Thursday, August 29, 2013

four years

"Love in this second sense - love as distinct from 'being in love' - is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.  They can have this love for each other even at moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love' first moved them to promise fidelity:  this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."

There was a day two years ago when I sat on the floor of Henry's room, him just weeks old. All three of us were crying. Exhausted, with nothing more to give. Shea talked about how he wasn't happy. I talked about how on that day, I didn't like him very much at all. It was an awful day we still talk about.

Perhaps a weird way of starting out an anniversary post. But it makes me remember that C.S. Lewis quote that was read at our wedding ceremony. When we got married we hadn't dealt with much except challenging family situations and lots of work travel. Four years later, I've learned that flowers, long talks of affirmation and fancy dinners are great but not the love that holds a marriage together when your newborn is screaming five hours every night.

Instead, that "quieter love" that runs the engine of this marriage is about:

moving to a new state when you have lived in the same area your entire life.

moving the entire contents of your house four times in four years to get
more space, more security, a garage.

making dinner several times a week even if it's always tacos, spaghetti or turkey burgers.

driving in a straight panic to the hospital with a screaming woman in your passenger seat who is pleading with you to give her drugs and turn on your flashers, for goodness sake.

holding your newborn son in awe as your wife is being equipped with an oxygen mask.

running around the house in circles when your baby will NOT stop crying
so your wife can take a shower.

posing with pumpkins, in front of peach trees, Thomas the train and lots of large trucks.

making dinner, doing the dishes and taking care of a toddler when your wife has a migraine.

attempting to iron your own pants.

working hard so your wife has the option of staying home part-time to play with trains.

sitting in a hospital waiting room, holding your wife's hand,
when she's about to lose her second baby.

making oatmeal for everyone every single morning and
sitting at a table to eat it together.

cleaning the litter pans every week.

always, always being on my side no matter what the topic or the people involved.

Love you, Ginn. Thank you for loving me in the ways that make this marriage thing work.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

prayers for a miracle

It's so easy to take it all for granted.

Our healthy bodies. A son that has been lucky to be so healthy an antibiotic hasn't passed his lips.

It's easy to feel superior about it, to think it's because we're doing something right. Or to not even think about it at all because health isn't a factor in our daily lives.

This week I have been brought to my knees by the stories of strangers. Stories of how life can be turned upside down in a matter of hours. Stories that make me cling to my family with fear and sadness.

My heart is so very heavy with the weight of the burdens these mothers (and fathers) must bear.

Friends, I ask that you join me in fervently praying for two families that need the kindness of strangers, the love of an all-powerful God and a miracle.

Grayson Irwin, turning 1 this week, was diagnosed with acute leukemia. His family is from Topeka, Kan. now living in Florida. In just a few days, friends have raised more than $13,000 to help this sweet family who has relocated two hours away from home where their little son will receive treatment. I heard their story through a friend and have been continuously praying since. Read their story here.

Diana Stone, blogger at Hormonal Imbalances, went through a very public loss of her twins last year at 20 weeks. She just gave birth to a son, Kaden, who is now in need of a heart transplant. If there is anyone that deserves a happy ending more, it is this family. They, too are having to move their family to another city to be close to the hospital for the best care.

I don't know if it's the faces of these sweet little boys that remind me of my Henry, or why it is that I have felt so shaken by these stories of perfect strangers.

I know money will help. I also know positive thoughts, good juju and heartfelt prayer are just as powerful.

I'm praying for strength for weary family members, wisdom for doctors, comfort for two little boys and for miracles.

God is bigger.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Dear Henry,

Every single age, I've thought: "This is my favorite, don't let him grow too fast." But you do grow, and then the next stage becomes my favorite. Two has been magical.

You repeat everything we say, even when we don't know you're listening. We can apply logical reasoning to get you to go to sleep, and you clearly state your preferences on what to wear, eat or play with.

Your ability to remember things is one of my favorite parts about this age. As we pull into the church parking lot you start yelling the names of your friends, Piper and Hudson. You know two names that make up a couple like your friends Todd and Laura or Nonnie and Grandpa. You once tried on one of Daddy's t-shirts, and now every time he wears it, you yell out "my shirt!" When daddy comes home with his workout bag, you point to it and yell "Daddy RUN!"

Plotting big things with mixing bowls.

You love playing with your choo-choos, your kitchen and grill and anything to do with outside. Your stuffed animals talk to each other and you serve them food and then tuck them in for night-night. When we run in the jogging stroller, you yell at me to run every time I start walking, like a free personal trainer.

This summer we've been at the library several times a week picking out books or attending family fun nights with puppet shows or drum concerts. You picked peaches, admired the model trains at Union Station, waded in the pool, went on evening "runs" and went on a big weekend trip to St. Louis to see the zoo, Grant's Farm and a Cardinals game.

Hugs for friends.
We celebrated your second birthday Lowly Worm style, and for the first time, you really understood opening presents and the greatness of cake.

You have a goofy personality and love teasing with Daddy and yelling "watch" followed by a silly action. You have a very kind heart, constantly taking care of your family, human and stuffed alike. You hug, kiss and give high-fives frequently.

When you fall asleep, we still collapse on the couch with a sigh. You are super exhausting and challenging but even more than that you are funny, surprising, sweet and the light of our lives.

We love you so much Henry.

Mama and Daddy