4

My [reluctant] beef with Father’s Day

So I am having a really hard time. I have been struggling with something the last week or so, and all other avenues to deal have failed, so I have resorted to writing. Generally, writing is my first answer to any problem. Writing is always my solution. But this time, my struggle was private, and personal and I wanted to keep it to myself. But that is not working and I can feel it boiling and an attempt to avoid an eruption, I have to get it out. Image

Sunday is Father’s Day. It is the single most conflicting day of the year for me. 

On one hand, I have a day to celebrate the most incredible Father I could have ever prayed for for my son. Andrew is a true gem. I have not been shy about expressing how incredible of a father, friend, man, and companion Andrew is. He has earned the right to be celebrated this coming Sunday. 

He has gone above and beyond the call of Father’s. He is involved in every aspect of Turner’s life. He feeds him, gives him baths, puts him to bed, reads to him, changes more poops diapers than I do, and does it all without being asked and with a smile on his face because he looks at fatherhood as a privilege. God has honestly blessed me with the perfect partner in parenthood and the perfect father for my son. 

Father’s Day should be his day. It should be a joyous day for me to shower him in love and affection. For me to let him put his feet up, cook him a full breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let him watch every sports game that is scheduled, and obey his every demand. It is his day. I want it to be his day and I want to make it 100% about him. 

But I can’t. 

And the fact that I can’t and quite frankly, don’t want to, has been eating away at me. Because while I want to be carefree and ever attentive to Andrew’s every desire this coming Sunday, I am selfish. And the only thing I have been able to think about it how this will be the second Father’s Day that my family will have to spend without my dad. Image

God I miss him. It just is not fair. He should be here. I should have my dad to celebrate. I should get to shower my dad with all things “#1 Grandpa.” But I don’t get to because cancer decided to rip him from our lives. Cancer stole my Father’s Day. So I bitter. I am very, very bitter. 

Last year was different. It was Andrew’s First Father’s Day, and Turner had only been in our lives for a few weeks. My dad died at the beginning of April, a month before Turner was born. Father’s Day followed shortly after. My dad’s death had not even really set in, as I was still caught up in the whirlwind of becoming a new parent. 

But this year it hurts. And it hurts way worse. Turner is more alert and knows people. I want to to be able to take him to my dad’s house dressed in a matching grandpa and grandson shirt. But not only do I not get to do that, Turner will never, ever get to meet his grandfather. And it sucks. It sucks so much. 

All I want to do this Sunday is go to my dad’s grave and sit. I want to spend all day there. I want to go to church that morning and pray for God to give me the strength to get through the day and then go to my dad’s grave and sit. 

But I can’t do that because it is not fair to Andrew. It is selfish. Andrew deserves his day. I can’t make it about me and missing my dad. My family’s schedule is very hectic, and when my family can meet to go to my dad’s grave together, Andrew and I can’t be there. And really we shouldn’t.  Sunday should be about Andrew. I know that it should. I want it to be. 

But I also want to be the little girl who misses her dad so bad that her heart breaks to pieces every moment of every day. 

Father’s Day has come to be my least favorite holiday all year long. Which is so not fair to Andrew. So not only do I feel awful and sad because I miss my dad, and awful and sad because Turner will never get to celebrate with his grandpa, but then I feel even worse and awful and bad because I am being selfish toward Andrew. 

And with all of those feelings. All of those emotions and thoughts, the one thing that keeps me sane and able to deal is convincing myself that God gave me Turner, and gave me Andrew as my strength to be able to have something else to celebrate this Sunday. So I should be happy and thankful, not bitter and heartbroken. 

I am just not ready to be over it. I am just not ready to not break into tears at random moments at the thought of my dad. I am not ready to not change the radio station whenever a Lynyrd Skynyrd song comes on. I am just not ready yet.

, SiteDart Author

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2

Don’t like the no makeup selfies? Get over it.

I have a bit of a rant. Consider this your warning.

There has been a viral movement called the no makeup selfie to raise awareness for cancer. I, along with countless others from around the world choose to participate.

The idea behind it was to post a photo of yourself without makeup to raise awareness for cancer. Simple, right?

Well, like with everything in life, the movement garnered negative attention. People scrutinized the efforts saying that posting a picture of yourself was vain and attention seeking and in no way could be compared to the struggles those with cancer have to endure. I agree. Posting a picture with no makeup in no way make me or anyone else “brave.”

But I think people missed the point of the movement. I do not think at any point in time did anyone think that by posting a picture of themselves on a social media site were they comparing themselves to having the same difficulties as those with cancer, and to claim that was the intent, is asinine.

To begin with, why would you bash something that was built on the premise of good intention. Why would you criticize something that was intended to do good and make a difference. Why you are standing there with your arms crossed and a scowl on your face complaining about what others are doing, what are you yourself doing for the cause? Are you trying to make a difference? Or are you just sitting behind a computer screen judging others. Get a grip.

I look at the cancer awareness selfies in two ways. First, I see the cancer awareness selfie as being equivalent to wearing a pink shirt or a sporting a ribbon of some sort. Those things do not cure cancer, but you know what it means and it shows support and solidarity. When anyone suffering from breast cancer sees someone wearing a pink shirt throughout October, or a pink ribbon on someone’s chest, they know they are not alone. They know with that simple gesture that someone out there cares about them and what they are going through. The same stands true with the selfies. At least for me, it was a sign of support and encouragement. No different than wearing pink, or purple, or any other color intended to raise awareness for a disease. How could you be mad about that?

The way I look at it, may be where the debate originated. For so many women, makeup is a security blanket. I have friends that would rather be stoned to death than be seen in public without makeup. It is literally crippling for some to go in public without it. So for them to be willing to bare themselves for all the world to see, it is brave. It does matter.

It may be the smallest of small sacrifices, but for so many women, it is just that. A sacrifice. A sacrifice they are willing to make in hopes of reaching someone fighting a battle with cancer. More even than that, with cancers like breast cancer, so many women lose their identity as their hair begins to thin, and their bodies become visibly weak from the treatment. In some cases, women lose their breasts, which too so many are considered to be identifiers of our sexuality.

So while it is simple and easy and small to wash off makeup and show the natural beauty women have, I think it sends a message of encouragement to the women fighting cancer that you do not need hair, or makeup, or even breast to be a strong, beautiful woman. Outside of all of those superficial or stereotypical ways of identifying women, at the core of us all, it is our natural beauty and resilience that carries us all through and will ultimately prevail in the end.

With that kind of message, and that kind of intent, how can you call someone vain or attention seeking? All too often we tear each other apart and want to bring one another down. Let’s change that. Let’s build each other up. Let’s encourage each other to make a difference.

Just because you look at posting a makeup free photo as being easy, or pointless, or even dumb, the person who posted it might have thought it was hard and just wanted to make a difference. But when you criticize them, it discourages any sort of future action or attempt they may make.

Luckily, the negative attention that the no make up selfies garnered only furthered the intent of raising cancer awareness. So, the movement is serving it’s purpose.

Image #nomakeupselfie

, SiteDart Author

6

What no one tells you about being a mom

Warning: There is nothing fun or entertaining about this post and was written more for therapy for myself. So feel free to skip reading this one. 

I am in the midst of fighting a bit of depression. Surprisingly enough, it is in no way tied to the fact that I am basically a cow at the moment

No, instead the mental battle I am fighting is a result of the crippling weight on my shoulders. I just feel like everything is too much. I need an escape. Mere days separate me from the one  year anniversary of my dad’s death, so that certainly isn’t helping. 

God how I miss him. How these last few weeks have been filled with nothing but regret and shame for not making the most of his life while he was here. A guilt I know that I will never be able to lift. 

 Then there is the car seat safety event that I have been throwing myself into. I have somehow managed to find the time to organize this event while maintaining two full-time jobs, a free-lance job, this blog, and well, the whole being a mother thing. I admit I have let the housewife duties escape me. Oh well. But without knowing it, when I scheduled the car seat safety event months ago, the date was picked for me by others involved and I simply agreed. Well, it turns out that the car seat safety event is scheduled for April 5, one year after the day we laid my dad to rest. I am sure it is another one of those signs from God. Part of his plan to give me and my family something to do rather than sit around and weep about him. So there’s that. 

Then there is my uncontrollable thirst for baseball season. I know it may seem odd to say this is something causing me angst, but it is. I feel like Andrew and I live two completely different lives with the only thing we have in common being Turner. We even work for the same overall company and are still basically strangers (I am sure I am being dramatic here, but as of late and this wave of depression, this is how I feel). But baseball season will change that. That is the one thing that we undeniable can each relate to. The one thing that can bring us back together. Baseball is where we had our first date, where we have spent many dates since, and our love of the game encompasses us so much, yes our son’s name is Turner. So Opening Day cannot get here soon enough. Anything that can make Andrew feel less like a stranger to me. 

 And then there is the milestones in Turner’s life that I am unavoidably missing because I do nothing but work. All day everyday someone else keeps him. While I am lucky enough for that someone else to be my mom, it still is not me. So his steps, his words, his everything belongs to her. Not me. That is crushing. I want to live in a decade where women stayed home. That is where I belong. I would rock that decade. 

And I do nothing but work, but for what? I feel like I am always drowning in money woes. I make a considerably comfortable living. Lets be honest, writers are certainly not CEO salary positions, but because I write for two newspapers and am a full-time copywriter. I do way better than most people. Yet it never seems like enough. Part of that amounts to the $500 in college loans I pay each month and will continue to pay for the next 20 years. If that is not depressing, I do not know what is.

Nothing seems like enough. No one tells you that you are always going to feel like that. I always feel like I am coming up short. In my job(s), as a mom for Turner, as a partner for Andrew, as a family member for my mom and sisters. Nothing I do is good enough. It is never satisfactory. That is what has me down. That is what is weighing on my soul and taking over my mind, preventing me from functioning. Ugh, ready for this to be over.

Song that is getting me through it all: Dave Matthews Band ‘Mercy”

, SiteDart Author

5

What Valentine’s Day means to me

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I am a big ball of emotions going into Valentine’s Day. There are a ton of things on my mind and I am not quite sure if I am going to break down or triumph through it. I guess only time can tell.

My anxiety over the holiday range in reason but I want to break them down. 

The one year anniversary of last year:

This may be the biggest burden weighing on my soul. Last Valentine’s Day might be the most special day in my entire life. While I know the birth of my son ranks pretty high, if I consider the multitude of things that occurred that day, I think it takes the cake. 

Andrew proposed to me last Valentine’s Day. It was adorably romantic. So that in itself is a pretty memorable occasion. Without sharing all the details, it started my day off beautifully. 

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Andrew and I decided to take my parents out to dinner. Valentine’s Day is also my parents wedding anniversary. My dad always called it their Valaversary. So we wanted to celebrate together. While every free second I get these days I rush to my mom’s house to be with my family, just one year a go, that was not necessarily the case. Since I lived about an hour away, I didn’t make too many trips over the mountain to see them. Something I regret every day now. But nonetheless, the dinner was going to be special. A treat for my parents to celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary, a celebration for the engagement, and just time with my parents that I did not normally get. 

We took my parents to Fat Buddies in Waynesville. My mom wanted a steak, and that is where she wanted to go. The reason why that night is so special to me now, is because that was the last moment I spent with my dad before he got sick. He was sick then, there were signs that I now can recognize, but we had no idea that while we were all sitting there laughing and having a perfect night, cancer was consuming my dad’s body and would inevitably take his life in just a few short weeks. That night, one year ago on Friday, was the last time I really talked to me dad. The last time I got to hug him. The last time I saw him looking any shape of normal. 

He looked sick. My dad, he was a pretty big guy, had lost a devastating amount of weight. He had even bragged about how handsome and skinny he looked. We didn’t know why at the time. We assumed it was because on of his dieting binges. Sporting his favorite Carharts we had just gotten him for Christmas, I remember him being so happy. He didn’t feel good. It was obvious in the 30 minute wait we had for our table. He looked tired. But he was still happy, and was showering my mom with love. 

Dinner was nice. I think it is the only time in my adult life that I have ever had dinner out with my parents. It was not something we normally did. It was a first, and I had no idea it would be a last too. Dad played with his steak, but couldn’t finish it. He complained of stomach aches. But we finished the rest of the night, finished dinner, and I gave my mom and dad hugs and sent them on their way, for the last time. 

The next day dad called me. He wanted to let me know that although he had been throwing up blood the night before, he had been feeling better that day for lunch and was able to eat his steak. He called just to tell me how good it was and how much he enjoyed it. That is when his doctor visits started. When he started begging for care. I have already told that story. 

Anyway. So Valentine’s Day will forever be special to me because it was the day that Andrew promised me forever. It was the last day I had with my dad, and it was truly a great day. 

Turner’s first Valentines Day:

 So more emotion I have for this holiday is it being another one of Turner’s firsts. I record and keep track of it all, and tomorrow will be another day I get to spend celebrating an experience with my beautiful, amazing, son. 

 We get Turner holiday onesies anytime we can, and this month’s is one of my favorites. I will share pictures on Monday. 

Spending time with my family:

I know this time is really hard for my mom. Her best friend and the man who has been her partner in life for more than half of her life will no longer be there. He won’t be there to write her a love note, like he did every single day. She won’t get flowers from him. She won’t here him wish her a “Happy Valaversary” first thing in the morning. 

 My dad always made Valentine’s Day special for all of us. Every single year he would drop a single rose off for me and my sisters at school. Every single year. What I would give to have kept one of those roses. 

I didn’t want my mom to be stuck in the house sad about all that is this holiday. So I planned a trip to a waterpark for my entire family. I wanted mom to have new memories to make with her grandchildren. To have something else to focus on so she wouldn’t be sad. I just hope this snow melts so we can get there. It is not looking so great right now. And if things don’t work out, I will just be devastated. 

it is also important to me that I make it to my dad’s grave tomorrow. I need to be able to give him a single rose. To wish him a Happy Valaversary. I know it sounds so silly, but I feel like if I don’t go there to see him, he will think we have forgotten about him. I am terrified of that. So whatever the holiday, I do see him. I want to spend a little piece of it with him. I have to. I need to.  

If you can take anything away from this, I ask you, I bed you, to make a memory tomorrow. Because I cannot stress enough that while you may not realize it now, that memory may be the only thing you have to hold onto for the rest of your life. Make it a good one.

6

God works in unexplainable, amazing ways!

I had originally planned to write about things I have learned in the first six month of being a parent. But yesterday a song came on the radio, and I felt compelled to blog a testimony of sorts. This won’t be much about being a parent, but when I was crying my eyes out going down the road listening to the song, the only thing I could think about is how much I needed to write this to be able to get out my feelings.

My favorite Christmas song has been Christmas Shoes by Newsong since I first heard it performed in a play probably 10 years ago. It has always kind of been mine and my mom’s Christmas song, because it just has such a beautiful message.

In case you are not sure of what song I am referring to, here are the lyrics:

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
 Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two 
Not really in the Christmas mood

Standing right in front of me was
 A little boy waiting anxiously 
Pacing ’round like little boys do
 And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

And his clothes were worn and old
 He was dirty from head to toe
 And when it came his time to pay 
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
 It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
 You see she’s been sick for quite a while 
And I know these shoes would make her smile
 And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
 Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
 He searched his pockets frantically
 Then he turned and he looked at me

He said, “Mama made Christmas good at our house
 Though most years she just did without
 Tell me sir, what am I going to do
 Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out 
And I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
 “Mama’s gonna look so great”

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please 
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
 You see she’s been sick for quite a while 
And I know these shoes would make her smile 
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love 
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
 To remind me what Christmas is all about

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please 
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
 You see she’s been sick for quite a while
 And I know these shoes would make her smile
 And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I want her to look beautiful
If mama meets Jesus tonight

Well, when the song came on the radio yesterday and I really listened to the lyrics, it really resonated with me. If you haven’t my blogs about the passing of my father, I would suggest you read those, but the short version is my dad died suddenly in April with Liver Cancer. He died a month before my son Turner was born. I have tried to spend the last couple of months mourning in private. My two sisters are very different and post publicly about their struggles with his death on social media, but I try to keep it to myself. Well, after hearing that song, I just need to share this.

Last year, Andrew (my fiancé) and I went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to do some Christmas shopping. I think it was the weekend before Christmas, nothing like last minute shopping. The first store we went to I had a bunch of presents for all of my family, and when I got to the check out counter, the cashier told me my card had been declined. Knowing that was impossible, I called my bank. Well, I ended up finding out that my bank had mixed up my bank account with someone else’s that had one number different. While they were figuring out the situation, my account was frozen. So although I had not done any Christmas shopping, and Christmas was days away, I didn’t have access to any money other than my credit card, which I didn’t want to max out for the holidays. Andrew, being the amazing man he is, offered to foot the bill until things could get straightened out and I could still get my family Christmas.

We continued our shopping trip, and at various shops I got things for my mom, my sisters and my niece, the normal crew I bought Christmas presents for. My dad, being the only man of the family, and an adult of course, I don’t think we ever got him gifts for Christmas or his birthday. We would get him practical gifts, like tires for his truck, but never anything extra or surprising. Well, after we had finished shopping for everyone on our list, we drove by a Carhart outlet store. My dad LOVED Carhart, and after mentioning that, Andrew didn’t hesitate to pull right in. I told him we didn’t have to, because not only did I not have any money, I had already gotten my dad something practical and it wasn’t necessary. Well, Andrew insisted. So we went to the shop and I picked out a couple of shirts, some overalls and a sweatshirt, all things I knew my dad would just love. Without even thinking twice, Andrew paid for it, and was happy to do it. I remember apologizing to Andrew for the mix up and thanking him so much for picking up the bill for Christmas. He just brushed it off and assured me it was no big deal. Neither of us knew at that moment what a big deal it was going to be, but I know that God did and that is exactly why he had things lined up the way it did.

Christmas morning after we had all opened our presents, I gave my dad his. It was so unexpected, he starting saying how I shouldn’t have, and Christmas wasn’t for him and he just wanted us to be happy. But as he opened his present, he was glowing. He was so grateful and overjoyed with every item he pulled out of that bag. Hugging the clothes in a joking manner, I could tell it made him happy. For the next few months of his life I could swear he wore something I got him at least every other day.

None of us could have predicted it was going to be our last Christmas together. There was nothing to show that I needed to do something extra for him that time, but I am sure God led me to do it. He knew what he was doing. He knew he was creating a memory for me to always hold so dear.

So when I heard the song last night, about the little boy not having the money to buy his mother something to make her look beautiful for when she met Jesus, all I could think about was God putting me and Andrew in that store last Christmas, and sending us to that exact point and that exact moment for me to be able to do the same thing for dad. Those Carhart put a smile on his face, just like the song said. And even more, the song talks about the shoes were just the right size. Well, my dad was a large man, so finding clothes to fit him was rare, and something he couldn’t do in our small little town. But the store we just happened to walk in that night had special sizes, just for my dad.

My dad started to get sick, even though we didn’t realize it by February. We didn’t know what it was, but when Andrew and I took my dad and mom out for their anniversary dinner in February, dad couldn’t eat because he was sick. But that night, the last happy night I got to spend with my dad, he was wearing the clothes I got him on Christmas, still smiling and bragging about what a great present it was for him.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the events of last Christmas were orchestrated by the hands of God. God wanted to give me a memory, he wanted to give me something that I could keep forever. I am sure that 10 years ago when I first heard that song, and every year since when my mom and I would turn that song up in the car and share a love for it, were the foundations of what the song would come to mean to us. I am sure God worked to get the bank accounts mixed up, so Andrew would have to loan me the money, so the song would have that much more of a meaning and purpose in my life. It was all part of his plan. Something I certainly couldn’t even begin to understand at the time, but last night, listening to it in the car, it all hit home and made sense.

We had my dad cremated, as were his final wishes, but before making that decision (actually it wasn’t a decision, the day my dad died, we found a note he had written years ago about his final wishes in a box of old pictures, another gift from God.) we had talked about having my dad buried in his Carharts because of how much he loved them. If we hadn’t been cremated, I am sure that is how we would have buried him, so he would have been wearing them when he finally got to meet Jesus.

Last year’s Christmas, the note we found the day my dad died, and how God has held my dad’s hand to lead him back to church in the final months of his life, are all true miracles. Things that didn’t seem special or even mentionable at the time, but now, are beautiful miracles that I will cherish forever.

Not only do I have a memory to hold on to, but I have a story that I can pass on to my son about his Papa. Something that one day, I will be able to share with him as well. It doesn’t matter how small something seems at the time, trust that it is all part of a greater plan. Love with everything that you have, learn to forgive and forgive as if its the easiest thing to do. Never pass up an opportunity to let your loved ones know what they mean to you, because you never know when it might be the last chance you get.

If you feel compelled to do so, please share this message. Thank you for taking time to read it and letting me share my story with you.

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1

Lets talk about it

Since last Wednesday, plenty has happened. So this blog is going to be pretty scattered and cover several topics, so just bear with me.

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First off, let me say that I write this blog because the two things I love most in life are Turner, and writing, so if I can combine the two, I am going to. The topics I decide to cover are ones that matter to me as a mother and ones that are either therapeutic for me to write about, or topics I think would be helpful to other mothers. No one has to read this blog, and no one certainly has to subscribe to it. If you do not like what I write, how I write, or why I write, then don’t read it. But please, have enough respect for me to not read my blog with the intent of bad mouthing it later on.

Second, I have never apologized for who I am. I will be the very first person to admit that I am NOT everyone’s cup of tea. I have an extremely strong personality which has most often times resulted in people loving me or hating me, either way that is your choice. Even in grade school my teachers referred to me as things such as sassafras because of my… colorful personality. Regardless of what your opinion may be of me, I am not going to apologize. I am exactly as God has intended. I am who I am today because of years of blood, sweat and hard-working tears, and I see absolutely no reason to apologize or change that for anyone.

I am proud of who I am. I am proud that I have such strong conviction and solid morals and opinions. Never once in my life have I changed who I am to please someone else. If I did that, I would be a coward, I would have no dignity or self-respect. I expect to rub people the wrong way at times, and regardless of someone’s opinion of me for whatever reason, I still respect them, because it is their right to form that opinion. All I ask for is a little respect in return. Be honest with me. Be upfront with me, I think that is the least people can offer, the least amount of human decency. Just take a second and look in a mirror. Consider your own actions.

So there is that. Deep Breath. Now on to Turner…. this weekend we took Turner to his first football game. I for one detest football. Well, I love to play it, and I love the atmosphere of attending a game, I just cannot take watching it on TV (which we did all day Sunday). Turner is just so well-behaved and can sit content for the longest time. I am so happy that he can be entertained fully and allow Andrew and I to do things like we did Saturday. We took him to the first home game of the college Andrew and I both went to, Western Carolina University. WCU is not much for athletics, but the game and being there as a family made for a nice little Saturday. I was even able to do some “baby wearing.”

I also took Turner to the fair with my family last week. Turner got to ride a pony and the carousel. I can never get enough family time. Ever since my dad passed away in April, time with my family is invaluable. My family has always been really close, the type that talks daily, but since dad passed away it just means more. We want to make sure we do things as a family, make sure we make memories. My dad was randomly diagnosed with cancer one day, given 4-6 months to live, then 2 weeks later passed away. Things like that can happen at any moment, so now more than ever my family understands the importance of being together. We do not always get along, in fact, we rarely do. It is normal to have at least one knock-out drag-down episodes per visit with each other, but at the end of the day, we are family. We love and respect each other. This week my mom had a break down over my dad. So everyone in the family dropped what they were doing and went to her. We all went and visited his grave together. That is all it took, and then things were ok again. It is the little things that add up.

This week I also fought with Turner over eating stage 1 or supported sitter foods. The doctor said we can start introducing Turner to these foods, but it is not easy. We do the rice in the bottle, and that has been fine, but as far as spoon feeding him ANYTHING, it just ain’t happening! I don’t know if he doesn’t like it, or if he doesn’t know how to swallow it, but either way, he spits every bit of it out. I can predict that we are going to have a picky eater on our hands. Even when I made the slit in the bottle nipple a little larger and but the food in a bottle, Turner still makes a face of disgust and gags himself. His face turns sour and he looks so dang upset about it. Maybe he just isn’t ready yet.

This weekend also marked the last time we will be able to wash Turner in the sink, he is officially too big. We only have a shower at our house, so bath time has been quite a challenge. We bought a baby bath for Turner that comes with its own bubble maker and spritzer handle, it is just a headache to fill up. But we officially have no other choice, because Turner has outgrown the kitchen sink!

Andrew left again this morning for another week on the road. I cannot say enough how tough it is when he is gone. Luckily, both my family and his family are so great with helping out and making it work. Luckily, this will be the second to last trip that he takes this travel season. I do not think I could handle many more weeks like the last one!

3

Really missing my dad

Today had been really tough for me. I went to the doctor’s office today for a follow up visit and in the waiting room was a sweet grandpa and grandson. It brought tears to my eyes. I am sure the people in the waiting room were thinking I was some young girl crying because I had just found out I was pregnant, but just hearing the grandpa talking about the things he and his grandson were going to do that weekend together broke my heart. 

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On April 2 I lost my dad to liver cancer. He was just 55 years old. I was about 8 months pregnant. I won’t get into that story, because some of you are already familiar with it as I wrote about it on Facebook when it all happened. If you want to know more, you can read that here:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/brittney-burns/finding-out-my-dad-doesnt-have-much-longer/10151278055342805

While 8 months pregnant, I buried my father. Needing to focus on my soon-to-be-son, I guess I didn’t process what it all meant for Turner. I have always said that I can accept my father’s death. While to me it was tragic and not fair at all, I can accept it. God intended for it to happen, and while I don’t understand the reasoning behind it, God does. But my heart breaks for son. Turner will never get to know his grandfather. He will never know the wonderful man that made me the person I am. He will never understand my family’s jokes about my dad or will be able to look at something and instantly go back to a memory of my dad.  

Sitting in that waiting room seeing the grandpa play with his grandson just killed me. My dad always wanted a boy. With three girls and a granddaughter, he was so excited that I was finally bringing a boy into our family. On Christmas I opened up a present that my dad had picked out just for Turner, a set of toys. The other day Andrew asked me if we had any toys for Turner to start playing with, and even though I knew I had that set of toys and that they are age appropriate for Turner, I didn’t mention them because I just can not bring myself to open them. I doubt I ever will. It is the only thing Turner will ever have from my dad. I want him to be old enough to understand that before I give it to him. 

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We named Turner after my father. Turner William Raby, named after William James Burns. The last few days of my dad’s life, after Andrew and I decided that we were going to name Turner after him, I would lay in the hospital bed with my dad and tell him all about how we were giving Turner his name. He was already gone and not coherent, but I just hope and pray that it reached him and he knew that I would carry him with us forever. 

When Turner gets old enough I plan to make a picture book of my dad. And I want to start early showing Turner pictures of my dad every single day. Even though he will never be able to meet him, I want him to feel like he knows who he is. I want my father’s gravesite to be a frequent visit for Turner. 

I can not even begin to explain how hard it is to know that Turner never met my father. I think it would be different if I was to get pregnant now, but the fact that my dad was there for 7 good months before he got sick and knew I was having a baby, doesn’t bring me comfort, it makes me more sad. I know when he got sick it hurt him to know he was not going to be there for me. That is the kind of man my dad was. I know it made him more sad that he was not going to meet Turner, and that he would never get to do all the grandpa things with him. My dad was the most incredible grandfather to my sister’s daughter, I just know he would have been the best grandfather to Turner. 

My dad used to always say, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord,” and I believe that. I really do. But it still hurts beyond words. The day we went to the hospital to see my dad when the doctors gave him his diagnosis, my dad looked at me and said that I didn’t need to be sad because God needed him to come to heaven because he wanted him to be Turner’s Guardian Angel. Dad promised he would keep Turner safe, and I know that he has been and will continue to do so. 

My two sister’s and my momma and I all got tattoos in memory of my dad. My dad loved Lynryd Skynyrd and we played Freebird at his funeral, so song lyrics just seemed fitting. Things like my dad’s favorite music are things I want to tell Turner about, so just  like the rest of my family, whenever he hears it, my dad can be the first person he thinks about. 

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I am glad that between mine and Andrew’s family, Turner has an incredible family. He has so many people who love him unconditionally, I just wish with all of my heart that there was one more person that could be here to love him.