Monday, September 26, 2016

an open letter to Levi Jackson

My Dearest Levi,

You are by far the most adventurous of my children. And by now I shouldn't be surprised by any of your actions. But I am..

I wake up at night sometimes and my first instinct is to make sure you're still sleeping. I don't know why I worry about you waking like I do, but there you are snoring.. Loudly. And after checking in on you I make my way across the house to your brother Noah's room then end in brother Rhett's room. But Always, I always start with you. And its because out of all of my children you have always been the bravest. The most willing to wander off. Sometimes I dream of finding you swinging on the play set in the dark, other days I dream of finding you and your dogs sleeping on the porch.. I have no knowledge why I worry like I do.

You are the middle child. And as such, you play the part well. The thing about Levi, you have a way with people. Not just Mommy and Daddy. But with everyone. Everyone loves them some Levi. Mommy says "your sour, then you're sweet." You're the kind of boy to punch someone in the chest then kiss the hurt away. That seems to be your way.

Of course I wouldn't change you for the world. You're perfect in your own way. After all, you're the only child we have that knows how to work an electric razor. You're also the only child we have that is interested in doing chores for fun, the only boy who enjoys watching Mommy paint without yourself attempting to join in. You're just you.

You're growing too fast. Right in the middle. Some days you crawl around with Rhett like a baby and other days you're trying to chase Noah onto the school bus like a grown boy. What an awesome place to be, fitting into the puzzle as the perfect piece.

I love you son. Always be sweet and kind. And slow down. You're growing up too fast. Heck, you already are memorizing song lyrics. Just like Daddy.

Love you more, Daddy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

he bids me go; thru the voice of woe - his voice to me is calling..

Years ago in a far away place I developed a burning desire to help people. At the time, I was too young to fully accept the responsibility I had tasked myself with and I've spent years attempting to "get it right". After today, I can't say that I'm any closer to completing the task but I will say I'm truly honored to be writing to each of you.

Today we laid our grandmother, Carolin, to rest at the age of 67. Sixty-Seven years seems like many years when you're young, but to most of us now - we are either halfway there or more than halfway there. Now I know what you're thinking, we were lucky to have had a grandparent into our adult life and you're right - I couldn't agree more.. but. The pain hurts more the longer you have with them, or at least that's the way I feel. And 67 doesn't seem so far away now.

Much has happened in the last week and it's shaping up to be a busy week ahead. We lost two amazing people within hours of each other and next week we celebrate the union of a sister and soon to be brother. The clock never slows down, this I know. But for just a moment, in the blur of the last three days, the clock has seemed to stand still as we've spent unforgettable moments with family and extended family. For this I'm thankful. In the time of the most sorrow we have been able to rekindle friendships and embrace family we often don't see.

Life passes before our eyes ever so quickly. Embrace the now. Do not put off for tomorrow what can be done today - you may never get it done. Call your mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, child, aunt, uncle, cousin or long lost friend and tell them you love them. This is my challenge to you.

"And he walks with me, and he talks with me. He tells me I am his own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known." #314 In The Garden

Rest in Peace Together Uncle Poochie and GiGi Carol, we will join you soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..

It is with a heavy heart and tear filled eyes I write today from the hospice facility at  my wife's grandmothers bedside. My heart hurts for our family. It has been along time coming, expecting the call that things have taken a turn for the worse but the moment the call comes, you're still not prepared.

The first call of many to enlist our help came sometime two weeks ago or so. And, after a week of trying to provide the best in home care the family could, Monday morning came around to Mary, Mary's mother and I attempting to pick GiGi up off the floor for what we decided would be the very last time. We tried, everyone tried, but ultimately the best decision was to have professional help. So here we are, multiple calls through the night getting updates on you from Mawmaw. And little Levi just came in to tell you he loves you. And my heart breaks all over again.

Today comes on top of last night, as all days do. We lost Uncle Poochie last night. We thought we were ready, but again, there's no such thing as ready. What a week our family is having. Everyone has been so strong, everyone has drawn closer together because of both of you, GiGi and Pooch. You both have always had an "ace in the hole". You've always both had your ways. We already miss you something terrible Poochie.
The days ahead look to be rough for everyone, thank God you're finally home Sir. The pain is gone; you've been set free. And soon, sooner than any of us had wanted, you will be home too Grandma.
Please pray for all of our family. Every one of us need prayers, thoughts, and well wishes. I know we we will see you again soon. Both of you. But for now, we sit. We mourn. We watch. And we thank God for the things you've taught us. The life you have given. And the love you have shared.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…" Charles Dickens

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Oh no.. The white sofa again!

Have you ever put together a 100 piece puzzle? Sure you have. How about a 500 piece puzzle? Maybe, maybe not. None the less, you have a method in which to piece together the picture. Some of us put the border or barrier pieces together first. Others, put together groups of shapes/people/pictures until the whole puzzle goes together. There is one constant though, you have all the pieces. Now imagine putting together a puzzle with missing pieces.. Who wins?

Life is a constant uphill battle for most. We wake up each day, put both feet on the ground, and put our pants on one leg at a time. While I will admit that some of us only have one foot, or others step into a skirt, dress, or are clever and step into their pants two legs at a time, the vast majority of all of us follow the same routine of two feet on the ground and one leg at a time during our morning (or evening) schedule. I say all of this to tell you, we all begin each day with a plan.. A structured plan with goals we want to obtain by the time we return home and drift off to sleep, or a plan to have no plan (which is in fact a plan). And I will tell you all, our life is one daily plan after another that on the outside seems like a series of accomplished goals but I assure you it is not.

As humans the most basic thing we can do is admit we are prone to failure. Failure will do one of two things to each of us, make us better or send us on a long road of self doubt and uncontrolled bad decision making. Keep the faith, strive to do better each day. Life isn't a cake walk. Life certainly isn't a series of getting our way each day.

On a normal day, my wife and I set out to do a few of the basic things - make sure Noah is at school on time, that all the kids eat enough calories (what a feat), make it to work before the tardy buzzer rings, and so on. If we make it to bed at night without a child in bed with us, it is an overall success. But so much occurs between 6a and 11p that wears you down over time. How many times did Levi not make it to the loo today? Did Rhett actually nap? Is Noah on the naughty list at school or did he surprisingly bring home a good color? And of course, the list goes on and on. I say all of this to say, if I were to let all of the "wear and tear" things weigh me down I would be no good to my family or society. We are all going to face challenges. Things will go the way we intend every day for a week then that week will be followed with hit and miss days for the next two months. This is okay. This is normal.

I see many people through my work that believe they are the only ones who don't have their lives together. What an opportunity I have been given to share my story with them. To share the obstacles that we have overcome. Just remember, that the daily things that "wear and tear" on you do not define you. The funniest thing I hear people say is "You guys really have everything together, how do you do it?" HELLO.. The last time I checked, one of my children went #2 on the white sofa yesterday while we were cooking dinner then proceeded to invite his brother to play in it with him. I assure you all, my life is far from together. I take each day, one day at a time, and hope at the end of the day all of my kids go to bed with all their phalanges, appendages and hair - by the way, one of my children is going to bed without his hair today (once again proof that we don't have our things together, proof that we are human).

I say all of this to tell anyone who needs to hear it, life happens. We are all facing an uphill battle. The most important thing we can do for each other is to encourage one another to be better people; to reassure each other that life happens.

As far as updates go, Noah scored all good colors in school last week! Levi does not have any hair and is quite proud of his new look (he likes wearing a ball cap). Rhett is addicted to Daddy lately and tolerates Mommy but still refuses to eat much food or to spend much time alone. Mary and I had family in town this past weekend from Missouri and were lucky to spend a few hours visiting. We received happy news today that we are to be Uncle and Aunt again, our Niece Corbin will be blessed with a new sibling in 34 weeks or so. We also are looking forward to the marriage of Mary's sister Carolin to her long time beau Thomas, which reminds me I need to order Noah's tuxedo today..

Life is happening, the plans we all make get us through the day. Don't dwell on the negatives, look forward to the positives. If you pray, pray for my family. There are so many more unknowns out there for us, but we are fighting to make a difference.