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You know that game 7 Degrees of Separation of Kevin Bacon and you can take any actor and connect that person to Kevin Bacon within 7 people?  It’s always been said how special and unique it is that it’s only Kevin Bacon you can do that with, but you know, it’s really not all that unique and ‘special’ just for him, even though he is pretty special, especially in the classic Footloose…uhum. Didn’t he look amazingly hot in that movie?  And have you seen who they have chosen to play hottie boombalaadi Rhen McCormick in  the remake?  I’m so disappointed.   Anyway, back to my orginal thought.

For all my life of course and definitely the last 2 years I’ve been blessed with many people in my life who have been incredibly supportive, loving, a soft shoulder to whine and cry on and most especially, who pray abundantly for myself, Addison and my family.  And I hope at times, I’ve been able to be the same for these people in their time of need.  There have many times I feel as though I take more than I give from these amazing people…maybe someday God will show me how I can be all to them as they have and will I’m sure continue to be for me.

Like my mom, Kim…she was incredibly supportive when Savannah first told her she was pregnant.  She was there when Addison was born and has been there every moment in between.  She was a single mother for most of my growing up, but got her Associates Degree and put food on the table every night and ALWAYS had time to hear every moment of my day.  She is strong and vibrant, courageous and loving.  She’s like an incredible piece of cheesecake that you want just for yourself, but know you have to share with the world to experience this delicacy.  She somehow makes me feel like a comforted, loved, cherished child and a competent, independent, strong woman and mother all in the same breath.

Linette, she has been one of my closest and dearest friend for the past 5+ years but I feel as I have know her all my life.  She is the mother of 4 amazing children, associate pastor at her church-1 hat among many she wears there and this fall is tackling homeshooling her children!  What she has been able to accomplish despite her busy life, spinal leakage, tennis elbow and all  and deal the needs of others is inspiring and humbling.  She’s kind of a grown up version of Kelly Kapowski on Saved By the Bell, but she also has a bit of  the brainy Jessica in her as well.  Linette always has the right words my heart needs to hear and is so wise beyond her years.  She was there and still there every step of the way with every stumble and every triumph in raising Savannah.  I owe her my sanity.

My momma Marti…technically she’s my wicked stepmother 🙂 but in these recent years we have become very close and she has touched my life in so many ways.  I can’t believe God has blessed me with another woman that wants to be my momma and thats exactly where she needs to be.  Everything she has overcome, the struggles and trials in her life and after all of it has this amazing love for her Lord.  She reminds me of an ‘old’ hippie that would make leg warmers look cool  today!  She has enriched my dad’s life in a way no other woman could, except for my mom of course. 🙂  She’s like a little kid in the Lord’s candy store and instead of hoarding all her candy for herself, shares every last piece with everyone, even if there isn’t any left for her.  We refer to her as Marti the Great instead of ‘Grandma’ or ‘Great Grandma’ for Addison and it fits her very well.

My good friend and sister-in-lawish Kristi.  Not only has she helped my brother become the more grounded and stable man he is now, which I’m sure she was only able to do with some hidden super power, but she has also blessed me with a perfect, beautiful niece, Mckenzie Sue.  She’s 5 weeks younger than Addison and I can all ready see the love/hate relationship the girls will have as they grow older.  And to top it off, she has also become a good friend to me and has become someone who I can depend on for anything.  The love she showers on both Addison and myself, I’ve become addicted to and when a week goes by without seeing her I find myself going into withdrawls.  Even though I see the ‘normalcy’ of Mckenzie and all she is able to do, it’s Kristi who is there to remind me what Addison has accomplished in her short precious life.  I don’t know what I’d do without her ‘grounding’ me and reminding me of the simple blessings I have in my life. 

My good friend Christy who I met just over a year ago at a Spina Bifida Association picnic.  Her beautiful daughter Gracelyn is about a month older than Addison and Christy and I have become fast friends.  This woman is amazing, 2 kids, going to school for her masters’, works full time and still finds the time to be supportive and we understand and sometimes wallow and sometimes rejoice in the life we live rasing a child with spina bifida.  She’s quiet and reserved and acts as though she has some incredible secret to share, but underneath there is this wild, inspring woman who has accomplished so much in her life, I find it hard to keep up.  But she still finds the time to listen to every cry and every rejoice in the life I share with Addison.    Her strength and tenacity in all that she’s accomplished in her young life, Ican’t wait to see how she uses her super powers for what her little Gracelyn will accomplish in the coming years.  I think Christy is about 90 pounds soaking wet, but when you see her, all you really see is her heart.  She is a truly beautiful person showering her love on not only her own children of course, but every child she comes across, most especially SB children.   Her friendship is priceless and God knew exactly what He was doing in placing this fine woman in my life.

Annette, another mom in my SB family, her beautiful daughter Mackenzie has met so many triumphs ONLY because of her mother.  The love and dedication Annette showers on her sweet girl is inspiring and humbling all in the same instant.  And the things this woman is able to accomplish pretty much single handedly-she runs circles around me what she does in one day, I hope to accomplish in one week.  She is one of most important people that I look to in finding humor in the challenges we face and reassuring me that ‘No, 10:30 AM is not  too early for happy hour!’   The layers of this woman I continue to peel off as I get to know her more, I look forward to who I will know in the coming years.  Once again, God knew exactly what He was doing putting this woman in my life and keeping me out of a padded room.

Lori…I’ve know her since she was in high school and my husband has known her most of her life and feels as though she’s like a little sister to him.  Lori is a mother to a new 1 year old sweet little Dallis.  Lori, in the past almost 2 years has been through unbelievable adversity, dealing with this almost on a daily basis.  This experience I know has been incredibly challenging, but through it all not only is she an amazing mother to beautiful daughter who is happy and healthy despite some of the chaos surrounding her, but she has become a valuable friend and always finds time to check up on me and Addison.  But to top it all, through all this, not only has she kept her head above water but she is able to hold her head high with dignity and grace.  And if that wasn’t enough, through all this personal struggle, she has found an wonderful and devoted man to fall in love with her and her little Dallis.  He has become the REAL daddy to Dallis and the precious man Lori deserves.

Dana, another mother in our SB family has an amazing son Trace and of course what he is able to do today in ONLY because of Dana’s devotion and unrelenting faith.  The love she shows Addison, I don’t think she would give it a second thought if for some insane reason I asked her to take Addison.  It seems like every week I find out she has a different talent or skill that she shares with us.  She tells me she doesn’t know how to cure her own meat, but I don’t believe her.  🙂  She, like Annette has taught me to find the inner mother lion ROAR that is within me with the variety of situations I’ve had to face for Addison.  She has taught me to fight for my girl, be that mother lion Addison needs, even with the tactfully challenged doctors.  I can only imagine the strength Addison will find herself in the coming years due to what I will be able to install in her because Dana helped me find that within myself.

And lastly, but DEFINITELY not leastly, I have a new friend Naomi.  She’s 10 years younger than me and makes me feel like an old woman sometimes.  Can you believe the first movie she saw in the movie theater was the Lion King?!?!  Yeah, I feel old, thanks Naomi.  We’ve known each other for probably a year but a few months ago finally started talking and now I feel like I’ve know her my whole life, well since I was 10 anyway.  She’s the one that got my butt in gear to start this blog, she helps me be more, so that I can be more for myself and my family, especially Addison.  Writing fuels my soul, as it does hers.  She’s someone that the moment you meet her, you just fall in love with her.  She has been so supportive, fuels my spirit and my self-esteem.  She’s like a funky coffee shop bakery that the instant you walk in you feel like you’re home.  Inside, the delicioussness of all the smells, the variety of all the treats and great signs all over the walls with sayings that uplift your soul and warm your heart.  Each day you continue to go back to this little shop and try a new treat to savor and of course there’s no regret with calories as they don’t have any…but even if they did you wouldn’t care because it was worth every precious delicate bite.  She’s an amazing mother to two precious girls that I have come to love and look forward as all the girls grow older and they become the ‘big sisters’ Addison will need in her life. 

Now after all this, heres’ my point, seriouosly, I’m getting to it…All these unique, precious, strong and inspiring woman God has blessed me with, I sit on bended knee and thank Him each and every day for the immeasurable blessings they have all added to my life and Addison’s.  These women are the ones that help fuel my soul and go on try and be the best MiMi I can be for Miss Addison.  But who else?  Who are all those unknowns that support these women to be what they need for my family?   The Lord has weaved this incredibly intricate spider web of people and in the middle is Addison.

For many of these women, I know who supports them-the second degree; even the who supports them-the third degree.  But after that?  There is probably someone is Australia right now that is praying and supporting someone and on down the line who knows how many degrees to reach Addison.  From now on, as I kneel on bended knee, I will thank the Lord and ask Him to bless this intricate spider web of people.  We are blessed because somone blesses theses women.  If you are one these women, I thank you, humbly, fully and without end.  And for all those among the spider web, separated by who know how many degrees of separation, those people I don’t know and may never know…your love, devotion and support I couldn’t live without as I couldn’t live without these precious women in my lives and it’s because of you, I have them blessing my life…and more importantly Addison’s.

The days surrounding June 2nd 2010 were a total whirlwind of emotions; excitement, concern, love, thankfulness, pride, wonder, praise, more love, more concern and complete and total exhaustion.  My 20 year old was going to have a planned C-section on this blissful morning and I was blessed and honored to be in the room when precious little Addison Miller Clay graced us with her precious present with a joyful cry to the world. 

We were told months earlier that Princess Addison was going to be super special, she was to be born with spina bifida.  A disease that can cause a multitude of issues and complications, mostly concerning her ability to walk.  After a time of grief, accepting the fact that we were not going to be blessed with not a ‘normal’ child but a blessed special child, we faced what our new normal was to be head on, together as a family with God and His wisdom guiding us. 

The night before Addison was to bless us with her presence, of course I didn’t sleep at all with the exctiement and anticipation of the day to come.  I all ready knew full well it was going to be an incredibly busy day, but with God, my husband, my mom and good friends Audrey and Linette, I was ready to be the rock my little girl needed for me to be for her.  Of course, that was after we waited, and waited.  Savannah was scheduled to go in for her C-section I think at 7:30, but didn’t go into the operating room until 9:30, I believe.  And finally Addison made her presence at 10:13 AM.  We had all ready arranged that once Addison was out and she was to make her way to the NICU, I was to stay with her and when Savannah was stitched and stable she would join us. 

She was healthy and strong and almost a full pound bigger than they had estimated with the last ultrasound.  She also had the less severe form of spina bifida than previously predicted as well, which could meant possible more use of her legs.  I remember seeing the big sac on her back that looked like a bloated egg.  This bloated egg that in a few short hours they would be removing from her body and leaving a Y shaped battle scar on her back. 

About an hour later, they finally wheeled Savannah into the NICU to officially meet her precious girl and a multitude of emotions swept over her and as her mommy, I loved her and comforted her and reassured her as a mommy does in any situation.  The excitement of telling my husband that we had 5.5 pound miracle, chills rush over my body as I remember that precious moment. 

5 hours after Addison’s birth she was to be taken over to Children’s Hospital, which by ambulance from University is about a 2 minute drive.  But we had all ready arranged as a family that my husband would stay with Savannah and I would go with Addison, but I had to leave my baby behind, not be there to protect her and make sure the doctors and nurses are doing everything exactly perfect.  I had a different role today, I was the grandma that had to make sure all that was done with this new life.

We got to Children’s and of course there was a whirlwind of activity and constant monitoring.  But as I sat beside her and she held on for dear life onto my finger with her precious little hand, the noise, the whirldwind, it all faded away.  All I could see was here little chest rising, her precious little lips overwhelmed by a pacifier she was sucking on.  I could only hear the tiniest little noises she made, as if she was humming.  And as I sat there telling her how special she was and how proud I was of her and how strong she was, she looked at me as if she understood exactly what her grandma was saying.

12 hours after Addison was born, she went into surgery to repair and close the opening in her back.  I had the support of my mommy and my dear friend Audrey, but initially I felt so completely alone as I watched them wheel her away to face one of the biggest fights of her life.  I knew God was with her and He was holding me up as I was so exhausted and so much in love with this little girl.  I was supposed to be in there with her, fighting this fight for her, she shouldnt have to go through this without her grandma. 

A few hours later her neurosurgeon came out and told us the good news, Addison came through the surgery like a champ, it went better than expected and we could see her now.  I practically ran to see for myself she was doing okay.  But the sight that I saw…was far from what I expected.  Lying on her little bed was this little peanut of a thing, lying on her stomach, her incision uncovered for all the world to see.  She had the most horrendous bruises surrounding her incision, mostly on her upper buttcheeks from all the pulling of the muscles the doctor had to do for the repair.  I was horrified and I broke down and wept.  And at that time, I was so glad my little girl wasn’t there to see this ugliness on such a precious little life.  I wanted to protect my baby from seeing her baby like this.  Addison looked so helpless, hooked up to so many machines, tubes everywhere and her body seemingly lifeless as she slept in a drug induced sleep. 

Hours later, after my mom and friend had left and it was just me and Addison and the constant whirl of  nurses and doctors, I could barely keep my eyes open and finally gave in and went to get a few hours of sleep in one of the rooms they had set up for me.  I don’t think my head hit the pillow before I was out.

About 4 or 5 hours I arose and lept out of bed, excited and nervous to see our little Addison.  I quickly changed and just wanted to brush my teeth…but my toothbrush was nowhere to be found.  My heart sank, I don’t know about you, but it just does not feel right to face anyone in any type of situation with stinky morning breath.  So I did the best I could with the toothpaste I had and my finger and a washcloth, at least I was a little better.

Anxiously preparing myself for what I was to see, I prayed to God for the strength in seeing Princess Addison as helpless and lifeless as she looked last night.  And the sight before me was one of God’s greatest gifts He has ever given me.  Even though she was still sleeping from all the drugs, somehow there was more lilfe in this body.  And those nasty black and purple bruises that covered her had slightly faded in the last hours.  I could believe it!  I cried with joy and I couldn’t wait to tell Savannah and Doug and the whole world how she looked and how incredibly strong she is!  I sat with her for a few hours and still in her sleep, she held onto my finger for dear life and I told her all the secrets of the world.  We prayed to God together and thanked Him for His amazing blessings and the infinite amount of strength He included in the forming of her life.

I finally decided it was time to pull myself away and go take a shower.  I needed to wash all the emotions, the raggedness feeling I had, rejuvenate my body and soul.  I turned on the water and began to cry as I felt the warm water pounding on my head and I thanked God for the gift of a shower.  I felt the strength rise within me with each drop.  I found my shampoo and once again thanked God for the preciousness that is shampoo.  Sometimes nothing feels better than a fresh clean head as if you can feel all the negativity rush down the drain.  I looked in my shower bag for my conditioner…and what was that?  No, really?  My toothbrush!!!!! With the precious clean water still beating down my head, I got down on my knees and thank my precious Lord for that toothbrush.  I had soooo much to be thankful for, a strong young woman of steel, a new mommy-my baby; I had a beautiful, strong granddaughter just like her mommy and now, now I had my toothbrush.  How amazing is My God, that throughout all of this, He would make sure I would be provided of the simplest of things, a toothbrush.  I wept, I rejoiced and thanked Him over and over for blessing me with so many amazing gifts, how could I deserve them?  I realized I had my toothpaste and covered my beautiful toothbrush and brushed my teeth for real this time.  With each brush, each tear I thanked Him again and told Him how much I loved Him and this rejuvenation of my soul, I knew as I embarked unto this new world He prepared for us, I had Him right beside me, even if I had to look a little, He would carry me, walk with me, hold my hand, be a reminder of His love in the most simplest of things. 

As I’m making my way in this beautiful, blessed world, I find that I have many profound thoughts rattling around in my head…well profound to me anyway. If you are reading this you probably know me personally and know how crazy my life is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. God has sent me on this wild and crazy ride, full of blessings and struggles that lead to blessings. Some of these struggles I’ve all ready realized are blessings and some I’m still waiting for that revelation.

I’m constantly reminded of the Lords’ infinite power, wisdom, grace and love and He has blessed me with in a physical example in the form of a 14 month old little princess. Of course I see it in my husbands’ eyes, my mother’s touch, x the roof over my head and such, all those things we all take for granted. But with Princess Addison I find it difficult to take what He has given me for granted…well most of the time anyway.

My ponderings, ramblings and general bibble babble is called Lines in the Clay. The title was given to me by my good friend Naomi, who is an incredible blessed pain in the butt and got me going on doing this. (Thanks Naomi).

And as I go about my life God has set before me, I feel as though with each step I’m crossing barriers and lines that I though I would never be able to cross. As I’m walking I’m creating a new path for hopefully Addison to follow in her own way, as if I’m drawing a map for her to discover for herself.

I pray that Addison will be able to read this some day and feel the incredible, unending love I have for her, being able to share her life with her and understand my love for her and her incredible spirit is an unbelievable blessing. She will discover the passion I hold for this great country, the men and women who fight and defend it and it’s freedoms it possesses. She will appreciate they respect I have for agriculture and the people who preserve the way of life they and I hold dear. And finally I pray she follows the path I stumble through and embrace the love I have for our Lord and find for herself her own love and passion and eternal life He holds for her.

And so I begin…

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Psalm 109:8

I saw a bumper sticker recently that read “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8”  And the text reads: “May his days be few, may another take his job.” May we all sing praises when that blessed day arrives!