Thursday, November 22, 2012


For the last 22 days I've watched as facebook friend after facebook friend took time out of their days to post the things they're thankful for.

Some said Starbucks; others microwave dinners.

A sunny day. A warm bed. A steady job.

And pie.

This isn't anything new.

Coined the 30 Days of Thankfulness, it's basically what families have been doing for years: going around the Thanksgiving table and sharing what they're thankful for. Only this time they're sharing that info online with hundreds of their friends.

I have to say it's a great idea and I've thought about participating in the past, but when Nov. 1 rolled around this year and the "Today I'm thankful for..." posts began showing up in my news feed, I was less than willing to take part. After all, in a year filled with such sadness, such loss, what do I have to be thankful for?

Turns out, plenty.

Like my facebook friends, today I'm thankful for family.

I'm thankful for the family members who have stepped in and stepped up (held us up, really) when we simply couldn't. I can't hardly name them all and I'm afraid I'd inadvertently leave someone out if I tried.

I'm thankful that not one of these family members insisted we participate in any sort of big family thing to celebrate the day and kick off the upcoming holiday season that used to hold such hope, excitement, and promise for me.

I'm thankful the boys are young enough to not even notice the difference.

I'm thankful my mom is here this week. To cook, to clean, and sit on my bed in the middle of the night. I'm especially thankful that she dusted under the TV cabinet yesterday. Last week I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get me and my big belly off the floor if I'd attempted to dust it. This week, I just don't care (enough).

I'm thankful for my boys. My sweet, sweet boys.

And Scott. Being strong enough to withstand all my tears and strong enough to shed his own.

I'm thankful for little Landry Olivia and the fact that she wants to eat all the time. For it is in those moments that I can completely focus on her and her alone. And forget for a moment the pain that has marked so much of these past few months.

And I'm thankful for the 9 years, 11 months, and 28 days I had with my Addie. Did we live each day to its fullest? Well, I'd say that depends on how you look at things. Here's what I do know:  I'd sure like to have one of those days back.

Give Thanks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Gift

It's no secret I've struggled to come to terms with this pregnancy.


I'm set to be induced in a few hours and can honestly say I've moved to a little bit better place.

(Collective Sigh of Relief)

That's not to say I didn't cry at school today or on my way home or at the cemetery, but something happened this afternoon that brought me some peace. It was a gift really.

And I'd been begging for it, well, forever.

This is what I found tonight while straightening up the basement.

Well hello to you too.

The handwriting is unmistakable; the feeling, indescribable.

A simple little note laying right by the leg of the couch.

I opened it up and -


No matter.

Do I think Addie buzzed down and delivered this message while I was at school today?


That'd be crazy, right?

Was there a perfectly good explanation as to how it got there?

Ummm, sort of.

Do I think I ran across this note at the exact moment I was meant to?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hey, that follow by email button works

I finally figured out how to place a "follow by email" button on my blog. Look to your right. See it? Yep, right there.

I didn't realize until recently that blog followers weren't receiving email notifications (oops). So, you can thank my mom, a couple of my aunts, and a co-worker for pointing that out to me.

If you want to subscribe, type in your email. It'll have you put in one of those security thingies that are really hard to read. Then you'll get an activation email sent to your account. Click it and wait. Eventually I'll write something and you'll get that email notification.

Sorry it took me so long to figure that out.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Big Enough Heart

When I was pregnant with Isaac - well into my third trimester, I believe - I remember wondering how a mother could possibly find room in her heart to love another child. It sounds awful to admit, doesn't it?

Certainly I'm not the only mom who struggled with this notion.

Let me give you a little back-story here. Addie was our one and only for five years. Five years. Our lives revolved around every. little. thing. that. she. did. Trust me. I have the photographs to prove it. She had our full attention and all the love we had to give every second of every day.

How could we possibly love another as much as we love her?

Turns out, you just do.

I remember everything about snapping this picture of Addie
and Isaac. So precious.
You make room in your heart. Either that, or your heart gets a little bigger. I don't know which.

Then one day you realize you can't hardly imagine life without that second child.

And third.

Welcome to our family, Tripp Maguire.

Sweet, sweet sister.
I have no idea where Baby T is, but I've always
 loved this picture.
Now we're up to four and I find myself wondering once again.

Is my heart big enough?

Gosh, I hope so.

My family.


It is true, you know.

You can't hardly imagine life without any of them.

So why do we have to?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Save the Date

If you've been keeping tabs on this pregnancy, then you're well aware that this baby's due date is rapidly approaching.

In like 16 days.

And if you haven't been keeping tabs on this pregnancy, don't feel bad. I haven't either.

Part of this is the fact that this is our fourth child. I'll be the first to admit I was one of those moms who faithfully read the weekly updates in my own personal copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting during pregnancies No. 1 and 2. Not so much with No. 3. And with No. 4, I'm pretty sure my copy is sitting on the shelves of a Goodwill store somewhere.

And part of the reason I haven't been able tell you exactly how many weeks along I am is, well, I haven't been able to admit time marches on.

Apparently, it does.

I realized this last week when my OB asked whether we were going to induce or not.


Don't get me wrong. I'm tired of being pregnant. The heartburn. The swollen hands. The lack of sleep. The 45-pound 46-pound weight gain. But, once this little one arrives, there's no turning back. We'll have to deal with happiness, sadness, and half a dozen other emotions. Plus, it means I'll have one other person to love. And fear losing.

"What would you like me to do?" I asked.

"I'd like you to induce."

She wants to do this because I've reached "advanced maternal age." In other words, I'm old. Funny, I used to think I was old, but now I feel so incredibly young - considering the fact that I'll most likely have to wait another 50 years to see my Addie again.

I digress.

Truth be told, I probably will opt for induction.

I've done it twice before and I'll be the first to admit my reasons for doing so weren't exactly medical. Isaac and Tripp were both April babies. Do you know what it's like to be a teacher in April? Let me tell you, it's enough to make you want to induce a week early.

So I did.

But this time around I'm just not so sure.

If you know how I feel about certain dates, then you'll understand why picking one is so dang hard.

But I also know over the course of three babies I've cut my labors from 14 hours to four. And I know that we now live about an hour away from the hospital. And I also had the distinct pleasure of Scott hitting every single red light on 144th Street last Saturday. Not a good plan for a mom in labor.

So what if this baby chooses to have a mind of her own and opts to arrive on one of those bad days?

Well, then maybe that day will be a little bit better.

The Dash

March 28, 2002 - March 26, 2012.

The best day and the worst day of my life.

Etched in stone.

Even though every single thing about this is wrong, Addison Shelby's headstone turned out right.

By most people's standards, it's a little on the simple side. Black granite. A few lines. Her picture. Her name. Dates. And a dash.

A dash.

For those not familiar with Linda Ellis' poem The Dash, it speaks of love, loss and the life lived between a person's first day on earth and her last.

It urges us to make the most out of our dash.

To spend time, not money.

To live. And love.

Like most, I've loved and lost family members who've lived well into their 90s.

But I've felt my heart literally break in two when I lost a baby girl who was a mere 9 years, 11 months, and 28 days into her life.

The well-adjusted version of myself is willing to smile and nod when people tell me how much Addie was able to accomplish in such a short time. And yes, I have to agree. She did. The well-adjusted version of myself would also take a cue from Addie and try to live what's left of my dash to the fullest.

But let's face it. I'm not that well-adjusted.

Tonight, the mom in me longs for the little girl who would slide down the hallway in her socks, ask me to sign her planner, and give me two pats on the back when I tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

As I peek into her room and look at her empty bed, I come to the same, sad realization I do every night.

I have to wait a lifetime to see her again.


The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was “the dash” between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash”