Thursday, March 31, 2016

Did Christ Suffer This Pain Too?

There is a scripture that has always resonated with me in Isaiah because of its graphic imagery: "Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." I loved that. I couldn't always explain why. It connected me with my Savior in a tangible way. It is beautiful to me.

The scripture just before that says, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Now when I read this scripture, it is as much condemnation as comfort. I feel like Peter, who loved Jesus so much and promised he would never betray him, but then he did betray him, three times that same day, just as Jesus said he would. He was horrified and repentant, but he did it and he didn't understand the consequences and he couldn't take it back. Just so with me. I would give my life to have my Eleanor on this earth again, but I don't have that choice now. And in the moment I did have that choice, I was impotent.

So many things I would change about that day. It is two years ago now exactly, but I can close my eyes and see it all again. I couldn't know that the fire would consume my house in minutes. I couldn't put that angry inferno out. I can forgive myself for these things. But, oh, why couldn't I have thought to get her from her crib before it was too late? That awful moment, when I looked around, grabbing at the air and realizing that her bedroom was collapsing before my eyes and she wasn't with me. . . When I ran towards the house and dropped to the ground and pounded it with my fists over and over, screaming. When Gigi asked if we could please move back because the fire was so hot. . . I will relive those moments forever. And although I anxiously await and faithfully believe in our reunion someday, how will I face that perfect daughter who would be sharing her light with this imperfect world had she only had a mother who remembered a few minutes earlier that she was sleeping alone upstairs? Of course she was upstairs! She was helpless and depended on me for everything and in a moment of chaos and panic, I forgot her and she died alone and terrified.

I still get quiet when I watch an action sequence in a movie. Because it isn't like that. You don't find that you have super human strength when the situation calls for it. Or anyway, I didn't. Nothing worked right. Everything moved in slow motion. The basement door was locked, so I broke the window, wasting precious seconds, only to find the smoke was overwhelming. I only vaguely knew where the water shutoff was anyway. Everything happened in slow motion and my brain couldn't seem too solve the problems I was faced with. I was helpless and useless and unable to do anything about the awful scene unfolding before me. I kept hoping for someone, anyone, to come and help me fight this fire that was moving at an unbelievable pace, but I was the only adult person there, and the only one who would be there for twenty minutes. I was the one who was supposed to swoop in and save the day. I was supposed to be the hero to those three children. Those twenty minutes are now my eternity. They are on an endless loop in my brain and anything else I do throughout the day or night is done alongside those twenty minutes. They are my waking and my dreaming.

There are no words for my pain, and if not for these other four, I would not be a functioning person anymore. I know it. But I look at their sweet faces and I will not, I cannot, leave them to this world's inferno like I left her. I will be their mother, for as long as I am allowed to be, and then I don't care what happens to me.

I remember putting her down for her nap that day. She was wearing white leggings and a green/blue top that I just loved her in, with a white bow on her head that I took off for her nap. I laid her down on her back, all wrapped up in her blue and green blanket, in the nursery whose walls I had hand stenciled and whose furniture I had built or bought or refinished in the weeks before her birth. I put my right hand on her head and brought it down the side of her face until it cupped her chin and I said, "Night, night, Baby Girl. Mommy loves you!" And she smiled really big at me, with her giant open mouth. Just like always. And just like always, I closed her door behind me with a tired sigh and thought of what I was going to do during her nap time that I couldn't do when she was awake.

I have always learned that the point of the Atonement was not just Christ suffering for our sins, but for every pain and sin that we could possibly know. So he suffered this agony too. Her physical pain and my broken heart.I have learned that we need only lay our burdens at his feet. But I don't know how to do that. I just can't imagine letting this burden go.

Monday, August 25, 2014

World Equestrian Games

Gigi's riding teacher invited us to the WEG at Great Meadow this year. It was so exciting! We watched the jumping and enjoyed it so much that we went back Sunday morning before church for the cross country event. Let me just say, a maxi dress was the exact wrong choice for walking around the grounds. I kept smelling manure all day at church and finally realized it was my dress! Gigi loved the whole thing and is planning to start showing next summer.

Kings Dominion

Summer Swim!

Go Seahawks:)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sometimes this all seems so surreal. I walk back through my memories of the last five months and wonder if it all really happened. I miss my girl.

I miss my sweet baby girl. I miss the feel of her in my arms. The weight of her. She was a pure delight and our family seems always to be missing someone now. I remember this day. We were all together after church and we wanted to play a game but Gigi and I were organizing her closet before we got started because her shoes were such a mess. Eleanor would just sit with us still, because she hadn't yet got to the point where she was grabbing everything. Her cheeks were puffy like marshmallows and I used to mouth them and it tickled her and she would smile.

Where to Begin?

I never know where to begin when I have let things go. And now more than ever. So I will begin where we are and work backwards I suppose. Any other way is just too overwhelming.

I spoke in church today. Dirk was called to the bishopric so I have him to thank for that. It has been years since I spoke in church and today was especially difficult with all we have been through in the last five months. But I think it went okay. I cried more than I like to, but what are you gonna do?

The house plans roll forward. I cannot believe how long it takes to design a home.

Summer is winding down. The best part of summer was swim team. I found I really needed the structure and socialization of it every day. And the kids did amazingly. Isaac and Gigi are at a point where they are winning races and it is very exciting. This was Brody's first year swimming and the poor kid appeared to be drowning all summer and actually got slower during the later meets. But at finals he dropped five seconds off his freestyle time and more than seven off his backstroke! I was so proud of all of them. Here is a photo of Gigi and friends from their luau-themed meet.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bathroom Remodel?

Even though we have two bathrooms upstairs, the kids always, always use ours for everything. So, I naturally think it is a great idea to remodel theirs since no one is using it anyway. Dirk was not enthusiastic about this idea, but he always gets on board eventually, so I still think I am going to go for it. I am great at the demo, so I can at least do that myself. I can spread out the project over time a bit so that I have time to figure out each step, and so that I have time to save up money for each new part. So, while Dirk is watching Green Bay vs. Chicago, I am checking out some pictures of bathrooms I like to get an idea where I am heading with this. One thing I know I like so far: lots of tile, very little drywall.

Love this rustic stone.

Tiled arch? Yes, please! I don't know if you can see in the picture, but that whole arch reflected in the mirror, including the ceiling, is sparkling white subway tile. Did I say I was going to do this myself? I might have to call someone for the complicated stuff. Or maybe I will get a contractor's license in my spare time. Also, this would be for the master bath. Hey, there is an idea! I could do the master first and then the kids' bathroom.

I am only posting this picture so I don't forget this cute "Wash Your Hands" sign.

I am obsessed with herringbone tile right now, and this looks so pretty on the floor here.

Reclaimed look vanity. Just when I think I want something that looks luxe, I see reclaimed and fall in love again. What to do?

Now that's a lotta tile.

This looks like it could work for the master bath. I think we need a corner vanity to make the most of the space.

While I am on the subject of bathrooms, the main level powder room could really use a facelift. I love the mirrors in this one.