Thursday, October 27, 2011

Memory Lane...

Last night I was feeling nostalgic. I bought Anna and Wy Christmas footie p.j.'s today and I thought of the first pair I bought him. They seemed so big at the time, 18 months, now he is barely squeezing into a 4t! This time of year brings such a rush of emotions. Reminiscing about Wyatt becoming a part of our family and thinking about how little he was. Somehow as life goes on it is like you forget the little things about your babies. Each phase in life brings new things, cute and crazy, that seem to replace others in your mind. As I sat and watched videos from the first time he walked in the house I was taken aback by how little not only he was, but Anna. They both sat on my lap to watch the videos, matching jammies on and freshly washed hair made it perfect. Wyatt said look at baby Wyatt there. Toddling unsteadily through the kitchen as Anna grabbed his hand and introduced him. He could barely walk, she could barely talk. Just 18 months and 3 1/2 at the time. I really don't remember all of the things going through my mind then. Excitement, fear of the unknown, love, a little mixture of every feeling possible I guess. I am so glad I have the videos of the first few days. Soon after my video camera broke and there is a 5 month break, since then I have 100's of videos. Documenting both of my babies growing and flourishing. I love the fact that you can see in their eyes from the very first time they meant that they loved each other. Anna never had any of my fears, worry of finalization, being his mom, transitioning, change in general....she just knew he was her brother. He seemed to feel the same way about her too. Tonight they had one of those nights that I cannot claim I had control over. They shared, they laughed, they hugged, snuggled, they were awesome together! Maybe that is what made me so nostalgic, made me feel so lucky. Tomorrow when they are screaming and fighting I will have to remember this feeling again!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two years ago this week, the 16th to be exact, I sent an email to our adoption worker. I had found this picture online.

According to his Child placement profile he

"enjoys playing outside. He likes playing with balls and trucks, having books read to him and playing with educational toys. "

It also said

"is noted to be a friendly, playful and happy child. He has been described as a soft spoken toddler who shows no response/fear of strangers. reportedly has occassional age-appropriate temper tantrums."

I saved the emails, go figure, and I reread them tonight. The little conversation included ; he is already scheduled for match, but I can try to get you in. There were 40 families that had put in their homestudies. We knew our chances were low, but I had a feeling that he was mine. I knew from the second I found him. I can't remember when match was. It was a morning sometime the following week. Anna and I had gone to Sam's with my sister and the kids to try and not think about it. I got the phone call from our worker as I walked in the door. He is yours. I had to ask again, he is what? He is yours. They chose your family. I hung up the phone and flew into Sam's club past the lady who checks your card and screamed to my sister who had walked in ahead of me....he is ours! The baby is ours! He is ours forever! I ran back to the card lady and I hugged her and a stranger next to her! I called T.J. and my mom and dad and I think it took a minute to sink in. The next week we were able to get the actual copy of his picture. Then in the following weeks we were able to meet him and quickly transition him into our home. It still seems surreal to think about life before Wyatt. He has helped to fill a hole in my heart and has really completed our family. He is silly, smart, caring, chatty, ornery, sweet and so many more things. I am so proud of the person he is becoming and being able to be called his mom. He is a Daddy's boy with a love of football and Brutus and wrestling on the floor. He not only loves, but may be a bit obsessed with Bubba and is his constant companion. He is a wonderful cousin and friend and a great brother. It is such a gift to watch Anna be a big sister and care for her little brother, or bother as it may be. They are at the ages where they play together, whether they are dogs crawling around, playing choo choos or "mom and son". They are siblings, friends and foes at times.
He can turn off my coffee pot, pull the dogs tail, use every naughty word he knows, sit in time out and know he is still loved. He has known from the moment he stepped in this house that it was his home. He can pull your heart strings with a flash of a smile or that look in his eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that God always had this life planned for Wyatt. That Wyatt was always meant to be a part of our family.
As I sit and think about those I know starting the foster care program and hoping to adopt I pray they can all look back in a few years with a similar story of how their family found each other.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The sight of a sock...

Yesterday I asked Wyatt to get himself a pair of socks . He came back, socks in hand and the pair he picked sent my mind spinning. A pair of black and gray socks. A pair of socks that were so similar to a pair I saw almost a year ago. The socks Austin was wearing the day he died. I will never forget that day, the moments before the phone call, the sound of his Aunt's voice, the moments after and the the hours and days that followed. They are somehow permanently ingrained in my mind. Visually at the forefront of my mind at the drop of a hat, or should I say the sight of a sock. I can't tell you how often I see those socks in my head. That was the part of him I stood by, staring in disbelief. Touching his toes, hoping he would jerk to kick me. If I could draw I am quite certain I could do a court room sketch of everything surrounding him. The people, the faces and the utter shock. I can't begin to imagine what his parents go through. As much as I try to be there and to understand a little, I pray I never know what they are feeling. We are at the grief season for Austin's family. These are the days that they spent together. This was his time of year. Playing outside, dressing as a farmer and visiting the farm and the zoo. This time last year was a wonderful time. This year it still seems to leave me asking, is this for real? There is not a moment that passes in my day that I do not think of him, his mom or his dad. Simple things like Wyatt doing something crazy, preschool, fall leaves, a John Deere tractor, a chuggington train, Curious george, a song, a smile, a little boy with big brown eyes and the umpteen little kids who seem to be named Austin! I think of his parents with every turn. Every time I hug my kids, every time I yell. Each night when I fight Anna to go to sleep, I think of Austin doing the same thing to his mom last year and I hold her a little longer. If I could do something to somehow ease their pain I would. I know I can't. Nothing will ease their pain. Time heals is a saying people like to repeat, but in a case like this there will never be enough time. It is so odd to me to think that after grouping Anna and Austin as friends, future husband and wife and always a pair, that Wyatt is now actually closer to Austin's age than Anna. He is forever 4. Life somehow has moved forward, leaving everyone who knew of him or about him changed. If only I could find a way to make this month more bearable for his family. I know what it is like to have that first year of grief. Dreading the anticipation of the days and then the hours where you know exactly what happened the year before and thinking of how you might have done things differently. Knowing you can't change them, but unable to control the thoughts that maybe you could of. I do not know how to make it better. If I could do anything I would! Praying for a little of the Peace that passes understanding is all I can do for now. I am also going to post a poem that I found on another blog. I sent it to Austin's parents and told them I felt as if they had written it.

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone
important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

... Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays
Christmas,New Years, Valentine's Day,and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a
funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your
heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and
screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's
go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding
your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise,
because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every child who looks like he is my child's age. And then
thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then
wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness
lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday,
commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful
it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your
child's memory and his birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the
balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my
child loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my child.

Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but
we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets
worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss,
unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the
remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent
is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental
health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as
cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken
with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying
together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this
because..." I love God, I know that my child is in heaven, but hearing people
trying to think up excuses as to why healthy children were taken from this earth
is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did
laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three
children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not
worth explaining that my child is in heaven. And yet when you say you have two
children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small,
happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking
if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for
you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".†

Please say a little prayer for Austin and his family tonight and give your kids an extra kiss.