Well here we are… MARCH…

…the month of spring break, the month of the official start of spring, the month of half 3/4 of the way through the school year… it’s also the month I became a mom back in 2009. The month I became a mom for the 3rd time in 2015.

And… the month I lost my dad.

Let me start off by saying I honestly am writing this more for me than for y’all. I have fun sharing mom hacks, trick them into learning ideas, cute outfits, and deal alerts with you all FOR you all, but this one…

….this one is for me. You know that feeling when you have a bottle full of emotions stirring inside of you and you just feel like you might pop?? Or you just keep busy so you can try and not think about them/? Yup, that’s me every March for the past 6.

All I have ever wanted to be was a mom. I remember after our first several years of marriage and, after the fact I was actually married sank in, I would dream about the day we would have a baby and I would get actually to be a MOM.

Since March 6, 2009, the world stops and I celebrate the amazing gift God gave me in Kaiser on that day. It is a day that I have always held very special and associated my happiest memories with. Then March 2, 2015… I became a boy mom. Sweet Baby James was born and I had nothing but big dreams for all the fun boy themed birthday parties we would throw!

The 1st week of March is an amazing one for us. We celebrate 2 of my 3 biggest blessings and gosh, what a gift they are. I get to have fun with them, make memories with them, and help them grow up to be the best adults they can be. What a privilege and certainly something to celebrate. Why wouldn’t I just live on cloud nine in March, right?

Well… the reality is that the days following James’ birth were nothing like what I had thought they would be like and they shifted what March would feel like for our family permanently.

Starting March 1st I feel like I relive all the moments of March 1-10, 2015, over and over again year after year as if they just happened yesterday. In so many ways it feels like it was just a minute ago I was holding my dad’s hand after we introduced James to the family in our hospital room.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we brought James home from the hospital and the next morning I was hanging in the guest house with dad as he was singing “Sweet Baby James” to James and talking about cooking hamburgers for dinner?

Wasn’t it a minute ago that JT carried dad over the icey sidewalk from the guest house to the car and rushed Dad to the hospital after he had a sleepless horrible night of aches and pains?

Wasn’t it just a second ago  that I got the terrible call from mom in the middle of the night and had to go pick her up from the hospice facility?

It’s not how it was supposed to happen

Dad had a double nephrectomy the previous September and he finally had a flat stomach after they removed 40 pounds of kidneys due to polycystic kidney disease. He had a hard several months of doctors appointments and rehab due to going septic a few days after the sbig surgery, BUT he made it through surgery. He made it through sepsis. He made it through inpatient rehab in Portland, Oregon (where the surgery was) and even was released from inpatient rehab in Memphis. God kept giving us longer with him.

Dad, or Yeeha as Kaiser named him when she was about 1 and a half, made it to Nashville for James’ birth. That seemed like such a miracle. He got up and got himself dressed and ready earlier than he had in months and wasn’t about to let my mom come to the hospital without him on James’ birth-day, March 2, 2015! It was so special that he was there with us, but then it also felt like “of course he is here.” I will never ever forget that time holding James in one arm and holding my dad’s hand with the other just a little while after James was born.

What I didn’t know then was that Dad was waiting to meet him. I almost feel like he probably had some subconscious conversations (aka prayers) with God trying to explain how much we needed him there, as if God didn’t already know that. God knew… and God knew that we would need Sweet Baby James, who, by the way, will never outgrow that name, to help us through such a sad time. We needed a reason to smile and see joy. James has been that for us since the very minute he entered this world.

We brought James home from the hospital on Wednesday, March 4th and then took Dad to the hospital on Friday, March 6th (Kaiser’s birthday). All our aunts and uncles came in that weekend because we didn’t know what was going to happen. By Sunday, the doctors realized it was an infection and started him on IV antibiotics. It was all going to work out and be ok now that we had him on meds, right? So all the family went back to Memphis and my sister flew back to NYC expecting to see Dad at home after he was better.

We knew that Dad would forever be on dialysis, but we were totally comfortable with that. My mom got trained to do it and they had been doing that for several years before he even had his kidneys removed. That was normal for us.

The next day, the doctors had to break the news to us that he wasn’t getting better. Dad was such a fighter, but he was so tired. He was exhausted. We made the incredibly hard decision to move him to the hospice facility here in Nashville because while we knew he wanted to be in his own bedroom at his own house, we just weren’t sure he was strong enough to make it there. The sweet nurses at Hospice told us that it wouldn’t be long, but certainly not that night. Some of dad’s siblings had come back to Nashville from Memphis and my sister was planning to come back a day or two later from NYC.

I went home to get some sleep and in the middle of the night got the horrible call that I will never forget.

“He’s gone” my mom said … ughh, it is still like a stomach punch just thinking about hearing those words. I went to the guest house to wake my dad’s little brother, Edward, up and tell him. He drove me to pick mom up. My head was spinning and I couldn’t even think straight. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I needed him … Mom needed him, my sister needed him, my kids needed him, so many people needed him… but… so did God.

The following days are all kind of blurry. We drove to Memphis and were surrounded by amazing friends and family throughout the week. I can’t even tell you how many people came to the funeral because there were way too many to count. He was such a special guy. He drove me crazy a lot but that’s really because we are so much alike.

Not a launch day or trunk show goes by that I don’t miss him calling to see how my sales were. He kept up with my business almost better than me.

Kaiser still has had days missing him but thanks to lots of prayer and counseling at Daystar she is able to talk through her feelings. He would be so darn proud fo her.

Mary Catherine loves big and while I wish he was here to help talk her through hard times, I know she hears his voice from the 4 years she heard it.

Often we are driving down the road and James will randomly say “I miss Yeeha” and I laugh and cry at the same time. I laugh because the reality is he doesn’t have any memories WITH him to miss. I cry because I am so thankful that we talk about my dad and keep his stories so alive in our hearts and minds that James feels like he does have memories of him.

So… basically what I’m saying is that March is a month full of happy-sad, happy-sad, happy-sad for me. Its like a pattern that I used to teach my kindergarten class, but I keep hoping to break that pattern and have more of a happy happy happy happy happy sad pattern. Who knows, maybe getting all this out is just what will help make that happen!

Now, for tomorrow, I will smile and spend the day so very grateful for the gift of Sweet Baby James 6 years ago! Then on Saturday, March, 6, I will smile more and thank God for Kaiser. She is one incredible girl and I am so so so very proud to be her mom! Next week… ugh… ready or not… March 10 is coming! We will write notes to Yeeha on balloons and send them up to Heaven. We will tell Yeeha stories, and I will cry. It isn’t the way I thought it was all supposed to happen, but God had different plans. I don’t know that I will ever really understand, but I can appreciate that He does have a bigger and better plan than I could ever dream of!

Thanks for listening and letting me share… I so appreciate each one of you here and am so thanful to do life- real life- with you. Not just the cute outfits, the pretty poses, and the picture perfect images… but the real me!