Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Should Be...

I should be getting ready to send two babies out the door to kindergarten tomorrow.

I should be worrying if they will be okay being apart and if I will be okay letting them go.

I should be wondering if they will make their own friends but still love each other the best because isn't that what twins do?

I should be reading The Kissing Hand and saying goodnight prayers with two sweet and anxious kiddos.

I should be thrilled that the past five years have led to this exciting moment.

But that's not what I am doing tonight.

Tonight I'm wondering what that would've have been like, just like I always do when a "big" event happens in Tori's life.  That's when I think of her twin the most.  There are times, in the quiet of the car or the peacefulness of all the kids sleeping, that I wonder what life would have been like had I not miscarried the twin.  Would the twin be just like Tori or complete opposites?  Would we still have decided to have Cale?  How different would all of this have made life for Emmalee, for Duane, for all of us?  And I miss what could have been.  But I know I can't dwell of what could have been, as that will take away from what is, what is one of the biggest days of Tori's life.  And she deserves to have all of my attention and love and support.  Not a mom who is teary over what could have been.

So tonight, I am going to be getting my baby girl ready for kindergarten.

Tonight I am going to be worrying if she will be okay and if I will be okay letting her go.

Tonight I am going to be reading The Kissing Hand to one nervous ( and slightly excited) little girl.

Tonight I am going to be thrilled that the past five years have led to this exciting moment.

And tomorrow, after Tori is delivered safely to her kindergarten teacher and I am in the quiet of my classroom, I will say a prayer thanking God for the opportunity to watch this precious little girl grow up and for the opportunity to someday be met by her precious twin when I go home to Heaven.  And surely, I will shed a tear or two (or a million).

Friday, June 1, 2012

How long does it take?

6 years and three days ago, Duane, Emmalee, and I were going about our lives, waiting for the time God decided we should expand our family.

6 years and two days ago, much to my surprise, I discovered that the perfect time was going to be around January 26, 2007.  So many emotions overcame me.  I was thrilled, scared, excited, nervous, and giddy.  I couldn't wait to tell everyone, especially Emmalee, who had been asking about being a sister since about the time she started talking.  It was a whirlwind of a day!

6 years and one day ago, I woke with a feeling that something bad was going to happen.  I couldn't explain it, and I tried my best to ignore it.  I went about my day, working at summer school for hours towards my Master's in Administration.  I didn't talk to anyone about my feelings or, at the end of the day, even the tell-tale symptoms of what was about to happen.

6 years ago today, I never thought I would be able to smile again, to laugh again, or ever, ever move on without the baby I had already grown to love so very much  in such a short amount of time.  I can remember calling the dr. and being told to come right in, telling my principal I had to leave and having her hug me and cry with me, calling my mom to drive me to the dr. because Duane couldn't get off work.  I have never had such a feeling of dread, such a strong desire to wake from the nightmare I wished I was having rather than the nightmare that was really happening.  I can remember breaking down after hearing the news that there was no heartbeat-that I was, in fact, suffering from a miscarriage.  Never have I felt so alone, sad, devastated, and distraught.  I can remember having to call and tell Duane what had happened and how real it seemed when I finally saw him.  I remember crying with my mom, crying all the way home, calling my best friend from high school and crying.  But mostly I remember asking her, "How long does it take for the hurt to stop?  Will this ever go away?"

In all honesty, I can say that I wasn't really sure I would ever get over the miscarriage.  I didn't understand why it had happened or how God expected me to go on with my life without ever having been able to hold my baby or see its sweet face.  I felt robbed of something I was sure I deserved-another chance at being a mother, another chance to love someone more than I loved anything else in the whole world.  I couldn't imagine six minutes without my baby, let alone six days, months, or even years.

Suddenly the hours turned into days, the days into weeks, the weeks into months, and finally, the months into years.  And while the hurt seems to come back when I hear the story of someone losing their baby or I hear a certain song being played, or every January 26 and June 1, I can't imagine my life any different than the way it has turned out.  Trusting God and turning to Him in those dark hours when everyone else was sleeping but I was still crying (am still crying at times) has been what has helped heal my heart.  While a part of me is missing, I look forward to rejoicing some day with both of my babies now in heaven, and I smile when I think of them being there with other loved ones who have passed as well. 

I heard a song one day and it almost brought me to my knees.  It summed up lots of feeling I had when I first lost the baby.  If you haven't heard "Held" by Natalie Grant, you should listen to it.  It is amazing and speaks to the promise of God being there whenever everything else falls apart.

6 years later, I know that God had, and still has, a perfect plan for my life.  It isn't up to me to understand it, rather to trust in Him to get through it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Blog Slacker

I have been a blog slacker in July. I can't really think of any good excuses, other than I have been enjoying time with the kids rather than being on the computer long enough to blog. Several updates follow. August will likely be the same, as I go back to work two weeks into the month, and I want to savor every moment I can before life gets crazy again!

So Long Cast

On June 25 Tori fell off the bottom step in the basement and put her hand down to catch herself. She cried A LOT, but finally stopped and went about the night as if nothing was wrong. We didn't think any more about it. Then the next morning she woke up and wouldn't use her arm. We took her to Children's Mercy Northland Urgent Care, where they said it was not broken but couldn't rule out an injury to the growth plate. They put her in a brace and sent us on her way with instructions to follow up with our pediatrician in a week. When we called to set up that appointment, they told us they didn't deal with bones and sent us to a specialist in Kansas. There they x-rayed her again and found out that her arm, in fact, was broken (it has now been nearly 2 weeks!!). We left with a hot pink glittery waterproof cast and a very unhappy little girl. Three weeks later we returned to get it removed and found out she was healing perfectly, actually faster than most kiddos heal!! (Must be all that chocolate milk she drinks!!)

Tori on the day we were getting the cast removed

After we left the dr., we went to lunch then went to Independence Center so the girls could do what they call the "bungee" jump. Tori promised she would do it. I should have known better! Here she is getting all strapped in.

Emmalee had done it before, so I knew she was a sure thing. Plus, she is like me and likes to try adventurous things...

Still smiling...

And 2 minutes into it they had to stop it because she FREAKED out!

Emmalee, however, was enjoying herself immensely.

Even doing about 4 flips!

And this is what Tori did while she waited for her sister to finish. I guess she doesn't have as much of an adventurous spirit as I thought. Oh well, at least we could still call it a good day because we are CAST FREE- BABY!!!!

VBS 2011

"Big Apple Adventure" was the theme of this year's Vacation Bible School. All three kiddo attended, and I helped out in Tori's group. It was a great week, but it was very exhausting as well. Cale wasn't sure, at first, about being away from Mama for that long, but he eventually settled in. The girls got to spend time with their friends and learn about mission work and Bible stories. Tori has an incredible curiosity and understanding about God; I think we will be baptizing her young like her sister was! Here are a few pics from the program.

Tori and the 4-year-old group singing.

Tori and her friends Caylee and Katherine

Caylee, Katherine, Tori, and Fisk

Emmalee and her group performing

Another shot

...and again. Her group (the kiddos who just finished first and second grade) was the biggest group with 33 kids! WOW!!)

Summer Fun July 2011

July has been a busy month for us. Since we didn't go on a family vacation this year because our "vacation" came in February, I have been trying to make it up to the girls by doing lots of fun things. We have gone to the water park twice, Chuck E. Cheese, and the Zoo so far. I know it isn't the same as a "vacation", but I am sure we will still cherish these memories as well!

Emmalee bowling at Chuck E. Cheese

Cale's first trip to Chuck E. Cheese

Tori riding a ride at Chuck E. Cheese

Emmalee on the new skyline at the Kansas City Zoo. We got a platinum Friends of the Zoo Membership so we could go whenever we want and ride all the fun rides. We plan to go back LOTS!!

It was SUPER hot that day at the Zoo, so the girls played in the cooling mists the Zoo had going.


We LOVE summer time!!!

4th of July 2011

This year we spent several days celebrating the Fourth of July. We started out at Hale's celebration on Saturday night so that Emmalee could hang out with one of her best friend's, Lucy. While she ran around on the obstacle course, Tori, Cale, and I visited with some of my students and other people we knew, as well as played on the park equipment. It was fun!

Cale watching the kids playing at the Hale Park.

Tori and Cale being patient while big sister played with her bestie

All 3 of my sweeties waiting for big sisters to get to go into the bounce house

Then on Sunday we had both the Powell and O'Dell family over for a BBQ and fireworks. Both sets of grandparents, along with 3 aunts, 2 uncles, 10 cousins, a great aunt and a great uncle joined us for the festivities. It was so much fun!! The picture above is all three O'Dell kids in the 4th of July finest, provided by the oh-so-talented Gamma!!

Then, on the actual 4th of July, we went to Carrollton so that Emmalee could dance before a concert they were holding. It was excruciatingly hot, but she survived with Mom, Dad, Tori, and Cale there to cheer her on! She did a fabulous job, as usual, and we are so proud of her!