Showing posts with label change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change. Show all posts

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end"

Our sweet Hazel house goes on the market tomorrow.

I am alternating between - YAY! - and - WAIT!.

The house looks really good, and I am proud of all of us for hanging on through the last couple months. I can't believe J - who works FULL time - knocked out a kitchen remodel in three months. Not to mention all of the other projects we tackled. These last three months we've learned something really important: do projects immediately! Don't wait until you're getting ready to move out!

Even though we are ready to move it is hard to leave. A few days ago I walked down to the Capitol with the kids. I love being able to meander downtown from our house. I will miss my long walks with the kids. Where we are looking to move is further out from the city. More housing developments. Fewer walking opportunities. This evening we went to a nearby restaurant and ran into neighbors. We know a lot of people on our block, and they know us and our kids. We've found a place here, and it's hard to think about giving it up, but when we think about the next five (or even ten years) what we want is elsewhere.

We moved here in 2008. It was our first home. All three of our babies grew in my belly here. They didn't all come home to this house, but there is a connection between them and these walls all the same. It's just hard to go. It's a hard time of year, and it's a hard place to be in: ready for change and yet feeling like so much of my heart is here.

And we're staying in the same town! Can you imagine if we were moving to a different city? Or state? J would have to peel me off the house. Drag me from the state kicking and screaming. I love Oregon something fierce. I would not leave her willingly.

In my state of anxiety I think I've told our real estate agent at least twice - maybe three times - that the rose, the one in the front yard, has to be excluded, it has to come with us, it's the only exclusion, but it must be in the contract, it's IMPORTANT.

I'm not sure how to separate leaving here from leaving Charlotte. The flowers in our yard that remind me of Charlotte and her birth month are already beginning to bloom. It's throwing me off balance. My equilibrium shatters when I look out the front window and see the lilies about to bloom, or when I clip lilacs for the table. I put vases of lilacs all over the house in May. They ease the ache, and they remind me of her. What are they doing blooming at the end of March?!

Setting a jar of lilacs on the table this evening made me want to text our agent with frantic anxiety: I need ALL the flowers that remind me of Charlotte. Every last one. Wait a minute - I need this house. I need the backyard where I labored with her. I need the nursery I decorated for her. I need the memories to come with me, and I am afraid if I leave here I'll lose something. She's not here, there's so little of her left, and if I accidentally lose something I will never be able to recover it. So pack it all up. Every flower. Every blade of grass. Every room. Figure out how to flat pack it, and we'll take it all with us.

But that would be insane, and I'm really trying to present a calm facade through all of this so ... never mind. Never mind. But if you could flat pack every last thing that reminded you of your lost one because doing so would guarantee you would never lose a memory - not even a wisp of one - you know you would do it without hesitation, or even much thought.

This weekend my pastor preached on the concept of two cities: the city of man and the city of God. He talked about being rooted, and how if one is rooted in the city of man life will be disappointing, hope will be hard to find, and perspective all but lost.

During this process I have to stay firmly rooted in the city of God, or else I will lose my focus and forget that all of this is temporary. This house, these walls, the next house, the last place, bricks, and chimneys, and kitchens, and lawns. It. is. all. temporary. I have a forever home.

John 14:3 - And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you will be also.

And in that forever home, Charlotte waits. God waits. LIFE waits - eternal, incredible, beautiful, pain free life.

Isaiah 25:8 - He will swallow up death forever; / and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces / and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, / for the Lord has spoken.

John 16:22 - So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Hope, friends. It's pouring forth from those verses. It's Holy Week. We need hope to carry us through the darkness to the breathtaking Sunday dawn.

Easter is one of my most favorite days because one can run around shouting the spectacular news that Jesus is ALIVE, He is RISEN, and people will accept it without too many sideways glances simply because it's Easter and there's so much joy floating around even the hardest heart jumps a bit in response. And really we should run around like that all day, every day, but sometimes that can be so hard to do.

I think I'm preaching to myself more than you here, but still, listen:

have hope

be brave

focus on the promise of forever

be rooted in the right city

Every little thing is going to be all right.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Our little cottage requires a fair amount of shifting. Or maybe I just like moving rooms around. Either way the guest/family room is finally done, and J and I both have desk areas (area may be a generous term in J's case).

The shorter couch, on the left, folds out to a full bed.

J built the shelves, designed and built the cord hiders, and built the coffee table. J often says he isn't very good at building things, but now that we have something he has built in every room of the house I've told him he must shut up and accept how talented he is.

And now for our work stations! J is in the closet in the family room. There is a teeny tiny designed in 1939 closet in that room and we've manged to put some shelving and an Ikea desk in there. If J wants to use his desk (play computer games) he opens the door, pulls out his chair, and sits half in half out of the closet.

I have a little spot in our room. I need to frame and hang the scripture print behind Charlotte's picture, and as I find more things I will frame and hang them on the white, white walls, but this is my spot.

We've had to be creative with our space, but as the house transforms and becomes a home I find myself falling more and more in love with it. I'll probably declare it perfect the day we decide to move.

Monday, July 16, 2012

traveling mercies

A comment from RyAnne on my last post got me to thinking.  She asked: "do you feel like it is harder to travel after losing Charlotte?"

Right after Charlotte died going anywhere, even just the grocery store, was difficult.  For five months - maybe longer - I thought we would die if we got into a car, so anytime J went somewhere I wanted to go with him.  If he was going to die I wanted to die too.  When Charlotte died any semblance of control over life was wrested from my hands.  Life felt so unbalanced and unpredictable.  It seemed like death was around every corner.

I've never been good at traveling.  I've never enjoyed leaving what I consider my comfortable space.  That's just who I am.  I've always wanted to be someone who likes traveling, but I don't.  I love the idea of going abroad, but the thought of getting on a plane and doing it makes me feel sick.  I spent three weeks traveling through England, Ireland and Wales when I was a junior in college.  It was a university sponsored trip, everything was out of my hands, all decisions were made and that is the only way I was able to do it.

I don't feel overwhelmed with anxiety when I get in a car now.  Counseling and learning how to handle my anxiety has helped with that.  I drive often, which is something I was reluctant to do after Charlotte died.  I no longer hesitate before taking the freeway or opt for a quieter, slower route.

But I would still prefer staying home.  Life is ordered here.  I know what to expect.  My ability to handle the unexpected has changed immensely since Charlotte died.  I've never handled change well, but now I can't cope with it at all.  If you want to see me in complete meltdown mode tell me we're doing something and then change the plans at the last minute.  And that makes traveling difficult because plans change all the time when on the go.  Heck, some even see spontaneity as an imperative part of travel.

I'm sure everyone who has experienced grief can name something about themselves that has changed irrevocably.  Loss alters and reshapes a person.  It can't be avoided.

Having Bennett is forcing me to do more.  I don't want him to miss out on things because I would rather stay home where I feel comfortable.  Early next year it looks like we will be going to Hawaii.

image from here

I'm equal parts excited and terrified. J has never flown with me before, but we have traveled and he knows how crazy I get when we go by car.  I want this experience for us so I'll start a list months before we leave, obsess over what to take and how to pack and breathe deeply through every airport and flight.  I don't want fear and anxiety to render me completely immobile.

So yes, traveling is difficult for me.  Honestly, life is difficult for me since Charlotte died, but as time passes what once seemed impossible becomes manageable once more.  I'll never be who I once was, but I'm slowly accepting my new self, and even learning to love her - quirks and all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

on being a mama and how it's changed me

I have such a hard time getting myself to bed at a reasonable hour. Reasonable being 8:00 if I want to get enough sleep.  Realistic being 9:00. Reality being 10:00 or later.

Once Bennett is down for the night my time begins and I love my time.  J does the pacifier fetching and soothing from 7:00 until bed, which means I have hours to myself.  We often spend some of this time together, but a chunk of it is spent on our separate computers on different levels of the house.  I love spending time with J, but I cherish my alone time too.  It's important to me and necessary for my mental well being.

It's hard to go to sleep knowing Bennett will nurse between 9:30 and 10:30.  I hate sleeping for thirty minutes to an hour, I would rather stay up, nurse, and then sleep for four hours (if I'm lucky, which I haven't been for a few nights now).

During the day I feel like I'm sneaking time.  When Bennett is napping I should be cleaning the house, preparing dinner, folding laundry, but at night when the house is clean (ha, yeah right, more like good enough) I feel free to spend time on things I enjoy.

And when Bennett is awake I feel guilty if I'm online, or reading a book, or watching a television show.  I know he needs time on his own to play, but if I'm on the computer or reading a book I feel like I'm ignoring him.

It's funny, though, to watch J with Bennett on the weekends.  J plays on his phone, reads a magazine, does whatever he likes while Bennett plays next to him on the floor.  Then I get crazy jealous and a little bit angry because I don't get to do those things!

Silly, right?

There are days that fly by.  Somehow we go from waking up to J walking in the door in what feels like five minutes.  Other days drag.  I take Bennett to the grocery store just to get us out of the house.  And when my friend from down the street shoots me a text asking what we're up to I'm on her doorstep within seconds because I need someone else to entertain Bennett for a few minutes and her kids do a great job of it.

I'm happy staying home, but there are times when the solitary nature of being a stay at home mom overwhelms me.  And there are times when I feel like apologizing to Bennett because I'm all he's got for hours at a time.

Being a parent has highlighted and exposed my insecurities.  I'm the type of person who gets caught up in who is doing what.  I wonder what other moms are doing, how they're doing it, if I'm doing enough for Bennett.  I wonder if we should be doing more activities, but then remind myself he's only six months old, a bit too young for scissors and glue, we can break the crafts out later.  Some days are exhausting, some boring, some entertaining.  Most are all of these things hour after hour after hour.

After Charlotte died I complained about not having a guide to parenting a dead baby.  Well, there are plenty of books on parenting a living child, but after my brief foray into the world of sleep trainers I decided to do without the books and so find myself lost some most of the time.

Since Bennett's birth I've realized how much I discounted parents, friends, fellow mothers after Charlotte died.  I had a big chip on my shoulder, a bad attitude and a dead baby card.  Running through my mind like a non-stop advertisement in neon were the words, You think parenting is hard!  You think your life is hard!  You should try having a dead baby!  I threw that card down left and right like it bought me space to be dismissive to anyone and everyone having a difficult time in their lives.

I've learned now that each hard time is different and unique.  And what each person is experiencing in their lives is important because it is happening to them.  My hard time is not your hard time, but that doesn't mean yours should be negated.  We all have rocky roads to walk, we all struggle, we all feel inept at one time or another, we all need friends to lift and build us up.

I understand now that (most) parents do the best they can to love and raise their children to be decent, kind citizens.  No one knows what they are doing all of the time, but everyone knows what they are doing some of the time. And if we combine our knowledge we are unstoppable.

I have judged, condemned, sneered, and expressed frustration.  Now I want to extend a hand, let all parents know I praise and commend you.  And this also applies to those who have children in their hearts only.  It takes a strong mother to keep a memory so alive it feels tangible; when I talk to you I see your baby superimposed, imprinted on your heart, forever remembered and loved.

I hope you feel blessed and encouraged today.


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