Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Dear Reader, I will tell you the results of the quiz; but I've decided that in an effort to avoid some of the mistakes I made the first time I did a series of sensitive articles, I will make sure I have everything outlined and completed before I post the first one. So far, the outline is about 20 short articles and I want them all written (and edited by a series of people I trust) before I go public--just to make sure I have really said what I want to say in the most effective way possible and don't get sidetracked by emotional debates.

That said, I'll step back a while to further prepare; and in the meantime, I'll take some time to post about the things I'm Thankful for, as well as some fun photos (outtakes of our Christmas Card shoot).

I'm grateful for Brynn and the miracle of her birth and survival. Although she's still vomiting regularly, it seems as though it's less painful for her than the retching was. And I am more than willing to clean carpets and do some extra laundry for a while if it saves her pain. Almost every time we undress her, she looks at her scar and says, "It's getting better and better!" She's also eating some things a little better--especially the past few days--but overall my goals are low for tube weaning any time soon. When she decides to eat, she'll eat, and I'm not going to frustrate both of us by pushing the issue. I am so grateful for the peace God has granted--genuine, lasting peace--where I finally feel like I've come to terms with her quirks. I no longer feel the need to sob when I don't know the future or when I see her suffer. The Lord loves her far more than I do--and although I don't know what HER reason is for her suffering, I most certainly do know that there is a reason. I also personally believe Brynn knew about and fully accepted the challenges she would be called to bear in this life. I am grateful for that belief. I'm grateful for mortality.

Medical issues aside, I'm grateful for Brynn herself. She makes some naughty choices (that girl can throw a tantrum and SCREAM with the best of them), but she also makes many, many good choices. She loves to make Heidi laugh and figures out new ways to do it as often as she can. She treats her little sister like her dearest friend. Brynn is even starting to choose--with no prompting from me--to share her toys, to give hugs, to pat Heidi's back and say, "It's okay, Heidi" when Heidi is upset. Brynn also loves to talk and sing--and especially loves to educate Heidi on new vocabulary (even the things she's heard no more than once herself). I can't believe how fast she's growing up (which is saying a lot since her "growing up" has been considerably slower than an average child). The sweet personality that she is developing just melts me every day. I am so proud of my big girl! I'm grateful for life.

I'm grateful for Heidi. Sometimes I feel like I'm a simple observer as she grows up without any "work" or "intervention." Her understanding of language is shocking to me--and the words she's saying are adding up faster and faster. She is following her sister's footsteps in that she cares little about moving around: she still prefers the butt scoot even though she can crawl much faster, and she acts like a beached whale any time I leave her on her back (she tries in vain to do a sit up instead of a roll over). Well, she's a beached whale UNLESS I'm changing her diaper, in which case she suddenly remembers how it's done and she darts away--naked bum and all--as fast as she can. She can pull herself up on furniture but refuses to try walking along the edge or any other walking unless an adult is holding both of her hands. Even though she's a little timid about trying new physical feats, it's still amazing to me how much more agile she is than Brynn ever was. She crawls around the bath tub in ways Brynn only recently started doing. Amazing. I'm grateful for not having to worry. I'm grateful for individuality.

Heidi's also a Momma's girl--something that Brynn has been only recently (when your first 4 months is primarily with nurses and you never breastfeed, how do you have the same bond with Momma?). Although it's inconvenient at times, Heidi's clear and unwavering preference for me makes me grateful and happy in ways I will never have the capacity to express. Heidi's also learned (already!) that Brynn gets to eat whatever she wants and that life's not fair if she doesn't get Cheetos, too. She will refuse to eat anything else if Brynn has better food. I groan that I'm the mom who lets her kids eat junk food...but keep telling myself it's not over until it's over. Maybe when they're 16, they'll like vegetables! I'm grateful for Heidi's developing personality, too, and her sweet temperament. I'm convinced there has never been a child that smiles more! I'm grateful for motherhood.

I'm grateful for my dear, dear husband. Not only is he a great provider (so many women wish they could stay home with their kids and I'm one of the lucky ones!), a great Daddy, a man who loves a true education, and a man of strong moral character; but also he's a good husband. He's recently stepped up in that last particular role in ways I've never seen him step up before. I'm falling in love all over again only this time it's even better because I know he's choosing to love all of me--not just the googly-eyed, imaginary perfect me he saw when we were dating. Marriage can be the most wonderful thing on earth, can't it? I'm grateful that I get to be with him forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Isn't it great that it's not really "until death do you part?" I'm grateful for immortality.

I'm grateful for talents. I feel a sense of purpose and a flame of passion I've never felt before as I've embarked on this Isaiah journey. I feel like I've got something to accomplish and only time will tell exactly what it is. I want to fulfill everything God wants me to do and feeling like I'm on that path gives me an energy like nothing else. I'm grateful for missions.

I'm grateful for Truth. I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven who loves me, a Savior who lives for me, and a Spirit who teaches me. I'm grateful I know the answers--at least in an overarching sense if not a specific sense--to: "Where did I come from? Why am I here? And Where am I going?" I'm grateful for a God who allows suffering. I'm grateful for the knowledge that suffering has a purpose. I hear people say, "Prematurity isn't supposed to happen," but I disagree. It was supposed to happen for us and I'm glad it did, because I'm glad for The Plan. I'm glad I can trust His Plan. I'm grateful for eternal perspective, eternal purpose, and eternal potential.

2011Res: To Matt: I love that you find books like Mein Kampf interesting. To my girls: today I savored the first time Brynn didn't scream bloody murder when we left her with a sitter. I also savored Heidi's "fake out" when she tried to feed me her toast and then jerked it away and ate it herself. Dear Mr H: today I handled the AT&T bill because I love you.


Alyson said...

Until you mentioned the Chee-tos I had never stopped to think what a challenge food will present to you guys! It will all come out in the end, you're exactly right. You're doing a great job. Pictures are all adorable!!

Kate said...

We're so grateful that you're close to us so we can observe those girls first hand. Jason still likes to pray for Brynn-- something we started when she went in for her most recent surgery.