Posted by Hannah Rae on Sep 1, 2013 in faith
, Life in the Stubborn house
I’m not good at being alone.
I’m not good at silence.
I’ve had a lot of both lately.
Hubby has been traveling a lot. I’ve gotten used to it, and have learned to cope in a lot of ways. One of those ways is the knowledge that at least my sister, Rachel, will come home from work at night and be with me.
This week, everything was different. You see, my sister went on a short trip to visit some friends and family in FL. No big deal, because Hubby and my FIL would be home this week, but that changed too. Hubby’s Auntie had been sick for a long time and was in the hospital again. It was very evident that she would not recover from this bout, and that it was probably time to say “good bye.” So Hubby, FIL, and Hubby’s sister hopped in a rental car as soon as they could on Thursday and drove 16+ hours to be with her for mere hours before she went home to be with our Savior.
Circumstances left me home alone with two sassy toddlers. Abruptly. I don’t do “abruptly” well either.
I felt trapped. I understood why it wouldn’t make sense to try to pack up the babes and make the trip with them. We would have all probably missed being able to see her if we had done that. But I still felt left out and trapped.
Four years ago, Hubby’s grandma breathed her last surrounded by her family in the home she had lived in for 70+ years. Hubby was there, Gabe and Jeremiah were there, even Rachel was there. I was not. I missed it. I was coming home from work, and I missed the moment she went home to glory.
Now I was missing this too. And I was missing it alone. And I was missing Auntie alone. And I was missing my daddy and my grandma alone. And I was missing my husband’s smell, and warmth, and security, and presence.
There was something so strange about these emotions that were overwhelming me. They were all over the place. I have experienced more PTSD flashes in the past 4 days than I have in months. I was double-checking locks. I was panicking after tripping over toys. I sank to my knees and sobbed uncontrolably when Busy Boy threw a fit over not being able to play in the bathroom sink, and my confused toddler just hugged me and said “You okay, Mama. You be happy. I sorry Mama. I be happy boy.”
And then other moments I am fine. I am strong. I am happy. I am “Super Mom”, or at least “Darn-Good Mom.”
Grief is a strange monster, isn’t it?
Hubby called me today suggesting that he might stay a little longer to support his grieving uncle and cousin. Of coarse! That makes sense, right? Then why did I burst out with huge, ugly, snot-drenched sobs? I haven’t cried that hard since the night my daddy went home. I can’t explain it clearly. I still can’t. I just want him near me. How horribly selfish of me! I told him that even though it was hard, it was the right thing for him to stay there. I would snap out of “it,” and Rachel would be coming home, and I will be strong again. I don’t think he believed me.
Whether he believed me or not, delays with the hospital and such pushed the timeline way back, so Hubby is coming home. He will be home tomorrow morning. And I will breathe. I hope. I will process, I hope. I will heal, I hope.
Is that the true extrovert in me? My woman-ness? I need to process these feelings with him. I need to talk to him about what he went through. I need to feel a part of this experience again.
Where has my faith been in this? At the core. My conversations with my Heavenly Father have been deep and endless, when I’m not distracting myself with Food Network. I’ve also been memorizing Romans 12, so praying through that has been a very healing exercise as well. Oddly, I have not been journaling, and I’ve tried to figure out why, but I think some of feelings that are rooted in grief just sound too ridiculous to me sometimes for me to write down in concrete words. Hard to admit to myself? Maybe.
These have been emotional times without losing a beloved woman like Auntie. Just a reminder of our human-ness. Oh, human-ness.
Posted by Hannah Rae on May 13, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house
Some days I feel like I’m rockin’ this mommy-hood thing. I’m cool, calm, and collected.
Dinner is made from scratch and miraculously gets on the table without any major meltdowns from myself or the children.
The babes listen when I say “no,” and if they don’t, they respond immediately to my cool, calm, collected discipline.
I breathe in their baby scent and send them to bed excited about what the next day will bring.
I’m confident that I can handle whatever comes my way, and excited about the possibility of adding another child to our family.
Some days I feel like I’m failing this mommy-hood thing.
The three year-old is sassy and couldn’t care less whether I approve of his actions or not.
The baby throws herself to the floor with every little whiff of agitation,
and it gets to me.
Dinner consists of grilled cheese, again, because I can make it in 2 minutes flat.
I raise my voice as if that will get me back into control, and I feel worse with every word.
I can’t wait for the kids to go to bed and wonder if I can really handle any more.
And then some days, most days, I just dance between the two.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Apr 24, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house
Changes are hard.
Even if they are incredibly good, healthy, wonderful changes, they are still hard.
And sometimes the lack of change is equally hard.
I’m having to change my eating…by force. I hate that. It’s not that I will have a hard time controlling myself. I’m actually ridiculously good at controlling myself, which has led to issues in the past. That is actually a big fear for me in this journey.
Anywho, the reason I have to change my eating is because I have some pretty severe food allergies that have developed over the past three years, and the latest one to really get severe is my milk allergy. Until this winter, I have only had an anaphylactic reaction to liquid milk and ice cream, but could handle other dairy, which made me very happy since I love cheese. This winter I developed really red cheeks and itchy patches on my hands that would crack and bleed. No fun. I’ve also always had issues with muscle and joint pain, and when I was talking to my auntie, who is very genetically similar to myself, she said that these symptoms were what lead her to realizing her dairy allergy. Since I already know my harsh reaction to milk, the rest of it is not hard to reason.
So I am giving myself a month of complete dairy avoidance. After that, I will reevaluate and see if it is something I need to continue long term. If I don’t give myself an out like that, I feel like I would panic.
I’m on day 3, and so far so good. The hardest thing is for me to choose healthy options instead of a) choosing junk, or b) not eating at all. I have a weird anxiety when it comes to salad. I can eat it when I’m at a restaurant, but at home it’s a real effort. Weird. Last month’s Food Network Magazine had a mini-booklet of 50 salad dressings, so I am hoping I can tune into my adventurous side as a way to conquer that anxiety.
So as I try to conquer diet and nutrition, I’m also really trying to become disciplined in planned movement. I move a lot throughout my day, I know that. My back definitely knows that. What I am trying to do is create more intentional movement activities that some would characterize as “exercise.” We have a nice loop of dirt roads that is about 3 miles around, and as soon as this weather decides that it is going to be Spring-like, my goal is to take my kick-ass double stroller that my friend found for $40 at a garage sale, pack up the kiddos, and maybe the dog and the bird, and walk that sucker EVERY DAY! If I make it part of our morning routine, I think I can do it. I’m going to give myself some time to warm up into it, grace is important in this, but I want to be consistent. I purchased Busy Boy a balance bike, and I think it would be really cool if he was able to ride it along side of me.
I’d like to say that it’s not a self-image thing, but it partly is. Not all of it, but some of it. I try not to dwell on that part of it too much. Some of it is the hope that if I get really, really healthy that I might be able to get pregnant and carry a baby. Most of it is that I want to be the healthiest Hannah I can be. That will allow me to be the best mom, and wife, ,and whatever else the Lord has in store for me to be.
So this journey moves forward and requires me to be real and vulnerable. It requires that I don’t try to do it in my own strength, and that is hard. It requires that I be accountable to myself for my choices, because no one else can make them. It requires me to be a grown-up. Dang it!
Posted by Hannah Rae on Apr 21, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house
God is so good. Those are the first words that came to mind when I started to write this post. I think it is because that must be at the forefront of everything, otherwise it all collapses and sinks into despair. Nothing makes sense without that one truth.
That being said, life is so full of changes right now.
The babies are getting so big. They aren’t babies any more, they are toddlers. Busy Boy is talking incredibly well now. He is still about a year behind in most developmental areas, but he has come so far. I had my first real back-and-forth conversation with him yesterday, and it blew me away. He was telling me that he wants to go to Grandma’s (Marge) for Soup Group and play with the bears. I loved being able to ask him follow-up questions and hearing him explain his beautiful thoughts and plans. It was magical. His one-year anniversary is coming up at the end of May, and in some ways it is amazing that it has gone by this fast, and in other ways, more predominantly, it feels like it’s impossible that he has not always been here.
Bitty Babe is feisty and full of life. That is the best way to describe her. She is walking all over the place now, and that means that she now has two free hands with which to get into mischief. She is so smart that it takes us aback multiple times a day at what she understands and can do on her own. She already knows where her favorite DVD’s are AND how to put them in the DVD player. Oy. She loves to talk and has quite the sense of humor. Her favorite thing to do right now is sign and say “kitty” and say “meow, meow, meow.” and then giggle like crazy. Her health is great, and although she still struggles with some residual tremors, she is not being held back by any of her symptoms in the least. In fact, she is actually slightly ahead of the curve developmentally, which makes the 20 months between Bitty and Busy Boy much smaller. She will be graduating from physical therapy this month and will just have to go back to get her orthotics refit as she grows. The orthotics are to support her tone so she can relax her muscles and develop aproper gait and arch in her feet.
Hubby is traveling a lot right now, and we are traveling with him whenever we can. That’s a lot of traveling. Last week, because of SPACE, I drove over 1000 miles, most of that over 3 days. Thankfully, the kids are great travelers. Busy Boy doesn’t sleep as well as Bitty does, but he will sleep, and now that Bitty is talking, the two totally entertain each other. Bitty is also really into books right now, so if she gets fussy I just hand her a book and she is good to go.
Family life is such a miracle to us right now. We are enjoying each day, especially as we watch our little ones grow and change before our eyes. They are a great reason to get up every morning, and great reasons to take care of myself so I can be the best mama I can be. My husband and my children are my ministry right now, and my prayer every day is that I am fulfilling my Father’s purpose in my life.
Next up: Hannah Update
Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 14, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house
My dearest son,
Today you turn *gulp* 20 years old. This is an incredible thing in so many ways. First of all, it means that you, your dad, and myself are all in the same age decade for the next year and 3 months. That’s pretty unique. It also means that I officially get to turn more heads and raise more eyebrows when people ask about my kids and I can now officially say that I have a 20 year-old son. It’s a fun game, isn’t it?
All kidding aside, you are so very special to me. 20 years ago, when I was only 8 years-old, playing with my baby dolls and GI Joes, God was forming you in your young mother’s womb. He brought you into this world knowing that someday we would be brought together because we needed each other. You are the reason I was first called “Mom.” You did that! You saw me, chose me, pursued me, got really scared that it might actually happen, messed some stuff up, then God gave you the desire of your heart. You got a family.
I’m not perfect. You know that you have the privilege of a typical firstborn that entitles you to be the experiment for all of our parenting awesomeness. Your little brother and sister are very grateful for that. But despite all of our bumps, I know that you know that you are loved and that we are always cheering for you.
My prayer for you, my sweet boy, is that you will let yourself be truly loved. I pray that you will know in the core of your being who you are in Christ, and that that identity will transform every step you take. Be the gift that you were created to be, because it is such an amazing gift.
I love you forever and always.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 5, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house
My sweet Busy Boy,
Yesterday we celebrated your third birthday. I am writing this letter the day after because I went to bed early on your birthday because I was really, really tired. It’s no surprise that your mommy was tired, because you fit your nickname well and are a very busy boy. You are so joyous an exuberant that I can get lost simply watching you play. I am so glad that God saw us fit to be your parents. I am so glad that He surprised us with you.
You had a rough start, baby boy. You were not cherished in the way that a little jewel like you should have been. You were disregarded and pushed aside. It is because of your rough start that you amaze me so much, because you are the most resilient, joyful little over-comer I have ever met. Your smiles and giggles light up any room, and you are often complimented on your sweet personality and charming ways. You love to give hugs and kisses, and are the first one to show care and friendship. You have so many endearing phrases and quirks, but one of my favorites is when you insist on kissing any perceived booboo, even if it means kissing mommy’s toes when she stubs them. You will go out of your way to make sure that people around you are safe and well. If someone sneezes you say “Bless you!” If they continue to sneeze, as I often do, you say “Be careful!” Or “Are you all right?” If your sister is crying, you get her her blankie, pat her head, and say “It’s okay, baby.” And I can always rely on you to bring me a tissue.
You love people, and you love to love them. You pay attention to what makes the people around you happy, and you go out of your way to do those things. A few months ago, your Tati Rachel had hurt her toe and had to wear her flip-flops when we went out. More than a month later, she was talking about her toe hurting again, and without any direction or fanfare, you went to where we keep our shoes and got her flip-flops and laid them at her feet. Not only was it an incredibly sweet gesture, but it showed us how incredibly socially intelligent you are. You pay attention to people, and that is an incredible gift that our Heavenly Father can cultivate and use to show others His love.
You love your family and enjoy naming everyone in pictures, and even blowing them kisses. You are especially close to your Tati Rachel, but your Uki, Daddy, and baby sister are close seconds. Mommy is always important too, but I’m pretty sure that you just assume that I’m there and don’t worry about me too much. You are very blessed to have lots of grandmas, aunties, uncles, and even a big brother who love you more than you will ever know.
You are a little guy, only measuring in the 15th percentile. Although you are growing steadily, your petite build means that I probably won’t have to buy you any new summer clothes this year. Speaking of clothes, you are quite the fashionable little guy. You love to dress well, and you especially love your hats. You literally turn heads every time we are out, and it would be an extreme rarity for me to not get stopped at least once on an outing for someone to inquire about your hat-wearing and how cute and handsome you look. You dress yourself well, but still need mommy’s help every now and then for things like stubborn snaps and buttons. You do not need my help, however, to find stickers. You are a sticker fanatic and seek them out whenever possible. A couple of weeks ago we were at Target looking at the clearance racks when I realized you were taking the clearance stickers off of the tags and putting them all over your face. Thankfully, the nice associate ladies were right there and found you some alternative stickers.
You are just starting to learn how to go on the potty, and your sticker obsession is a big help in that task. You love getting to pick out your Sponge Bob sticker after you successfully go on your little potty chair. Sometimes you will sit on your potty chair as often as possible, just so you can get a sticker. And in case you were wondering, yes, this little tidbit will show up at either a graduation celebration or your wedding.
Busy Boy, I never knew that parenting a little boy could be so much fun. I always suspected it could be this way, but we’ve been through so much heart ache this past year or two that I almost forgot to believe that life and parenting could be fun and joyous. It’s not always easy parenting you. You still struggle with your temper and accepting decisions, but you have learned that hurting yourself doesn’t help you get your way, and I am very glad for that. In fact, most days the most defiance we get out of you is a little whining and whimpering that are solved by the simple phrases “Do you need to take a break?” and “Are you a happy boy yet?”
This year I am excited to see you grow and learn in everything you do. Your speech has come such a long way, and I can’t wait to hear even more of what is in that incredible mind of yours. I am hoping that you will be able to play T-ball this summer, and I am really, REALLY hoping that you love it. I want to teach you how to swim, and I am really looking forward to watching you peddle your tricycle up and down the drive way. I know that God has such big things for you, and this is just the start of the adventure, but I am enjoying every moment of it. I can’t believe that you have already been with us for 10 months. Soon, our first year together will be done, and the memories will just keep building on themselves. I can’t even fathom most of my hopes and dreams for you, because every day that unfolds just blows my mind as to your potential and what you might have been put on this earth for. Of coarse, my one hope for you is that you will become the young man that you have been called to be, as passionate lover of Christ, and a lover of the people He loves. Beyond that, it will simply be a joy to watch you become who you were designed to be.
I love you so much, my Busy Boy, my son of my heart.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Nov 27, 2012 in Life in the Stubborn house
Dearest baby girl of mine,
Today is your first birthday. One year ago today, a little girl was born, unbeknownst to us. Two weeks later she would be in our arms, changing our lives forever.
You’ve come a long way, Bitty Girl, from that tiny, sick baby. You light up a room with your presence, your smiles, and feisty giggles. You are talking so much now, and you copy all kinds of words and phrases. Most of your talk is still baby babble, but more and more little words escape your little lips. Your most common words right now are “No, no, no!” always in threes, “All done!”, “Mama,” “Aiti,” and “Daddy.”
You love to play and explore, and are more than a little mischievous, but one crooked, goofy smile from that sweet mouth makes us forget to be even the slightest bit cross. You can stand up on your own now, but you are so good and fast at crawling that I don’t think you have the time to bother with walking right now. You love to play with your brother, and can definitely hold your own with him. In fact, you are the one we have to remind to be gentle. Your favorite critter, Zoe, our kid-proof black lab, doesn’t mind that you are not gentle. She loves it when you crawl all over her, and loves to give you kisses, which always makes you giggle.
Your favorite toys are your Winnie the Pooh doll, your pop-up toy, and toy cars. Your favorite “no-no’s” are tissues. baby wipes, the remote control, and the phone which you will gladly abandon any of said favorite toys to pursue if you get the opportunity.
Your favorite foods are bread, yogurt, and noodles, which you happily chow down with your 6 teeth. I think you are working on your first molars, because you chew on your blankets, your fingers, and anything else you can get a hold of, but they are sure taking their sweet time in making their appearance.
You are still very much a Mommy’s girl, but you are really starting to warm up to other people that love you, especially Daddy. Your new heart-melter move is to cuddle with Daddy, laying your head on his chest, looking up at him with a smile, and then laying your head down again. It gets him every time. Although you are still really shy, you will even occasionally smile at strangers while we are out, who often stop us to tell me how beautiful you are.
Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in all the everyday miracles that I forget that you still have some big challenges you are facing. You are still struggling with the effects of your withdrawals, and are still on phenobarbit@l , but your doctor is hopeful that you will be able to be successfully drug-free soon. Your OT and PT are such a support in our lives, and they are helping us overcome some of your physical hurdles. You have special orthotics on your feet now to counteract your high muscle-tone and help you drop your heals to move more effectively. We are hoping they will help give you the confidence to step out on your own soon. Your OT is helping you with some of your sensory issues, and you are already making big strides. You are very brave.
When I think of you, my precious girl, I get tears in my eyes almost immediately. The warmth and love that you bring into my life is immeasurable. Holding you, kissing you on the head, and breathing you in are things that I am still in awe over. I am so blessed to have the chance to be your mommy. My prayer for you this year is that you will know in the core of your being that you are loved, cherished, and wanted. I pray that you will already start to hear and listen to the voice of the Father, and that you will let Him write your story on your heart, letting Him tell you who you are. I pray that Daddy and I won’t take any moment for granted, and that we will continue to be ridiculously joyful over every little thing you do. I pray that the Father will show us how to raise you up in a way that honors Him, and honors who He has made you to be.
I can’t wait to discover you even more this year! I can’t wait till those little babbles turn into words that will let me into your beautiful world. We are going to have so much fun, little girl, and I will cherish every day the Lord gives me with you.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Oct 10, 2012 in Life in the Stubborn house
Dear friends in the trenches,
I’m going to be real right now. I feel really guilty.
I feel guilty because I am so happy with mommy-hood right now. I see all of you in the trenches, and I was there a year ago. A year ago, we were in total survival mode. A year ago we were literally fearing for our lives. But we aren’t there now, and I don’t know how to feel about that.
I feel guilty because I am so caught up in the glorious bliss of these little ones that I have been blessed with that I forget to pray for the one that just wouldn’t, couldn’t let me love him. I need to change that. I will always be his mom in spirit. I promised before my faith family that I would, so my prayers matter. I need to remember that.
I feel guilty because I see all of you suffering through. Choosing to do the tough stuff, the right things, putting on your big girl (boy) panties (boxers?) in the midst of absolutely horrendous situations that most parents can’t imagine. I can imagine. I was there. But I’m not anymore. The worst I have to deal with are the erratic tantrums of an infantile recovering addict, and the age appropriate tantrums of an amazing, miracle of a 2 y/o. I feel bad about that.
I think about all of you when I post FB updates about my babies sleeping through the night, when a year ago I slept with one ear open, bracing myself for the blaring alarm or the sound of a shattering window, and I know you are there. I thought about you today when my Busy Boy went pee on the potty for the first time, because I know that you are out there singing “The Pee Song” and listening to what your child was telling you through their actions.
Is it weird to say I miss it? Yeah. It is. Is it the adrenaline that we were constantly functioning in that I was addicted to? Is it the pride of knowing that I did a damn good job with my boys that I miss? Or is it that I feel like I am losing connection with my amazing community of trauma mamas and papas?
Now I know, dear friends, that we are not done with this journey yet. In fact, I know we are just at the very early stages of our new journey. We don’t know what special attention our precious littles will need as they grow. We don’t know what effects of trauma will be uncovered as they get older. Both were exposed to all kinds of crap in their birth mothers’ wombs, so who knows what that will bring, but I feel like I can be as prepared as any mama can be. I am not scared. I don’t feel lost or overwhelmed.
That is because of you.
So know, precious brothers and sisters, that you are on my heart daily. I have not forgotten that you are fighting the good fight, and I remember to shoot some serious arrow prayers in your direction.
And I will pick your brains, seriously, a lot, because I know I can trust you, and you will never roll your eyes, or get scared off.
And because the registration for this is finally open, I am already getting excited to see your sweet faces again.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Sep 28, 2012 in Life in the Stubborn house
It was winter.
We were mourning over babies lost, and babies never had,
And then, in a dream, God told me your name. He told me to get ready for you.
And then the phone rang, and there was a baby who was very sick who needed a mommy and daddy who knew how to take care of sick babies.
And then we said yes, because God had already told us you were coming.
And then you came.
And you were so tiny, and I told Isa over the phone how tiny you were, and I sent him a picture, but he still didn’t understand.
And you were so dirty, so I immediately washed you in a warm bath with lavender oil, and I held you in the palm of one hand, and I got some clean clothes out of the closet, but you were so tiny that I didn’t have anything small enough.
And then Isa came home and marveled at how small you were, and how sick you looked.
And then we heard you cry, and we saw the pain that you were in, and we promised to help you heal, and we swaddled you up and held you close.
And I washed you again, because you still smelled like smoke.
And that was the beginning.
And then you got bigger, and stronger, and healthier, and smiley-er, and happier.
And then you amazed everyone with your over-coming spirit.
And then you confused your doctor, so we had to be patient.
And then you started to do things early, not late.
And then you became this beautiful, healthy, strong baby girl.
And then you became ours in our hearts, and we started to believe it might be possible that you might stay.
And then you became ours forever. Well, we are almost there, aren’t we, Bitty Girl?
God is so faithful.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Sep 27, 2012 in Life in the Stubborn house
My heart is in my throat today. Very big court date for Bitty tomorrow. Very big. Not sure how to pray. So many complicated feelings.
Please pray that the Judge has God’s wisdom in this decision and does what is best for our precious girl.
Pray for peace and joy for us too. It is really hard to trust in God’s faithfulness today.
- Hear my heart?
- Let me down?
- Be gentle with me?
- Give me the desire of my heart?
- Ignore me because I am selfish?
- Take my baby away?
- Trust him with my heart?
- Trust him with our family?
- Trust him to see through my selfishness?
- Do/Say anything to change his mind?
- Be “okay” regardless of what happens?
I need peace today.
But I don’t think I will really be able to breathe until tomorrow is over.