"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

No Harbor for Hate

I went to an all-girl, Catholic high school. September 11th of my junior year our world changed. I walked into school late that morning and as I walked through the eerily quiet hallway I stopped just outside one of the physics labs to view the TV. The building was silent except for the low humming of the news coverage. 

The next day of school, again walking the same halls, I paused outside the same classroom as I had on September 11th. This time, I was not the only student who stopped to look through the doorway. No one paused to watch a TV, to listen to news coverage. Everyone paused because a beloved teacher looked drastically different. She, a Muslim woman, for the first time was not wearing her hijab. 

It was shocking. 

It was profoundly sad. 

It was apparent on her face that there was so much pain, so much sadness. Fourteen years later, I still remember looking through that doorway seeing her hair and her neck for the first time. It was a horrible, horrible feeling - like something else had been lost in all of this hate.

The next school year, she spoke to our religion class about her faith. She spoke of the history of Islam, her beliefs, how she chooses her faith, how Islam links to Christianity, to Judaism. It was a fascinating and important lesson for all of us. 

What was different for our class than the classes she had spoken to before, she spoke about September 11th and the day she chose to remove the hijab. When she spoke of that choice, that action, that same intense sadness flooded her face as it had the year before. She shared with us that it was her students that spoke to her about it while she tried to teach through it, tried to stay focused. It was her students who asked her to wear it again. To not be afraid. To continue to live every part of her faith. Her face slowly came to life when she shared that. She blotted away tears as the gentle smile returned. 

One of C's translators gifted us a prayer rug several years ago. He gifted me a head scarf as well. They are both beautiful gifts given with the deepest respect and kindness and good faith. He and C shared stories, shared their faiths, shared meals, shared cultures. I am grateful and honored to have these gifts. 

I am Christian. I am a conservative. I am a white woman. I am deeply, deeply disturbed by the hate that has poured out from my country. It saddens me, infuriates me. I always thought we were above this, that we were greater than this. That we were not this ignorant, we were not this vengeful. This hate fuels the hate of an ugly, barbaric entity that is gaining ground, is gaining strength, and legitimately threatens who we are as a nation, as a world, as a people. Such intense hate allows for their strength. The very existence of such thought threatens who we are, what we believe, what we stand for. It is not American. It is not Christian. To say such things, believe such things in "protection" of our nation, of a faith, is so misguided, so twisted, so far from truth. We will tear ourselves apart while the enemy watches, gains strength, recruits from our hate.

It isn't the nation I know. It isn't the world I want to live in. It isn't the America I want to give my children. I will not pass this hate to my boys. I will not give such a world to my kids. 

We are to be the beacon of hope, not a harbor for hate. We are to be the home for the weary, the persecuted, the hungry. We are to be sanctuary for people of faith or of no faith. We are to be the safe-haven. We are to give hope, to inspire dreams. This is the nation I want my children to know. This is the legacy I want them to fight for and cling to and pass on. To find Christ in people. To be as Christ to all people. To be the good. To search for good. To live with good.

We cannot be silent to hate. We cannot be good men and women and remain silent. How dare we let this become our nation, to let such a call come from a presidential candidate. To ban a religion! To ban a faith! To ban a classification of people. To treat others as less than. To classify people of a faith as less than

How dare we. 

Decades ago, our entire world said never again. Never again. How quickly we forget. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

For My Dad

A major event for my family took place earlier this week and I missed it. 

My head has been spinning and life has been too much and I simply, and horribly, forgot. 

On Monday, my dad retired after 34 years with the same company. 

I look a lot like my father. I have his hair color, his nose-shape, his face.
I have his poor eye-sight and not-so-awesome skin.

We communicate differently. 

He's (mostly) a quiet man.
He thinks deeply, shows emotion simply. 

I've learned a great deal from my dad. I have learned quite a bit more about him through knowing my sons. 

My dad grew up with very little. 

He was one of eight children in a three bedroom house in rural Illinois.

He worked from a young age. So many jobs - at home, outside of home. 
He worked as a janitor to get through school. He worked nights, went to school days. 

He studied hard
He worked hard. 
He accomplished much.

Thirty-four years ago with his young wife and new baby girl, he moved from the Midwest to the Deep South and the city of New Orleans to begin his career.

I have watched my dad walk across stage twice - for his second Master's and for his Law Degree. He obtained both of those while working long, long hours for the company he dedicated over half of his life to. He graduated eighth in his class when he received his juris doctor.

That isn't what is incredible to me. 

What is incredible is that I cannot remember a time that my Dad wasn't at our dinner table. I cannot remember a time that he wasn't at a soccer game that was important to me. He coached my brother's soccer team without ever having played. He learned the game because we loved the game. He read to us in silly voices, he prayed with us, he sang to us. He took us on trips - not the big, fancy amusement park trips, but the nearly "Griswold" trips where we loaded up in a minivan or station wagon (yes, with the wood paneling) and saw the country. We pulled over so he could show us rock formations which, while I hated it then, I find myself pointing them out to my kids now saying, "Papa could tell you what's special about that". He took the "scenic" route; he made us go camping. He and my mom took us to Yellowstone and to Mount Rushmore. He showed us the country. He took us to D.C. He took us to Chicago.  He made sure that when my brother walked across that stage for his college graduation thirteen hundred miles away in New York, we were all there to cheer for him. He let me take his arm the day I married C and he gave me away even though he didn't think I was ready. 

I cannot remember a time that I felt that he put us second. Not once. Not ever. 
He did not fail us. 

He left for work at five in the morning, every morning, so that he could do those things. So that he was present, so that he was active in our lives.

He expected the best of us without ever making us feel stifled. He believed we could in such a way that made us know we were able. Factual. Simple. 

So many times I saw him trying to process something in his head - an emotion, or a response, or something illogical - the way that I see Logan do nearly every day. Working so hard to understand the angle or the tone or the words. There is so much of my dad in the boy that looks so much like C. They share the same awkward humor, same whole-face-smile. There is still much of him in the younger one that looks like me. He must always be doing something. He sometimes walks to simply think or to not think. So very much the same. I'm very grateful for that. 

He has loved my mom fiercely for nearly forty years. He has raised five vibrant children and held my mother through the loss of one. He is the very best "papa" to eight living grandchildren and to two that I know laugh at his play as they watch over us all. 

His eyes twinkle when he laughs. He hums. He talks to himself as he works. 

He is both a man of science and a man of faith. 
A man of simple wants but of a complicated mind. 

He is the perfect example of fatherhood, of discipleship, of humility, of selflessness. 

I have watched his hands callus over and his hair turn to gray. I have learned about life watching a quiet man with a calming presence. He has always told his children to "do good things." 

He gave the highest example of that simplest request. 
He always gave his very best self even when he worried it wasn't enough. 

I promise you, Dad, there was never a time when it wasn't enough. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

They Will Say They Knew You When

For L ...

I wish I could make the hurt go away, buddy. I know how lonely you feel. Thank you for sharing that with me. Thank you for feeling that you can come to me and talk with me about it. Thank you for letting me into your mind and your heart and your beautifully and wonderfully made self.

I'm sorry that it's so hard right now. I'm sorry that it's hard for some people to understand. I'm sorry that when you are truly you, some kids say you're weird, or say they will play with "anyone but you." Kids aren't always kind. And as much as I hate, I really, really hate, how hard you are learning this lesson, I know you are going to come across "mean kids" for the rest of your life.

I would do anything to take away your sadness, buddy. Anything. I hate that I don't know the right way to get through this. I hate that the school I chose for you may not be the best fit. I hate that I might have to move you out of it and put you in a new school again. I hate that I don't know which is the right call.

I'm going to figure it out.

I'm going to find the right answer and the right words and the right next step. I don't know how this all works either. I'm learning every step, adjusting for each new challenge.

I'm sorry I don't always get it right.

I want you to know that I'm here. I will never think you are weird or want to hang out with "anyone but you". I think the way you think is beautiful. That the man you will one day become will be unstoppable and talented and dedicated and driven. You will be the master of your craft and you will find people who are masters of theirs.

Keep talking to me, buddy. Keep sharing your heart with me. I'm not going away. I'm not giving up. I know how amazing your ideas are - even though they are often things I cannot understand. I know how much you love them, how much you believe in them, and I absolutely believe in you.

One day it is going to be better. One day you will find your place. I promise, my (bigger) little giant, you will find your place in this world. You will claim your place.

Hang in there, little buddy. Your time will come.

And when you make your BIG imagination become a BIG TIME, kick-ass, change-the-world thing, that kid on the playground that said he would play with "anyone but you" today is going to say he knew you when.

Love you, kiddo. Keep pushing through.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear National Guard Spouse (The Homefront United)

Dear National Guard Spouse,
I see you.
I see that you are just like me. That you fight back the same tears, straighten the same shoulders, and force that same last, little smile when you watch him walk away not knowing if that is the last time.
I see you hold those same little hands and hold those same tiny bodies when they cannot understand why “daddy has to leave.” I see that you fight for the same strength, pray the same prayers, hope for the same hopes.
I see that you are fighting as hard as you can to simply survive on those days while an entire country calls for you to thrive ... continue reading here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Little Hearts

I watched as he bent down and kissed the little cheek of his baby girl one last time - she looked right at five or six months. I watched as his wife clung to that precious, little girl and kissed that same cheek as he walked away.

Her eyes found mine and I tried to offer a gentle smile. "My youngest was the same age the last time we said 'See you soon.'"

"Yeah?" she answered, beginning to blot away a few tears.

"Right at five months when his daddy left for a year," I shared. She nodded and kissed that bow-wearing head. "He ran right to him when he came home," I smiled.

"Thank you." she whispered as the tears came. "Thank you."

Easy" (Eli) asks for C every morning. Every, single morning he says, "I miss daddy." The second day after C headed out, Eli walked around and around the house, and finally came to me and said he couldn't find daddy anywhere. I remember Logan doing the exact same thing last time. The exact same thing. The exact same innocence.

My heart aches for these kids.

Logan doesn't know how to say or express how he's feeling. He has such a hard time labeling his emotions, knowing how to respond to them. I want to hold him through it. I want to take the sadness and anger and so much hurt away. They adore their daddy. So much of their life - our life - isn't physically here.

On my weakest days, on my hardest days like today when all I want is his very presence ... when all I want is for him to be able to physically hold my hand when he reminds me that one day this won't hurt so much, on those days, on this day, I know the purpose, I understand the bigger picture. I know that someone must go and this is his job, his purpose, his honor to serve.

I know those things. I am honored every day to be his wife, to be beside him.

But our precious kiddos - their little hearts must be so strong to be raised in such a "bigger picture," to be asked to give so much of those tiny, tiny hearts for a nation.

I hope I can be enough. I hope I can teach them enough. I hope I can carry them enough.

For their tiny, strongest hearts, I must be enough.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Forget

Some days there just aren't any words.

I will never forget. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dear Kindergarten Teacher ... From a Special Needs Mom

Dear Kindergarten Teacher,

Tomorrow I will hold the hand of my littlest little and walk him to you. I am not the mom to cry on this day. I am very much the high-five, fist-pump, "go take on the world" mom on the first day of school (if that's a thing). I didn't tear up when my biggest kiddo walked into another kindergarten classroom in another state not too long ago. It was an exciting day for both of us.

But tomorrow ... tomorrow my child is going to walk into your classroom and find his cubby and (I hope) find a friend. There is so much significance in that moment. Not just because it's the first day of his education, but because of the many, many days that came before. The many, many people who have walked him through to here.

My littlest little who will let go of my hand for yours, has already been working. He has already been learning and pushing and trying to thrive in an environment not at all familiar.

My littlest little sees our world differently because the world he lives in is not the same as the one we know. His language didn't match, and his expressions didn't fall in line. We lived through the "can'ts" and the "won'ts" and the "delayeds" and "not yets" and even the "nevers". He's already pushed through all of those things; he will push through them for the rest of his life.

He has worked. With his tiny body, and tiny hands, this precious kiddo has worked.  Therapy after therapy. Specialist after specialist. Ignorant bystander after ignorant bystander. My little giant has worked through days to the point that his body physically couldn't anymore. Until he crashed to sleep in the car after the hours and hours of assistance and help.

Very special people have loved my kiddo. People that saw him from the day of diagnosis, or who found him at the half-way point, or who have been there every step of it, through the melt-downs and the set-backs and the too many heartbreaks.  They have gradually and minimally been granted access to his beautiful, beautiful world and they have patiently and gently helped him live in ours. Dozens and dozens of people have worked to bring him here. When I walk into your room holding his tiny hand they are holding it too.

Tomorrow my little giant is going to shake your hand, his grey eyes will find yours, and he will say "hello" while looking you in the eye.  The significance of that, the countless hours of work that brought this moment to life! ... I hope you understand someday.

His little, little body has worked for that moment and for thousands of moments that will follow after.

Every part of your day with him may be different. Every task and event and direction may not be followed the same as a neuro-typical kiddo would. I know that my little giant will demand more of your time and your energy and, above all, more of your patience.

I promise you that I will be here every step of that. I will answer questions. I will communicate. I will help you. I will support you. I will be in your corner. I will give you what you need.

Give him a chance. Believe in him with me. He can do this. He is able. I will not tell him otherwise. I won't believe otherwise. I have seen what he can overcome. I have seen what he has pushed through. He is strong and smart and ready.

His diagnosis is not who he is. It is everything that he is more than. He is more than a label. He is more than a challenge. He is more than a struggle. He is more than an IEP.

He is also a nervous and scared five-year-old kiddo who will leave his biggest fan, his most avid supporter and enter a world that he does not know.

If there are tears in my eyes tomorrow, I want you to know that there is so much joy mixed in. There is fear and hope and joy. He has come so far.

He has come so far.
He has so much farther to go.

Thank you for guiding him with me.

- A Special Needs Mom

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Soldier's Promise (Repost)

A Soldier's Promise ...

I cannot promise you every night of my life. I cannot promise to be beside you for every difficult moment, every trial, every hardship. In truth, I can promise you that I will not be with you for most. I will leave you at inconvenient times. I may miss the births of our children. Any special date to us may be tainted with the anniversary of the death of one of my friends. I will ask you to take over whatever life we have built together for months and years at a time. And will then crash back into that life that you have used your sweat and your tears and your heartache to keep together and try to take it back as I knew it before. I will shut you out at times because it will be the best way for me to hold it together at that moment. I will lie to you. I will tell you I don't know things when I do. I will not always tell you where I am going, when I will be back, or who I am with. I may not call you for weeks and months and you will not be able to call me. You will ask questions that I won't answer. You will know answers to questions that you will hope you never need. I will share things with my brothers that you will never understand. They will know things about me that you never will. They will be a support to me in some things that you cannot be. I will miss birthdays. I will miss anniversaries. I will have to get to know our children over and over again. I may need time to process things that seem natural to everyone else. It will seem that someone - or something - will always take precedence over you. You may lose me long before you ever thought possible. I will uproot you and ask you to re-establish our family anywhere in the world, in any season, at any time - over and over again. Sand and mud will be tracked through your halls from the boots I am too tired to take off. I will leave you when you beg me not to. I will stand at attention while you cry beside me. I will not turn my head and I will walk away. I will knowingly break your heart. And I will do it again - and again.

I cannot promise you all of me. I cannot promise that to our children. I cannot promise you much of anything.

But if you will have me, I can promise that as I march away from you it is not without sharing your heartache. I promise you that every time I break your heart I will be breaking mine. Every time that I cannot answer you I will be protecting you. Whenever you want to call and you have no number to dial I will be wanting to do the same. I will protect everything that we have created together with every fiber of my being while you do the same back at home. I will honor you in everything - every moment that we are apart and every moment that I am with you. I will fight harder and push further knowing that I do so for you. I will see the faces of our children in every life that I protect. And I will carry you with me in everything until my sandy boots once again sit just inside our door.

Written by: Megan Williams
© 2011, all rights reserved
Do not use without permission.
Read "An Army Wife's Promise" here.

An Army Wife's Promise (Repost)

An Army Wife's promise ...

I cannot promise that I will not become frustrated when you leave me and the world seems to fall apart around me. I cannot promise that I will not curse those who sent you when the dryer breaks, and the transmission needs to be replaced, and the dog eats the couch all in the same week - most likely the week after you deploy. I cannot promise that the sand and mud that cakes my floor will not cause me to give you harsh looks and rude thoughts. I cannot promise that my heart will not be torn in twelve different ways when you march away from me. I cannot promise that I will not let my anger show when you refuse to answer questions. I cannot promise to understand why you share things with your comrades that you will not share with me. I cannot promise that there won't be times when my heartache makes its presence known before my pride can mask it. I cannot promise that I will not show my worry and my concern when it is best for you not to see it. I cannot promise to understand why you do so many of the things you do. 

But I can promise that for as many tears of sadness and frustration and anger that are shed there will be double that of tears of pride. I can promise you that for every time you are away from me, I will learn to cherish the times that you are with me. In everything I will honor you and honor your sacrifice. I can promise to teach our children to do the same. I will use every moment that you are not with them to show them the amazing man that you are through my actions and my pride. I can promise that there will never be a night where you are not the subject of my final prayer and the keeper of my dreams. I promise to try to be understanding that there are many things I will never understand. I promise to keep you with me in everything and to do my best to keep grace in this life. I will be strong for you as you are strong for me and I will carry you with me in every moment until your sandy boots again sit just inside our door.

Written by: Megan Williams
© 2011, all rights reserved
Do not use without permission.

Read "A Soldier's Promise" here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


"Does everyone understand this deployment can be extended to 12 months?"

I slowly moved my head to watch the faces. I've read the orders and I know they say up to a longer date than the timeline we are going with. I didn't see surprise but I did see deep breaths being taken. It's a possibility but it's always a possibility.

It didn't hit me until two days ago. It's so different this time around. He's not going into combat and for whatever reason that has stopped me from really thinking that much about it.

He's going to come home to me.

The wave finally came. The panic. The "no more time". The "but I want him here." I don't want to be in this house without him. I don't want to watch my kiddos cry for him. I don't want to watch him walk away and board that plane. I don't want the world to keep spinning while he is on the other side of it.

I don't want that day to come.

But it's coming.

I know how to do every, single one of those things. I know how to hold my kiddos and cry in the shower and hug a pillow that belongs to him. I know how to push through it, and thrive through it, and live through it. I know how to love this life while hating this part of it. I know how to understand the reasons for the mission and the time apart and the importance of what every single one of them is doing while hating every part of it at the very same time.

He's going to be okay. We're going to be okay.

I hate the dread. I hate the waiting.

But, my God, I love this man.
How much I am going to miss him.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nothing to Fear

Sometime in the next week or two, very specific forms are going to be pulled out. I've seen them before. I know them well. But every time they leave, we must process them all again.

Sometime in the next week or two, my husband will review his will. He will check back at names and details, remake decisions, decide again who would carry him home if the unthinkable became real.

Details none of us want to know but somehow can never forget.

Those papers will be held, filed, kept still.

Kept still.


This deployment will be different for us. We've never experienced something quite like it. He isn't going anywhere he's ever been. Isn't doing anything he's ever done. He won't be kicking down doors in Baghdad or living beside Afghans in Kandahar.

By all accounts and experiences, he is going to be safe. We joke that this is a long vacation rather than deployment. Hard work but "safe" work.

But then you look at that part of the world and you don't know if you can call any of it "safe".

I don't know if my heart will stop if the news shares that something happens somewhere over there. It will mourn, it will hurt, but that gut-wrenching, stomach-twisting fear ...

Because he will be "safe". I "know" he's coming home.

But in a week or two, someone is going to file those papers.

I won't freeze when someone rings my doorbell unexpectedly early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. I won't stand in my hallway and forget to breathe. I won't stand in silence while my son tells me there are people waiting outside.

I won't wonder if our life is changing in that moment.

I won't.

But in a week or two, those forms will be filled out again.

One more time, he will write his will. One more time, it will be filed and kept still.

One more time.

He's coming home to me. Always comes home to me.
How much I hate the waiting.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The House We Chose

"Which room does the crib go in?"

It caught me off guard. I knew somewhere in that truck was a very large wardrobe box with the baby swing I had just purchased after waiting for the "all clear" from my doctor. The LSU romper I had been carrying around for years just hoping. I knew in that box were the few things that were left, what friends had given me because we had so little still. Over the last three years, after each doctor told me how broken my body was, how not possible another child was, I had slowly let it all go. I slowly gave away the tiny little blankets and the supplies and the sling and the tiny little shoes and the adorable little towels.

I had let it go.

As best as anyone could. 

And the handful of friends who knew slowly dropped off the little things that they knew we would need. A precious ACU beanie for the hospital, maternity clothes because those were long gone.

I knew all of those things were in the box that I (thankfully) packed into one large wardrobe just days before we lost you.  I was ready for that box.

But your beautiful crib ...

When I chose this house - the house we just moved into. I chose it because of how close your bedroom was to mine. After seeing dozens of houses, I walked into this door and I knew. I knew this house was for our family of five. I knew this house was for you.

I walk by the room I chose for your room every single day and I miss you in a way I didn't know was possible.

I started losing you less than twelve hours after finding this home.

None of that seems fair.


PCSing is hard. Moving across the country, packing yourself, making everything happen that needs to happen ... it's a chaos we all learn to handle. It's a mode we go into. A "must do" mind set.
I had to push through that while physically and emotionally letting you go. It's something I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I am finally mourning you.
I mourn you every time I open that door.
And I think that is why we still chose this house. Why we still put in the offer and signed those papers.

Because you are here. 

There is so much pain in that. There is so much sorrow.

But somehow there is still joy in that and hope in that and strength in that.

You were the one who could "never be" but somehow still were.
I put my hands over you when I walked through these doors. I chose it for you.

You were here.

What a beautiful gift. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Speak Their Names

I've been at a loss for words for the attack on the protectors of this nation. I wanted our President to stand up and be strong for a nation. I wanted to see our nation fight for our troops for just once. I wanted to see our nation mourn. I wanted lives to STOP. I want a moment of silence. I want a televised address during prime time. I want a statement. I want a speech. I want condemnation. I want strength. I want anger. I want mourning.
I want the nation to feel broken the way that our military community is broken.
I want our nation's heart to break when terrorists work to break our military. I want you to care and I want you to be vocal. I want our nation to speak for us, and fight for us, and weep for us.
I want our worlds to be one. Our realities to be the same.
I want the country to stop. To take pause. I want you to SPEAK THEIR NAMES.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Your brother named you "Daisy".

When we told him that we lost you  ... when we told him, he asked if we could name you. Through quiet tears we said he could choose.

He asked if you were a boy or a girl and we asked him what his heart told him.

His heart told him you were a girl and after thinking on it for many hours, he came to me and told me he wanted to name you "Daisy".

Daisy is a beautiful name.

Three doctors looked at me and said you would never be. Two doctors said you would never make it to the very spot that you did. That, my dearest one, is in itself our miracle.

You made it. Through a twisted and confused body, you made it when they said you wouldn't and there was so much joy when we discovered that.

Hearing your heartbeat ... seeing your tiniest heart beat ... that moment will never leave me. It was so strong, so perfect, so wonderfully simple.
I was whole carrying you, protecting you.

We had waited for you.

We had long waited for you.

The moment that screen turned on to the black and white as it had just eight days before I knew you had left us. She didn't have to say it. I saw that your heart wasn't beating. That quick movement wasn't there anymore. I held one hand where your tiny body was, willing you to start again. Begging silently for you to come back to us. But I knew you couldn't. I knew before she apologetically said, "I'm sorry. There is no heartbeat". Knew it while she took measurements, while your daddy held my hand.
No one had to tell me.

I already knew.

All of me felt broken.

Know how much we loved you. How much I wanted to protect you, and nourish you, and bring you into this world. You were loved more than you can imagine, more than you can understand. In such a short time you brought so much joy.

So much joy.

They said you couldn't be, but, precious one, for just a short time you were.

I am so thankful for that.

Thankful that I was given the humbling honor of carrying you - of knowing what it is to grow life inside of me just one more time. I am thankful that your brothers beamed with joy when we told them you were coming, and that those same precious children held me when we heartbreakingly told them that we would have to wait to hold you one day.

I am hopeful that that day will come. When I get to embrace you in my arms and cuddle you to my chest. That your daddy will get to hug you and sing to you and love you the way we had planned for. You have such a good daddy.

You brought us joy and hope and laughter. You defied odds that brought happiest tears to our eyes.

You are loved, you were wanted, you were hoped for.

Until I can carry you again: My Daisy, I love you.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Logan the (Bigger) Little Giant

I think I knew before I knew about Eli. Even when Dr. T told me she wanted to evaluate our little giant, I knew.

So when the same doctor who leaned forward to give me the diagnosis for Eli, leaned forward again while Logan sat waiting beside me, the tears were few. I knew it for Logan. I didn't know it for Eli. 

We weren’t going to tell you. We weren’t going to put it out there.

It feels different when they are older. When their worlds are different. More complicated. More worries. 

Will someone bully my child?  Will someone write him off? 

Will he feel different? 

Everyday when Logan walks to meet me in the truck at school pick up, I watch him in my mirror. He almost always walks the slowest. Looking down at the ground. He’s not sad, not sulking. He is just walking at his pace. When you look at his face you might notice. 

He’s talking to himself. 

Making faces, sometimes moving his hands. But definitely talking to himself. Sometimes he’s acting something out and sometimes it’s like you can see the wheels turning, thinking through something big. His hands usually turn a bit when that’s happening.  I’m sure no one notices as much as I do (just a kid walking a bit slow). At first it made me so worried for him … about what people would think. 

Now I just enjoy watching. 

It’s called a “spectrum disorder”. It is such a massive spectrum. Eli … Eli’s made its presence known like a lion. So strongly, so suddenly, there it was. My kiddo … my kiddo banging his head until bruises showed through his white hair. And sleep! How can a child suddenly not sleep? I don’t mean changing patterns or losing a nap. I mean to truly not sleep for four straight days. It came like a storm and it changed our world. 

He changed our world. 

But Logan. 

Logan’s was as a lamb. There were little things, subtle. Markers that were noticed but so very small. He liked other children but was entirely content alone. He was always thinking. Always, always thinking. Even when he wasn’t speaking much. You could see it in his eyes. Always working through something. You may not notice at first that he stares past you when he talks to you. He looks right at you at first and then his gaze moves beyond you. He keeps talking, continues listening, but he isn’t looking at you.

As he aged we saw more and more how he struggles with sarcasm and jokes and grey-areas. He deals in absolutes and facts (or what he perceives to be fact) and black and white. He can remember the most random fact about an animal but forget your name after knowing you for a year. One day he stood in the kitchen for far too long because he couldn’t remember what the refrigerator was.

He has very little understanding of personal space. He struggles to regulate the volume to his voice. 

He has a hard time holding a pencil because his senses don’t work quite the same way as most. He wears out easily because his core isn’t as strong as most. He is intensely afraid of darkness and he has the hardest time making his brain go to sleep.

"It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential."
Hans Asperger

That’s Logan
That’s our kiddo

He sees our world in a different way. Our complicated, difficult, scary world … he sees that in a way I cannot imagine. Because his mind doesn’t sleep. His ideas don’t rest. 

My heart worries for him because he is my kiddo. One day someone else is going to notice that he is walking slow because he is talking to himself. One day someone is going to see that he’s having a harder time gripping his pencil or that he still struggles with naming letters individually. One day someone is going to notice that he wandered around the playground in a circle for the entire recess or that he yells or breathes heavily if you don’t let him finish his thought.

I know one day someone will notice. I know one day some other child is going to say something that isn’t kind about it. I know that day will come. 

Whenever it does we are going to walk him through it and love him through it and build him through it because different is not wrong. 

Different is what makes break-throughs in technology. Different is what creates our greatest art. Different is what cures diseases and defies odds and makes the world a better place. Different is what creates, what builds, what heals, what changes. 

Different is what changes the world.  

Different is a gift.

These kiddos are gifts. 

Little giants balancing two worlds miles upon miles apart. How much strength it must take. How strong they must be. 

How grateful I am to be their mom.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Where the War is Over

The husbands of two of our friends deployed to those places where the war is over last week. The day after Christmas, they walked out their doors with their duffles and rucks, and boarded separate airplanes to land in separate countries.

The day after Christmas.

To two counties that we are no longer at war in.

I heard "a military at peace" uttered by someone a few days ago.

A military at peace.


But they walked out the door. With their rucks and their duffles. They kissed their kiddos, hugged their spouses, nodded to the all-too-familiar plea "Come back to me." They boarded the planes. Their boots very much landed on foreign soil.

They were issued their weapons, body armor, helmets.

Their boots are on the ground in those countries where the war is over.

In those countries where they still need body armor, and armored vehicles, and bomb detectors, and helmets, and fire support, and guns.

Those countries where the war is over.

In the weeks before Christmas, they updated their wills. They hugged their children the day after; they stayed awake that night trying to think of everything and nothing. They prayed. They sat in silence to process, to prepare. They accepted their duty, answered the call, they chose to do their job.
They memorized the faces, thumbed away the tears, they laced their boots to go to those countries where the war is over.

How humbling to watch them go while so much of the nation does not know their boots are on the ground, that their families wait, that days are missed.

My prayers are with you. My thoughts are with you.

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Safety to our Soldiers. Strength to those who love them.