Angels Among Us: Our Christmas Prayers Answered!

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We were a bundle of nerves going to our appointment today to check on “Wilbur‘s” progress.  You name the scenario, I had envisioned it.  I had thought of the best case scenarios and the worst case scenarios and the in-between scenarios.  Every time I had a negative thought, I told myself, “NO!” and replaced it with a positive one…but I’ll tell ya, I had to do that a lot.  I even yelled “NO!” at myself so loudly in my dreams that I woke myself and John up!

Today, driving to the appointment the song “Angels Among Us” came on the radio and I made John stop our conversation so I could listen.  It’s a little cheesy, but I’ve always loved it because it was a song we sang in our sorority and after losing Callie, it had a different meaning for me.  The lyrics talk about how angels walk amongst us, in you and in me, and I connected it to my feelings of having ‘Earth angels’ who help you in your times of need.

Suddenly, in the middle of the song, a large shuttle bus swerved into our lane to avoid another car.  John slammed on his brakes and I shouted, “Lord, please protect us!!!”  I could see us heading straight for the back-corner of that bus- right into my side of the car.

I’m not sure how, but we stopped a few feet shy of that bus and luckily no one rear-ended us.  As my heart slowed down to a normal beat, I heard the  song continuing like there had never been an interruption, “Ohhh, I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above, they come to you and me, in our darkest hours…”

Later at the doctor’s office, we were taken back for ultrasounds and met an upbeat technician with beautiful dark skin and a gorgeous Nigerian accent.  Entering the room, we could hear Christian worship songs playing softly in the background (there’s never music!) from the tech’s Pandora Station.  She was bubbly and talked to us about her kids humorously but with so much love behind every word.  With every breath she told us how she asked God for patience with this or prayed to him to help her with that and it became clear that she was a deeply faithful woman.

I was listening, but also kind of tuning her out as I hyper-analyzed every measurement she made on the baby.  Is she growing?  What does that number mean?  Is her foot turned funny?  Questions zipped through my mind at a rapid speed.  At some point, she asked us how old our first was.  We told her about Callie and then told her Charlotte was 20 months old and that her favorite word is “No”.  She laughed and said, “After ‘no’ comes ‘why’.”

And then she told us a story that left me with chills.  She said once she was listening to her pastor’s sermon.  It was a story of a young boy who was racing to greet his father who was returning home from work after a long day.  The boy, joyfully distracted, ran right over top of some railroad tracks in the path of an oncoming train.  The father screamed out to his son and told him to GET DOWN!  The boy listened right away and his life was spared because the train rolled right over top of him, leaving him unharmed.

The tech looked us in the eyes as she told us, “You see, if he had stop to ask, “Why?”, he would have been killed instantly by the train.  It is the same way with God.  You have to trust Him and not stop and ask, “Why?”.”

My eyes filled up with tears as she finished the story, lovingly telling us that she reminds her son of that story every time he bugs her with a “Why?” question…”because I said so!”  she laughed.  But my heart was still back on the parable of the boy, his father, and the train.  I sat there thinking, here is another Earth Angel, right in front of us– just like my Maggiano Angel from that Valentine’s Day so long ago.  It was no accident that she was our technician today, when out of all of our bajillions of visits we’ve never seen her.  We were meant to cross paths and meant to hear that message.

She left me with a feeling of peace that was soon followed up with joy- because, GREAT NEWS!  ‘Wilbur’ grew!  She made great progress and even caught up a few days!  She’s still small, but the fact that she didn’t fall any further behind and actually made further progress than expected was OUTSTANDING news.

The doctor told me to keep doing whatever it is that we are doing and that he will check up on us again in two more weeks.  That means more rest, eating enough protein to qualify me for an NFL linebacker, and keep praying and staying positive.

We have no doubt that the love, support, and prayers from all of you played a part in today’s outcome.

We also know that there were angels among us today.

Especially one dressed in yellow with sunshine glistening off of her wings.

Merry Christmas everyone!  We feel so blessed to have our Christmas prayers answered this day.

xoxo

PPL<3

“I was walking home from school, on a cold winter day
Took a shortcut through the woods, and I lost my way
It was getting late, and I was scared and alone
But then a kind old man, took my hand, and led me home
Mama couldn’t see him, oh but he was standing there
And I knew in my heart, he was the answer to my prayers

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

When life held troubled times, and had me down on my knees
There’s always been someone, to come along, and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend, just to say, I understand
But ain’t it kind of funny, at the dark end of the road
That someone lights the way, with just a single ray of hope

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places
To grace us with their mercy, in our time of need

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love
To guide us with a light of love”

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This Christmas

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My heart is so full as I sit on the couch cozied up under a blanket listening to the rain.  I cannot even begin to tell you how lovely this Christmas was for us.

We decorated.

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We made cookies.

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We dressed Charlotte up in all sorts of Christmas outfits.

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We did gifts.

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We did family time.

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We filled those holes that were so big and hurt so badly last Christmas.  Charlotte did that for us.  If I had not received a single thing under the tree, it would not have mattered.  I would have been completely content with the gift of her life, love, and laugh.

But even still, there was still one hole left behind that wasn’t filled by Santa or decorations, cookies or gifts.  I found myself wondering often this holiday season… What if?  

What if she were still here?  What if we had known?  What would we be doing with Callie right now? 

We will never know.  And those unanswered questions hurt sometimes.

On Christmas Day, John and I went to Callie’s garden alone with a yellow rose.  As we left it there for her, I thanked Callie for giving us Charlotte Grace. Without Callie, Charlotte would not be here.  And I can’t imagine our Christmas Day without her dimpled smile and squeals of delight.

Christmas was wonderful this year.  Merry Christmas to my angel in heaven, my rainbow on earth, my amazing hubby and wonderful family and friends.

xoxo

The Christmas Corner: A Story That Melted My Grinchy Heart

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We have put Christmas in the corner this year…literally.  This holiday season has been about surviving.  Taking one day at a time and no more.  Not biting off more than we could chew.  We werent feeling very festive this year to say the least.  So Christmas got put in the corner like a little kid in time-out.  Being punished for hurting our hearts and reminding us of all we lost.

I miss Callie.

I wish she were here to cry when she meets that freaky looking guy named Santa for the first time.  I wish we were buying her loads of presents and dressing her up in Christmas jammies.  I wish this had all been a bad dream that we could wake up from.  But it’s not.

So, we are sad…but happy too.  We simultaneously grieve for our sweet Callie and celebrate our precious Rainbow.  We cry for each “first” that was stolen from our angel, and smile when our newest little one reaches important milestones.  The contrasts are infinite.

Over the past month, I have had moments that brought me to my knees and ones that lifted my spirits. Take these for example…

On the day before Winter Break, a visitor to my school saw me walking down the hall, innocently minding my own business, lost in thought, thinking of what I needed to prepare for my afternoon class.  When she noticed my belly, she said, “Oh, aren’t you cute?”  To which, I thought Wow, that was nice, until the follow-up ultimately came…”Just keep in mind when you think you have it rough…Just remember that I had twins.”  I stopped dead in my tracks, stunned by her words.  I fumbled for something to say, but instead reached for the door to my classroom to escape.  Of course, I thought of all the good comebacks after the dumb-dumb had left my sight.  Like…”Oh, thank you for that wonderful insight.  Here’s one for you… Next time you think you have it rough, remember that my baby died.  So go hug your TWO babies tight and think twice before you make ridiculous one-upping statements to perfect strangers.  You never know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.”  That one is a little too long and preachy though…how ’bout this one…”Oh, by the looks of it, I thought you had triplets.”  Bitchy and satisfying.

I’ll never get the chance to put her in her place though, and it’s better that way.  Even though she made a thoughtless comment, I know that somewhere in her small little cobwebbed mind she was coming from a place of kindness…I guess.

Which brings me to my second scenario.  A little while back, after a particularly long and emotional day, I was winding down and doing a few of the dishes in our monstrous dirty dish pile.  While I was washing, I felt my heart beating a little faster than normal..again.  I’ve talked to my doctor about these palpitations and have learned that they are fairly common in pregnancy due to increased blood flow.  But being me, my hypochondriac mind was occupied with thoughts of the worst.  Maybe I should go to the ER???  I envisioned myself undergoing open-heart surgery at 21 weeks pregnant….

At that very moment, my phone rang.  And in that instance, I joked to myself that God was calling, telling me to chill out.  I gave a little chuckle and let it go to voicemail.  I’ve told you before that my faith is not my strength, so it is a little odd for my conscious to be making jokes related to God.  But whatever, it made me feel better.  Weird or not.  And I pushed the stupid hyperchondriac thoughts away.

A few minutes later, I checked my voicemail only to find a message from a pastor from my church.  He said that someone had left a present for us and that he’d like to drop it by even though it was late.  I couldn’t believe it.  Apparently, God has my phone number.

When Pastor arrived, he handed us a gorgeous poinsettia with a card that read,

“We know this holiday season is difficult for you.  We are praying for you and thinking of you always.”  

He explained that a mother and daughter had left the plant but did so anonymously because she wanted her little girl to learn that giving generously doesn’t always mean receiving accolades or credit for your actions.  He went on to say that there was something waiting for us in Callie’s garden as well.

When we arrived, there underneath the cross, rested a beautiful winterberry plant with a note attached that said:  “Merry Christmas Sweet Angel“.

The kindness of strangers once again moved me to tears. I truly believe that there are angels among us.  You, me, a waiter at Maggianos. We can all be angels, instruments of God to be there for one another when we need it most.

And so our Christmas Corner was born and we officially got un-grinch-ified.  The Christmas Corner is not really a punishment for hurting our feelings…more of an acknowledgement that this year is different and we aren’t fighting it.  All our gifts now rest underneath the poinsettia in the niche in our living room.  Hanging from her branches is our Sunshine angel ornament, as we remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Because on this day, a long, long time ago a very special baby was born.  A baby who would change lives.  A baby who would teach us about love and life.

For me, I will be remembering two babies this Christmas.  The One who changed the world, and the one who changed mine.

Merry Christmas to all of you and thank you for your words, thoughts, gifts, and prayers. Thank you for remembering Callie in your hearts and minds as we do.  Thank you for being our “earth angels”.

And Merry Christmas to you most of all, sweet angel.  We will love you forever.