Sunday, August 23, 2009

What happens when...

Samantha decides that she will NOT take a nap

Samantha was in her room for two hours this afternoon...and never did go to sleep. This picture was taken at 5:45pm. She fell asleep in her high chair, about 30 seconds after she was wide awake and asking for more strawberries and bananas. She didn't wake up when I washed her hands and face. She didn't really wake up when I took the tray off the high chair, but she did reach for me. As soon as I was holding her, she laid down on my shoulder and went back to sleep. She didn't wake up when I laid her on the changing table, changed her diaper and put on her pajama pants. I decided not to push my luck and just left her shirt on her, then laid her in her bed. Yep, you guessed it, still asleep. I just hope she ate enough that she will be able to sleep through the whole night.

Now my only question I go to bed super early too, or try to take advantage of the extra time and get some chores done?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Girl Bed

We have been planning for several months that we would move Samantha into a big girl bed this summer so she could get used to it before the new baby comes and takes over the crib. Memaw bought sheets and a comforter for her about 6 weeks ago and we finally got a mattress about two weeks ago. We put it on the floor beside the crib and made it up with the sheets and comforter. She LOVED it! She will go sit on it to read her books and will snuggle down into the pillow. She will also snuggle her Daddy on it before going to sleep in her crib. But I haven't been brave enough to try putting her down for the night on it yet, at least until last night.

I got the bed rail out and found out that it is just about the same length as the crib mattress. Yeah! I was worried that it would be too long. I decided that with a wall on two sides of the mattress, the crib on one side and the bed rail on the last side, we might be able to transition fairly easily. Last night she didn't want to drink her milk and she didn't want stories. She only wanted to lay on her big girl bed. So after we brushed her teeth, I got out the bed rail and I let her lay on the bed with her babies and her mommy bear.

At first she was squirming all over and sitting up, but when I asked her if she wanted to sleep in her baby bed, she said "no!" So I told her that to stay in the big girl bed she had to lay down and go night night. And she actually listened. I left the room a few minutes later and kept peeking in to see how she was doing. At one point she started crying and I went in to see what was wrong. She signed hurt to me. I asked what hurt and she pointed to the wall. I moved her away from the wall on the bed and told her that the wall won't hurt if she is still and goes to sleep. And I left again. Things were pretty quiet after that, so I thought she might actually be going to sleep. HA!

I was washing my hands in the bathroom, when all of a sudden I heard a little voice right behind me. I turned around and said, "Samantha Grace! You are not supposed to get out of your bed. You are supposed to go night night." I turned around to finish rinsing my hands and dried them. Then when I turned back around, she was gone. I went looking for her, expecting to find her playing in the living room, but she had actually gone back to her bed and laid down. I still decided that it was not the right night for sleeping in the big girl bed for the first time, and put her back in her crib. She went to sleep very quickly after that.

I'm not sure if we will try the big girl bed again tonight, or if we will wait and try naps on the big girl bed this weekend first. We'll see. If we do try the big girl bed tonight, I will definitely be putting the gate up in her doorway before I go to sleep!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Softly and Tenderly

"Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me. See on the portals He's waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Come home, come home, you who are weary come home. Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling oh sinner, come home."

I was thinking of this song and writing this blog entry in my head last night after we put Samantha to bed. I was going to write it this morning, talking about how gentle and tender Mark is with Sheryl and how Jesus will be calling Sheryl home very soon. When I got up this morning, I found out that at the very time I was thinking of this song, Jesus was in fact, calling Sheryl home.

I was able to visit with Sheryl on Saturday afternoon. She was very tired from a day of nearly endless visitors, but she was so glad to see everyone. It was a good day. She was still quite worn out on Sunday, but was doing pretty well, still talking to her visitors and remaining awake most of the day. On Sunday, it was decided that visiotrs should come in the morning mostly, which was her most energetic time, so she could rest in the afternoon.

On Monday I had the day off work for my last day of vacation. I always plan an extra day off so that I can catch up on things and rest a bit before going back to work. I am so grateful for that planning, especially now! I dropped Samantha off at the babysitter and went to the grocery store for a few things, including a meal for Mark for that night.

I called Mark as I was leaving the house and he told me that Sheryl had not woken up yet and the ministers were on their way over. He said that it would not be a good time for visitors. He said that the end was near. I told him that I would just drop off the food and then leave, but when I arrived, Robert Stolte was with them, and there was no one else at the house. I offered to stay to answer the phone and the door so that Mark could stay with Sheryl and Robert, and he accepted that offer. Gordon arrived not too long after that and then Lezley came in. Just as Lezley arrived, Sheryl woke up.

Gordon asked to pray over her and Sheryl agreed by saying "Absolutely." Jennifer Kimball also came and together with Robert, we tried to get the flat fixed on Mark's truck, but found that the battery was dead. Robert went home to change clothes and then came back and took care of the battery. He worked hard out in the heat to take care of the things that needed to be done. It was wonderful to see him and all the other poeple who came and served as the hands and feet of Jesus throughout the day.

We made lunch and made muffins for breakfast the next morning. We sat with Sheryl and spoke to Mark about how they met and many other things. Melinda Leverette came and read scripture over Sheryl while Mark took a short nap. Susan Griffith and Deborah Green also came and sat with her. Sheryl woke up a few times through the day for a few minutes each time. She knew who each person was but she was not making much sense other than speaking our names. She always responded to Mark even when her eyes were not open and she wasn't saying anything. It was obvious throughout the day that his touch and his voice made a difference to her.

It was such a privilege to see this man take such sweet, gentle, tender care of his wife. The love between them was so obvious that it would bring tears to your eyes. Susan said that this is really what "in sickness and health, til death do us part" is all about, and that Mark shows such strength in that committment. She was absolutely right. I don't think that when we speak them, any of us really think about what those words will mean in the end, but it was brought home to me in the last few days. I hope and pray that I will never be faced with a situation similar to Mark and Sheryl's. But if I am, I hope that I will be able to use Mark's example in living my life with compassion, love and strength.

I was blessed to be with them for the entire day. I am so glad that I had the day off work and that I was able to take Samantha to the babysitter that morning. Even though Sheryl was not able to talk to me, I am glad to have had the day to sit with her, to keep watch over her while she slept, and to be able to do small things to help her husband.

I never imagined that I would be keeping watch over a dying friend, so I never imagined what it would be like. I was surprised by my feelings and by the day, though. We cried, as I expected. But we also laughed and had peaceful quiet times. I was afraid to be there before I went, but I left being grateful for having the opportunity and blessing to be there all day.

I never did ask Sheryl to love on my babies in heaven, but while Mark and I were sitting alone with Sheryl in the evening, I told him that I have 19 babies in heaven that Sheryl will need to love on for me til I get there. He said that she will love that.

Before I left for the evening, I leaned over and gave Sheryl a kiss, whispered that I love her and I will see her again someday. I hadn't planned that, I was planning to come back the next evening, I didn't think there was a reason to say goodbye quite yet. But apparently God took care of me and and nudged me to do so. I am thankful.

I had to work yesterday, but I called Mark when I got home. He said that there had not really been any change during the day. Sheryl was not responding and her pulse was not good. He said that she did wake up and repsond that morning when Gordon was there having a prayer service and annointing her with oil. That was the last time she responded to anything. He told me that Lezley was going to heat up food for dinner, so they were taken care of for the evening. I told him that I would call again tomorrow after work.

This morning when I checked my e-mail, Lezley had written that at 7:20 last night Sheryl's breathing had changed and by 7:30 she was gone. Jesus was calling her home while He gave me thoughts of His calling her.

I still find it hard to believe. Sheryl was so dynamic and loving, vibrant and alive. It is hard to imagine this world without her. She touched so many people with her love and sweet spirit. She will be missed. She will never be forgotten.

We all love you, Sheryl. I look forward to our reunion in heaven.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What do you say?

I am going to visit a friend today...and it will most likely be the last time I ever see her on this earth. She has been battling cancer for nearly 30 years and is now in Hospice care. She is not expected to live beyond the week.

What do I say? What do we talk about? Do I act as if nothing is any different, or do we talk about heaven? Do I tell her that I wish she was going to be here to help us welcome our new baby? Do I ask her to love on my babies in heaven until I meet up with all of them and her again? Or do I just talk about what is going on now and tell her that she can beat this again as she has done so many times in the past? Do I try to offer comfort, or just tell her that I love her and will never forget her? Do I allow myself to cry, or do I fight to hold it in? What is best for her? That is what it all comes down to. And I have no idea what the answer is.

I've never had someone close to me die this way, at least not since I was a kid. And it was never someone my age. I am lost and don't know what to do. And I don't have very long to figure it out. I am brokenhearted and afraid.