I can't say that I was sad to put this summer to bed. It has not been our best, by far. Seeing as Tatum died on the first day of summer vacation, there was just no way to salvage it, so I was ready for it to be over. I just had no idea that there would be such a conflict of emotions.
I must admit that I am not one of those mothers that is ever really sad to see summer break end. I am normally ready for the kids to get back in a routine, for the house to have some kind of order, for the kitchen to be closed for at least a few hours a day, for there to be some quiet throughout the day, to be able to mop the floor and not have someone walk across it before it dries. Are you seeing my point? It is a trade off, for homework and projects and early mornings and carpools etc. This year I wanted this summer to end for different reasons. I wanted to have some time to go through and organize Tatum's things, I want to be able to write some thank you notes, I want time to lay in my bed and cry if I want to. I just haven't had time, because there have been too many things to do since she died.
As I started thinking about and preparing for this first day of school, however, the stress began to build. I couldn't figure out why, but I felt it. There is normally stress of starting back to school because there is so much to do. School shopping, school supplies, back to school nights, scheduling classes, forms, forms and more forms, fees to pay, haircuts, etc etc. On top of all of this, I have just felt like I have cement feet. I haven't wanted to do any of this. It is all I can do to complete the normal daily tasks, and I have been beyond exhausted and having terrible headaches. On Monday, I lost it. The stress built to the point of boiling over. I felt like all of the kids were just tugging at me and everyone needed and wanted me to do too much. I felt like all I was to everyone was an ATM, a cook, a taxi, and a maid. (is this sounding familiar to anyone?) I know that all of these are normal everyday feelings, but coupled with the feelings of deep sadness and grief that I feel I am combating everyday, not to mention that I am harboring new feelings of anxiety at the thought of this being Halea's last year with us, it was a perfect storm. I had a minor melt down and I felt some things that I didn't like. As I stepped back I realized that this was truly Satan working on me. Discouragement and stress can throw a person into feelings of despair and depression and make you forget all that you know in your heart. This is how Satan destroys the family. He gets to the mom in her most vulnerable times. I teach people about this in my group at the hospital all of the time. I warn them about this exact thing. I had not been heeding my own advice. I needed to refocus and step back and take a breath. I went to bed on Monday praying that Tuesday would be better.
I knew that today was going to be rough. Last year at this time I had a newborn and a toddler and life was crazy for a different, beautiful reason. Lance and my neighbor were so wonderful and took a lot of the morning carpools so I could let Hilary and Tatum sleep. Either Lance or myself would drive the kids to school in the morning, and one of us would stay home so that the babies could sleep. It was such a great thing because I could usually get my morning jobs and my exercise done in the morning before the girls would wake up. This year there is no reason why I can't drive morning carpool and it really stinks. The blissful time of last year is no more.
Since I knew things might be hard today I made sure I had plenty to do to keep my mind off of the reality. I had to be out the door by 7:15 this morning to go babysit my friends two little girls so she could take some continuing education classes to renew her law license. One of her twins has special needs so it was really the perfect distraction. I was able to get up and help the kids get ready for school, get them breakfast, pack lunches, and all of that good stuff before I had to be out the door. I was even able to snap our traditional first day of school picture:
I went to my friends house on time, a real bonus for me lately. She gave me instructions and then the day began. Hilary and Eden played while I spent time talking to and holding Georgia. Oh how I miss that holding. Even though she is so much older than Tatum and feels really different because she does have a little bit of tone in her body, it is just nice to hold such a special person. Sometimes when she would look around the room I wondered who might be there administering to her. I know that angels are near with these special people. I feel like Georgia can see into my soul, much like I felt with Tatum. It sure keeps you on your toes a bit when you feel like someone can look into your soul. I miss that "soul check". It keeps you humble and keeps your eye on the prize of eternal life. It is too easy in our everyday lives to take our eye off of what is important. That picture above, that is what is important. What amazing people I have here with me, to be my family. My time with the girls went super fast. At the end of my time I was supposed to feed Georgia. Her mom told me that she is hard to get to eat sometimes if it isn't her feeding her. Well she was right. She did not want to eat for me at all. So many doctors refer to these special kids as "non responsive" or in a "vegetative state" or "unaware". Well, I am pretty sure that Georgia new that I was not her mom and that is why she wouldn't eat from me. She was well "aware" of what she was doing, she was smiling while I was talking to her mom asking if there were any tricks to get her to eat. Oh she knew that she was being funny. Silly girl. Grateful for a little Georgia time to fill my aching arms.
I went straight from there to drive the high school and then the Mountainville carpools. I got home and got people settled and then I went on a visit for the hospital. A sweet couple that will be delivering a baby that may not make it to birth and most likely may die shortly thereafter. Such a sweet family. It was a good visit because I feel like we were able to answer some questions that they had and to assure them that they were doing alright. I am always so sad to meet these new families because I know what is ahead of them. This road is not for the faint of heart. I just always hope that they will be able to withstand the heartache to come. You can only prepare so much for the reality that is about to come. It is unexplainable until you have felt it.
I got home and quickly made some bread to go with the dinner that I made yesterday that no one ate:) I thought if I made bread no one would notice that it was the same dinner from the day before. Apparently that does not work in real life! hmmm.
After we got everyone sort of settled here at home I went and met a few friends for a late night walk. I had not been able to exercise at all today because I never had time so it was nice to get a little something in. One of my friends had just sent her son a mission this morning. He went straight to the Mexico City MTC so she was, needless to say, a little bit of a wreck. I kept teasing her and telling her, just remember that he is coming back, and you will get emails, it's all good. I tease, but I do understand that it is so hard to send this person that you have invested 19 years of your life nurturing and watching over and protecting and teaching and then all of a sudden you can't talk to them for two years. Ahh. Not to mention he was going to a foreign country. Hard. Lot's of worry and stress. But he is serving the Lord and doing what he should be doing. These days that is a huge accomplishment on the parents and the missionaries part.
So overall this was just an emotion filled day. The good part is that we all survived it. One more hard thing that we made it through. To top it off, all of the kids had a pretty good first day at school. Hayden did say that he learned some new words while walking in the hall ways, but besides that he thought the high school was going to be fun. Halea, in true Senior form, forgot her lunch that I had so lovingly made:) Holden has a music teacher named Miss Holden, hilarious. Heidi being sweet Heidi made some new friends. This is not the year I thought or planned it would be. I so desperately wanted Tatum here with us. I wanted her to continue to teach us and those around her. But we are going to make the best of our time here. We will be better people and hopefully better examples because of her and Trevin. We will live life and make it good because we can.