Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plan B

I consider myself a planner.
Not the "overly-planning" type really. In fact for the longest time I had difficulty making myself keep up with a planner or calendar. I do now. I have to! There is simply no way I can remember it all anymore. And I try to plan ahead. Stay organized. Make checklists. Cross off the days as they go by.
And boy... they go by so fast.
And I try my best stay realistic in my plans - not commit to too much - or have too lofty expectations that will only lead to my frustration.
And usually I feel like I succeed in this. It takes a village (of grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends) to keep my plans going sometimes. (And I'm so thankful I live in such a great village) :)
But in the end, I am a planner.
A creature of habit. A bit bossy at times. Too often stressed out by unforeseen conflicts with my plan. Too often under the illusion that my plan is "what it's all about."
Does this sound familiar to any of you? ;) I know I'm in good company.
We are all planners to a degree. We like to know what's going to happen ahead of time - and in order to get the result we want (and prevent a result we don't want) we take control - and we plan. We research. We observe others. We ask around. We plan.
We plan in the name of safety and with the intention of reducing stress. We plan with a goal of making life easier and happier. We plan for success. We plan for "worst-case" (as if that will somehow make it better - the fact that we "planned" for it). We plan vacations, weddings, and parties. We plan weekends and summers and holidays. We plan careers, relationships and families. We put it all out there - and go for it. And that's natural. It's all we know to do.
And what is the best possible plan called?
Plan A.
Plan A - for Awesome. It's the All Around best case scenario. Plan A is all about Attention to detail. Achieving the ideal. Absolute control over what happens. Plan A is All we want - everything we think we need. But all that is an illusion. Because deep down - Plan A - is just plain Arrogance. It's Assuming we know best. "Success According to Me." A is for Amateur.
And somewhere along the road we learn...Plan A so often fails. And then what are we left with?
Plan B.
Plan B - the Backup Plan. Such a negative connotation. The "oh Brother now what?" plan. The "Better than nothing" plan. B for Bad weather, dead Batteries, Bumps, Bruises and Broken hearts.
Plan B is a Bummer.
Or so it seems at the time.
All my life I wasn't a fan of Plan B. And sometimes I still find myself struggling when faced with an alternate plan to "My Perfect Plan A". But when I look back on my life...I start to notice something about Plan B...that I never understood before.
Plan B on my wedding day meant my outdoor wedding had been rained out and rearranged. I did NOT want that. Plan A was much better. Of course. We got Plan B.
But as the thunder rumbled and the lightening flashed over the gardens surrounding our chandelier-lit tent - the last thing I was thinking about was Plan A. I was getting married. I was holding hands with my best friend. I was giggling as David pulled out a bright orange handkerchief (War Eagle!) to wipe the heat of the evening off his forehead. Everyone I loved was there watching and smiling and crying. The music mixed with the sound of the rain through the trees was nothing short of magical. And I was reminded of God's power and beauty all at the same time. It was romantic. It was unforgettable.
It was beautiful.
And I couldn't have planned it that way if I'd tried.
Plan B surprised me.
A few years later we decided to start a family. I talked to my doctor, started taking more than the required prenatal vitamins (ahem...did I mention I like to be in control?), exercising, eating right, getting enough rest - the plan was to be as healthy as possible when we got pregnant. We planned on getting pregnant in June or July. And we did. We planned on having the baby in April (preferably over Spring Break) so that I could take the rest of year off of teaching and have the whole summer with my baby! The baby was due April 3d. I bought little Auburn booties and surprised David. We told our families the exciting news as soon as we could! We were elated. I had 6 friends who were all pregnant as well! Our babies would all be born just months apart. It was the most exciting time in my life. It was happening just how we wanted!
It the perfect plan.
Just a few days later. I miscarried.
I was shocked. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and would never catch my breath again. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had already planned it all. I struggled to do anything but cry for weeks. I was broken-hearted. I was confused. I was angry. Didn't God know I had a PLAN!?! Didn't He see how perfect it would have been!? I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that there could be a better plan out there than the one I had poured my heart into. But thankfully...the wisdom of the Lord surpasses our wisdom.
And He had a beautiful plan for me.
But I wasn't going to see it...just yet.
One month later I was cautiously making that same phone call to David...we are pregnant. No cute booties or calling up everyone we knew. I was still too scared. I never dreamed we'd get pregnant again so quickly. I was terrified of losing this baby like the first one. But as the weeks passed, we relaxed, and the excitement grew again. At 16 weeks we found out we were having a little boy! We saw his precious profile on the ultrasound machine and fell even more deeply in love. His heartbeat was strong. I was feeling good and my baby bump was getting more and more attention. It was the happiest I'd been - ever! I was going to be a mommy. He was going to be born in June. I started to see how this would be an even better plan - the baby coming in the Summer when David would be out of school as well. I would be able to finish out the school year with my class. And I was so in love with my little angel boy.
I felt whole again. I felt protected. I felt at peace.
This was a good plan.
Two weeks later I got the phone call from my doctor. The phone call that said my blood work wasn't quite normal and I should go in for an ultrasound with a specialist. The phone call that said "it may be nothing...or it may be neuro-tube defect". The phone call that led us to the doctor's office where we heard the words no parent wants to hear "incompatible with life". The words that left the even doctor speechless - and once again left me gasping for breath and clutching my heart that I was sure had simply stopped beating. The words that ripped our lives into pieces with no hope of putting them back together. This was nothing we could fix.
There was nothing left to plan.
There was nothing we could do.
A new development. A new chance at life. A new plan.
Did this plan look anything like Plan A? No. I had to put Plan A away a long time ago. But this new plan was the most Beautiful thing I had ever heard. Our little Baby was going to live. Yes he was going to be Born with SB, but we could see a Bright light at the end of the tunnel. My heart was Beating again. We started Breathing again. I started Believing again.
The days and months to follow were full of ups and downs. But my faith grew in ways I would never have dreamed. The desire to Be in control was easier to push Behind me.
I stopped thinking I knew Better, and started counting my Blessings.
And before I new it, Plan B... was the Best thing that had ever happened to me.
Plan B was Brilliant. Bountiful. Bigger than me.
Plan B was in fact God's give me my little Boy.
Now I won't lie and say I never shoot for Plan A anymore. It's still nice to try and make a plan that seems doable and good. But you know what they say about "the best laid plans..."
Let's face it - we all encounter roadblocks from time to time along our planned path. It's it's hard. And it's frustrating. And it's scary because we just don't know what's going to happen next, how we're going to do it, or when it's going to get easier.
But when Plan A fails, I try to remind myself not to be Angry or Afraid.
After all, we still have Plan B.
And when God is in control - Plan B is Better than Plan A any day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Catch a Leprechaun

If your outside on a sunny St. Patrick's Day...

And you catch a glimpse of something tiny dressed in green...

And the sun shining through his hair reflects glints of red...

(I'm not kidding. I didn't edit his hair color. He's not a red-head - but the sun totally turns it red.)

The chances are... could be a leprechaun.

Now you want to be smart - because you know what they say about leprechauns...
They are jokesters....

...always on the go...

And they are fast...

Very, very fast...

They are almost impossible to catch...

And sometimes when you think you've caught them...

They still manage to disappear...

But if you do manage to chase one into surrender...

Make sure you take a picture to show your friends...because they won't believe you unless you have proof.

You'll want to know where he's hidden his pot of gold.
But he won't tell you...'ll have to tickle him into telling you...

And when he can't take the torture - he'll say if you let him go, he'll show you were his gold is...

But don't trust him...

'Cause he's just going to try to run away again...

But if you catch him again and look closer...and you happen to notice that he doesn't have a beard like a leprechaun...

And come to think of it...he doesn't seem like the type who would want to trick you...

Then you might just come to realize...

...that he's nothing more than a little boy...

...trying to wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patty's Day
from our family to yours!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Jet is beginning to make some buddies. He has his bible class buddies. And he has fun dancing around with the kids at toddler story time at our local library. This month we've been going to a mommy/baby class at Gymboree Play and Music - and he loves it! He never wants to leave and it's always so much fun for both of us - I can't stop smiling when I watch him walk around and throw bouncy balls and laugh at anything. :) Not that he's ever been deprived social interaction. He's got his family - aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents whom he enjoys immensely. And for the most part he has preferred his "grown up" time. I mean - grown ups are awesome - they can carry you around, reach things up high, and they pretty much do anything you want them to (yep - I'm pretty sure that's Jet's concept of grown-ups). But now his attentions are being drawn to those whom he can see eye to eye with. Well...most of the time...he still has to look up to some of his peers. ;) Man you should see some of the 2 year olds these days! It's hard to keep up! But nevertheless I've noticed Jet slowly starting to interact with other kids. So far his favorites are crawling babies, and 7-8 year olds - don't ask me why. There's something about crawlers that makes him smile and crouch down in a "hey little guy" fashion. Maybe it's because he still loves crawling. ;) And I'm thinking kids about 7-8 years old must seem like "fun-sized adults". They know you're a baby and think you're cute - they won't take your toys or poke at you - but they're small enough that you just know they'll be more fun to play with. And let's face it...they are. :) If you've got some 7-8 year olds hangin around your house - send them over - Jet will put them to good use. :)
But whatever the reason - he loves those 2 groups.
Now while he still ignores the vast majority of kids his own age - there is one little buddy he's known for some time now - and that is Miss Ansley. Their mommies are blogger buddies and signed them up for swim classes together last fall. They had a blast of course! So when the weather started warming up again - mommies decided it was time for a play date...
And...we might have turned it into a "mommies-who-like-to-talk-about-cameras-date" as well...
And here is how it went.

Jet showed Ansley the backyard.
Ansley liked it.
Jet showed Ansley how to play with huge bouncy ball.
Ansley is a fast learner.
Jet showed Ansley how to eat dirt.
(I'm not even kidding. I turned around and he had a mouthful.
I didn't even think that was a possibility. Apparently I was wrong.)
Thankfully, Ansley did not think this was a good idea.
(After an impromptu teeh brushing...)
Jet showed Ansley how he drinks from his sippy cup.
Ansley decided that looked like fun.
Jet regretted his decision.
He asked demanded she bring it back, but Ansley is not one to be bossed around.
A little "Mommy intervention" rectified the situation.
And the afternoon continued in peace.
Jet showed Ansley how to smile so your upper lip disappears.
And Ansley showed Jet how to make the most of your lips.
As hard as he tried Jet could not master that kissy face.
No - still not it.
Oh well - back to a face he knows well.
When it was time to go, Jet made sure Ansley was taken care of.

Okay...maybe we still need to work on his "hosting skills" and maybe his sharing skills. ;) But they still had a great time! And so did we! I love seeing him with other kids. Even if they stay in their own little world half the time -
it is precious just seeing them in the same backyard.
We all agree, another play date is a must.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bad Luck

A recent conversation with my doctor brought me back to the time when were told about Jet's SB diagnosis. I told my doctor how the previous doctor (the specialist who found Jet's SB) just kept saying it was "bad luck" that Jet had SB. Just bad luck. It was his way of saying we had done nothing wrong, we had no warning signs we should have seen nor further prevention we could have done - it was just "bad luck." When I repeated his words to her she said "you could look at it as "bad luck" - or you can look at it as the journey you are on." I couldn't believe her amazing word choice (The Journey?! Hello! We call it that!) and I couldn't agree more. I left once again so thankful for my sweet baby - and inspired to write this.

Bad Luck
I still remember everything about that fateful day,
In disbelief we heard each word the doctor had to say.
It was as if my mouth was numb - the words inside were stuck.
The phrase echoing in my head - "it seems it's just bad luck."
Bad luck.
Bad luck?
I felt the words inside me rise again...
But listened to his description of the "bad luck" we were in.

"Your child may never walk - things for him will be quite tough -
hospitals and surgeries - a life like this is rough.
You have no family history, no health issues to blame,
If you were to do it over again - you could do it all the same.
There's no real explanation why things turned out the way they did."
It mirrored how you'd explain "drawing the short straw" to a kid.

Yet even as he looked at me - waiting for my reply -
I felt such joy inside me rise - I felt like I could fly!
"Bad luck?" I thought - I could scarcely keep the smile from off my face.
The "me" from yesterday could not believe this change of pace.
I looked at him and finally spoke the words I'd longed to say -
"So what you're telling me - is that he's going to be okay?"
He looked a bit confused - like for a moment he forgot -
That compared to yesterday - this diagnosis changed a lot!

In only 2 days time we'd been on quite a scary ride,
The fears that overwhelmed us - the tears that we had cried.
In only 2 days time we'd gone from mourning certain loss -
To facing a new bridge that we were now allowed to cross.
I felt as if a heavy weight had lifted off my chest -
What seemed to him as "just bad luck" - to me, was heaven blessed.
I felt myself begin to breathe - I fought the urge to cry
I felt him look expectantly at me for a reply,
"You see" I said "though you may think this news should cause me pain,
In contrast to the fate we've faced - it's like the rainbow through the rain.
For in the end - the news you thought was such "bad luck" to give -
Was in fact the greatest blessing - for this means my son will live."

Dedicated to my sweet boy,
my"lucky penny",
my Jet.
~ Love, Mommy ~
Jet - 9 months - St. Patrick's Day 2010
I can't believe how much you've grown!
We are beyond lucky to have you.

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