Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My life, my home, my song.

Brother and Sister
When my brother and I were in high school, my favorite time of the day was our drive to school in the morning.  We would listen to music and sing and just let go of any sadness in our life.  There is an awesome movie that always hits a raw spot in my heart, "Prince of Tides."  In the movie there is a scene where the kids are tired of dealing with their dysfunctional home and they run, holding hands and jump in the water.  They stay under for a few moments, in the quiet peace that they find there and hold hands.  Our drive together to school, our music had this effect on my brother and I.  We would listen to Enya, put our hands out of the window and synchronize moves to "Sail Away."  If I was upset, he might play "Don't Worry, Be Happy," by Bob Marley or "Night Swimming," by REM.  I remember being so sad at times that the tears would silently fall down my cheeks, he never made fun, just made sure to pick the right song, carefully selecting lyrics that might help heal my heart.  I am lucky, my brother is my best friend and loves me with the whole of his heart. 

Last night I was watching American Idol and Phillip Phillips, one the last two contestants remaining sang a song by the name of "Home."  The lyrics grabbed me immediately, I was already a huge fan of Phillip, but he secured me with this song.  I sat listening, and became teary eyed, feeling as if he was singing directly to me.  Last night and today I thought about why the song spoke to me so much.  I realized that I have been on life long search for my "Home." 

I believe that when you grow up in a dysfunctional house, that you never truly are allowed that feeling that you are "home."  Often the house where you sleep, eat your meals becomes a sort of prison instead of a safe place to retreat.  By the time I entered high school, things had gotten much worse in my house and my friends houses became my "homes."  I will be forever grateful for my friends and their parents and the love that they showed me during those rough years.

This search continued as I left one dysfunctional life and entered another.  There were times with my ex when I had the similar feelings that where I lived felt like a prison.  This is horrible to say, especially because during this time I had four babies, but it is the truth.  Especially at the end I felt like the walls of our house were closing in on me.  It felt that there was no place to hide, no quiet space of safety to go in order to feel at home.

This all changed when I first came here to visit.  One thing I noticed, was that I could finally sleep and I could finally feel at peace.  I remember shortly after the girls and I moved here,  looking around our apartment and just feeling so relaxed, as if I could finally exhale.  I felt different, as if some of the weight had been finally lifted from my shoulders.   

Moving here was probably one of the scariest things I have ever done.  Packing up and driving 27 hours in temperatures that reached 30 below and pulling my belongings while tackling snow covered, mountain highways was unbelievable at times.  But I wasn't alone.  My friend Cara and Sage and Saxton were with me.  I remember the girls just being wonderful, it was a crazy drive and they were such troopers.  But my saving grace was Cara.  I drove the whole way with her as my co-pilot and God bless her, she didn't sleep a wink.  We talked and laughed the entire time.  Cara was amazing and I will forever be indebted to her for taking such a journey with me.  When I truly was at my darkest hour, she was there.  I love you Cara! 

Now looking back over the last few years that I have lived here I realize that while I am closer, I am still not completely home.  I believe that much of this has to do with the fact that two of my babies are hundreds of miles away.  When they are here with me I feel complete.  I love the feeling the first night they get here when I feel myself relax, then I sleep so sound knowing that all my babies are under the same roof.  That is a feeling of home for me.  Jerry understands this and joins in my count down for their arrival.

My day to day life is now home for me.  I have these little people that count on me to take them to soccer games and cheer my lungs out, make sure their clothes are clean, food is on the table and homework is done.  Home is watching TV with Jerry at the end of the day after we've tucked the littles in bed.  Home is our yard that we worked on together and rooms that we painted to make the girls feel like they had a space their own and to welcome Max.  Home is being married to someone who respects me, supports me, accepts me and above all is my best friend.   

Life is going to fast and I am ready to stop searching, but instead realize that home is where I am now, where I finally feel safe and loved.  Today at swimming Max was hilarious as he jumped into the pool and became completely submerged and would then pop up out of the water, turn around and want to do it all over again.  He is the youngest one in his little class and one of the gutsiest.  I have drawn analogies before to his letting go and trusting me and just enjoying the moment, just jumping in, but it's true and relevant to my own life.  He is at home in the water, he has been since I first introduced him to a pool at six weeks old.  This little person is teaching his ol' mom a thing or two... and I think the most important lesson that he is showing me over and over is to jump in, let go and trust!

And If I can do anything for my children, give them anything, it would be a place to call home.  I want  them to know that no matter what, no matter the circumstances or how old they are, they can always come home to me.  And I promise to always welcome them with open arms. 

New Mexico May 2009
Last night as I was listening to the lyrics of "Home", I reached for my phone to call my brother and then realized that it was after midnight in Indiana.  I know he has been on his own journey and maybe now he could use a song.  Here you go brother, this is for you, this is for me... maybe we can both finally find our home. 

"Hold on to me as we go, as we roll down this unfamiliar road and although this wave is stringing us along, just know your're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna make this place your home.  Settle down, it'll all be clear.  Don't pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear, trouble it might drag you down, if you get lost you can always get found, just know you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna make this place your home."  Home   Phillip Phillips

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mommy lesson #52,422,302,127

Started Tuesday May 16th:

Today I learned a new lesson, the YMCA will hunt you down to pick up your child if they bite.  I suppose this is a reasonable rule, just a little frustrating when it happens to you.  Tuesday mornings are my treat to myself, from 9:30 until 10:30 I do Zumba.  This morning I dropped off Jerry (his truck was in the shop), dropped off Brayden, chatted with my boss for a while and then headed to the YMCA. 

Max was excited to go to child care.  He noticed all the outdoor toys on our way in and I think he remembered last week and the fact he got to go outside.  So I dropped him off and headed to Zumba.  I was just starting to get my groove on and in walks the child care lady.  There is always a bit of commotion that takes place when we get these visits, this is one of the busiest classes and most are moms and at this moment each are wondering if they'll be called.  This time it was my turn, she told me Max had bit someone, I had to come get him and he couldn't come back for the rest of today.  Nice Max, way to use your chompers. 

Of course I asked what happened and they told me he just bit, for no reason.  This surprised me, that didn't sound like him. But I took their word and him and walked away.  However, as I stopped to fish for my keys, I noticed a bruise on his arm.  Alas, he hadn't been unprovoked, someone hurt him.  I went back to the childcare desk and showed them what had happened and they called another girl who had a completely different story and said that they both had been fighting.  Which was it?  I was frustrated at the fact that two different people told two different stories, but it was what it was and we left.

I called Jerry in the car and vented to him, defending Max and his self defense against a bully.  He was amused by me and brought me back to the reality that they probably were both babies, fighting over something and one pinched and one bit, what were you going to do?  Nothing.  I can't really have a conversation about making good choices with a one year old.  I did tell him that it wasn't nice to bite, but being pretty sure that he didn't quite understand, I stopped there.

On the way home this episode brought back a memory when Savannah was young, probably right about the same age as Max.  She had this little friend that lived down the street that she liked to play with and for the most part they got along beautifully, until Savannah bit her.  I remember my friend, her mom, was horrified and so was I!  My daughter bit someone!  I called my go to person, my mom and she assured me that it was normal, that when babies get frustrated they often bite because they can't verbally express their frustration.  She was still my little angel, even if she had a tendancy to let her chompers do the talking.

When we got home Max pointed to his buggie and said, "hat."  Which meant his helmet.  I decided this was a wonderful idea and I got the bike and buggie set up and off we went on a bike ride.  Today was another gorgeous day and we headed to the park and the wooded path.  I decided to keep going and bike to Tacoma Boys.  The girls are always asking to bike somewhere and I wanted to see if we had sidewalks the whole way, we do!  Max and I sampled the fruit and bought a few things to make a fruit salad later. 

On the way home as Max looked particularly cute and people smiled at him I felt better, he was a lover, not a biter.  We even made it through some playtime at the playground without another chop, yeah for us! 

Tuesday reminded me that when you are given lemons, make lemonade, or at least go biking and buy ingredients to make fruit salad.  I was listening to Zac Brown talk about how hard it is being a parent.  He has four children himself and he talked about how people who have children are ten times stronger than people who don't.  I don't know about that, but having children definitely teaches you how to be flexible and how to roll with the punches or bites.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, a bicycle, the beach and the struggle of a mom.

There are dishes in the sink and clothes piled up and ready to march out of the laundry room, but it's okay, it'll be there tomorrow, today is Mother's Day.  My day was wonderful, not perfect, but I am a realist and expecting perfection is setting yourself up for a let down. 

Savannah started my day off with a smile and a happy heart, she called before I was even out of bed and we were able to talk for awhile.  It is amazing how just the sound of her and Sam's voice can calm me and instantly make my heart happy.  I can imagine her smiling as she talks and I love how Sam's husky voice says, "hi mom, it's me Sam."  There are days like today that are close to perfect, the one thing that always makes them bittersweet is Savannah and Sam's physical absence, but as all mothers out there know, your children are always carried in your heart. 

Jerry had told me that it was my choice to do whatever I wanted, surprisingly this was difficult.  The idea of having a day where I could do whatever I wanted was almost overwhelming... what to do, what to do?  While I was in the shower, the place where I do some of my best thinking, I decided to go to Alki Beach and go bike riding. 

An hour and a half later, after loading bikes, helmets, Max's buggie and supplies, Jerry, Sage, Saxton, Max and I were on our way.  Our drive to Seattle was the reality part of the day, Max was cranky, battling falling asleep and the girls were cranky with one another.  Finally,  just as we were entering the city, Jerry and I reminded the girls what today was, Mother's Day.  I imagine that there are hundreds of moms out there telling their children the same thing I told mine, "It's Mother's Day, I don't want anything, just happy children and a nice day, that's all I ask."  God gave me two gifts today, gorgeous weather and two little girls who behaved like angels the rest of the day. 

We parked just off the exit of the West Seattle Bridge, got our bikes ready and were on our way.  The path to  and along Alki Beach is just breathtaking, taking you first along a panoramic view of Seattle and all the boats on the Sound and ending with a phenomenal view of the Olympic mountains and islands back dropping Puget Sound.  Today the weather was perfect and the slight breeze caused some waves, which entertained Max and provided a relaxing back ground noise.

Most of the day was spent on the beach hanging out, chasing Max and enjoying watching the littles play.  We spent some part at a rockier area and then moved later to a sandier part where the girls made a chair and buried themselves.  Max was funny and at one point made himself at home on a little boy's toy car.  He sort of snuck up on it and smiled as he took his spot behind the wheel. The boy's dad said it was fine and we laughed as for several minutes, he pretended to drive.

We ended the day with a Pizza and Salad picnic and a beautiful bike ride back to Jerry's Truck. 

Throughout the day, in honor of the holiday,  I contemplated motherhood.  It is true that babies don't come with an instruction manual and that the day I found out I was pregnant with Savannah and the day I took her home were two of the most terrifying days of my life.  I was no longer responsible for just me, I was now also responsible for someone else, this tiny little person. 

Today wasn't really about me, it rarely is when you are a mom, because the bottom line is, if your children aren't happy, you aren't happy.   Today was awesome, and a big part of that was my happy children.  Have I made selfish choices? absolutely.  I am not trying to claim that I am a perfect person, I am far from it and I am definitely not saying I am a perfect mother, but I do try and do the best that I can, with what I have.

I think the hardest part of my day to day life is dealing with the fact that two of my children are hundreds of miles away.  I can't kiss them good-night, hug them everyday or just handle the day to day with them.  The bottom line is, I wish I could.  I wish for that on every first star I see and I pray for that every night before I go to bed.  When I moved from Colorado I was at my very bottom.  I was broken and in a very bad place.  At that point I needed to difuse a very volitile situation and bring some sort of calm to the lives of my four children.  Before I left, I was sleeping on my neighbor's couch, I was not the strong mother my children needed me to be, not until I said no more and left my Ex.  I will prove and say with all the truth in my soul, I left my Ex and all the pain that had come crashing down, I did not leave my Savannah and Sam, they have a home here and I would take them full time in less than a heartbeat.

On that note, one conversation that Jerry and I had early on was concerning the fact that I had four children when we met.  One of the most endearing things about Jerry is the fact that together we have six children and he is fully supportive of my love for Savannah and Sam and all that dealing with them being away entails.  As a mother I needed to find someone who loved me, but also loved my children, all of them and I am blessed to have a man that does.

As I fumble through this amazing journey of motherhood, as I try my hardest to make good choices, one person who I am truly blessed to have, is my own mother.  As I grew up, I watched her struggle to deal with my father, his poor choices and his alcholism.  Often times we had to team up in order to get through each day.  Sometimes my mom, sometimes my friend, she has done her best to be there for me and when she couldn't, she admitted her mistakes with a humble heart.  No mother is perfect, but what I love and respect the most about my mom is that she loves with her whole heart, her whole soul.  She has stood by me and taught me that I am worthy of love, respect and happiness.  It's funny, she often says to me now that, "she has her daughter back."  She tells me that slow but sure while I was with my Ex I became lost and sometimes only a shadow of myself.  This comment rings true to me and over the last few years as I have struggled to fix my broken self, her positive guidance and love have helped me to get back to my true self. 

My mom knows me better than anyone and loves me unconditionally and her legasy is that I will swear everyday of my life to do the same for my children.  No matter what they do, what they say to me, what choices they make, I will love them.  To me they are perfect and beautiful and wonderfully made and I am blessed to be their mother.  Just as I have a place in my mother's heart, so too will they forever have a place in mine, no matter where they are, what they are doing, my love will find them. 

happy mothers day! I love you Savannah, Sam, Sage, Saxton, Brayden and Max!

And I sure do love you mom!  Thanks for being you and for all the love you have given to me!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coffee Shops, Uniforms, Truth and "Face"book!

I met a friend today, another me.  Strangers?  I haven't met any, just friends I haven't made yet.  Max and I were in  Anthem Coffee & Tea today, waiting again for my car to get done at the shop.  I like this coffee shop, they are always friendly and I haven't had a bad drink yet, but my biggest draw to them is that they are tolerant of my 21 month old and the path of destruction he sometimes leaves.  (Today the barista even put a few squirts of Chocolate in his milk!) 

So little Max was in his stroller and this kind woman (Jayme) asked if I needed a place to park and made a space for me next to a table.  For anyone who is a mom of wee ones you know that sometimes navigating places with a stroller is difficult and any help is greatly appreciated.  As I sat down next to her I noticed her computer, a Mac and asked her how she liked it (she loved it) and in the next breath I asked her what she did.  I am pretty open with those I don't know, but not normally this immediately straight forward.  Jayme proudly responded, I'm a writer, both of a blog and a book.  Her blog is and she is blogging about writing.  I told her of my blog and we chatted for a bit.  I like her, she gave me my idea for my blog today and didn't mind my multi-tasking between our conversation and tending to Max, who was checking things out and had a run in with a chair.

My "work" shoes!
During our conversation my "uniform" came up.  I am a mom and I wear the uniform of one.  It's funny that she mentioned that she too normally was in my uniform, yoga paints, t-shirt and running shoes, but had dressed up that day to write.  I told her I was dressed up because I had my contacts in, often times I come home and take those out and put on my glasses.  I had also showered today, granted it was because I was in swimming class with Max and I was already wet, but I was clean head to toe none the less. 

There are those moms who dress up everyday, they are the "cute moms" in jeans, possibly fancy shoes, make-up and hair that has been combed and completed in some sort of style.  That is not me. If I have on lip stick or chap stick then I am wearing make-up, I wear either flip flops or running shoes and my hair is almost always in pony tail or messy bun.  I am not judging those mom, if I was then I wouldn't be using "cute" to describe them, I just can't claim to be one of them.

I am a newly wed though (that still sounds funny) and while maybe I should be more attentive to my appearance, most of the time I am not, the truth being I am too old for that kind of bull shit (pardon my French, I couldn't come up with anything more creative to say than that.)  If my husband doesn't find me attractive in my nightgown that goes to my ankles then he's barking up the wrong tree in choosing me as a mate.  I am not saying that I never try to wear something sexy, it's just that I don't have the energy to keep up that facade day in day out.

Recently I read somewhere that people are dressing and even posing for pictures these days with the assumption that everything is going on Facebook.  It is so important to others that our "faces" are just so, in fear that maybe someone will see us in actuallity.  I have posted several times on Facebook about this, what would happen if we actually "got naked" and showed our "grandma panties" instead of our "sexy" ones?  What would I post today that was brutally honest about myself?  How much do people really want to know? 

Jayme and I were discussing how far do you go in your blog?  Believe it or not, I have actually been holding back.  I do have four children and I am trying to be considerate of the fact that they will be reading this.  Is that the best choice though?  How much do they need to know?  If I am truly being real in this Blog then do I owe it to myself to reveal all?  What if there had been Facebook when certain ugly events had taken place with my Ex, would I have smiled through that or would I have posted what was actually happening?

What would my post have been when my Ex came home and told me about some shenanegans that had taken place between him and a co-worker starting when Saxton was only four weeks old?  Instead of going on a walk and calling my friend Meagan, would I have gotten on my non existent smart phone and declared my heartache for all to see?  I don't think so.  The reality is that I wouldn't have, at that moment in time I was ashamed and told almost no one, especially my family.  I couldn't believe that I had been so blind, stupid to what was going on and I didn't want anyone to feel pity for me. 

There are so many little unwritten "posts" that I have not had the courage to write.  Maybe that is where this blog comes in, part of me believes so.  I wonder how many others are quietly going through some sort of hell and don't yet feel ready to be honest with the outside world.  It is so hard to say, "look at me!  I'm a mess!  My life is a mess!"  It's easier to put on airs, especially now with Facebook, after all, it's like a non-stop class reunion.  Who comes dressed in their true uniform to those?  Even I might trade in my pony tail for hair curlers for such an occasion.

But for today I have worn two things, a bathing suit and yoga pants.  Today my biggest accomplishment was getting Max to take big jumps into the pool and go under water as a result.  To most this is nothing, to Max and I it was everything!  After all, how many of us have the courage to jump, almost naked, feet first, into the unknown and come up smiling?!? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Ashram, my yard and my Ex.

I started my blog today while listening to music and mowing my lawn.  Today was gorgeous and I realized about a quarter of the way into my backyard how relaxed I had become, simply from the sunshine and the sound of the lawn mower.  At that point my mind began to wander to something my ex once wrote to me, a little incite that I believe still rings true today.

Three weeks before my Ex told me he wanted a divorce we went to a marriage encounter weekend up near Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was sponsored by the Catholic Church and a weekend event.  Funny enough, even though it obviously didn't work for us, I am still a strong proponent of them.  One thing that they really can teach a couple how to do, is to communicate.  Not the slinging shit kind of communication, but the fair kind, where you speak with respect and in lucky cases, love.

One of the letters my Ex and I had to write to each other was about what we like to watch the other do, my Ex wrote that he liked to watch me work in the yard.  This might sound funny, but I actually thought about that comment again today, and it caused a domino effect of past memories. 

I remember as far back as my Ex's and I first house in Indiana.  It was new construction and we had to put a yard in from seed.  What a mess.  I still remember attempting to put socks on my Basset Hound Gus so he wouldn't get mud all over my new house.  I also remember a day after a particularly rough event with my Ex, I remember mowing my yard and how as I went up and down my backyard making neat little rows, I began to feel better.

You might be reading this and chuckling.  I'm smiling.  It seems so simple and in a way it is.  When you are going through something painful it is often life saving to find something to help relax you, bring you back to your center.

My Ex commented in his letter to me how he used to hear me singing.  Yes, I admit that I often get carried away with what I am listening to.  My neighbor recently came over to tell me she could hear me from inside the house.  I apologized, but unfortunately that probably won't be the last time she hears my voice.  I can't tell you how many times that I would listen to a song and it's lyrics would really resonate with me, speak to me to the point where I want to sing along.

I remember when I read Eat Pray Love and she talked of meditating in an Ashram.  For me, my ashram is the outdoors, my yard, flowers and trees.  Outside I am able to quiet the roar in my mind and listen to what my heart is actually trying to tell me.  In all the states that I have lived, in all the climates, pregnant or with small babies watching me work I have enjoyed working outside. 

When your life is chaotic one of the hardest things to do is to relinquish control and have faith that this too shall pass and things will get better.  I don't know how many times I have gone outside upset and come back in feeling better, almost as if nature is my own secret medicine. 

I often get defensive when people assume that yard work is men's work.  For years it is a job that I have taken ownership of.  This is not to say that I haven't coerced help with projects, but it is the week to week maintenance I am proud to call my own.  However the secret is, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I bring up my Ex in this blog because for the most part he allowed me this, and even weeks before our end, he wrote kindly about this personality quirk of mine.  I think as I sort through our relationship and try and make sense of what worked and what didn't in order to become a better person, a better wife to Jerry, I have to let go of the belief that the past is best left there.  Not always.

I have brought a part of me along for this new chapter in my life, a positive part of me that I know works.  Today as the sun warmed me and the neighborhood kids chuckled at me in my yard shoes, large sunglasses and floppy sun hat, I felt happy.  I am comfortable in this role, in this part of the story.  I have had thousands of thoughts in my time working in the yard, I have sang, laughed, cried and even prayed as I have mowed, pruned, plucked, weeded, rocked, mulched and planted.  I have worked in the rain, snow and the desert sun and I have enjoyed just about every minute.

This might be an unusual post, but it is one that makes the most sense to me.  I am still searching for many answers in my life, I am still dealing with much pain, heartache and regret.  However I have found that this one aspect of me works and I have realized that it might have just been my saving grace all along.

A few Sundays ago we got home from a dinner at church and I decided to mow the grass.  I had looked at the weather and there was rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, so I changed out of my dress and into my grungies and headed outside.  The sun was starting to set and by the time I got done it was dark.  I continued to fiddle around outside planting a few things and just messing around.  When I came in I felt better and I hadn't even realized I needed to.  I have been going to Church lately looking for guidance and peace, but just maybe the guidance I have needed has been there all along, and the peace is in the dirt that ends up under my fingernails. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Amazing Grace

Today is my baby's birthday.  My Savannah.  She is fourteen. 

I have been composing this blog in my head for days... sometimes while I am laying in bed, in the car and even during Zumba.  This blog is my opportunity to put my heart and my feelings out onto a page for her to read.  The fact that she is hundreds of miles away makes me want to write better, share my feelings in such a way that she can feel them all the way in Indiana.

When we were skyping this morning and she had to say good-bye I lost it, even now typing the tears flow.  I never imagined fourteen years ago that today I would be having her blow her birthday candle out via technology.  I hate it!  That's the truth. 

I am going to back peddle now.  Savannah's story began long before she even existed.  It began on a sidewalk in Fort Wayne Indiana across from an Abortion Clinic.  It began with the song, "Amazing Grace."  I was a senior in high-school, and president of the Pro Life Club.  We were having an all school prayer vigil and there were a few hundred of us quietly praying on the sidewalk.  All of a sudden the abortion doctor arrived.  He was surprised at our numbers that morning, normally there were only a few dozen of us, and he did something unusual, he came over to us.  We all remained quiet, I remember one of my classmates whispering to me, asking me if he could say something.  I told him we needed to remain silent.

The doctor came right up to me, looked me in the eye and said, "I will be here when you need me."  He said a few other things, but that is what I recall.  And I remember looking at him, straight in the eye and saying, "never."*** I then started singing Amazing Grace and soon all of my classmates followed suit.  I vividly remember one other thing that morning.  It was cold and gray, but the moment that we began singing, the sun broke through the clouds and I truly believed shined right down on all of us.

 ***I want to say somthing about my choice, my faith and my strong belief that only God can judge. I made my choice, but I know others that had the same choice and chose differently. I have been unfairly judged so many times in my life that I promise in my heart that I will never judge them, they had to go through their own heartache and do what was right for them. They are beautiful people and their decisions were their choice and is between them and God.

Fast forward a few years.  I was just 21, just days after my birthday and I was looking at a positive pregnancy test.  I wasn't married, living with my boyfriend and going to school.  I was working for minimum wage at a camera store.  I was petrified.  But I knew one thing, that I already loved the tiny little soul that was growing in me.  I wasn't sure what my future held, what the baby's future would look like, but I knew that I was going to keep the baby.

May 5th, 1998
The months that followed were not easy.  I am now a role model for my girls, and I am not going to skirt around the truth and tell them that I lived happily ever after, they know the truth.  They saw what I went through, they went through it with me.   But I will say that I never regret my choice, not for one second of one day.  When I looked at Savannah today, her beautiful, perfect smile, I see a miracle.

Savannah was just five when I had Saxton.  That meant I had four children in a little over five years.  That was a crazy time of my life, between working and raising little ones, days tended to go by in a blur.  But I remember Savannah's fifth birthday, clear as day.  And I remember losing my keys.

Savannah was in school, a little city run pre-school that she went to for a few hours two days a week.  They were going to celebrate her birthday and I went to Target to get a few things.  After getting everything I needed, I headed to the car to drive to her school.  One problem, I had lost my keys.  I went back inside and asked at customer service, no keys.  I began to panic, I was going to miss her little celebration at school... and it was a big deal!  She was five!  That meant she could hold up a whole hand full of fingers to show how old she was.

I began to cry.  For those of you who know me well, I am emotional, but not necessarly in the middle of Target.  If you can picture it, a pregnant lady holding a one year old, a three year old standing near, crying her eyes out because I couldn't miss my daughter's birthday song at school. 

May 5th, 2003
I called her teacher, told her to try and wait and I began searching every isle for my keys.  Soon I had the whole store looking.  I think they partially felt sorry for me and just wanted the blubbering to stop.  Finally and thankfully an employee found the keys and I tearfully thanked them and rushed to Savannah's school.  I made it!  I made it in time for her celebration and to sing her happy birthday with her class.  After all, even though I was about to give birth to my fourth baby, she was still my first and it was important to me that she knew she was important.

Today, she is still my baby and the pain of not being with her feels very much like her fifth birthday, only today I won't find my keys.  I won't be able to see her in person, only through a computer. 

She was so sweet today, I was sad that I couldn't see her and we were skyping and she said, "I'm right here, you're getting to see me."  It's not the same baby girl.  Someday you'll understand. 

Savannah and I have been on a journey.  We have grown up together and continue to do so.  Even as I watch her become this wonderful young lady, I still can't help but still see her as my baby.  I still remember sitting in the wheelchair with her as they were discharging us at the hospital.  There is a video of me somewhere, and I am biting my lip, trying to not cry, scared to death at the prospect of bringing this tiny beautiful creature home.  I was so young and looked like a child myself, but I was a mother now and this little new soul needed me.  I was fighting back the tears because I needed to be strong for her, but today that isn't going so well... the tears keep flowing.

God has a plan for us.  He had a plan for me on that sidewalk all those years ago and he has a plan now.  We just have to have faith in his plan.  My wish is that Savannah has the same faith in me and knows that I am still that mom, holding her close to my heart.  I am still scared, I don't want to hurt her or cause her harm.  I want to protect her with every part of my being. 

I love you sweetheart.  I love you to the moon and stars and back and my love is enveloping you today.  I will be thinking about you and loving you every second today and wishing and hoping that your birthday and everyday is wonderful and magical!  You are a gift to this world and to everyone you meet!  Don't ever forget that!  Happy Birthday!!!