Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eighteen Years Ago

Today is June 30th. It is a day that for the past 18 years has significance. There are no traditions or celebrations to mark its presence, usually just a phone call to my BFF.

June 30th is the day Melanie's mom died. And the day, we matured (somewhat) from the immature 20 year olds we were. I've spent much of the day reading my journal from that summer. What a difficult summer it was.

I've alluded to the time surrounding that time in our lives a little in this blog post HERE which was also published as an article on KSL HERE. There are other parts of that experience I'm willing to share, but only my parts of the experience. There are lots of other specifics that aren't my story to tell.
Although I wrote daily in my personal journal at that time in my life, I feel that 18 years of hindsight, has given me some valuable perspective on a defining moment in my life.

Perspective #1
At that time in my life, I had a job working for a very good family friend. He was very good to me with my schedule as a busy college student and the social life and school commitments that come with that time of life. I was never not able to take a day off if I wanted to, or leave early, or come in late. My boss(es) were very flexible. Except for this particular July 4th weekend.

July 4th of 1995 fell on a Tuesday, and my boss had decided to close the carpet store on Monday the 3rd too, and enjoy a long holiday. My particular job responsibilities were crucial on a Monday, in order for that week's accounts payable. Although my responsibilities were important to get done, anyone really could have done it for me. So when I planned to go to Lake Powell on vacation with Melanie and her family, it wasn't a big deal. While working the Wednesday before we were to leave on Friday, my boss informed me of the Monday closure and told me he really needed me to work on Saturday. I remember feeling a little bit of  disappointment to not go to Lake Powell, but not as much as I think should have been normal for that time of my life.

My perspective 18 years later? I wonder if my boss Paul has any idea that him asking me to work that Saturday was probably absolute inspiration. I also think that I didn't try to compromise with him or feel disappointment, because it was the right thing to happen. There was a very subtle feeling of contentment with his decision. In more than 3 years of working there, that was the only time I was "denied" time off of work.

Perspective #2
Friday evening, June 30, 1995 was an unusual day for me. Typically I had a fair number of social activities to participate in or things to do. That afternoon and evening I didn't have anything to do. I have 2 distinct memories of that day. One, laying on my bedroom floor writing something and feeling very blah. Two, I remember my aunt and her 2 little children stopping by for a little while. As I stood on the driveway and said goodbye to them, I felt a pit in my stomach. I didn't connect it to anything, but I went to bed that night feeling very melancholy. Some personal writing from that night reflects that.

My perspective 18 years later? My feelings reflected some remote connections to something being wrong, but I didn't know what.

Perspective #3
Saturday morning (July 1st), I worked as planned. While at work, I dialed our home voice mail system to retrieve messages. Why would I have done this? I lived at home at the time, why would I have done that while at work? There was one message for me. It was Melanie's older brother Chris, it said, "Tiff, Mel wants you to call her." My immediate reaction was, "Melanie is in Lake Powell." (This was 1995-Melanie didn't have a cell-phone.) I wondered if Chris was confused and/or being funny, but I didn't do anything to respond. It left me confused for much of the day. Upon arriving home from work, I told my parents about the message. I tried calling once. Nobody answered.

My perspective 18 years later? I was clearly prompted to check the messages that morning, even though I didn't act on responding immediately. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to.

Perspective #4
Later on Saturday afternoon, I was home alone. My parents and two brothers were at a soccer game. I didn't want to go. Instead I stayed home, laid on my bed and read a book. My melancholy feelings continued throughout Saturday. I couldn't shake the message Chris left from my mind, yet when I would think about it I felt confused. Either he was confused, or I was and perhaps it hadn't really been him that left the message. Breaking from reading my book, I went downstairs to the kitchen to fix a bagel. Just as I was about to spread the cream cheese, I glanced in the direction of the telephone hanging above my mother's desk and decided to call Chris.

Somebody answered, "Hello Julians." Immediately I knew something was "different". Nobody ever answered the phone that way. I hastily asked if Melanie was there, and what I heard next and how I suddenly felt will forever be with me, yet it would be very difficult to explain. The person who answered the phone said, "It's for Melanie. Is she where she can reach the phone?" I begin to know immediately something was wrong. Melanie shakily spoke into the phone, "Hello" and I anxiously asked, "Melanie! What is wrong?" All she replied in a shaky voice was, "Come up." I again questioned, "What's wrong?" Her simple plea is heartbreaking for me to remember even 18 years later, "Oh Tiffany, please just come up." I immediately hung up the phone and without a moments thought grabbed my car keys and had my hand on the mud-room door to leave when meanwhile...

At this same time, my family was at Casey's indoor soccer game when one of the boys' mothers said to my mother something about "someone in so and so's ward died in an accident on the way to Lake Powell yesterday." My mother, immediately connecting the family being in the same ward (church congregation) asked sharply, "Who was it?" While the lady was still completing the syllables of Cheryl's name, my mom was off of the bleachers and dialing her cell phone. (She was pretty cutting edge to have one in 1995!) She couldn't get through to me because I was on the other line to Melanie... Instantly she called my brother Matt who was living in our basement at the time with his wife. She told him not to let me leave, she was on her way home.

As I was about to step outside, I heard Matt call my name. I turned to see him standing there with a phone in his hand and ask me where I was going. Suddenly the emotions of the last few minutes caught up with me and I started to tell him about the "weird message on the answering machine earlier..." and before I knew it I was in full-blown tears. He walked over to me and put his arms around me. I KNEW something was wrong, and as he began to talk softly to me, I began to scream and yell. I had no idea what he was trying to tell me, but I knew I didn't want to know. In between my screams he kept saying, "Tiffany, I HAVE to tell you something." Trying to ignore him, I began to scream louder. Finally he blurted out, "Melanie's family has been in an accident." Trying to cover up his voice, my sound level increased. Matt finally blurted out, "Melanie's mother has died."

The next few minutes are too personal to share, but I knew I needed to get to Melanie. By this point, my parents had arrived home. Seeing my hysteria, my mother was understandably doubting my ability to be of any comfort to Melanie. She suggested my dad and brother give me a priesthood blessing, which they did, and then I was driven up to Melanie's house. As we approached her house, I could see a couple of small groups gathered on her driveway talking. I wanted to yell at them all to go away, that nothing had happened, and everything was fine and somebody had just made a big mistake. I remember pushing past somebody standing by the front door, and the first thing I noticed as I walked in the door were three bouquets of flowers in the front room. I silently took note and realized all this was indeed true as I rushed to the back of the house to the family room. As soon as I saw Melanie I knew something had indeed happened. I pushed through one more group of people to get to Melanie's side. Holding Melanie in my arms, I knew I needed to be strong. It was at this moment I thought to myself, we will never laugh again.

My perspective 18 years later? Although I still feel heart-broken to think of Melanie having to keep asking, "Where is Tiffany?" and wonder why I hadn't called her for almost 24 hours, I realize things happened as they should have. I had to have my initial shock and grief be separate and alone from Chris or Melanie hearing me on the other end of a phone.

Perspective #5
A few days before the accident, Melanie had irritated me about something. On June 29th, I wrote her a funny poem and gave it to her before she left for Lake Powell. It has always made me feel good to think that had something happened to her more seriously in that car accident, I had expressed my love and friendship to her through a silly poem. I have a copy of it in my journal.

My perspective 18 years later? Although she is my dearest, dearest friend. I don't tell her I love and appreciate her like I do other friends. I must remember that lesson from 18 years ago.

Perspective #6
Four people were in the car the day of the car accident. Melanie's mother died, and Melanie was thrown from the car and injured. The other two had no injuries. It is hard not to think of the "what if's" had I gone with them. I think in a small way I struggle with survivor's guilt, even though I wasn't even in the car. I have anxiety about travelling, especially car trips. I don't share that fact with very many people and here I am now sharing it very publicly. It is something that is beginning to impair my life more and more, and I probably need to seek out some therapy for it.

My perspective 18 years later? I clearly was not meant to go on that trip to Lake Powell. I believe the Lord intervened, using my boss Paul to spare me from being in the accident that day. I do know God's hand is in our lives, but too often I allow fear to come before faith in my life.

The hours following what I have shared here were difficult. Melanie, having been injured in the car accident could not easily go upstairs to her bedroom. That evening she slept on the couch in the family room, and I "slept" on the floor next to her. I barely slept at all that night, but instead laid there feeling Cheryl all around. Her memory and her love for her family was evident and real. It was heartbreaking. The next morning, I helped Melanie bathe. Melanie had been thrown from the vehicle in the wreck. Her hair was full of sagebrush and other debris that line the highways of southern Utah. Although the hospital had clearly treated her main injury, they had paid no attention to the dirt and grime on her head and face. She was pretty dirty.

One of the blessings I believe firmly came from having received a Priesthood blessing from my dad, was the ability to be strong for Melanie. Helping to bathe her, was one of those times. Another was trying to stay busy and occupied (I swept the kitchen floor) while the bishop (leader of their church congregation) met with the family to discuss funeral plans. Another, was going to ZCMI with my mother to pick out a dress for Melanie to wear to the funeral. During those duties I was strong, yet afterwards I would sob and cry. I believe the Lord blessed me to be strong when I needed to be.

In the articles linked to above, I share the experience of how soon we laughed again after her mom's death. It was just days. And as good as that deep-got-to-find-a-bathroom laugh was, there were a lot of hard days in the weeks and months following. It was certainly a growing experience watching and supporting someone close to me grieve so deeply. It was a sad, sad time.

Although I have missed Cheryl for much longer than I ever knew her, I miss her. I miss her for what Melanie doesn't experience because she is gone. I loved Cheryl, but I miss her now mostly for Melanie.

Cheryl loved Melanie and me as immature, silly, high school and then college students. She rarely told us to be quiet or to settle down. I loved that about her. I recorded this in my personal journal on July 2, 1995

"Cheryl was like another mother to me. I have so many memories of her. So many days and hours spent with her. I remember her excitement of _______ at my party and seeing a video of him. She was almost as ecstatic as me and Melanie! I remember serious talks with her alone about Melanie and _______ and ________, I remember laughing with her and feeling included in her family. There is a pain in not being able to do anything but have to silently watch the family cope. There is a hurt and an emptiness of someone missing, a longing for a true understanding. But there is also a knowledge of life after death, direction and comfort given to us by the gospel. And there is deep within, peace. A peace that I know Cheryl is happy and everything really will be all right."

My perspective 18 years later? Everything really is all right.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Megan's Week

Although Megan thoroughly enjoyed her time at BYU last year for an Organ Workshop, nothing compared to this year's Youth Summer Music Festival. It was very much like an EFY, (Especially For Youth) but with a musical emphasis.

We dropped her off on the Sunday evening, after we had spent the day together as a family in Provo. Tensions were a little high as we navigated our way through long lines, dorm rooms, cafeteria food, etc. But by the time we drove away, having left Megan alone in a dorm room awaiting a room-mate, I was feeling  more motherly love towards her. I may or may not have shed a tear or two as we drove through the streets of Provo away from BYU.

Mike, Ellie and Drew spent the Saturday at the week's end, in Provo for her closing concerts. I was unfortunately unable to attend, as I had a previous commitment to speak at a conference that same day. Mike's parents attended one of the concert's, and Laurie, never one to be without a camera, thankfully provided us with some photos.
(Megan attended the camp as one of 4 harp students. Thankfully we didn't have to take her harp!)

Megan had a blast.
I think I only spoke to her twice on the phone, and maybe she sent a total of 5 texts the whole week. She was far too busy with her new found friends. This was one of the texts she sent, which also happens to be the only photo she took the whole week!
(I still can't quite figure out why she looks like she's about 9 years old in this photo!)
Her nights were late, her mornings early, and boy did she have a bad case of the cranks when she returned home Saturday night.

Life was different without Megan. Things were a little quieter, there were less tornados (she is a walking tornado), and no one bugged Mike and I at bedtime. Even considering the absence of those irritating things, we certainly missed her.

Glad to have her home.
(But not her messes.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Drew's Pride

Sunday morning, Drew came into my bathroom while I was getting ready and declared,

"I do look like a missionary. I look very handsome."

I agreed wholeheartedly.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Father's Day, AKA Provo Day

Our opportunity to go to the MTC  coincided with Father's Day, and the day Megan needed to check into BYU for a Summer Music Festival (more on that later). After our Father's Day festivities that morning, albeit slightly rushed, as Mike decided that was his one day a year he was going to sleep in, we headed down to Provo.

We were not able to attend the MTC as a full family (thank goodness!). Mike and the three younger children could have stayed home and attended our own church, or even attended one of the million church services in Provo, but instead they played hooky from church services, and enjoyed exploring the many parks (with play toys) of Provo while Megan, Luke, and I got some religion.

It turned out to be a pleasant day. One of those days that made me smile. Of course it wasn't without fighting and bickering in the car, or any of the other dramas that occur when a family of seven embarks on a field trip.
(Provo LDS temple)

We enjoyed a picnic at a park, actually I think it was a school playground, but all the same to the children.

Somewhere along Mike and the children's explorations of the BYU campus, Drew acquired a sprinkler flag with BYU on it. It was funny when Drew said to Luke, "I do like BYU now not Utah." (Referring to the University of Utah/BYU rivalry.) I'm actually still trying to figure out how Drew even knows a rivalry exists, I'm sure it is due to having a big brother.
We were able to visit Mike's Uncle Sherm and Aunt Karen while we were in Provo. Later that night, the visit to "Uncle Sherm's" was among the top highlights of each of the children's report of the day. I think it was the 3 bowls of candy Aunt Karen laid out on the coffee table for them, but the children maintain it wasn't the candy. It was a very enjoyable time we spent with them, wish we saw more of them.
(Uncle Sherm took this family photo of us. Why didn't we think to take a photo of them in it!?!)

Upon arriving home late Sunday evening, sans Megan. Mike and I sat outside on the patio while the 4 children played remarkably well together for quite some time. Eating left-over ice cream cake from our Father's Day celebration the night before with my parents, I suddenly realized I never got our traditional photo of Mike and the children on Father's Day.

But then I realized, Mike was the mastermind behind much of Sunday's goodness. He willingly explored parks and the BYU campus with the younger children, he initiated the visit with his aunt and uncle, he kept the picnic food and sandwich cutting under control, and kept spirits high by doing questionable (to me) activities like driving on the BYU stadium sidewalk much to the glee of the children, and other such Mike things.

A good dad in action is far more touching on Father's Day, than a photo with children. My children are pretty lucky kids.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Special Guests

When my brother Casey left on an LDS mission 11 years ago, it greatly affected the way I viewed missionary work. As a young mother of two young children, Megan was 3 and Luke was 5 months old, I felt a great desire to instill in my children a love for missionary service. (We believe that as a missionary, an individual takes on the full-time responsibility to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and share His message.)

Though Megan at age 3 could sing word-for-word the verses of the well-loved hymn, Called to Serve, and we wrote Casey faithfully, and of course remembered him in every prayer, as we did with my brother James who served a mission 2 years later, real life crept in, and our family emphasis on missionary work isn't as focused as I wish it to be.

One of my most personal and spiritual experiences as a young mother, contemplating bringing more children into our home, has reference to missionary work.Although my experience is too personal to share publicly, I feel a great responsibility to raise my children, especially my boys to have a desire to serve full-time missions.

That is probably one of the reasons, I was soooooo excited to have been invited to attend a Sacrament Meeting (Sunday church meeting) at the MTC in Provo, UT. (The Missionary Training Center, where missionaries preparing to serve a mission come to be trained in language and teaching.) Mike's dad is a member of a branch presidency there, and he and Mike's mom, serve there faithfully every Sunday and Tuesday.
I had high hopes that it would be some huge spiritual experience for my children, it wasn't quite that. The meeting was long for a 14 and 11 year old, seeming even longer considering half of it was in Spanish and the temperature inside the room was very warm.

Maybe it didn't end up being quite the huge spiritual experience for them I had originally hoped for, but it was a very positive one for them nonetheless.

Later on Sunday evening, I overheard Luke say to Ellie, Joshua and Drew, "The MTC was really cool. I wish you guys could have gone." And then I peeked at his journal entry from Sunday night, "I went to the MTC today. I felt the spirit." (Punctuation added, Luke doesn't use punctuation.)

We left Megan in Provo that night (more on that later), and so I didn't really have the chance to discuss her detailed thoughts and feelings about the experience. Besides her eye rolls and questions of, "Mom! You're getting teary-eyed again?"

I was touched by the spirit of missionary service, and these young people willing to give up time from their lives to serve the Lord. There is no spirit that quite compares to the spirit of being in a building with thousands of individuals who are willing to devote their lives to be full-time disciples of Jesus Christ. Plus my mother-heart wanted to hug every young missionary there and tell them how much their mother loves them!

I love that Grandma and Grandpa Sowby are setting a great example and doing their best to instill a love of missionary work for their grandchildren. Besides providing the opportunity for older grandchildren to attend the MTC with them, last week they offered a 24 hour Mini-MTC experience for all 14 grandchildren living in Utah! They spent 24 hours with children aged 4-17, teaching them all sorts of life skills. Sorting laundry, sewing on a button, correct handshakes (such a pet peeve of mine), giving talks on gospel subjects, leading music, writing letters, etc.

One day, I hope Luke will have the opportunity to be a missionary at the Provo MTC. I told him, that if so, he will need to take a photo of himself by this statue and think of his dear mother. Which of course made me get all choked up, and feel pure relief that he is only 11.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Phone Purge

The other day I showed up at a lunch with dear friends and exclaimed, "Oh! I forgot my camera." Duh... who doesn't ever have a 'camera' these days with our phones?!?

Here is the latest phone clear-out.

Of course, as mentioned above, lunch with friends. It's been forever since we've been together, but I'm so glad we did. The only thing I'd change about our time together was to laugh more like old times. But our times in between visits are so vast, that we spend the next get together catching up on all the 'serious' things of life, and don't find the time for  the funny, hilarious things. Oh well. Dear, dear friends. Love them all.
(Scarlet, Kim, Brandi (9 months pregnant) and me)

I've been trying to convince Mike we need to upgrade to a king size mattress. He isn't convinced yet. Probably has something to do with this (not very frequent, but still...) scene that I'm so desperately desiring a bigger bed.
(I didn't stage that monkey, but love its position. Maybe it landed like that when I got out of bed. I mean, when I was kicked out of bed and threw back the sheets with a little added "umph" as I wasn't exactly happy to be kicked out of bed before 7am on a Sunday morning.)

We've gone 2 weeks without a dishwasher. I'm not happy about it. I felt we should get a new one, Mike wanted to pay for a repair. Not sure he realizes that 2 weeks worth of paper products only adds to the repair costs. Additionally, I am VERY strict about paper product usage. For example, one morning when I came downstairs and found a (non-paper) cereal bowl and spoon in the sink... well put it this way, the phone call I made to Mike immediately after the discovery didn't exactly start with me saying to Mike "Good morning, dear husband..." A dishwasher is a modern convenience I CAN NOT live without.
The bikes?! The bikes! Somehow we have collected a large number of bikes over the years. Hand-me-downs, our own, dump-finds (that would be Luke and our neighbor Paul!), etc. It is beyond ridiculous how many we have. One summer evening, I demanded they all be brought to the driveway and we figure out what works, what doesn't and what to do with them all. I think we lost count at about 21... Need an old bike? I sold one from this collection for $15. An executive decision made entirely alone.
(The motorcycle is NOT one of our bikes, it's our friend's. He polished it on our driveway, I mean, who wouldn't want to join us on our driveway during a bike fix-it party?)
(Mike testing his repairs. Can you see the tires on that bike? Different sizes? Luke did that when he was about 7. Front tire had a flat, so instead of fixing it, he put on a new wheel! It is now Joshua's bike of choice.)
A trip to the dollar store with the neighbor's mom, provided lots of entertainment for these girls.
(Oh and please note the open door in the background. Open doors, hot outside temperatures, and running air conditioning units inside? Such a source of frustration and oft-repeated yell,  "Close the door!!")

Kindergarten graduation? Oh, I so don't agree (or like) silly pre-school, kindergarten, 6th grade, etc. graduations. I find them to be over-celebratory. I slid into my seat at Joshua's about 2 minutes before starting time. The teacher hit play on the music player and the kindergarteners began parading in. And me, the non-lover (or believer) of these silly events started crying. Like real crying. The "oh-my-heck-wasn't-Joshua-just-a-baby-and-I'll-blink-and-he'll-be-graduating-from-high-school" type cry. It was quite pathetic actually, and I felt mildly embarrassed as all the camera clicking (and recording) parents surrounded me, and I just watched it all. Choosing to capture it in my heart instead.
Popsicles, warm evenings, new pajamas and a backyard with family. Can it get any better? I love lazy summer evenings.
An classic car show and parade. My children loved it. Luke took far more photos than necessary, but every new car that came seemed better than the last.

(The old pick-up trucks are my favorite.)
We I decided to eat out at a restaurant one evening (an escape from having to wash dishes). As we pulled into the parking lot, Joshua announced he had no shoes on. Whhaatt? Fortunately there were a pair of cowboy boots in the car.  Unfortunately they were Drew's old ones and several sizes too small for Joshua. I made him walk on the backs of them, and let him remove them once we were seated with feet hidden under the table.
Megan has been sewing up a storm. She convinced Mike to let her use some of her savings for a new serger. You'd have thought it was Christmas morning the afternoon it came!
For some reason, I have photo after photo on my phone of stuff like this?!?

If only she cleaned up after her projects...

After several hours at a water park, I returned to the car and found this on the steering wheel. Luke has now earned carrying the cooler to the car after lunch every time.
And that's the first half of June viewed from my cell-phone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Beautiful Reminder

This miniature rosebush is my absolute favorite thing in my flower gardens. It was planted in my home in American Fork and when we moved, I never thought to bring it with us. Two years after we moved, while visiting with the neighbors across the street from our old home, I realized I had to have that rosebush. A replacement one wouldn't suffice. I needed that particular one.

The kind homeowners (not the ones we sold the home to) allowed me to dig it up one hot June Sunday afternoon. After transplanting, I babied the rosebush throughout the hot summer until it acclimated to its new home. I wanted it desperately to survive.

I've had bits and pieces of this story of mine in various blog post drafts over the years, but until now, I've never felt like sharing it. A few months ago, I read a heart-wrenching blog post from a friend who suffered a miscarriage. I felt inspired to send her an email sharing my own experience more than a decade ago. As I shared my experience, it felt so good to get it all written down and recorded (even though it was a mumbo-jumbo, disjointed email). Though I wrote a little in my personal journal 15 years ago, I didn't write much. It's probably time to share.

First of all I must say that I completely recognize the difference between early-term miscarriages and later pregnancy still-births. However, until a woman has had an early-term miscarriage, they have no idea of the grieving that does (and probably has to) take place. I believe the second a mother finds out they are pregnant, their mother bear instincts kick in, and they fight for that baby to survive physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Unfortunately, there are times we don't win the fight.

In early December of 1997, I found out I was pregnant. I announced it to Mike with a baby bottle sitting on our bathroom counter. On January 1st, we decided to announce it to our parents. I was 9 weeks pregnant. Within hours of announcing it to my family, I began to realize something could be wrong. Although the symptoms were mild, upon arriving home to American Fork, we opted to go to the hospital. The ER doctor performed an ultrasound and there on the screen Mike and I saw a little baby's heartbeat. We of course were relieved, and the doctor told us that usually the baby dies first and then spotting/bleeding begins, not the other way around. He assured us all was well and sent us home with instructions to take it easy for a few days. (He also told me his wife spotted monthly throughout her pregnancy.)

(FYI-this wasn't "my" doctor)

I'm not going to give specific details here, but "the details" led my doctor to believe, nothing was serious and to continue to rest for a few days. It was during my first day of rest that 'somebody' (it's not my story to tell) stopped by my house with 'necessary purchases.' (We'd been married less than a year, Mike was not willing to go to the store for 'such necessities.') This dear woman, beyond child bearing years, confided to me that her last pregnancy had ended in an miscarriage. She shared her feelings of sadness having wished for a baby to be close to her youngest child. Fifteen years later, I feel as though this person was the only one who really understood my fear that I really was miscarrying.

After 2 days, all my symptoms stopped. Based on the mildness of them, my doctor assured me all was surely fine and to keep my scheduled appointment for 6 weeks later. (I was naive and didn't know to ask for anything different at the time.)

Six weeks later was February 13th. I was "supposedly" 14 weeks pregnant, and was going to hear the heartbeat for the first time. (Obviously, I'd already seen it.) Now, I realize how stupid of me to even think I hadn't really miscarried those first few days of January...

Of course the doctor couldn't hear the heartbeat and ordered an ultrasound for later that afternoon. I went home, drank a billion ounces of fluid and returned a few hours later with Mike. Fortunately, my uncomfortable ultrasound with the nurse didn't have to last long, before the doctor came in and said, "I guess you really did miscarry last month after all. I'm sorry."

I was devastated.

I went home and sobbed and cried on the top of my bed. Mike sat in the office next to our bedroom working and didn't say or do anything to comfort me. Of course that added to my heartbreak, but I guess being our first, and not even a year into our marriage, he didn't "get it". (He since realizes his mistake.)

It took me several years to forgive him of that major faux pas.

After sobbing for several hours, I got up and decided to go to the store. I went to Fred Meyer's in American Fork and bought myself a potted plant and Mike a CD for Valentine's Day. The plant had no significance, but I thought it was pretty, and being the day before Valentine's Day there were plenty to choose from.

That potted plant is the rosebush that is now in my front yard. This is the time of year it is in full bloom. I smile every time I look at it, and occasionally shed a tear. Of course I went on to have 5 healthy pregnancies, but I have never ever forgotten the heartache of that miscarriage. I will mention, I spotted during my last pregnancy (Drew). I sobbed all that day as my mother bear instincts fought full force for him to make it. Obviously I didn't miscarry, but my fears were very real.

I know it doesn't take a math wiz to become confused when knowing that on February 13th, 1998 I was told there was no baby inside me, yet on October 12, 1998, Megan was born. The details surrounding that whole part of the story are really quite detailed and very personal. I'll leave out the specifics and summarize it this way...

About 10 days after my February 13th ultrasound, I began to feel really sick and had an awful pain in my upper stomach area. On February 25th, my doctor thinking perhaps I had a gallstone, had me return for an ultrasound. I'll never forget the ultrasound tech saying, "Your gallbladder looks fine, and so does the 6 week old fetus."


The doctor soon came in, and with tears in his eyes said, "Guess you were really meant to have this baby!" Then with tears still in his eyes, and his hand clasping mine he said, "Congratulations, you are pregnant."

(So, technically I was pregnant on that February 13th ultrasound, but with Megan, not the "original baby" and until 6 weeks, a fetus isn't always seen. There are a few more specific special and to me, sacred details of the whole event, but none that I'd share publicly.

For all intents and purposes my experience with a miscarriage was a fairly minor trial compared to many people, but it is an experience that I hold dear to my heart. I love that I have my rosebush as a tangible reminder. It is in full bloom right now, and as it does every year, it reminds me life is good. Difficult things get better and life moves on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Part 3 of CA

Casey and Cindy took us to the Fashion District. I've attempted to go there the last couple of times I've been with them, but it never worked out. Now? It will be a necessity. A necessity I tell you!!

Blocks and blocks of cheap shopping.
(I'm so much more a quantity vs quality gal.)

Which is why I couldn't resist an $8 purchase of cute sandals. Helped in part by Casey's reminder that it would be one more pair towards my 365 pair goal.
(Not sure how long these ones will last. They are very cheaply made.)

I loved the shoes and purses shops, Megan loved the fabric shops.
Oh how I love shopping.
Mike doesn't, so we didn't spend as much time there as I'd have liked.
Next time.

Onto more important matters.
Some of our favorite cousins live in Southern California, and we were thrilled to be able to spend time with them. Why oh why didn't I get more pictures? And why didn't I get any of the adults?
(Cousins Ricky and Luke--I have a photo of them side-by-side when they are about 1 and 3 weeks old, I should find it.)

Katie and Ellie weren't able to spend as much time together as the boys, but after the few minutes it took to "warm up" to each other, they were having a splendid time together. I was so said to have to say goodbye. Darn miles between loved ones.
(Katie, Drew and Ellie)

(Not sure why Picasa wouldn't let me fix the red eye on this one!)
I can't forget our afternoon visit to Santa Monica Pier. Although, I will leave out the part about me being the only one to get an ice cream. (Long story...hard to explain...) Cindy wrapped it up well in a text later that evening, "It's good for your children to see you are special."  Ha ha.

And a few random shots...

Children LOVED the breakfast buffet at the hotel. It was always a little crazy and chaotic, and I was mildly self-conscious of how many children we were traipsing through there each morning. (I'm sure which is why Mike gladly volunteered to stay behind and pack the lunch the second morning...)
Adored everything about our dinner Saturday night around an open (electric) fire. Kids had Taco Bell, Mike and I had curry. Delicious. Loved the ambiance, the food, and the fact that by this point in the evening, the children no longer dared talk to either me or Mike so we were able to enjoy a little peace and quiet. (It was a very late dinner.)
I loved that Megan practically wanted to cry when Drew sequestered her suitcase. You see, Megan has a suitcase she loved that we purchased when we went to DC 2 years ago. She uses it "only to fly" which hasn't been since DC. When we announced this trip, the first thing she mentioned was wheeling her suitcase around an airport. (She will DIE of embarrassment when she finds out I publicly declared this.) To make a long story short, the other 2 suitcases and 2 booster seats were too big and awkward for Drew to attempt to help with. (Not that anyone was expecting him to do anymore than hold someone's hand.) Drew INSISTED on pulling Megan's. And, when you are in a public place and a kid is completely over stimulated and tired, we make the rule, "Let him have it."
Megan wasn't happy.
She got stuck carrying a plastic bag holding 2 booster seats.
Not exactly the fashion statement she was hoping to make.


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