Monday, April 27, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Aaron took Xander to his first major league baseball game on Friday. If my dad were editing this for me like he did for school papers back in the day, he'd tell me that the antecedent of "his" is unclear. Did Aaron take Xander to Xander's first real ball game or did Aaron take Xander to Aaron's first real ball game? The answer is both.When I asked Xander about the game, he gave me a pretty good summary. "Some guys got hits, and some guys didn't get hits." I asked him what his favorite part was, and it turns out that it wasn't the baseball--it was taking the "city train" (AKA light rail) to and from the field! In fact, Aaron said that by the third inning, Xander kept asking if it was time to go back on the train yet. And since the game started after 7:00 and Xander usually goes to bed around 7:30 or 8:00, Aaron called it quits after that third inning.
Upon seeing these pictures just now, Xander announced, "I want to do that again!" I'd say it was a pretty successful father-son outing! Aaron also told me he'd like to go to another Rockies game, but that he'd like to go with me and leave the kids behind so he could stay for the whole game. What makes him think that my attention span for baseball is any longer than Xander's? Nah, really, it'd be super fun. As I always said when we were dating, it's who you're with not what you're doing that counts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Simple Emotion

Sad. There are moments when I just feel sad, so I cry. I was having one of those moments as I went to bed last Friday night. As I cried on Aaron's shoulder, I told him that I just felt sad. Such a simple, pure emotion. It's not mixed with anger or confusion or regret or despair or anything. Just sad. And somehow, it's purity makes it almost beautiful to me. I appreciate the moments when I can just feel it, although I am simultaneously glad that those moments are only occasional occurences.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh no!

Ah, forgetfulness--the bane of mortal existence! How could I cause my tender daughter to withstand such? This is one-day-old Elodie swaddled in an ultra-soft pink receiving blanket.

This is Elodie a year or so ago, snuggling with her special pink blanket. The blanket that comforted her when she was sick. The blanket that soothed daily injustices. The blanket that made her so cozy going to sleep, no matter which house she had to sleep in while Dexter was in and out of the hospital. The blanket that she shared so unselfishly with her baby brother. The blanket that we took with us on Tuesday to the doctor's to provide comfort in trying times. The blanket that I left so forgetfully in the doctor's office. After some coaxing and reassurance that we'd call the doctor's office to find it, she went to sleep fine Tuesday night. But she woke up twice that night. And she woke up sad. (She's usually remarkably cheerful when woken up in the middle of the night. For example, last week, I popped into her room after she was asleep to put away some laundry, and I saw that she'd rolled off her mattress onto the floor, so I scooped her up and put her back in her bed. She looked at me and said, "Thank you, Mommy." Then I turned on her beautiful classical cello music and she said, "I love this one.") Wednesday, I called the office and they said they had it, so Aaron was going to pick it up after class. When he got home, Elodie was so excited. "Daddy, you have my pink blanket!" The poor guy had to break the news that the pink blanket they'd found wasn't her dingy, ragged, holey, special, cozy one after all. She was disappointed, but she took it remarkably well. But that night, she woke up sad a couple more times. So yesterday we made a big production out of choosing a new special blanket from among her other blankets. We showed Dad how soft and special this one was. And she slept fine last night and seems to be OK with the shift in attachment! Poor little girl--she's too young to have to give up her blanket! If only I wasn't so forgetful... I did have that sinking feeling as we were leaving that I was missing something, but I figured that was just because I was used to going to the doctor with Dexter and his oxygen tank and his enteral feeding pump and a stroller and extra blankets and a giant diaper bag with a back up G-tube and syringes and other essentials. No wonder I felt a little too light on my way out. Whoops! Good thing kids are forgiving, not to mention resilient!

Your future's as bright as your faith

The other day at dinner, I asked Xander what he wants to be when he grows up.
"A scout. And a firetruckman, ... and a builder, ... and a train conductor, ... and a farmer, ... and a school bus conductor, .. and a fisherman, ... and a missionary, .. and a dad, and ... the last thing, I want to go to school when I'm five. And that's all I want to say about that."

Pretty impressive, eh?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Aaron has long loved this thought from President Lorenzo Snow's biography. Last night the concept came to our minds again and as we reread it, it described our experience perfectly.

"How illy were we qualified one year ago to pass through the scenes through which we have been led with success! From which, let us realize the folly of an over anxiety to pry into scenes that are lying before us inasmuch as God will prepare the way by a gradual process, step by step; and leading us forward in a manner that will prove easy, as we pass along, but which, if presented to our view at once, would seem insurmountable.

Inasmuch as we are disposed to do right, we may learn from the past year's experience, that those things which we are called to suffer, produce a very different effect upon the mind from what we should anticipate if they were presented before us in prospect; producing pleasure and satisfaction where we would look for misery. While we reflect with astonishment on the past, we may be instructed to set our hearts at rest with regard to the future."

Exactly. Isn't that a miracle?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More "Ups" and "Downs"

Last night we had some friends from our ward over. We feel a new bond with them because about 3 weeks ago, their beautiful baby boy was born and had to spend a couple of weeks in the NICU learning to eat. Gratefully, he is now home and eating fine, but he's still on a little oxygen. So when they came over yesterday, Elodie saw the little baby boy in a carseat with a nasal cannula, and exclaimed, "Dexter's not with Heavenly Father anymore!" I finally convinced her that this was actually Porter, a special friend of Dexter's, not Dexter himself (which she was perfectly OK with). She doted on Porter the rest of the evening. This morning Porter came up in conversation again, and I was explaining to Xander that Porter has something called Down's Syndrome. I asked Xander if he remembered what disorder Dexter had. "Umm, Ups Syndrome?"

Porter was born 4 weeks early, and he's only 3 weeks old, and he has Down's Syndrome. But as I was holding him last night, I was amazed by how far ahead of three-month old Dexter he already is! Whoa. Once again I felt that reassurance that the Lord's timing was perfect.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I could not have timed Dexter's passing more perfectly. The Lord knows us so well. His mercies have been apparent to us since Dexter's birth. Dexter didn't breathe on his own when he was born. He took a few feeble gasps, but that was it. The Lord could have taken him home then. Looking back, losing him then would have been so much harder for me. I'm sure I would have come to accept that it was the Lord's will and eventually been OK with it, but how merciful for the Lord to allow me to get to that point of submissive acceptance while enjoying Dexter's sweet presence! What a tender blessing! These past three months have been a time of accelerated progress and growth for us as we've come to a new level of dependence on God. Dexter's time here was a generous gift to us.
According to God's timing, Dexter passed during the Easter season. There is new depth as I sing the words, "Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!" I love seeing the trees and bushes bud. We enjoyed planting the tulips from Dexter's service in a little memorial garden in our yard; their beauty reminds us of the life and hope made possible by Christ’s Resurrection. I'm hoping that the bulbs take root so that each spring, the tulips will blossom to remind us that though Dexter’s body currently sleeps in the ground, he too will be raised to life again.

His passing was also right before the spiritual feast of General Conference. The Lord knew we needed that weekend of refreshing. I felt my focus sharpen and my resolution to move forward in God's service strengthen. So many of the messages spoke directly to me in ways that a personal conversation couldn't have. President Monson, Elder Scott, and Elder Pino all told stories of losing infants and children, which obviously hit home, but their circumstances were so much more tragic than ours that it served to keep our loss in perspective. We've got it easy by comparison! Elder Snow gave a very direct message about getting on with our lives after unwelcome changes. If a friend said that to me right now, it might sound rude, but coming from the pulpit, it was reaffirming of the feelings I’ve had about needing to move forward. Elder Snow told the story of a man who “demonstrated strong, unbending faith with amazing good humor and grace” though his trials. Doesn’t that sound appealing? I want to do that, no matter what. And the three messages about finding strength through improved temple worship reminded me of the strength we have because of the temple covenants we’ve made. It was another wonderful General Conference.

Since Mirien’s family came out for the funeral, I got to hold my little five-month-old niece, Haley, who is almost the exact size that Dexter was. She’s adorable, bright-eyed, smiley, and lively. Of course I knew that Dexter didn’t do the things most babies do; it was painfully obvious. But holding Haley I realized just how behind little Dexter was and I felt grateful that the Lord was merciful enough to free Dexter from a body that didn’t work. I thought of Dexter’s powerful spirit and how valiantly he must have fought for agency in the war in heaven. How frustrating for such a spirit to be in a body that wouldn’t let him exercise this agency. He couldn’t even choose to make eye contact with his mother or wiggle his legs! He had gotten to where the only time he moved was when he was having a seizure. It really is better for him to be where he is. He accomplished his mission on this Earth and now he can accomplish his mission in the Spirit world. As Elodie matter-of-factly states when I ask what Dexter’s doing, “he’s doing work.” On the night of his death, I read D&C 138 and felt so excited that Dexter was laboring joyfully rather than lying around doing nothing. And before the funeral as I was looking at picture after picture of Dexter in the hospital, I thought, “Dexter could be lying in a hospital bed right now, supported by a ventilator. I am so grateful that he is where he is.” The Lord was gracious in inspiring us to make the decisions that allowed Dexter to return when his time on earth was done. I am so grateful that the Lord taught us to follow, accept, and now, even embrace His timing.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Time is a funny thing. Last Monday seems like it was so long ago. As I went to bed last night, it was odd to think how different things are from a week before. Sunday evening Dexter was feeling pretty chilly, so I snuggled him up in some blankets and nestled him to my chest. We snuggled on the couch where I fell asleep, with my sweet baby in my arms. I woke up at some point in the middle of the night and gently tucked him into his bassinet. For the last time. And that tender moment already seems like forever ago.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What boulder?

Imagine that I'm wearing a huge hiking backpack. While I wasn't looking, someone traded my clothes and sleeping bag for a giant boulder. But I'm just sailing down the path, whistling a cheery tune, oblivious to the weight. Then you come up and see the huge boulder sticking out of my pack and say, "Whoa, you must be so strong! That boulder looks HUGE!" I look at you, confused, "What boulder?" As I turn around to see what you're talking about, I notice someone behind me holding my pack up just high enough that the weight isn't resting on my shoulders.

That's the image that came to mind as I reread Mosiah 24:14, the scripture story that strengthened me when Dexter was just a day old. I really never felt the boulder drop into my pack. What a miracle I've experienced!

Ups and downs

UP: Elodie's hugs and repetition of, "I love you, Mommy. You're da best."

DOWN: Calling Life Insurance and having them tell me they won't even answer a simple yes or no question because I'm not my husband

UP: Going to the temple

DOWN: Pumping

UP: Studying the scriptures from about 1:00am-2:30am

DOWN; The stuffy head and raw nose feeling from crying at random intervals

UP: Funny kids. Speaking of ups and downs, Xander has expressed his dismay at me at least three times this morning for wearing my hair up instead of down.
X: Mom, why are you wearing your hair in a ponytail? I want it down.
Me: Because I didn't take a shower today.
X: Then you should take a shower.