Family pictures with my bunch is always an ordeal. Trying to get everyone together at one place at the same time, without some other activity going on, is a nightmare. If outdoors, and ours always are, weather can force you to reschedule over and over again. You have to make sure everyone has clean clothing to wear, and that’s only after you have finally decided just what everyone is going to wear to begin with. And try taking a family picture with 5 boys! None of which likes to take pictures and grumbles about it the entire time. By the time you leave the house with what you hope are clean boys in clean clothes and brushed hair, you are about ready to pull all of yours out!
Since I don’t ask for much, this is one of those things I usually have to put my foot down on. Plus, threatening them within an inch of their lives usually does the trick. As my book is in the process of being published and the editor wants a current family picture, this was one of those times they all just had to suck it up. **Can’t believe I just typed “my book and published” in the same sentence** The only pictures we have with most of the family together after the accident was at Alex’s graduation last year. Not only was Justin in Japan during that time, but Jackson mean mugged the camera for every single picture. Every. Single. Picture. So, it was definitely time for a new family picture!
The editor needed the photo by the end of the week. Luckily, it was finally a beautiful day to take family pictures yesterday. By the time we all arrived at 6:30pm, my nerves were stretched to their breaking point. I just hoped that Kristy with Sweet Memento Photography would be able to capture at least one picture with everyone smiling. Isn’t it funny how sometimes when we are knee-deep in family gatherings or activities, we can only think about when its going to finally be over?!?! We forget sight of what is really most important. My family being together is what is most important, not taking the perfect family picture. So don’t feel jealous of those perfect family pictures you think everyone else has. Most likely, their family was just as frustrated behind the scenes of that perfect picture as I was yesterday.
As the sun was setting, she suggested the four boys that were in the accident face the sunset together. It was a surreal moment. Seeing them standing there instantaneously made me realize: they were all together! We were all together as a family! There were so many times that I wondered if that would ever be a true statement again. Once again, God reminded me when I was frustrated beyond my limitations, that I always have something to be thankful for: my family, not the perfect picture of my family!
Love & Blessings,
Lately, I have been thinking about the measure of my life. Perhaps it was losing so many of my family members in such a short period of time. Or it could have been almost losing the boys in the accident and Alex twice more after that. It could be because my 20 year high school reunion is this year. More than likely, it is because I am going to be, ummm, 40 next year.
What have I really accomplished in those 40 years? What about all of the dreams I had for my life? How will I check off these bucket list items, and who in the world thought it was a good idea to pressure people to create bucket lists in the first place?!?!
My life simply didn’t turn out like I intended it to and most likely, my life is already half way over. For all I know, it could be over tomorrow. Three generations from now, no one will remember me, other than by name. I will be a person that family members tell stories about. My image only captured by photographs. Sounds quite melodramatic, but it is simply the truth. The earth is billions of years old. My short time here means nothing against those numbers.
I’ve come to terms that my life is not going to have this monumental change on the world that can be measured. I won’t be famous for a medical breakthrough. Obviously, and if you know me, I most definitely will not be a Grammy award winning singer. I will never be the President of the United States. Thankfully, I believe that God does have purpose for me here, even if it cannot be measured by those standards.
After the accident, we started using the saying, “You only get one life, so live it.” I’m trying to determine now what it means to actually live. What is happiness? At the end of my life, can I say that it was worth it all?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. What I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that I have raised strong and loving boys, and they may actually change the world. I have a feeling that it will be all of those small moments in my life that add up in the end to have created a life worth living for. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for…
Love and blessings,
Going to Vanderbilt still feels in part like coming home. You would think that being there would bring all of the negative memories rushing back like running down the hallway to where each child was located to find out how badly each was hurt. Receiving the news that Jackson would never walk again. Holding Alex’s hand as he screamed from the pain of Accute Compartment Syndrome. The sleepless nights, and day after day of countless surgeries. I experienced the most frightening moments of my life inside of those doors.
And yet, what I remember above all else when I am back at Vanderbilt is the hope I felt as God answered prayer after prayer. Learning that our family was loved by many… more than I could ever have even possibly imagined. The kindness and generosity of strangers. The power of love and the strength of family. The importance of prayers, even those that seem hopeless. The lessons I learned about life. The testing and growing of my faith. The comfort of knowing that we were in the care of more than capable hands.
So, while Jackson and I were at his 6 month check-up with his spinal surgeon this week, I leaned on that comfort as the doctor explained that Jackson would have to have another spinal fusion in a year and half, possibly sooner. It wasn’t what we wanted to hear. I sometimes forget that our journey isn’t over. There will be more surgeries, more medical scares. Alex and Jackson’s lives will never be what they were before the wreck. But we keep pressing forward, having faith that God will get us through whatever lies ahead. As I told Jackson yesterday as we all huddled in the closet during the storms, Jesus didn’t save you and take you to heaven for nothing. You have a purpose here on earth and no storm is going to change that.
Love and blessings,