Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Keeping it simple.

If you've had any experience around children you know that all too often you give them things and toys and go all out- and then they prefer the box or the string that came wrapped around the package.

Teague is no different. He has been fussing the past few days as his first two teeth are starting to make their appearance. Nothing we bring to him to play with or suck on has made him happy for more than a minute or two. Until he got his hands on this empty water bottle. You would have thought by his reaction and attention to it that it was the latest, greatest toy to hit the market. I sometimes forget that less is more. It's a challenge to keep things picked up and tidy around here with as many kids and ages as we have in our home. Now that Teague is getting more adept at getting around I'm thinking it's the perfect time to scale back on stuff.

We did manage to get a family picture on Easter this past Sunday while our friend Rachael was with us. She knows more than most how much effort goes into even the simplest family photo. We aren't the most photogenic bunch, but I'm learning to be happy with any results just as long as we're all in the shot. Keep it simple. So much easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a try!

How about you? What sort of things do you do each week to simplify things in your home and with your family. I'd love to hear your favorite tips, techniques, shortcuts and whatever else works well for you! Please share!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not just a box...

This is probably the most difficult post I've ever tried to put into words. The photo doesn't begin to capture what I wish to share and nothing could have ever prepared me for getting such a package in the mail. Inside the box are Teagan's remains. They were sent from the funeral home where Teagan was cremated and have been kept there for nearly 10 years. Last week they came- registered mail. We knew they would be arriving as a result of the home changing some things up and we've known for almost 10 years that we would have to make a decision of what to do with the contents of such a box. Still, nothing prepares you for getting such a package. It now sits on a shelf with some miscellaneous storage items until we can finally make a decision on how, when and where to inter Teagan's remains.
Let me just say that my heart aches all over again for the life Teagan lived and how short it was. My heart hurts at how sudden she was gone and it hurts at how often- even now- something in my day reminds me of her or wishes her back to experience something she never got the chance to do. The wound of losing her feels fresh and stabbing when I look at that box. Yet I know she's gone from this earth forever and my heart still rejoices at the thought of reuniting with her in Heaven again. Someday.
But for now, the reality of what we had, what we loved, what brought so much joy, and what really remains after losing Teagan is a tough thing to grasp. At the time of Teagan's death it was an 'easy decision' for Chip and I to have her tiny body creamated. She looked practically perfect- even though she sustained fatal injuries in our incident. But because Wyndham was so critically ill and not expected to survive her injuries, and because Chip was hospitalized for a few weeks at that time too, it was a simple choice to have her cremated. We then had two different memorial services for Teagan about a month after her death- and one another month later back 'home' in Minnesota with family and friends.
We never dreamed as a young couple starting our family and careers that we would need to make a decision about what to do at the time of the death of a child. Our lives were so full of promise and it wasn't something that ever crossed our minds. Even as we had recently had a scare and nearly lost Wyndham. Just 6 months earlier. I think we felt invinceable. We weren't the "kind of people" that tragedy happened too. Those were the people we read about in the papers and watched on nightly news.
But here we are. Ten years later wondering what will we do next with a box that holds a huge piece of our hearts. There are lots of options in place. But none of them seems right to us yet. We're leaning most toward one day taking our family to the ocean- where Teagan ran and splashed and laughed and played when we lived in Florida- and spreading her ashes out across the waves.
For now, my heart is tender and moved to think that the energetic, blond-haired, blue-eyed girl that sang and danced circles around me and everyone she met could end up in a tiny box that came shipped to our home via registered mail. My world feels oh so upside-down at times. Yet I still cling to the promise that yes, we WILL see her again. That yes, there IS more to this life than that which our eyes can see. And when I close my eyes and feel the tears begin to well in them and a lump inches up in my neck making it hard for me to breathe, I remind myself that she was mine. I held her, loved her, kissed her, danced with her, sang with her, blew bubbles with her, had Coke floats with her, pushed her on the swings and rolled out pie dough with her. We ate apples and rhubarb and lobster and cupcakes and Tootsie Rolls and chocolate chip pancakes together. We fell asleep in each other's arms and together felt safe and happy and ready to take on whatever the world would send our way.
We may have gotten Teagan's remains in the mail last week. But in my heart I know her spirit still soars and that makes my heartache a tiny bit more bearable. Until we meet again.