In 2006 I was pregnant with my 4th child BEN, and I can honestly say that I was thinking (naively) “I got this.”
I am 5th of 12 children and I loved growing up in a large family, so 3 little kids was busy but not crazy, it was all I had ever wanted to do. I graduated from college but not because I was really career oriented, I wanted an education but mostly I just wanted to be a mom. The End.
This was our family Christmas card photo from 2005. When I look at this picture I strangely feel like I am looking at another person, I sometimes see the woman (me) in the photo and think, “oh you had no idea.”
Now I am not talking like this because I think my life is terrible. In fact it’s kind of the opposite because I think that I have a really, really wonderful life, but the reality is the law of opposites is true- you can never know the good if you never know the bad/scary/difficult/heartbreaking. When I was 20 and my 16 year old brother died, it made me realize that loosing him brought me an appreciation for my family that had not been possible before. I wish it didn’t work that way but I believe the hard things in life are what help us become the kind of people we actually want to become, even though given the choice we would probably choose ourselves out of most of our “character building experiences” and the blessings that come with them.
It’s been almost 8 years since a whirlwind hit our family. I wont call it a tornado, because this particular wind wasn’t destructive, it just lifted us up off the road we thought we thought we were taking. 8 years is a long time. Scott was only 7 years old eight years ago- for some reason that makes me cry! How much did I miss? How did they get so big so fast?
Then to add to the fun I started having anxiety- my first panic attack seemed to come out of NOWHERE since things seemed to finally be settling down. Maybe the anxiety was a sort of wake up call because the experiences we were having seemed to have made time speed up and go by in a strange blur so I never stopped to process everything.
When my sister Sarah suggested that I put some sort of history or record down on paper and the idea really resonated with me. I started out with a cake blog a couple years ago but started finding that not only was it therapeutic to write about my real life, but it also has helped me start to really see and appreciate all the ways we have been blessed by these challenges.
In 2007 a friend who knew just what I needed made me a book of hopeful quotes to read during our days in the NICU and this one struck me. It has been on my fridge for every one of the past 8 years.
“Something to Do, Someone to Love, and Something to Hope for are the essentials of a happy and meaningful life.” ~David Goodman
I guess it is my unintentional motto. If I had intentionally picked one it may have been more like “keep calm and eat a cupcake while you watch a good show.”
Every time I thought maybe I would take the quote off my fridge I just couldn’t. I needed to look at it because that was exactly what I had:
Something to Do – new, hard, scary, out of my comfort and knowledge zone, and then lots of cakes to make
Someone to Love– sweet baby Ben and the rest of my little family
Something to HOPE for– that Ben- and then Ty- would live, grow stronger, that my other kids would be ok, that my husband and I could figure out our new family, that my faith was really up to the task…. the list goes on…..and on….
Along the way I became a crazy cake maker. (My cakes and decorating tips can be found here at Little Delights Cakes.) But mostly I’m a Mom/Wife TRYING to balance it all out but have not quite figured out how to do that!