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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cradles, Cribs, and Crying

About 6 weeks ago, I started thinking through all the things I needed to do for us to move.  Perhaps this was crazy, but I thought the transition would be smoother if all my babies were sleeping through the night in playpens or cribs.  The twins have this down pat, but little Maddie Grace has been sleeping her whole life in a sleep and rock (which is, by the way, a fabulous product!).  She has bad reflux and she has slept well in her cozy little propped up position.  Ironically, Makiah slept the same way in a car seat forever it seemed.  They both like to cross their legs and prop their arms up behind their heads like old men in recliners!  Maddie has been getting too big for this little seat she sleeps strapped into and has been waking up a lot trying to move around.

So I determine it is time to do the deed and teach her to sleep flat in a crib.  She is my fourth baby and all of the others have made successful transitions to cribs, so I am thinking I have got this.  The hubby and I brace ourselves for two to three long nights of crying.  That’s all it takes for a little one to transition, right?  Wrong!  Double wrong in the case of sweet Maddie Grace!  It turns out that my happiest baby was also born with an iron will.  After exactly seventeen nights of  weeping and gnashing of teeth, I start to think this child will break us before we break her of her little cradle.  I know the battle is over at 1:45 am on the 18th night, when Cameron and I are huddled in Maddie’s room.   She is in our room in a crib and with our king sized bed letting the world know she will not sleep, and he tells  me he is going to put her outside on the porch (no, mom, we didn’t do it)!

One of those nights when I was rocking her and trying to calm her down, I stood between the two beds with her squishy little self snuggled in my arms….   on one side of the room is her beloved sleep and rock.  The place she has slept so peacefully for the first 9 months of her life.  It was a perfect fit for those early days and she was so comfortable growing there.  On the other side of the room stands the delicate, white mini-crib. It is the place of uncertainty for Maddie Grace, but it is also her future. 

 I think to myself how silly it is that she is doing all this crying about sleeping in one and not the other.  After all, they are only a few feet apart! I marvel that a  little change that seems like a no brainer from my perspective, is enough to throw my child into all out panic mode for weeks.    I whisper to her that mommy will love her and keep her safe in the crib just as much as in her old bed.  I say to her that I will be watching and listening and be just as close to her in her crib as I was before.  She just needs to trust me.

And then I hear it.  The whisper in my heart.  That I am really just like my precious daughter.  What seems like such a big change to me is really not throwing God for a loop at all.  In fact from His perspective, a move (or any big transition we make) is no more unsettling than sliding a few feet across a nursery to a new bed.  El Rohi.  He is the God who sees.  And He is there.  Listening for our cries.  Loving us like precious children as we take baby steps toward the future.  And the plans he has for us.  Whispering peace and words of promise to our hearts.  If we will quiet ourselves to listen, we will hear the still small voice.  Reminding us to trust Him.

Now if only I could get my Maddie Grace to understand the whisper!  Then our little chat could have solved the problem!  Just in case you are curious, she won.  I decided she could stay in that little seat until she was four and her legs dangled to the floor as long as we could SLEEP!  But in reality, she only spends about 4 hours in that little cradle these days.  Then the rest of the night finds her exactly where she really wanted to be all along… snuggled in our bed, right between mommy and daddy! 

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Moving Day

Moving to our new house, Mama?  Will we take baby?  What about Daddy?  And my books?  Will we take my blanket and my soft pillow?  Little hearts are processing this transition as well as they can.  Moving is hard to understand when you are two.

Cardboard brown is everywhere.  Things disappearing as the days wear on.  The screeching sound of tape as we seal the boxes shut.  So many things hidden in this house.   Some things I had forgotten.  Others never discovered.  All to be uncovered in the moving,

The box of size 5 outfits with tags still hanging forlornly.  The hairbrush full of long blonde hair that tumbled down from the closet shelf.  Her pink silk pillow.  The bag of rocks she picked out when we visited the Grand Canyon.  Her rainbow colored clip dancing in the bottom of my makeup drawer.  Her art table hiding in the back of the pantry.  The bottle of her favorite salad dressing that sat unopened and unnoticed on a back shelf  for the last three years.   Her tiny pink apron that she wore when we were baking cookies.  Pretty princess dresses climbing down from the attic.  

The dollhouse.  I had to open and pack up the dollhouse.  I have had it locked all this time.  Untouched in a sort of timeless state.  Waiting for little fingers to come and play again.  I have already taken pictures of the little blonde girl tucked gently between her mom and dad in the upside down dollhouse bed.  But what I did not see until I moved them was the three girls, 2 older sisters and a baby, lined up underneath them.   

The second family.   Waiting patiently to be discovered.  You couldn’t see them until the first one was scattered.  I shake my head and tears well up.  I look at my mom, and she says with a quivering voice, “This is hard.”   I nod. 

A few weeks ago I was unloading the girls to walk into church.  As I started to unbuckle Abby, she ran her finger across my necklace- a tiny picture of Makiah.  “Mommy,” she said.  “Sissy Kiah.  Kiah not coming home.  Kiah not come home to see me.”  I took a deep breath.  I have been dreading these conversations for two and a half years, but it still seemed catch me off guard.  “No, baby.  Kiah is not coming home.  She is in heaven…”  Abby interrupts me suddenly, “In heaven with Jesus!”  She smiles as if she is satisfied and wriggles down from her car seat.

Big sisters who don’t come home are hard to understand when you are two.  And when you are much older than two… 

A sweet friend wrote to me on Makiah’s birthday that she hoped I would have sweet memories of her as I looked around at the spaces she inhabited.  And I did.  I can look at the fireplace and see her kneeling there playing with our little Christmas bear ornaments.  I glance at the bar and in my minds eye she is sitting there licking her spoonful of peanut butter.  In my bathroom I can see her long legs splashing in my tub while she plays with mermaids.  In our bonus room upstairs, affectionately nicknamed ‘the upper room,’ I see her twirling a sash and dancing to worship music.  Treasures hidden in my heart.  Memories of her in this space. 

I also found my missing journal.  The one I was keeping when Makiah died.  The last entry was 9/26/10… just twelve days before we lost her.  The last words I wrote were a result of some complications with the twin pregnancy.  I was 15 weeks pregnant.  I thought that was what I was writing about…

“Lord, help me to press into you and to come to a deeper place of knowing and believing you.  John 6:29 says the work God has for me is to believe in the One He has sent!  I know you will bring treasure from this trial.  Give me the grace to endure with joy and to cultivate an awareness of your presence.”

I had no idea what trial would engulf me.  And no idea that I would indeed find that in my utter helplessness the only work I could do was believe. In the One.  He has sent.   And no idea of the grace (Or the Maddie Grace!) that He would pour out on our weary souls.  No idea that you could keep on living after dying.  No idea that joy really does come in the morning. 

In the moving and the finding of bittersweet surprises comes another surprise.  The knowing that there really is freedom for those who are bound.  And there really is healing for the broken.  And there really is resurrection for the dead.  And the living dead.

Before my heavy eyelids lose their battle tonight, I want to say I am thankful that all the painful moments of leaving and loss are trumped in the end by this truth.  The truth that this is not really the end…

The dollhouse family

The 2nd layer

Sweet memories at our house

Makiah in our house

daddy daughter dance

Easter 2010

Playing with her favorite toys

Hugging the twins in our house

playing dress up

Makiah cleaning up toys while I was on bed rest.  She said "I will do it because you have babies in your tummy, Mommy!"
Bringing home the twins

Just turn your ipad sideways now...

The crew as we leave this home full of love and  memories!