Happy, Happy, birthday beautiful girl. It’s so hard to believe you’re already a full handful old. So hard that I nearly forgot to write your letter. I didn’t forget but it has been a wildly crazy week and I am just now getting around to it.
This week you’ve been in and out of the doctors and the hospital with a big ol’ belly ache. You’ve been diagnosed, re-diagnosed, and a whole bunch of “just kidding(s).” Basically, no one knows what was REALLY bothering you- but they do know the antibiotics they prescribed were in vain as you were not suffering from what the original doc said. Sigh.
You started ‘real’ pre-school this year. You’re doing exceptionally well. You’re writing your first, middle, and last name. You’ve learned to spell anyone of importance to you names as well(including, Mommy, Daddy, Brenton, ALL of your classmates, teachers, friends, cousins, you get the point). You are sounding out words and learning to read words by recognizing the sounds they make. You can count and write to 50.You know a ton of sight words. You’re doing so, so, well, and growing up far too fast.
You still are obsessed, READ: OBSESSED, with baby dolls. You rock them, swaddle them, and care for them just as a mother cares for a baby. You have no less than 30 babies and you’re always asking for new ones. I don’t think you have any other toy you love more. It’s ridiculously sweet to watch you nurture them.
You have a ton of best friends, way too many to mention. You love your friends and talk about them all the time. You’re the teacher’s pet and love to be recognized when you do something right. Your teachers love you because you’re so good for them and you’re a super quick learner. In fact, you’re “helping” with some of your peers as well.
You are still stubborn. You fight me a lot on what you want to wear. You’re quite the fan of leggings and don’t seem to care if they don’t remotely match the top you’ve chosen. Most days we pick out our clothes the night before to avoid the craziness that will happen in the morning. Even with your stubbornness, you have a heart of gold. The amount of empathy you show to other people really warms my heart. Even though you obviously want what you want, when you want it- you’re still so, so, aware about other people’s feelings and how your actions impact those feelings. I hope you never, ever, lose that quality.
You’re a sweet little girl. You love people. You see the world as mostly good and this sweet innocence radiates from you. I hope you always continue to view the world this way. It is mostly good, baby girl. And some days when I am having a rough day I can look at you and those feelings migrate to me.
You love God. You pray every night with your little hands tightly clenched asking for your friends to remain safe, your family to remain happy, and the world to remain good. You’re incredible and wise beyond your years.
In closing I am blessed to be your Mama. You’ve been so healing since the day you came screaming into our lives and I cannot imagine life without you. Your spunk is what makes you, you, and I hope you never lose it. Continue to reach for the stars, keep God first, and remember to continue to love blindly and I am confident that you’ll continue to flourish.
Nearly three years ago when your Daddy and I were deciding if we wanted another baby the fears of pregnancy flooded my mind. I wasn't too sure that I wanted to jump onto the roller coaster of a subsequent pregnancy again. When we finally decided I was over joyed when we became pregnant with you right away. Your pregnancy was filled with some worries in the beginning and shock when we learned you were a boy- but you entered our lives and filled our hearts to depths we didn't even realize were possible.
This year has been a crazy year- from starting school, to a broken head(literally) there has never been a dull moment. Brenton, it has seriously been on of the best years of my life. You're simply amazing in everything you do. You're ridiculously sweet and uber stubborn all at the same time. You're the true definition of boy. You're always bruised somewhere, nearly almost dirty(even after we've just bathed you!) and always, always, looking for trouble! You keep us on our toes every second you're awake.
You've learned so much this year. You're talking a lot, and in short sentences. You know ALL of you body parts and most of your colors. You're counting to three, eating by yourself, and becoming more and more independent. You're also starting to show some interest in going to the potty by yourself. To put it shortly, you're leaving your babyhood behind and jumping into toddler hood faster than I'd like.
You still LOVE your blankey. And you're still not consistently sleeping through the night. Sigh. You're a total cuddle bug and love to cuddle next to me, sniffing your blankey, while I rub your hair. It melts me.
I hope your day was as great for you as it was for me. I love you, Bub. More than words can explain. My heart is finally full and complete with the existence of you. You're beautiful, inside and out. I hope you keep your curious heart for a long time and remember to love God first and everyone you encounter. If you show that even the smallest bit of love that you show me- the world will be blessed beyond reason.
In 2008 I was back and forth between the two main candidates. Ultimately, I chose the candidate that lost. If my voting trends were for a football team, no one in their right mind would place a bet on me. I am 0-3 so far.
I'll admit that I was originally swept up into the 'hope and change' hysteria that flooded our TV waives. I was intrigued by fellow voters crying when the soon to be President spoke. But, when it came down to it I am a bit of an pessimist. I had faith that Obama had the greatest of intentions; however, I didn't believe that his promises would go very far. Mainly, because they were SO optimistic that I couldn't even fathom anyone being able to accomplish them in just four years.
I marched to the voting polls, plugged my vote in for the Republican candidate and watched as swing state, by swing state, disagreed with my pick.
Four years ago our President confidently stated that our deficit would be cut in half. Four years ago our President proudly boasted that unemployment would be decreased to 6%. He promised to reach across the aisle and work on a bipartisan level to make progress in our country.
Four years have come and gone. Our unemployment rate is at 8.1%(September job reports are due tomorrow so this could fair better that the current statistic, or worse)- Our deficit has nearly doubled. And America is left wondering what happened to the 'change' we were promised?!
Four years later our President is telling us it's time to look forward. I beg to question what about backward? Mr. Obama himself noted that IF change wasn't made then this would be a one-term proposition. But, here we are, left again to assume that our President has the ability to change things for the better or rely on the 'other' guy to step in and give it a go.
I'll admit, I was adamant about two years in that Obama would not have gained my vote in 2012. And this is because I hold people to their words- a lot. Our economy sucks and anyone who could remotely disagree with that fact may want to turn on the television.
I know the left loves to wrongly speculate that Romney is all for the rich. They assume he'll leave our hungry unfed and continue to stuff the wallets of the one-percent. But realistically, I cannot believe that. Mainly, because I have invested the time in understanding his policies(and folks, they're out there for your reading pleasure- so they're not as 'vague' as one would have you believe!).
He's a successful business man. I do not fault him for being wealthy. He's not some money hungry, out of touch, rich man who has zero interest in the well being of Americans. In fact, his taxes(Yes, he pays those!) show that he donates MILLIONS of dollars to both his church and private organizations. Holy, Hell, he must be evil if he actually donates to those non-for-profits!
I agree that taxing corporations leads to the corporations taxing us and that's not where we need to be. I agree that creating jobs helps the economy flourish. And I agree that we need health care reform. Not a democratic pushed bill that MOST Americans dislike. I actually agreed with Hilary Clinton here. Help the reform, but forcing Americans to participate changes the basis in which we were founded on(freedom!). Americans should have the right to choose the health care that is best for them, not what Uncle Sam tells us to. And I am pro-life. Yes, crazy me. I'm a woman who believes those itty bitty babies should have rights. And I think abortions laws should be much, much, stricter. Currently, only 4 states ban abortions based on gender selection. 4. I don't buy into the "we need abortions because of rape and incest victims. We do. Totally. But I'd suggest that the VAST majority of abortions(over a million a year) are not due to the tragedies mentioned above.
To me the decision is clear. Do we continue down the road where our middle class is being buried which was so wisely quoted by Mr. Biden. Or do we take a chance on the 'other' guy and allow his business expertise to help offer some real 'change' in the upcoming years?!
McKenzie had her first day of school last week. Of course she's been in school off and on since she was 18 months old. But, this is different. This is real pre-school. Florida calls it voluntary pre-school(VPK) and it's free and for once not income based. One of the many benefits of living in this crazy state.
She loves it. A lot of what she's learning is a refresher for what she already knows, but she's already been given the title as the 'best writer' in class. I couldn't be prouder. She loves, loves, loves, to learn and I hope she continues down that path for quite some time.
Happy 21st month, Buddy! Well, since I am a total slacker, you’re actually 22 months. But, I’m not counting if you’re not!
You’ve learned so, so, much lately! You’re really starting to talk. You’re stringing words together all the time now. Your favorite question to ask these days is, “What’s that?” You must ask this question a billion times a day and mostly you already know the answer! You know all of your body parts and love playing with puzzles and building towers. You’re finally not afraid to sit on the potty and you’re quick to let us know if you left us a surprise. Potty training will be happening soon, little man!
You still love your blankey. You cuddle it, sniff it, and need it when you’re sleepy or grumpy. You’ll even let me take a sniff when we’re cuddling in my bed. It’s quite sweet and weird all at the same time. You still have a paci at bedtime. You don’t take one at all for school- but each time we try to take it away at home you throw a master fit- pointing to your mouth as if something vital is missing from it. You love to instigate with your sissy. But you LOVE her. You love on her almost more than me. It’s quite sweet; however, it’s not so sweet when you’re trying to slap her or pull her hair. I had warned her that one day you’d be bigger than her- and although you’re still a lot shorter than her you’re gaining on her daily.
You’re a teacher’s pet at school. They LOVE you and you seem to feel that the feeling is mutual. You love going to school and do not even bat an eyelash when I leave you there. You’re super excited to see me when I get home. It’s so rewarding to see how much you’re learning at school and how much you seem to really enjoy it.
You’re a wild little guy. You climb on everything and get into everything! You’re always, always, trying to find some sort of mischief. You’re definitely all boy, through and through. Even though you keep us on our toes for most of your waking hours you’re ridiculously sweet. You love cuddling and giving kisses and hugs. You’re content to lie on the couch with me, sniffing and cuddling that blankey. You’re such a sweet soul and you’re often turning my heart into mush!
I love you so much little guy. I cannot wait to see what the next few months brings!
I had hopes and dreams for her. I was planning her future. I often imagined who she’d become. I imagined her being a walking testimony for God. She surely had a story to tell. All those dreams and hopes and plans for her future came to an abrupt end that hot summer day in 2006. Our little girl would leave Earth and make her way through the gates of Heaven, leaving behind everyone who loved her.
While standing in the hospital hallway, receiving the worst news I have ever heard someone softly speak from their lips, it felt like an out of body experience. I heard the doctor. I understood the words. Yet my mind could not fully comprehend what he was telling me. I fell to my knees, screamed, cried, and became physically ill. The world seemed to rotate as my husband and I stood still. Our sweet Zoey was gone. There would be no miracle for us tonight. We would leave that hospital empty handed. We would come home to a house full of baby items and no baby to fill them. It was a numbing, utterly painful, soul changing experience.
That night, I went into her empty room. Our house was eerily silent. Again, I was on my knees. I wasn’t asking God to bring her back. I was yelling at him for taking her. I prayed to you and you ignored me, I screamed. I was faithful to you and you turned your back on me, I cried. I felt alone. The months after Zoey’s birth, I was probably the closest to God I had been since accepting him in my life. I had faith that he would utilize the doctors to heal her broken heart, and when that didn’t happen, I was furious.
I continued down the path of bitterness for months after she was gone. I forgot how to smile. I knew how to pretend to be ‘happy’ for those around me, but inside I was dying. I had just lost my baby girl, and I was on my way to losing my faith in God. My faith had been my solace and comfort for so long, but my anger with him ‘taking’ her was crushing it.
My relationships with friends and family suffered as well. I wanted people to understand. But I neglected to realize that they were hurting, too. It wasn’t until my sister made a comment that I finally grasped some concept of Zoey’s death. I was mumbling “Why us?” which seems to be the mantra of parents who experience the same magnitude of loss as us. She replied, Why not you?”
I stopped to think, after my initial anger at her presumption that I could learn to cope and live without Zoey, and her words stuck in my head. Why not me? Right. I think God knew that eventually I would stop questioning his reasoning behind our loss and would learn to find a place in my heart to keep Zoey and allow my faith to grow. He knew that one day I would find him again. I would find my faith and tell Zoey’s testimony. I would be her voice on Earth.
When I stopped blaming God, I began to heal. I will never, ever be “over” her absence from our family, but I have learned to accept that it was a card we were dealt. God knew exactly how I would react before he brought Zoey home. He knew that eventually I would forgive him, and in turn myself. I would allow his love to radiate from me rather than living under the bitter cloud that originally followed me everywhere.
It isn’t my place to question him. It isn’t my place to wonder why me and not the other mothers whom my own biases presume are unfit. It is my place to ensure we see her again by living a life of faith. It is my goal, my sincerest hope and dream to one day be reunited with her. It is carved into the inner depths of my soul to tell her story and to make her proud. I can’t do that if I am consumed with anger and bitterness.
When parents are first faced with a loss this painful, I don’t think it’s even a tad bit abnormal to feel the way I did originally. I do, however, know it takes a lot more energy and strength to be angry than happy. Our little girl would want us to be happy. She would want us to tell her story and comfort those traveling down this same road. She taught us to be courageous through her own actions while she was here.
She inspired everyone who met her, even those who’ve never met her in the physical sense. Her story still inspires those I tell about her. She was beautiful. Brave. Courageous. She was a miracle. I forever miss her. My soul will never be fully complete until we meet again, but knowing that my faith is strong allows me to remember her life rather than her death.
Although she’ll never be able to share her testimony with the world, I can. I do my best to honor her. I try my hardest to let the world know who she was and what she meant to me and her family. She is my beautiful Zoey Faith. Her name, by definition, means “Life dedicated to God.” And I think she accomplished that.
You've learned so much over the last six months. And you're quickly becoming too independent for my liking. It amazes me what a difference a few months makes. You're able to do simple math(adding and subtracting items placed in front of you). You can both recognize and write most of your letters. You recognize and write your numbers(up to 12). Just this week you made great strides in learning to tie your shoes all by yourself. You get stumbled a bit, but you keep on trying to perfect this new feat. You're a bright little girl with loads of potential and I cannot wait to see all the things you learn over the next few months.
In a few weeks you will be participating in your first big dance recital. Dancing has brought you out of your normal shy shell and made you shine. You love to dance. You love your teachers. I am happy that you didn't let your fears of trying something new hold you back from doing something you love. Face your fears. Conquer them. And reap the rewards.
You started school again this week. You were hesitant at first, but you LOVE going and meeting new friends. You're a social butterfly with your friends. Sometimes you find yourself getting into trouble for talking when you're not supposed to be talking. You're definitely a girl.
You often tell me that you're not really four, you're nine. And sometimes I think in my head that you may be right. You're mature beyond your years. You have a heart for other people that makes my heart explode. You're super empathetic and are really grasping the concept of how others may react to your actions.
You don't like to be excluded and when you are you're little heart breaks and it breaks for me. I think that your sweet little soul wants everyone to see the good in you that you see in them. From your beautiful blue eyes your world is perfect. The world is a beautiful place and I can only pray that you're able to view it in that manner forever.
You LOVE pretending to be a mommy. You have what seems like a hundred baby dolls. You dress them, rock them, swaddle them. You always want to help with your brothers care. He's often quite annoyed by your persistence to assist. But you keep going. You're going to make a wonderful mother one day.
I am so proud to be your Mommy. I love watching you learn and grow. I love watching your faith in the Lord grow. I love how innocent and curious you are. You can be as stubborn as a mule. You're sassy and spirited. Some days I want to pull my hair out. But I am often reminded that one day you'll be a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman. It's not easy raising such a strong spirited little girl, but I know as child, then a teen, and then an adult that you'll remember to make the right decisions. That you'll always be a leader. Just try to remember to continue to love- blindly.
honestly cannot believe it's been six whole years since you made us
parents. It's been such a wild ride. It has been full of emotions. It's
been full of tears and laughter. I still remember the day you came
crashing into our lives like it was yesterday. All of my emotions were
placed into full gear that day. I finally realized what being a Mom was
about. I remember people telling me about how you love this little
person SO much- but honestly it isn't fathomable until you travel down
that road for yourself.
I refuse to spend your
birthday in a pit of despair. Obviously, I am so, so, sad that you're
not here in the physical sense to help us celebrate. But, today, is
about celebrating YOU. We celebrate the lessons you taught us- we
celebrate becoming parents. We celebrate how much we loved you and still
The day you were born your Daddy and I
experienced so many profound emotions. We worried. We loved like we had
never loved before. We celebrated. We rejoiced. We prayed and cried. We
even laughed at your wild hair to match your equally wild personality.
so, so, blessed to have had you- even if God decided that our time with
you would be cut abruptly short. There is a Garth Brook's song titled
"The Dance" and this song makes me think of you so often. There is a
single line, "We could have missed the pain, but we would have had to
miss the dance!" It rings so true to me. We are the parents we are to
your little sister and brother because of you. I am the friend, mother,
sister, daughter, because of lessons your little life taught us. We're
forever grateful for you.
Today I wish we all were
united as a family. I wish we were picking you out your favorite cake
and singing Happy Birthday to you. However, instead, we remember you. We
remember your crazy hair- your crooked bink- your sweet, soft, smells. I
remember how you snuggled into our chest. I remember how incredibly
brave you were. I remember how you consistently proved everyone wrong.
Memories last forever baby girl.
I am looking forward
to the day that we all meet again. I often attempt to picture if you're
still a baby in Heaven- or if you're growing up there. I am guessing
we'll find out soon enough.
Enjoy your cake. Dance with Jesus. And know that we're loving and missing you always.