Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leftovers...

I realized something when I opened my fridge this afternoon.
This is going to sound strange, so just hang tight and go with me for a sec...
First off, let's make something clear...
I am not much of a cook.
Although substantially improved by earnest effort in recent years,
I am still definitely not much to write home about.
When I do bother, I typically make things that require little or no technical effort.
We eat a lot of fresh stuff that requires no actual cooking.
Salads, veggie trays, fruit plates, etc.
And I usually, purposely, make huge amounts so that we can share
or even just eat it for several days in a row ourselves.
(Lazy... I know.)
So today's revelation came as a bit of a surprise.
As I rummaged the shelves for something to throw together, it hit me...
Profoundly.
.
.
As it turns out,
I do not like Leftovers.
In fact, I think I might even hate them.
Aside from being a pain to store,
nothing ever tastes quite as good as when it is freshly prepared.
It's always a little too soggy.
A little wilted or a tad brown around the edges.
A bit crusty on top.
Or just a little thicker than it should be.
You know how they are.
Leftovers...
Not quite the same, but good enough, we say.
And so much easier!
Convenient.
I serve them to my family all the time!
In fact, sadly, maybe more often than not.
And I don't mean just for dinner, either!
Which brings me to my point...
How often in life am I giving those that matter most, my Leftovers?
These boys, who are my heart and soul,
often get whatever is '"Left-over" of me
whenever I think I am done with the rest of my commitments.
They get the little blob of energy that's left of me, after running around all day.
A cold slab of minimal effort, because I just want to be done already.
The crumbs that are left of my patience.
(Well, any that haven't already crumbled from dealing with other people's children.)
And if they are really lucky,
I might even top it off with the tiny little dollup of fun that I might actually have left.
But more often than they deserve,
they get the frantic, task-oriented Drill-Sargent Mom who is running short on time.
Or the exhausted, Do-It-Yourself Mom who is ready to collapse.
Even, occasionally, the grumpy, short-tempered, ornery Mom who is at my wits' end.
They get a signature on their homework slip for reading a story to me
while I made a mental grocery shopping list.
They get a "Woo-hoo" from me in the kitchen, amid the dinner preparations
when they play perfectly through their piano piece, all the way over in the Music Room.
They get a smile and an "Mmm, hmmm" when they show me their latest cool Wii maneuver,
Or tell me about the awesome play they ran in the football game at recess that day.
Neither of which, if quizzed, I could describe 30 seconds later.
They get a half-hearted high-five when they tell me their chores are done.
A two minute back tickle at bedtime, so I can rush to a set of photos that need editing.
Or a quick kiss goodnight as I run out the door for a Ladies' Night Out.
How often am I half-listening?
Looking past them?
Talking at them?
Or even in the same room, but far, far away in my thoughts?
All Leftovers...
I am serving them Leftovers.
Spending the majority of myself elsewhere
and then giving the little bit that's left, to them, as if it is enough.
I'm there, always, but am I really there?
I'm going through motherhood's motions, making mental lists.
Always the lists.
Planning ahead to the next thing.
The To Do's that can never be all the way done.
You know them...
The cyclical routines that fill our days.
Well, Matt told me of an incident that was his.
It occurred when I called him from the hospital that wondrous day.
Sobbed into the receiver that I needed him to come.
That Bronson was awake.
He ran to his truck and sped the 45 minute drive, as fast as he could safely get there.
But when he started his engine, there was a CD playing.
It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing.
"Glory to God on High."
Fitting...
He sobbed.
The next song that came on was a Men's Chorus
"Rise up, oh men of God,
Be done with lesser things..."
He sobbed harder.
Said it struck him through the core.
He arrived at the hospital, still shaking.
As I think of that now, I realize that this is the time.
The time for me, as well, to be done with lesser things.
The time to focus on what is most important.
Most lasting. Most eternal.
More than ever before.
Not the good things.
Or even the better things.
But the best things.
The very best things.
As you approach the center of a bullseye,
the margin for possible error becomes more and more narrow.
The degree of accuracy necessary becomes more and more pointed.
We are approaching that bullseye, my friends.
At an ever-increasing rate.
I, for one, am consciously re-committing to be done with lesser things.
To stop serving the Leftovers of myself to my family.
But instead to be fresh, ready and more present in the present.
Ready for them with a Feast.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthday Party Meltdown...

We had a little melt-down here at our home this morning...
The Mommy, who is admittedly still functioning on only half power,
completely FORGOT to take Trevan to a Birthday Party.
And not just any Birthday Party.
A very important Birthday Party.
A Best-Buddy's Birthday Party...
It had been over for an hour by the time he remembered
and asked me how much longer until it started.
Aye Carumba.
He melted...
Poor kid.
.
.
When you are six and you miss your Best Pal's Party...
the one you spent all week looking forward to...
the one we talked about just last night as we wrapped his gift...
Yeah, well when you miss THAT party
it is heartbreaking.
I felt awful.
As he shook with silent sobs,
I held him on my lap and noticed that his big, huge feet
now hang down almost to my ankles.
I took his face in my hands and asked him to forgive me.
He looked at me with those big green eyes and mumbled,
"It's okay Mom. I can go next year."
Ugh.
I wanted to crawl in a hole.
I called Hudson's Mom.
She saved the day.
"Yeah! We wondered where he was!", she said.
I apologized for being such a flake.
"Send him down for a cupcake and they can hang out for the afternoon," she invited.
Bless her heart.
I scraped my tender little boy up and glued him back together with this news.
He was thrilled and had totally recovered by the time he ran out the door, present in hand.
Thank goodness he is resilient.
Thank you, Gina!
And we owe you one, Hudsy!
We'll make it up to you!
.
Yeah, so just in case there was any question,
I am definitely NOT in the running for Mother of the Year!
I'm going to hang this photo up where I will be sure to see it... as a reminder... every day...
I have really GOT to pull it back together, uh?
Sheesh!
I added a few pictures from the Radiothon to the 2.26.2010 post...
If you are interested, see them inserted in the text below.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Potty Success!

What a big boy Dayne has been lately!
He even stepped it up another notch today...
He peed on the potty!
He was soooo proud of himself!
Can you tell?
.
.
Look at that huge grin!
And those awesome Lightning McQueen underoos...
Well, if they aren't the dang cutest thing ever!
.
He was adamant about doing everything all by himself...
Flushing bye-bye...
.
.
Washing "wif soap"...
.
.
On his tippy-tippy toes...
.
And racing down to the Game Room Candy Store to pick out a sweet treat!
.
.
A Dum-dum, of course! His fave!
.
.
Hmmm...
.
.
Maybe this big boy stuff isn't so hard after all!
In response to this:
(A comment left this morning at 2:44 am:)
"Sara and/or fellow commentator's...
"I am sure you are swamped and don't ever have any time to read or respond to these blog comments,
but I notice as I have read other people's comments, I noticed a few said, "erased by author".
Are there requirements for these kinds of things?
If there are I would love to know,
so that I don't make a mistake and/ or offend anyone."
and another similar inquiry...
.
.
Please know that I do, NOW,
read every blog comment, e-mail and facebook message that comes my way.
In the hospital, that was difficult because of the sheer quantity of comments.
I scanned them and did read most,
gathered their intent and was buoyed up by their sentiment.
So please accept my sincere and heartfelt gratitude.
But my emotional state,
my anxiety about staying by Bronson's side and not leaving,
and my obsessive need to document every detail of the daily occurrences
not to mention my utter lack of sleep
made it difficult to actually read them all or comment in reply.
Even once we were home, I needed a few days to just... BE.
But now that I am trying to function like a real person again, I do make the effort.
Just so you know.
I do hear you.
And thank you... Thank you all for reaching out.
We have felt so loved and supported.
So please don't think that I don't take the time to read
what you take the time to write
and to send.
Because I do.
.
But as for the "erased by author" question, I can not say why.
Many of them have time stamps that are identical or similar to the post above or below.
Perhaps they were duplicates or contained errors that the author wanted to correct?
And to clarify, "erased by author" means they were erased by the author of the comment,
not by me, the author of the post.
I have done no moderation or editing of comments at all.
None.
Not even once.
.
I was told of only one unkind comment that came in to our blog
during the time we were at the hospital.
It was lengthy and pointed, I am told.
A dear friend was alarmed and concerned about me seeing it, fragile as she felt I was.
She petitioned another dear friend, of the tech-geek variety ;),
and together they guessed at my password, until they hacked in to my blogger account
and removed the unkind post before I could see it.
Thanks to them.
Very thoughtful.
I am guessing it included many of the same points
I was reamed for on the KSL comment boards,
after Bronson's story aired on the news.
Regrettably, those I did read.
Until Matt made me stop.
And I'll be honest,
they hurt my feelings.
A lot.
For about two days.
And then I realized that there are many people who do not know me.
Do not understand me.
Do not care to understand me.
Many people who are unhappy.
And who choose to be critical of others.
I believe this is done in an effort to feel better about themselves.
To extract some of their own pain and fling it out onto someone else.
Someone they judge.
Someone they feel that they are better than.
And I was just the one they threw their stones at that day.
These brothers and sisters in spirit who have forgotten me.
But surely they've moved on to someone else by now.
Sad. So sad.
Oh, how I wish they could see themselves the way their Father in Heaven does.
I wish they could see how much they have to share
if only they'd let themselves be opened, and then filled.
Filled with something better and sweeter than the anger, bitterness
and judgement that consumes them.
Oh, friends...
Let us learn not to judge.
But instead allow ourselves to love, unreservedly.
And to forgive, unconditionally.
Let us encircle one another in arms of safety.
With open hearts, willing to see and understand another's anguish.
Let us give freely,
benefit, that casts out doubt.
Let us leave the judging for The Judge.
And let us be masters of mercy.
And benevolence.
And so, my dear anonymous friend,
thank you for your question.
Thank you for the sweet comment that followed.
And thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this issue,
I'm sure you were not the only one wondering.
And please let yourself rest at ease...
I try never to be offended.
If you haven't guessed by now, I am an open book.
For better or for worse, I am outed.
But feelings, I think, are much better out than in.
And besides, offense has to be taken.
Picked up and owned.
And I choose to leave it lying.
Alone, by the side of my path.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today is the day...

This evening we had the amazing opportunity to go back to the hospital.
What? Why!?!
Why BACK to the hospital, you ask?
Well, quite simply, because we needed to go.
KSL Radio invited us to come and assist in their annual fundraiser
for Primary Children's Medical Center.
So of course, we absolutely agreed.
.
.
We were thrilled at the chance to give back in any way.
If there is any way we can help that wonderful place and those amazing people,
we will absolutely do it... for the rest of ever.
They gave us our boy back.
Healed and whole.
How can you ever put a price on the life of your child?
We could pay that hospital bill a hundred times over and never come close to repaying them.
They did what we could not do for ourselves.
Some people believe that medical science and faith are at odds.
At opposite ends of the spectrum.
I believe they are two languages telling the same story.
Seeking the same eventual truth. Perhaps with varying methods.
Or differing means working towards the same end. The same goal.
I believe our loving Father in Heaven guides the hands and the hearts of those here on earth
who have the knowledge and training to assist Him.
I believe that He allows us to do as much as we can do, to the best of our abilities,
to allow us to learn and grow, and to further research and knowledge.
And then I believe He steps in with His grace, and does the rest of the work necessary
to accomplish His will, whatever that may be.
In Bronson's case, it was for him to LIVE.
And not just live, but live HERE.
And not just here, but WHOLE.
Again, we could NOT be more grateful.
Ever so grateful.
Yet this gift we've been given will not go without price, philanthropically speaking.
And we are eager and ready to pay it in whatever way we can.
Expecting much of ourselves and our family.
We will serve willingly wherever we can.
Like at the KSL Radiothon.
And so we dropped everything, made the arrangements and went.
.
.
Which turned out to be very good for me.
And for my soul, still healing.
And even good for Matt, who does NOT like the spotlight.
.
.
Little B was charming, sweet and full of smiles and spunk.
He ate up all the attention.
Was into everything.
.
.
Ran around like crazy.
.

Played fetch with the stuffed moose.

.
High-fived the tech-guys.

Explored the set.

.
Flirted with the team of call takers.

.
And won over the hearts of the KSL TV and Radio personalities.
.
Like Carole Mikita and Doug Wright.
.
.
What a cutie.
They all loved him.
He ate popcorn from a cup and threw it onto the floor.
.
.
Which we tried our hardest to prevent, but well, that's why parents have hands.
And why they make vacuums.
To clean up messes.
.

So we told our story yet again.
.
.
(Twice actually.
TV News and News Radio.)
And asked for help.
Not for us, but for the hospital.
And for other children who need it.
We asked people to open their hearts and their wallets and give to a worthy cause.
There is still plenty of time.
The Radiothon goes through tomorrow.
We aren't the type that like to ask for things.
Especially for money.
But if you feel so inclined,
and if you have a dollar or more to spare,
this would be a wonderful way to spend it.
It all goes toward a deserving child.
Every single penny.
.
If you can find it in your heart, click here.
or call here: 1-800-762-PCMC (7262), or locally 801-575-KIDS (5437).
.
Maybe we can help another family take their child home!
.
.
Post script:
In reply to some of the questions and comments left in response to this post...
I apologize if I was not clear.
Thank you for allowing me to clarify...
Matt and I chose to participate in the KSL Radiothon
because it raises money to benefit Primary Children's Hospital.
Exclusively.
We were in no way soliciting funds for ourselves.
That facility and the medical personnel who helped to heal our son
will forever be worthy of our time and our efforts.
It is a cause we hope to adopt for the remainder of our lifetime
because it is now near and dear to us.
To be clear, Primary Chidren's Medical Center is a non-profit organization.
Their mission statement is "The child first and always."
Thus, they provide medical care for all children alike,
including needy children from around the entire Intermountain Region,
regardless of that child's ability to pay.
Physicians at the hospital actually donate their services
for patients who recieve charity assistance.
Our hope was that by sharing Bronson's story, we could garner some support for the hospital.
For them to continue to help other children.
Children who can not afford to get well on their own.
There are many annual fundraisers that benefit Primary Children's,
including TV and Radiothons and the door-to-door "Pennies by the Inch" drive.
We hope to be available to assist in many of these efforts over the years.
We will never tire.
We feel that where much is given, much is expected.
And we could not have received a greater gift...
Bronson's life was literally brought back to us.
And the experience we had there was life changing for us as well.
Not only did they give full-time and ever-diligent effort to our child,
even when it seemed unlikely for him to ever recover,
but they cared for us, his parents, while we were in shock, anguish and despair.
They helped us to prepare our other boys for what they were coping with.
Truly, they treated and helped to heal our entire family.
We have very tender feelings towards them and the amazing work they do there.
Every. Single. Day.
Anything that we can do to help them continue in their efforts there
will be a very small price to pay.
.
While we were at the hospital, I read a poster with a quote from Abraham Lincoln.
Good ol' Honest Abe.
He really was good.
And honest.
.
.
"To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own."
.
It struck me so strongly.
I knew this was the key the moment I saw it.
And we have tried to do that.
Tried to share the surplus of support we have been blessed with.
Tried to share and ease the burdens of others we have met and love.
But today...
Well, today I am making a choice.
This trip to the hospital tonight was as much about healing me
as the last one was about Bronson.
I have decided.
I am done feeling guilty.
I am done being ashamed.
I am done feeling like the poster-face for negligent mothering.
I am done beating myself up for a momentary lapse in judgement.
I am done feeling feeling crappy about all the pain I have caused.
Because I am not perfect.
Never will be perfect.
Not in this life.
But I can make a difference.
I can lift another's burden.
I can look for ways to serve. Give back. Share.
And I have found a voice.
That voice is getting stronger the more that it speaks out.
And as I speak from the keys on this little laptop,
I find my heart full and overflowing, often with words that are not mine alone.
For God has found a way to use me to strengthen others.
To strengthen you.
Perhaps this was not something I did, but something He allowed to happen.
For my own good. And for the benefit of others.
Knowing that I am stronger than I feel.
And have more to share than I knew.
But believing I had the tenacity to discover it.
Knowing Bronson's miracle would lead to others as it's ripples spread,
touching lives around the globe.
And so...
Today is a new day.
The day I learn to turn my pain over
and allow it to be washed away with the joy all around me.
I am still not sure exactly how, but only that it's right.
And that it's time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I cried again this morning...
Who would have thought I could even have more tears?
The fountain should have run dry long ago...
Another nightmare.
5 am.
I woke disturbed.
Couldn't shake that dreadful feeling.
The burning in my throat.
The one I try to blink back, back, back behind my eyelids.
That haunting emptiness that lingers underneath your gut,
threatening to overturn you.
Sleep was not a ready rescue or a willing ally.
.
I dressed for the gym, thinking I could outrun it.
Or out"ride" it rather, since it's Tuesday, which means it's my morning for Spin Class.
But then I thought of all the eyes I'd have to meet as I walked through the door,
inopportunely at the front of the bicycle fleet,
aglow in light from the brightness beyond.
Even in the darkened room, they would see my anguish.
Feel my shame.
I did not not want to cry with strangers.
Not even with dear friends, who I knew were watching,
waiting,
probably already spinning,
an empty bike at their side,
reserved for me.
Just another way
I'd let another someone
down.
Someone who was counting on me.
With that thought, the guilt that had been lurking in the shadows of my heart
came pounding in, claws curling, teeth bared, ready to consume me.
And so the tears began...
And then refused to stop.
Too much for today.
At not even 6 am.
.
So I stayed, scraping myself together,
and deciding to work on the last little piece of Cub Scout Pack Meeting for tonight.
The piece that is still mine.
The very small piece.
With a sigh, I realized all the friends who have had to step in and carry more than their load.
Do more than their job.
Because I've been gone. Busy. Otherwise detained with something much more important.
A matter of life and death, in fact.
And I cried harder.
And ached deeper.
.
To distract myself, I decided to download some photos.
Ones still waiting patiently in my camera, for their turn on my To Do List.
I'd barely regained my composure when the Images slowly appeared,
one by one on my screen.
Last week's trip to the Fire Station.
To visit the men
who first appeared
to help to save my son.
Through flooded eyes, I could barely see their brave and handsome faces.
Each of them so dear, although I barely know them.
Remarkable men... whom I had dumped my burden on.
Someone's brother.
Someone's son.
Someone's husband.
Someone's daddy.
Someone who fearlessly and instantly came, sirens blaring. To try and patch up my mistake.
Someone who's heart hung heavy, worrying their effort might have been be in vain.
Not enough to fix what I had done.
The weight of guilt can be physically crushing.
I looked away and shook their faces from my head.
Abandoning them for a stronger day.
.
And then another Image took the stage upon my screen.
My "Smalls"...
My TWO sweet little boys, shirtless, clad only in diapers and their priceless smiles,
strapped safely in their highchairs laughing at me.
Oh, what I had put them through.
Oh, what I had nearly taken from them.
The horror of what almost was washed over me,
through every fiber of my soul.
The tears were silent now, just steady streams of heartache.
Spilling out of eyes that could not bare to look.
Oh, how could I have born that agony?
How could I have gone on?
One less?
I surely would have crumbled.
.
6:15.
A quick check of my e-mail reminded me that it's not quick anymore.
Yes. I've read many. Gleaned most.
Absorbed them, really.
Tried to use them to fill that empty, aching hole of remorse.
But nevertheless, I am sure I've missed a few.
Still 4, 500 messages in my Inbox.
Not even counting the comments on our blog...
All those people...
Family. Friends. Neighbors. Friends of friends and neighbors. ...Even strangers.
Surely representing exponentially more that wept silently, without leaving a word.
Look at what I've done?
The ripples are so far reaching there's no telling where they'll stop.
So much sadness.
So much heartache.
So much anguish.
So many people cried for our boy.
So many people ached with us.
So many people I hurt.
Literally, around the world.
With one. Simple. Slip.
If you've ever thought you were alone, think again.
If you've ever thought you were an island and your choices were yours alone, think harder.
If you've ever had the audacity to feel lonely... Well, Ha! I have, too!
But we were both wrong, you & I.
No one is ever alone.
Ever.
Look at all... these... people...
Brothers and sisters in spirit
who I have pulled momentarily away from their own lives with my profound imposition.
Scrolling, still scrolling, my tears began to slow.
Now I feel like I'm the one who's drowning.
In the guilt and the regret.
As the immensity of responsibility threatens to overtake me.
It's just so big. And I, so very small.
Oh, how sorry that I am.
How very, very sorry.
.
Matt got the big boys up.
Made them a hot, cooked breakfast, like any other normal morning.
And at some point, he left for work.
Somehow I went through the motions of getting them ready for school.
Showered, dressed, beds made and back-packs packed.
And off they went with a kiss and a prayer.
My smalls still sleeping, I tried to go about my morning routine.
Already out of rhythm..
.
And so I called my sweetheart.
Told him how awful I felt.
Cried pathetically.
Told him about the guilt and the regret.
He listened.
Told me to remember that the blessings
far outnumber the mistake.
The joy far outweighs the pain.
Said the only one blaming me is me.
And perhaps a few unhappy strangers who do not know my heart.
Reminded me that the benefits of sharing our story far overshadow the risks.
Says he's grateful for all I've said.
Repeated, again, how much good has come of this, already.
Pointed out, again, how we have been used as instruments in the hands of God
to show His love, His mercy, His grace and His miraculous power.
He helped me to see what a pivotal occurrence this has been.
So many lives touched.
So many strengthened.
So many people reevaluating. Re-prioritizing.
So many kind, supportive words expressed.
So much faith renewed.
So many prayers petitioning heaven.
So many principles practiced with purpose.
So many, uniting.
So. Much. Power.
.
Man... he's getting good at this whole girlfriend pep-talk thing.
He also threw in a little plug about my need of sleep
and carefully suggested that I might be slightly more emotional than usual.
.
I felt a little better.
Like I could maybe do today after all.
.
Now I need to make something very clear...
I do not share this incident because I am fishing for any sort of consolation.
In fact, I think I'll try to turn off the comment section for this post,
for I know just what you'll say.
(I know what I would say if I were you...)
So thank you.
Thank you for hearing me.
You've saved me thou$ands in therapy, I am sure.
Thank you for putting yourself in my shoes.
Trying to imagine what it's been like.
Even though you do not want to, I assure you.
Thank you most of all for learning vicariously from our experience.
And pledging not to make the same mistake or any other like it.
Promising to remember and to try a little harder.
To stay more focused. To be more diligent.
To let the little things wait while you give more heed to that which really matters.
For the scope of what we've learned goes far beyond the bathtub.
Please appreciate each moment.
For once it's over, it is gone forever.
Do not let it leave you with regret.
If you are blessed with children in your life,
please embrace them for the amazing people that they are within.
Try to look them in the eye whenever you speak with them.
Connect, soul to soul, each and every day.
Allow yourself to be amazed and humbled by their depth and by their strength.
Respect them, even in their tiny, grubby packaging.
Thank them for the lessons that they teach you.
Even the painful, inconvenient ones.
For truly, what would you rather be doing anyway?
.
As for me, I have more reasons to rejoice than I deserve!
And believe me, I am so so grateful!
Yet there is still a part of me that's struggling.
Grappling with what I need to do and how to do it.
Knowing that where much is given, much is also required.
Well, what more could I be given?
And while I feel inadequate and insecure in a role that's way too big for me to fill,
I also recognize that this means there's room for growth.
.
And I'm still fighting to forgive that girl I live inside of.
But it will come, I'm sure. In time.
I know it will because it always has before.
I don't do grudges.
They are and never have been good for anyone.
I just have to figure out exactly how to grant myself that same type of pardon,
which is so much easier for me to hand to others.
Yet somewhere deep down I know
that as I find the strength to turn my broken heart over to my loving Savior, Jesus Christ,
that He will heal it.
That through His Atonement, which was on my behalf, as well as yours,
I will find the power to become better.
To accept the forgiveness He has already granted and to extend it to myself.
.
As for now, I want to share my hope.
And my conviction.
I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us.
Who knows each of us by name.
Who knows infinitesimally what we need at each and every moment.
He hears our prayers.
He answers them.
He has a plan that we do not always fully understand.
He has an army of angels, ready to fight on His behalf and spread His word,
both here and on the other side of the veil, between this life and the next.
We are mindful that some who have lived this nightmare we've endured,
have had their sweet babies called home into His loving arms.
There were many times we feared that would be His will.
We were afraid but ready to accept it.
But for some reason, Bronson was allowed to stay with us.
Our loving Heavenly Father divinely intervened with the course of nature
and allowed our son to be healed.
Not only to survive, but to be restored. Fully.
He allowed Bronson to be brought back
under the worthy hands of his father's Priesthood blessing
and then repaired by the capable hands of doctors and nurses
who saw unprecedented and expedited results to their procedures.
We could not be more grateful.
We stand as fervent witnesses that He is a God of miracles.
We do not wish to overstate, but we know that a true and utter miracle
was certainly granted in Bronson's life and in behalf of our family.
We know that miracles are given as a benefit to all mankind.
This is much, much bigger than we are.
We feel the weight of this solemn responsibility.
An obligation coupled with a true and heartfelt desire to share his story
in hopes of strengthening the faith of others and cementing our own.
We hope to help Bronson grow to be worthy of the mission he is already fulfilling.
What a strong and incredible spirit he has.
He has overcome all odds.
He has not accepted limitations.
He has fought and defied all restrictions, and all while winning hearts with that contagious smile!
We are so blessed to know him.
To be taught by him.
We are thankful to know that our family is eternal in nature.
We love each one of our amazing boys and are so proud of each of them.
We find peace in the love and unity we enjoy within our home.
We are learning to embrace the imperfections.
To think of them as opportunities.
And we thank each of you...
For loving us beyond what we deserve.
For reaching out to us in our utmost time of need.
For answering our private prayers without even knowing it.
For lightening our burden and sustaining us.
Mourning with us while we mourned.
Comforting us while we stood in need of comfort.
You are truly angels here upon the earth.
May God bless you!
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And may we all find the strength and the courage
to seek out another such family wherever we may be
and continue on in service.
Let us be always an army of refuge and support.
Of love and of light.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Normal" is as normal does... right?

As we try to settle back in to our life,
everything feels so similar, almost comfortable...
but somehow surprisingly different...
I guess we are still trying to find a new "normal"...
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But this is about as 'normal' as it gets around here!
STRAPPED tightly into their highchairs,
side-by-side,
giggling at my silly lunch-making antics...
like Peanut Butter & Jelly Peek-a-Boo.
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These two little stinkers are like two peas in a pod!
B follows his big bro around all day, just starstruck.
Mimicking every motion and gesture. Repeating the inflection of every phrase.
Eager to be on to the newest mischevious adventure.
D eats it up.
Loves to be the center of attention. Loves to be adored.
Such a pair.
Oh, what would I do without the TWO of them!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

B Strong... B Fit... Be One... B THERE!

As we acclimate back into "real life"
and marvel in the joy of just being HOME together,
our wonderful, a-MAZ-ing and completely over-achieving sister, Mindy,
is putting this great event together in our behalf.
{Sigh}
The blessings just seem to have no end.
We are absolutely thankful.
(Thanks, Mind!)
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We are also grateful
that this will provide us with a much-needed opportunity
to thank so many of you for your love and support,
and allow us to throw you a bit of a Thank-You Party!
. .
So whether you run, or not... please
Come celebrate the gift of life with us
in honor of Bronson's second chance!

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There will be a 5K and a Children's 1 Mile Fun Run.
Both starting at 9 am
Food, Games, Prizes, Raffles, Bounce Houses!

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Register online @:
https://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1839825
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We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today I am grateful...

Today I am grateful...
For the little pile of fishy cracker crumbs I get to vacuum from beneath the kitchen High Chair...
For the big, slobbery kisses smeared at the bottom of my full-length Bathroom mirror...
For two stinky little bums to change, and a diaper genie I get to empty...
For onesies to bleach... and wash... and fold... and put away for another day's use...
For bottles and sippy cups to empty from the Dishwasher...
For the pudgey, pounding little Fred-Flinstone-feet that toddle to answer our doorbell...
For the kisses blown abundantly to strangers, and to friends alike...
Sometimes even at me.
I am thankful for the never-ending chaos...
Grateful for the grimey little smudges on my Television screen...
Delighted to re-roll the potty-paper from half way across the room... yet again....
Appreciative of the wild, little maniacs I am able to chase and tickle to hysteria...
Oh, those contagious little giggles...
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How I adore them.
How undeserving, and yet how exultant I am to collect them.
How welcome are those eager little arms, wrapping around their Mommy.
{Sigh}
Oh, how very fortunate am I...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweets...

Just to give credit where credit is due,
it was my sweet Matt, Bronson's loving and adoring Daddy,
who made the Video in the prior post (below)...
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And it is the best Valentine's gift I could ever receive...
To have our little family ALL together in THIS part of our forever.
We don't have to wait until the eternities to be together again...
We are all here.
Today. Here. Now.
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It was his faith that sustained me.
His arms that wrapped me in warmth in that cold, lonely hospital.
His sweet forgiveness that means more to me than anything else.
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I thought I loved him on our wedding day.
I knew I did when we had our first baby boy.
And then more and more with each of the others.
But I did not even know who he was then.
I did not know the depth of his soul or the quiet power behind those warm brown eyes.
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He is a man of few words.
(Well, compared to me at least...)
But whatever he shares is always sincere. Genuine. Enough.
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I feel like the luckiest, most blessed girl in the world today.
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Love you, Sweets. I am forever yours...
Happy Valentine's Day.
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Love,
Toots

Bronson's Miracle

We thank you forever for your prayers and your faith on behalf of our little family. We can not thank you enough for helping us to call down the healing powers of heaven to fix our broken little boy. We know that Bronson lives today because it is Heavenly Father's will that he be allowed to stand as a testimony of His miraculous power . We hope to make the most of this second chance. There are truly no words that can express gratitude of this magnitude. Just joy... Pure joy!
Love- The Staker Family

Friday, February 12, 2010

Undisputed Champion of the World...

Ummm... yeah...
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So as you can see, the Physical Therapy Appointment this morning went well...

Coming home...

I type with one hand while I hold him...
as he helps every so often from my lap.
fedasx
There that was from him.
We just wanted to share more amazing news!
We are going home today!
HOME!
They see no reason to keep him!
When they discharged us from PICU to NTU yesterday,
there was talk of sending us home.
But they wanted to watch his pneumonia one more night
and so we stayed.
He slept on my chest all night, wanting his mommy.
Forgiveness is sweet.
We are heading to an Physical and Occupational Therapy Session this morning
at the hospital's Rehabilitation Gym.
Then we will say good-bye to beloved friends,
pack up the zoo of assorted new bedtime pals and come home with out little miracle.
Just wanted you to know what your prayers have done.
Words are utterly useless.
None sufficient to express relief and gratitude of this magnitude.
But thank you.
THANK YOU.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Survived the Press interview...
{Insert BIG sigh of relief...}
They all seemed really nice.
I'd been worried...
Hoping they'd give things the positive spin they deserve.
But they were hoping for a story with a happy ending.
...This place needs one this week.
Thank goodness Bronson is the miracle they were looking for...
The miracle we were all looking for!
Oh, thank you Heavenly Father for granting us a miracle!
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Sooo...
If you'd like to see our sweet boy on TV,
tune in to Channel 5 News at 6:00. Or Channel 4.
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Unfortunately, you'll also have to watch me ramble to the cameras,
wearing clothes I dug out from the bottom of my bag.
Clothes I've worn 3 other times this week and slept in twice, by the way.
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Will someone please DVR it for us?
Bronson will love to see himself on TV.
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And maybe someday I'll want to roll my eyes at myself on camera.
Gag...
I really hate to be on the wrong side of the camera...
I'd much rather be behind it!

Big Steps Forward...

As if we haven't had enough miracles...

This morning we've made another few big steps toward coming home!

B is walking!

He is playing fetch with his new favorite ball!

(Thanks, Auntie Krista!)

And he is off all oxygen and support and is on only minimal monitoring.

No one can believe it!

It is all smiles here!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poor Little Bobble-head...

Brons has lost so much weight, he almost looks like a little Bobble-head!
Poor kid!
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. video
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But hey, we are just thrilled to see him, skin & bones, sitting up by himself
and holding up that big, giant noggin without help!
And seriously, look at those poor, tired, baby blues...
He can barely keep his eyes open!
Our little guy has just been through the ringer!
Cross your fingers for a good night's rest...
Heaven knows we could all use one!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marching one by one... Hurrah, hurrah!

More playtime fun!
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video
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A few small steps... giant leaps!

Just to keep things fun, I thought we'd tip you the other way, just to even things out...
(Sorry... I'm a photographer, please remember... NOT a videographer!)
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video
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Here's B thinkin' he can just toddle right on outta here!
"Come on guys! Let's go!"

"Do As I'm Doing" happy time...

If you know Bronson well,
you know that his FAVORITE thing in the whole world
is the song "Do As I'm Doing".
That little turkey will come running from anywhere in the house
as soon as he hears anyone singing it...
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video

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So when the big bros came for a visit last night,
they just had to have some play time!
So fun!

Sweetest smile in the world...back again...

Sorry this is sideways... I am too tired to try to figure out how to rotate it.

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video

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Just tip your head sideways and enjoy! ;)

Words can not express...

I am speechless...
And you all probably know by now, that takes a lot...
Wow...
What a difference 24 hours can make.
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I'm not even going to TRY to describe.
Joy...
Pure joy!

AWAKE and back in our arms...

{Insert happy sigh here}...

He is awake!

. video

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...and back in our arms!

Remember that hunch?

WE HAVE A MIRACLE HAPPENING HERE IN ROOM 2314!
I want to shout it from the rooftops!
My fingers can barely type,
I am shaking...
BRONSON IS AWAKE!
HE IS HERE!
HE IS LOOKING AT ME!
HE IS TRACKING THE TEDDY BEAR WITH HIS EYES!
HE SMILES AT ME WHEN I TICKLE AND PLAY WITH HIM!
HE REACHES FOR THINGS WITH REASON!
HE RESPONDS TO OUR COMMANDS!
WORDS CAN NOT EXPRESS...
HE IS IN THERE AFTER ALL!
LIGHTS ON!
HE LOOKS JUST LIKE MY BOY!
JUST LIKE OUR BOY!
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Just a few minutes ago I came into his room.
I crashed hard-core last night.
Could NOT keep my eyes open any longer.
Slept too late this morning.
Can't remember the last time I slept that long.
I walked in his Room about 9:45 in the middle of an Occupational Therapy session.
They tried to get him to sit yesterday. It did not go well.
Today, they thought they'd try lowering the Precedex.
That darn Precedex...
About half an hour after they turned off the sedation,
he began tracking between the Occupational Therapist and his Nurse, Heidi.
They were shocked.
They tried to call me but there is no cell phone coverage in the parent sleep cells.
Then I slept through the overhead page.
Man, were they excited to show me when I walked in the room!
It was that Precedex.
I KNEW it!
It was the only thing I could think of as we'd poured over his chart looking for an explanantion.
Apparently even the uber-low dose they had him on was too much for his virgin blood.
(He's like his Mama... Just a couple tylenol will knock me out...)
The Nurse Practitioner showed me a text on his pager from our Nurse Heidi, that said
"Bronson is awake and surprisingly alert. Tracking. Sitting. There is no reason this kid needs to be intubated. You must come see! "
All the hospital staff and nurses who love him have been in to see already.
They are thrilled!
We called Daddy.
He wept.
He is driving as fast as he can to get here safely.
He told me of the prayers and scriptures he and our big boys had read together last night.
The tender prayers and the first fast of Bronson's sweet brothers have done this.
The faith of his Daddy has brought this to pass.
The prayers and faith of all of you, collectively petitioning Heaven on his behalf.
The will of God has been shown...
To use our tiny sweet strong and incredible boy
as an instrument in His hands.
To unite strangers and loved ones in faith.
To bear testimony of His love and His power.
We thank you for your prayers.
We thank you for the power of your fast.
We thank you for your faith and sustaining love and support from across the globe.
God IS a God of miracles.
Let us never never forget!
Let us never be afraid to share our testimonies boldly.
Unabashed.
I have a million things to share, but will keep this short, so I can go and be with my boy.
He is back!
Oh thank Heaven he is back!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bronson's True Colors...

Just thought you might like to see what Baby Brons looked like
before all of the tubes and wires...
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I am a card carrying member of the Mamrazzi, after all.
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(For those of you who don't actually KNOW me, I own a portrait photography business.
My own boys are, of course, my very favorite subject matter!)
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These are Bronson's most recent True Colors Portraits...
A series of Monochromatic Images I created from his 12 Month Session
to remind me of all the expressions we love most at this age...
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Love, love, LOVE that smile!
Mmmm... mmm... mmm!
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He has always been a "watcher"...
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Big, bright eyes taking in the world around him...
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And then there's that tongue of his...
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Always out in concentration.
Just like his Daddy and his big brother Dayne.
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And this look of absolute, unmistakable worry...
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He was a born worry-wart. Made this face from birth. Literally.
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And his red-hot temper...
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Of all our boys, he has by far the shortest fuse.
He's pretty outspoken about what he wants!
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And then that crooked little grin with the contagious giggle...
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Oh, how I love that giggle...
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{Sigh}
I miss it tonight...