So why was I so nervous to leave him? I'm so darn attached to my baby! Even with my best friend Jimmy, who has babysat Jennifer for me in the past, has volunteered to babysit Jesse, I COULD NOT leave him! Not even now...

So I did the only thing I could think to do. I started to pray. I just stood there and prayed to God for strength and to please, PLEASE protect my baby. Keep him safe and watch over him for me. I would only be gone for 2 hours. No longer than that. And after I prayed, I felt better. I felt safe trusting in God to watch over him.

So I went into the sanctuary to attend the adult church service. You would think I'd STILL have my confidence, but it instantly disappeared again. Maybe because I sat ALL the way on the other side of the room, farther away from the nursery. I could barely breathe. I was nervous, fidgeting and unable to focus on my surroundings. So I just kept praying. I sat there, silently praying to God to protect my son. Keep him safe. After a while, I was able to breathe okay and sort of focus on the sermon. But mostly I just prayed through the whole thing and kept my eye on the call screen. (Well, they were mostly talking about missionary work, anyway! It was one of THOSE sermons.)

At one point, though, I DID go back to the nursery to check on Jesse. On my way there, I saw Houston at one of the doors. We exchanged smiles and waves. I remembered how, after I met him, I asked a friend, "Is he the one everybody goes to if they have a problem?" I started hoping there wasn't a problem this time. At the nursery, the volunteer assured me that the baby was fine. He took a nap and now he was awake and just calmly looking around. So I went back to the services and tried to distract myself by reading the book of hymns.

Interestingly enough, that helped calm me even more.

When it was time to leave, I went back to the nursery to pick Jesse up. They were all very happy he had been there and said there was no trouble at all. I was SO RELIEVED. When I had him in front of me again, I gave him hugs and kisses and started talking to him. His smile to me just melted my heart. I was so thankful all had gone well.

I went to the classroom where the older children were. After I picked up Jennifer, we were on our way out when I saw Evie, another friend at the church. We smiled at each other, hugged and wished each other a good Sunday. (It was nice to get a hug from a friend! It sure helped ease my anxieties.) So we went out to the car and when we got out there, I said another silent prayer. A prayer of gratitude.

Later, I looked up who Josiah was on the Internet. Just out of interest. I came across this link: The name "Josiah" means "The Lord will support." Amen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Six and six

Today, Jesse is officially six months old. YAY!! And he happens to be 6 months old when his big sister is 6 YEARS old. LOL At least it's not 666 with my kids: 6 years, 6 months and 6 days. That would be CRAZY!

Anyway, to celebrate, here are some recent pics. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let go and let God

I have known of the saying "Let go and let God" but I never really understood it before. I kept thinking, 'Let God what??'

Yesterday, I found my answer.

We didn't go to church yesterday. I was almost done with a project and I wanted to get it all wrapped up so that I could send it out today. I did finish the project (formatting a manuscript), but my joy was bittersweet.

In fact, I felt more guilt-ridden than I did happy.

Why feel so upset just because I missed church? I've missed church before, when Jennifer was too sick to go or the weather was too bad for me to drive in, so why get upset now? It's not like anybody would notice we weren't there! But I knew why. I was upset because I needed God. I was so ravaged by guilt because, on the day before, I had set a bad example for my daughter. I had just blindly looked the other way when she had done something wrong. Something that she shouldn't have. To be honest, I was feeling too sick to really pay attention to what was going on. My silence was telling her that it was okay to do that bad thing. I should've snapped out of my queasiness, should've stopped being so rushed to get home, and put my foot down about it. She KNEW it was a bad thing, but she didn't say anything about it. If I had corrected the situation, I would be telling her that what she was doing was wrong. But I didn't and I felt terrible about it. I'd made a big mistake as a parent and I was just really beating myself up over it. I'd prayed to God for forgiveness that night, but I still felt bad. I still needed something to help me understand that it was in God's hands now. I shouldn't worry about it anymore.

Later that day, I was trying to read a book but I still felt miserable about what I'd done. So I put down the book and just started praying right there on the couch. I didn't go to some private room. I didn't get on my knees or make the sign of the cross. All I did was put my hands together and pray. My heart was feeling so heavy and burdened and I just had to unburden myself. I had to let it all go. I had to give my pain to God and once again ask His forgiveness.

And after I finished my prayer, I felt better. I really did.

Jennifer had seen me praying and asked me why I just started praying like that. I told her I was upset about something and needed to talk to God about it. She said I could talk to her about it, too, but I told her, "No, Jen. I already prayed to God about it. It's okay. I feel better now. I am going to let God handle it now."

That's when realization struck. "Let God handle it now." Wow. That's it! That's what the saying means! Just let it go and let God handle it. "Let go and let God." That's it!

I'm glad I was able to have that realization. There are so many times things will burden me. Things trouble me or get me upset. But from now on, once I pray about it, once I send it up to God, I'm not going to let those things burden me anymore. God will answer my prayers and He will guide me to the answers that I seek. He has done this for me so many times before. There are so many times I've prayed over things and something would happen -- I'd read the Bible, see a movie, see someone say something -- and my answer will be right there. (This has really happened! I have wondered about things, prayed about them. and later opened the Bible right to a passage telling me an answer.) So, as far as this recent burden is concerned, I know I can't put myself down about it anymore. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Every parent makes a mistake, too. The important thing is that I realized that mistake, I talked with my daughter about it and I prayed for forgiveness. I just let it go. I let it all go. I let go...and let God.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Psychic day

Today was just weird. That and "peculiar" is how I describe it.

See, every so often, I get a feeling about something. Or I'll notice something "there" that isn't really "there." This happens sometimes, but today it happened quite a few times.

It's unlike any other day I have had!

First thing that happened was, I got a feeling I had to check my MySpace account. I had a feeling I had a message there from a family member. Sure enough, it was indeed a message from my sister -- but it was to approve a comment she left on my profile. (Thanks, sis!) This happens sometimes. I'll get a feeling my husband sent me an email or that I need to email somebody about something. And it turns out I was correct. (That's an odd thing that happens to people, isn't it?)

The second thing that happened was when my husband and I were on the couch together, eating lunch. I had my back to the wide living room window and the curtains were opened. As I sat there, eating my sandwich, I noticed the shadow of a person out of the corner of my left eye, walking across my front yard. I turned to the right to get a better look at who it was but no one was there. No one. I even turned all the way around to look out the whole window and I didn't see anybody there. I honestly thought it was Darrell, one of the Grynch guys or one of their friends walking over my front yard on their way to his house. But, nope. No one was out there at all. (That's not the first time this kind of thing has happened.)

The next thing that happened was so bizarre. I am still reeling over it! I walked out of the bedroom and was on the way to use the bathroom. I passed the computer desk, where my husband sat, looking at the monitor. I could've sworn he was motioning to me as I passed him but I was in a hurry so I quickened my pace to the bathroom. After I came out, I walked up to where he sat and asked, "What?"

He looked at me, confused. "What, what?"

"Did you want me?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"But I saw you motion to me on my way to the bathroom," I said, confused.

He shook his head. "No, I didn't do that." Before I could step away, though, he indicated the monitor and told me about what was on there.
Ohhh-kay, I thought. This is getting weird.

The final thing (I HOPE!) that happened today was this: I was giving Jennifer her bath and I was trying to hurry because I knew it was time for Jesse to eat. He was awake now and I had distracted him with a pacifier to run back to the bathroom and wash Jennifer up. (Sometimes, it's SO HARD to try and take care of two small kids all by myself. Aye-yi-yi!) Jennifer insisted she could wash herself up all by herself. I didn't want her to be left alone in the tub for too long, so I said, "OK, well, just go ahead and wash yourself up real quick, then. I have to feed Jesse. He's crying." I don't know why I said "he's crying" when I didn't have visual proof of it. It just blurted out of my mouth. I don't say something like that unless I have seen him actually crying. But it was just something that came out on its own.

Turns out I was right after all because Jennifer looked at me, nodding. "Yes, he is crying," she said.

Other things happened, too. I knew Jennifer was going to want to watch a certain movie today. I finished a sentence before she could say it to me. I think it's starting to wind down now, though...Jennifer just asked me where her toy frog was that she'd been playing with earlier and I had no idea where it was. It's kind of a relief that it's winding down now... because today, it was just overkill.

Now I have a theory that might explain WHY today's events happened. I'd awakened at 5:30 this morning to find the other side of my bed empty. When my husband gets home from work late at night, he usually spends some time on the computer before getting into bed. But it's been a looong time since he'd still be up at 5:30 in the morning. He usually climbed into bed at 3:30 or 4. So I started to panic. 'Oh my God,' I thought, getting out of bed. 'Did I accidentally leave the top lock on the door? Did he text me? Is he sleeping in his car??' I walked out of the room, looking around. He wasn't at the desk or in the bathroom. I quickly went to grab my phone off the bookcase, looking around. There he was, on the couch with a book, looking at me and wondering what was going on.

So maybe, just maybe, some part of me tapped into that sixth sense we all have but never use, just to stay on top of things for the day. Maybe to just ensure that if I wake up again and see that he's not there, I won't panic because I'll know just where to find him.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The truth is out there?

The other day, I was sitting with Jennifer as she watched the movie Men in Black for, oh, say, the hundredth time. (She's really got an alien thing going. She's also watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) As I watched this movie, I recalled reading in a book a theory that the Men in Black are really aliens. At one point, Jennifer turned to me and asked, "Mommy, how do aliens die?"

While mentally wondering how in the world she could ask that after watching Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones shoot up a bunch of alien baddies, I shrugged and answered, "I don't know. Jennifer, I don't even believe in aliens."

She glared at me, all angry and defensive. "They are real," she argued, then went back to watching the movie.

I could only smile, debating whether I should ask, "Oh, yeah, how do you know? Have you seen them?" But then I stopped myself. How could I ask her that when I was sending her to church to learn about God, who she has never seen yet prays to every night? It might confuse her. (The closest I have ever come to "seeing" God was when His face appeared to me outlined in the stars in a dream I had.)

Well, I did used to believe in aliens, many years ago. I have since matured. LOL As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I was once terrified of being abducted by aliens. (I guess the whole "alien abduction craze" really got to me. That movie, Fire in the Sky, gave me nightmares!) But I just don't believe in them anymore. Not in the real world, anyway. That's not to say that I won't include an alien in any of my stories. (Heck, I've got a story going with a vampire, and I don't believe in those, either!) Maybe it would take something like a visitation or something like that to convince me that aliens exist. In the past, I've read stories of alien abductions and believed them. Now I only thing they're hooey.

It's really interesting, though, that a 6-year-old would be sooo convinced of the existence of extraterrestrials. Maybe it's my fault I ever introduced her to alien movies in the first place (starting with her favorite, E.T.) or maybe I should have known better than to buy her books with aliens in them. I have told her numerous times that movies are only stories, they're usually not real and no one has ever really seen an alien. Yet somehow she has it in her head that aliens exist. (My daughter, the future Fox Mulder. Or should I say....the next Agent J! LOL)

I guess in some way, this can be seen as what we believe in even though we can't see what we believe in. I believe in God because God has touched my life in His own way. He touched my soul and performed miracles for me. Yet I also believe in ghosts...because I have seen ghosts. But I don't believe in aliens. Maybe if I saw them, or something, then I would believe. I don't know. (Oddly enough, I've seen pictures of ghosts people have posted on the Internet and tried to think of how they were faked. Haha.)

Nevertheless, no matter what it is that has her constantly fascinated with aliens, I have to be careful that she doesn't get too obsessed with them. I have to monitor just how often she'll watch those movies (well, we already have a TV-time-limit rule, anyway), just how many pictures she draws of aliens and just how often she brings them up for discussion. She can wonder about them, she can use her imagination with them and even try to learn about them. But I just need to make sure that fascination she has with aliens just doesn't go overboard.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bottled up

I am ACTUALLY updating my blog. Wow.

I haven't had much time for blogging stuff. I've been insanely busy with the writing, taking care of the kids, running errands and keeping house. On top of this, my baby has been sick with a cold, and there were days I was a zombie because I barely got any sleep. (He's going to the doctor tomorrow.)

A lot has been on my mind.

I'm really, really missing my mom. I have tried to call her (she lives in another state), but can't get through. I've been saying lots and lots of prayers for her. She stays at a cancer treatment center Monday-Friday so it's hard to figure out when I can call her then. I try on weekends but not having much luck. I am putting 100% faith in God that she will continue to improve. (She's having chemo, radiation and surgery.) She's REALLY fighting this thing. It's hard for her to talk on the phone because she doesn't feel so great but I REALLY feel so proud of her for fighting the cancer this time around. (I don't think cancer can ever REALLY go away, even if you remove a tumor or something.) My mother is a VERY strong woman and I have faith she will get through it this time.

Other than that, well....I've been stressing out with the writing. I'm doing the second draft on my MG novel. And...I am in panic mode. I don't know WHY but I'm just freaking out and thinking, "I can't do this!" It's a freaking MIRACLE I wrote the first draft! Well, actually, I kind of just breezed right through it. Because the story was so ALIVE in my head. And I just wrote it all down. Now instead of creating, I am fixing. I am improving. I am trying to make the writing and the story better. Fix up loose ends. Add descriptions. That sort of thing. That's ALL it is! So why am I panicking?? I fixed the first chapter and I thought it was good. But every time I try to hit the second chapter, I freeze up. Sigh. This SAME THING happened when I was writing the first draft. I froze up and didn't write for days. I KNEW why that happened, but I don't know why THIS is happening....

ETA: I haven't really talked too much about what my mom has been going through because I just didn't want to "deal" with it, you know? I felt like talking about it might make it worse or maybe something bad will happen. I just kept eerything all bottled up.

When my husband recently asked me what kind of care she was receiving in St. Louis, I marvelled over just how calmly I told him, "She's having radiation and chemotherapy being done. And they did surgery." I might as well have been talking about the weather! But strangely enough, I started asking myself just HOW I am dealing with it. I don't know if praying for her and occasionally calling her up is enough.

But maybe because I haven't talked much about it, I am freezing up with the writing. There's so much inner turmoil I've got going on -- anger, regret, sadness -- that maybe it's just all "clogged up" inside and I need to work through it.

I AM very proud of my mother. She's fighting the good fight! I could never imagine what she must be going through. Maybe talking about it will help. Not talking about it to be sad, or anything. Maybe talking about it to understand things better and deal with certain fears.

One thing I've learned is that cancer really changes people, inside and out. I hear about what my mom is going through and I've started to look at the life she has lived so far. All of the things she got to do and didn't get to do. How we, her children, have treated her as adults. What she has taught us.

I'm not ready to let go of my mother. There's not any time in my life that I'll ever be prepared to let go of her. And I think that while she is once again fighting this, I will stand by her and offer her my ongoing support, and my undying love.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Home sick

On Tuesday night, Jen and I were doing something we normally do before she goes to bed: Having story time. Unlike the many other story times, though, this time, she wasn’t feeling so great and she couldn’t finish reading a whole book. The whole day, she’d been complaining of a tummyache, runny nose, headache, watery eyes and she’d been coughing and sneezing. She told me she felt too sick to eat much of her lunch at school. Even though I fed her chicken noodle soup at dinnertime and gave her Children’s Tylenol Multi-Symptom, by bedtime, she still felt just awful.

I emailed my husband, who was at work, and told him what was going on and my concerns over her being sick. He said we’ll use a "wait and see" approach about whether Jennifer should go to school the next day or not.

Yesterday morning, I woke up a little later than usual. (I was up late last night, writing.) Inwardly, I hoped Jennifer was feeling better but I knew chances weren’t too good she was. She actually was burning up with a fever so I decided to keep her home from school. Yesterday was library day at her school and she loves library day, but I just didn’t feel good about sending her to school with a fever. And they DID tell me, "If she is sick, she should be at home."

Most of her day was spent taking medicine (watching out that she doesn’t take TOO MUCH medicine) and sleeping in bed. Of course, I’m making sure she washes her hands BEFORE touching the baby, not kissing his mouth, etc. She’s sad she can’t snuggle with her little brother so much. I just hope she’ll be better soon.

At least she is feeling much better today.