There is a thin space between joy and pain. It was such a blessing to see my sister and her youngest son for a couple days this past week. Paxton is now 6 months old (I know! It’s crazy how fast time flies!!!!) and it feels like he’s as big as Logan was at a year! He is such a happy baby and brings us all a great deal of joy, especially with a cloud of tragedy that was hanging over us when he was born. A week before he was born, his big brother Zane had a tragic pool accident at his grandmother’s house in North Carolina. We still are unclear about many of the details, but Zane nearly drown and was underwater long enough to cause severe brain damage.
One month earlier things were very different. My pregnant sister and Zane were staying with us as her husband was in North Carolina preparing their house to be the dream home that they had always wanted to raise their family in. One of my happiest memories of all of us together was our trip to the Christmas tree farm. Zane was a beautiful, happy handful with acres to run through. I can’t help but smile as I remember my pregnant sister, my kids, and sometimes even my husband running after him, while he laughed, smiled, and kept just barely out of their reach. It seemed like he was almost taunting them and the rest of the world to try to keep up with him. That afternoon was probably the best memory I have of him.
Then a month later that phone call came that made time stand still. It is so hard to put a world back together once it has been so completely broken. I guess that isn’t my job to do, but I really want to. Almost seven months after the accident, he has made some significant progress. Miracles are real. Just the fact that he could be resuscitated, survive the first week, was taken off from oxygen support and all his organs seem to be operating fine, is evidence of the miraculous power of prayer. But now it is time for the next step in this ongoing miracle.
This next step is what is called hyperbaric chamber therapy. This cutting edge therapy is helpful in awakening unused brain cells to restore the brains normal functions. Unfortunately though, the chambers are large, and they are very expensive, which is where we all need your help. Zane has his own GoFundMe account that is specifically being used to raise funds for this hyperbaric chamber therapy. We need help in sharing Zane’s story and finding people who can join with us in donating toward his recovery.
We hope and pray that Zane will continue to improve. Each day we wait in expectation for the moment that he will be able to look at his mom and dad and smile or move his arms toward his parents’ faces on purpose. Zane was the happiest, fastest, most daring toddler I have ever met. We would love to get that boy back. If you want to read more about Zane’s story or his progress over the last 6 months, you can read more on his website: www.caringbridge.org/visit/zanelocklear2. If you would like to donate or share his GoFundMe page, please visit: www.gofundme.com/zanebaby.
The one takeaway that I have from all of this is the importance of being in the moment for what it is. By being with Paxton as he smiled and laughed, I needed to join with him in his joy and laughter. By being with my sister and family in Zane’s tragedy, I am broken, hurting, and striving to bring awareness and resources into the miracle that is his healing. We all need to learn to join with each moment for what it is. It is through identifying with people that we will find peace, joy, and comfort in this life.
I have to say that if there is anything that is more fulfilling in life than being a mother, I'm not sure what it could be. Macy and Logan have the uncanny ability to make me feel like I'm the most amazing person in the world. It can be through many different ways, but recently it has been through Logan's progress into the field of "abstract art."
It is funny, but a child's art reveals a lot about their personality. Macy loved to color in coloring books and always tried to stay within the lines. She was very impressive in how quickly she was able to develop her fine motor skills. Logan on the other hand, took a bit longer, and really never has been one to enjoy coloring until recently. Even now, he doesn't really seem to be too interested in coloring books, but he is extremely interested in making lines on blank pieces of paper.
The fascinating part about Logan's current artwork is that none of the lines touch each other. He spends so much time working on these masterpieces, then he places them in an envelope and gives them to me as a "present." Each of these pieces are representations of who he is as a growing little person. They are a snapshot of what is working through his brain at this moment, but really what they are is him sharing his world with me.
Isn't that the most amazing thing on the planet? Each day I get four or five of these reminders about how much I am loved and about how excited he is to have me in his world. I know I could easily turn this toward a message of being mindful of the moments that children are offering to us, but instead I want to ask a deeper question for myself. Who do I need to reach out to and express my appreciation to? There are people that I treasure in my life and love very dearly. Family, friends, clients, and so many others that need to know that they are valuable in my world.
I have been given the power, just like you, to make someone aware that they are important to me. So perhaps it's time for me to metaphorically break out Logan's markers and make my own picture to give to someone just to say they matter. Would you join me this week in telling at least one person around you how special they are? Please take a moment and post below what some of their reactions are and how it changed your day as well. Have a great week everyone!
It was getting so close I could hardly stand it. I remember sitting patiently in my hard plastic brown chair for what seemed like years before my second grade teacher finally announced that this was the last week of school before Christmas break. “Christmas break!” I had been waiting SOOO long for Christmas break to come. I remember how the classroom was setup and where I was sitting. I remember actually hearing my teacher make this announcement, and the excitement in the room afterwards.
In reality, I had only been back in school for three and a half months or so when Christmas break was upon us. But to a 7-year-old, three and a half months is an eternity. So much can happen in that sort amount of time, especially to a continually growing and moving 7-year-old. I bring up this story because my daughter is on the brink of turning 7 and I remember vividly how time seemed to pass by so slowly. Waiting for anything beyond today was simply torture.
Today, at 31, life is so different. Time flies by so quickly, and I can’t seem to get a hold of it. Summer is already passed the half way mark and there are so many things I want to do with my kids still! I am continually telling them, “maybe tomorrow” or “we don’t have enough time today, maybe next time” or “maybe next week.” Putting myself in my daughter’s shoes this week as I think about time passing has been an interesting exercise for me. I have had two realizations because of it.
First, when I tell my kids, “maybe next week,” that is simply torture for them. Next week is so ambiguous and it is just so far away. A week to a young child is just so much longer than it is to an adult. Second, being patient for something that may not happen is just not fair to them. I wouldn’t want to be sort of promised something like that, only to have it continually pushed back.
So my takeaway from this would be being more intentional. This has sort of been my theme for the summer anyway, but I’m now seeing it through my kids’ eyes. This doesn’t mean that I have to agree and schedule every single thing that my kids want to do, but it does mean that I need to be more intentional with my time. If I tell my kids, “not this time, next time” then I want to make a plan for fitting it in next time. If I tell them “next week” then I better deliver.
The summer months are busy and hectic, but I don’t want my kids growing up remembering that I never had time for them. They are only young once and making time for them is more than important, it is essential. I want to be more deliberate about scheduling in time with my kids and being intentional about the fun things that we do together. Life is short and I want to make the most of it. My kids won’t want to spend all their time with me for long, so now is the time to take advantage of that!
So my exhausted and hungry 4-year-old son climbs up to the table to eat his dinner. Now dinner for Logan is not easy. He would prefer to eat one of two meals, mac and cheese or hotdogs (although he is just starting to move into apples, yay!). Unfortunately for him, tonight those options were not on the menu. After about 10 minutes of fits and crying, my husband takes him upstairs to go to bed early, without dinner. This strategy usually works well for us, but we don’t do it often. As he gets his jammies on, he reconsiders his empty tummy and decides that dinner doesn’t sound that bad.
Anyway, after they left the room, Macy asks where they are going. I tell her, “Daddy is putting Logan to bed because he is refusing to eat and he is exhausted.” Macy got so upset, she stood up quickly and piped up, "I will go to bed instead of Logan!" I paused, put down my fork and asked her if she would be willing to stop eating her dinner, of which she had only eaten about three bites, and go to bed so that Logan could come downstairs and have another chance to eat his dinner. Yes. That is exactly what she was saying. She didn't want him to go without. I then explained that he wouldn't eat it, that's why he was going to bed in the first place. She took a deep breath and said that she would still be willing to go to bed right now if he could come down and have another chance.
Wow. I’m not even sure how to process this. They say it is good to have a childlike heart, so innocent and pure, but I doubt this would ever be my first thought, even as a child. Yet, that was exactly what Macy was thinking. She was willing to give up her dinner, that she had been waiting so patiently to eat, for her little brother to have another opportunity at potentially eating his dinner. She had no idea if he would take a second chance and eat his dinner, if he would eat anything at all, or if he would just continue to throw a fit. But it didn’t matter to her; he was worth the risk!
It really did take me a while to process this one. Are there people that I am willing to “take the risk” for? Am I willing to empower people to have another chance? Even people who seem to consistently make the wrong choices? There are so many people out there that need another opportunity. We will never know if someone is one decision away from turning their lives around and walking toward that metaphoric dinner table to eat their meal.
So what can I learn from my daughter here? Am I willing to take the risk? Am I willing to give up anything asked of me for someone else? What about voluntarily giving it up? I clearly have a lot to learn about selflessness and second chances. I’m pretty sure there is a bible story somewhere in there.
So after posting my story last week, I realized that I have never really heard it from my husband, Brant’s perspective. He wanted to share what it was like going through this journey with me and how it changed him as well. He has been such a fantastic supporter and encourager, so I thought you would enjoy hearing about what it was like from his end. This is his story…
After previewing Mikaela's blog post last week, I was inspired. She reached out beyond her protective shell and really explained what was not only going on physically for her, but also emotionally as well. To reveal her soul like that took an amazing amount of courage, and I realized that I have never explained what it was like to walk with her through all of this.
I count myself to be one of the few people on this planet that actually married their true love. We dated for three years before our wedding day, and I can personally say that the pictures don't do justice for how beautiful she was. As the years rolled by and two amazing kids came into our life, I was completely ignorant of her weight gain. Sometimes I would catch her literally in tears as she was forced to go up yet another size, or had to have a picture taken, but in my mind I saw her as that beautiful girl that I married.
I now can see the spiritual and mental attack that was being waged against my wife. It took eight years and a return trip to her neurologist to wake me up out of my ignorance. In that meeting, he made it extremely clear that if we didn't change our lifestyle that she would probably lose her eyesight or, in a worst-case scenario, I could be a single parent. As we left that appointment to fill the prescriptions I can remember the tears that were cried in the car. I can remember Logan's little face in his car seat (Macy was at grandma's house), and I felt helpless.
There is so much that went on in my head that I will never be able to write or express, but what I can say is that the prayers over my wife and our life together shifted dramatically. My prayers were specifically focused on her wellbeing purely for the health and stability of our family. Then she heard about something different. It really seemed too good to be true. A "diet" that was designed to burn fat with initially no exercise. I will never forget the conversation about it in the car. This decision wasn't just for her, it was for our family and I knew that I had to support this by altering my own desires to help empower her for success. I really had no clue how much of a positive change it would make in our lives (and that change is still continuing to unfold).
As she went through the program, I watched the weight evaporate week-by-week and month-by-month. It was almost surreal. I kept watching for her strength and commitment to waiver, but instead I saw her resolve increase and her confident personality return. It was astounding! Then, she was asked by her coach if she wanted to potentially help other people experience the same freedom she was going through. She was extremely quick to say on the phone, "I don't think that is me. I'm not that kind of person." Over the following week we thought more about it, and finally I asked her, "You seem so passionate and alive around this program, why not just give it a try?"
Sometimes the big life changing moments happen subtly and you don't even know how much a decision can change your life. The decision to do this program was an amazing decision, but the decision to become a coach was equally impressive. I have to say that because of decisions like that; I actually got to see her in her wedding dress for our 10th anniversary! And I do have to say that she was just as magically beautiful that day!