Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Love You, Wonky Head

before noah was born a dear friend gave us this book as a gift.

it is a super cute book about a little boy who imagines up various scenarios (mama, what if i were a big, scary ape?) and his mother patiently and creatively reassures him that she would care for him no matter what (or who) he was.

we had no idea how special it would come to be.

pretty immediately when noah was admitted into intensive care at seattle children's he was given tons of fluids, which made him extremely puffy. we wanted so badly to talk to him, for him to hear our voices, but we ran out of things to say pretty quick. we also had jelly-brains and coming up with any collection of words that made a lick of sense was rare. reading became an avenue to communicate with our boy. and i love you, stinky face was one of the stories noah heard as he slept.

sometimes i changed the words to i love you, wonky head.

after reading it at noah's place when we put him to rest there, the book was put away and i had no intention of reading it again. it felt like noah's special story. or maybe it was just because i was afraid i'd get too emotional if i read it again. 

then a few months ago i realized those were kind of stupid reasons and i really wanted to share it with miles. it's a sweet story and miles deserves to hear it too. 

so now miles is hearing the same i love you, stinky face story (multi-daily). and as i read it i'm always reminded of noah. it's a tender, albeit small, thing these brothers can share.

the story is also my mantra for how i want our children to know love and acceptance. 

"but mama, but mama, i didn't get accepted to college. will you still love me then?" no question. 

"but mama, i don't want to be in choir or play football." fine with me. i'll look forward to supporting you in whatever you decide to try.

"but mama, but mama, i'm gay." great. now, where did you want to go for lunch?

every parent has hopes for their children, and john and i are no different. jesus-following, generous, and loving to others are all values we desire in ourselves and our children. but we believe it's of utmost importance to cultivate an environment where each of our children knows without a shadow of a doubt they are loved without condition. that's on us. (and if you secretly asked any of our children which one was "the favorite" it's our hope they all would answer, "me.")

my love for each of my children is as unique as they are.

my heart breaks that i will never know the boy and man noah would've grown to be. would he get thrilled by the siren of a fire engine? would he hate mushrooms like his daddy? would he use his life to make a positive difference in the world? well, that i know. and that's a resounding YES. i'm infinitely proud of noah and love him without borders. and always will. he did no wrong in my eyes. the only thing i'm disappointed in is that he wasn't here longer. but that's not his fault. he's my boy and is perfect. forever and ever amen.

i'm eternally grateful that i get to watch miles become his own sweet-one right before my eyes. every day i learn more about who he's created to be and i'm in love. he laughs on the swings, playing the piano and when daddy throws samson's toys. when he gets excited he shakes and screams, "AHHHH!!!" he prefers to drink from adult cups. he hates the pack 'n play. he shows affection by putting his forehead on mine and closing his eyes. he is my heart. and there's nothing in the world that will ever make me love him less.

not even if he were a terrible meat-eating dinosaur.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Single Thread in a Tapestry

a year ago today, in the early, early morning, we received a call from the hospital. the call you never want to get.

we awoke with the news:
you better get over here soon. 

it was only the fourth day we had been in alexandria, louisiana. i went to bed the night before actually feeling quite hopeful.  we had visited our cajun cutie that evening and were given miraculous news - his white blood cells were increasing at a rapid rate. for the first time since we arrived i actually felt like maybe he would get better. maybe we would be able to take him home.

no. we would not. and we knew it the moment we got that phone call.

we got ready to go in silence. there was nothing to say.
down the hotel elevator. silence.
the five minute drive to the hospital. silence.
we knew.

in the wee morning of january 6th, 2014 we entered baby boy isaac's room to a host of people gathered around his bed. his tiny, tiny five pound body laying lifeless. the nurses were doing chest compressions and providing oxygen. but he was clearly gone. 

no human is supposed to witness what we were witnessing. it was, by far, the most traumatic thing i ever had to watch, and endure.

the reason they were keeping him alive was for us and for his birth mother - to say good-bye. 

i wanted to scream, "JUST STOP!!!! LET HIM GO!!!!" 

but we waited. it was not my call to make.

it felt like forever when ms. isaac finally arrived. i recognized the look on her face immediately. complete and utter shock. insurmountable fear.  

in that moment, my mother instincts took over. for her.

i held her. i held her while she held him. i cried because she cried.

i knew the realm of pain she was feeling. a child she carried and bore. flesh of her flesh. i knew.

she had no one there with her. no shoulder to lean on. no support. we were her support. we helped her make the awful, after death decisions that no one should even remotely have to think about.

we sat with her.

and then we drove away and never returned. only keeping in touch with her via text a few times a year.

it's almost impossible for me to reconcile in my mind - why?

why us? why did she pick us? of all the couples?
why did he die? of all the babies to adopt? why him?

was it worth it?

i don't know. it's too painful to think about.

(*and you can leave your "God's plans" theories to yourself. please and thank you.)

this last month has really been the first time i've allowed myself to process what happened. when baby boy isaac died, i was pregnant with miles. and, in order to survive, in order for me not to go completely insane that TWO babies who were supposed to mine, were not with me - i had to believe miles was going to be okay. he had to be. that was one of the sweetest gifts baby isaac gave me. the gift of believing and hoping miles would be okay. i can't explain why. it's a mystery.

there was a shift in my mind that day.

baby boy isaac's short life brought many gifts, most of which i still don't even know or will ever be aware of until heaven.

what i am most proud of, however, is that hundreds of people know and love our sweet boy because john and i took the unbelievably fearful, nonsensical, yet hopeful, step out and opened our hearts and home to welcome him into our family.

and you opened your hearts up to receive him too. thank you.

because of that, a little, little babe born in a tiny town, alive for only five short days is known.

he's remembered. he's wanted. he's loved. he's part of a family.
he's part of eternal significance.

and i can't wait to see him again. big ears and all.

"a single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shines
can never see its purpose, in the pattern of the grand design"

Joh'Wayne Kameron Kahlil Isaac
1/2/2014 - 1/6/2014