My Annoying Self

Bug is 8 years old and has taught me more in that time than I learned in the entire 29 years I lived before I knew her.  And I’m not even referring to all that I learned through her birth and our stint in the NICU. (

I’ve learned much about myself too.  When she was a baby I would hear all the time, “Wait until she hits the ‘terrible twos’,” and “The ‘terrible twos’ are nothing compared to the ‘terrible threes’,” and so on.  But I LOVED her toddlerhood.  Every age was my favorite, until the next age.

For a while, I taught a class at church.  It had kids from 4 to 8 in it.  (Including Bug.)  The younger ones were easy.  But I struggled terribly with the 7 and 8 year olds. Prior to this, I had spent eight years teaching kids at church, aged from 11 to 18.  Some were easier than others, but I generally loved it.

I have a confession to make. Apparently the 7 to 11 year age range is not one that I handle well.  It’s different when it’s my own kid of course, but it’s still such an awkward time!  And I didn’t expect it to be. Surely MY daughter would never hit that awkward phase. Surely she would never develop any annoying habits like those I saw in other children.

But I find myself dismissing her too often.
I catch myself correcting her all the time, without giving her a chance to correct herself.
I regret the missed opportunities to spend time with her when she asks me to play and I’m too “busy.”
I notice that I don’t pay as much attention to her as I should, because my child who is known for being quiet at school, never stops talking at home. And I’m realizing that those are all annoying habits OF MY OWN

She IS at an awkward age, and it is bound to get worse before it gets better. But I, of all people, should be her number one cheerleader, her number one sounding board, her number one supporter, and her number one encourager.
And I am going to be all of those things. Sometimes we moms just need a moment to step back and get a little perspective.  This week I’ve been handed a whole lot of it.


The Back Story

Because our family story is such a huge part of our family dynamic, I wanted to share a part of it.  All the stories of our lives make up the whole and in the grand scheme of things, this is just a part. However, it is a part which colors so very much of how we live and love.  This is the story of a baby girl who was called “A Fighter” before she was called by name.

My husband and I lost 3 babies, 2 very early in the pregnancies and a daughter born at 22 weeks. Her name was Faith, and she was born December 28, 2000 but did not get to stay with us. She was just too early. Many surgeries, blood tests, tears and fears later, I was pregnant with my Bug, taking Heparin shots twice a day nd nearly jumping for joy when we got past the 22 week mark. And then…

April 7, 2006, I started having contractions late in the afternoon.  I’m pretty sure my hubby had my good ol’ T-Bird’s gas pedal to the floor on the 30 mile drive to the hospital, where we were admitted immediately. Bug was bound and determined that she was going to arrive that very day. But she certainly was not about to do anything the “easy” way. What seemed like it might be the mother of all storms was coming – while most everyone in the region was taking cover, I was being prepped for surgery. One thing I will forever remember is a sweet nurse, named Kathy, who was flying around the room, getting things ready and she asked us if this baby girl had a name yet. We told her our chosen name, and while she worked, this nurse began to pray, out loud, by name, for us and for our daughter. It was an extraordinary moment.

Because of our past history, we had discussed the possibility of premature labor and what it would mean. My doctor had told us, just a couple of weeks before, that the hospital where we delivered was not equipped to attend to babies born any earlier than 32 weeks. Now, in the face of premature labor that was too far advanced to stop, we were told that because of the storms, the Children’s Hospital which normally partnered with them had refused to come, due to safety issues.  My hubby was sent to the waiting room and I was wheeled in for an emergency c-section, feeling certain that this was going to be another heartbreak. Just before putting me under, the anesthetist told me that they had contacted the next closest facility, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and that they were on their way.

At 5:54 p.m. Bug made her dramatic entrance. She weighed a whopping 1 pound and 9 ounces. (6 sticks of butter!) She was 12 and 3/4 inches long and had a little buzz of red hair. And that is all I could have told you for about 36 hours. I saw her for less than 5 minutes, then they took her to Knoxville by ambulance.

Our Bug had so much against her. (But she had so much more FOR her.) Her lungs, of course, being so under-developed, were her biggest hurdle. When she was born, somehow, she lost circulation to her left leg and for a time, we thought she might lose it…but she didn’t. There were risks to her eyes associated with the use of the oxygen, brain bleeds, jaundice…those were the first few days. Later on, she faced staph and e-coli infections. There were several weeks when she had what were called, “bronchospasms,” when she would just stop breathing, her lungs just would not work. Several times she had to be “bagged,” in order to keep her going long enough for her lungs to kick in again. Then there were feeding issues, apneas, back and forth on the oxygen…

But over and over, she fought her way out. We saw answered prayers daily. On July 19th, we got to bring our whopping 5 pound, 5 ounce baby girl home. She came home on a monitor, which she wore for the better part of 3 months…if it hadn’t been for that, I doubt we would ever have slept, since it was set to alert us if she stopped breathing. To this day, I still check on her several times a night and watch for her little chest to rise and fall.

Bug has surprised so many people so many times! So many things that “should have,” been different. So many things that could have gone wrong…so many problems that could have come up, so many that could have had lasting repercussions. But other than mild issues with asthma, she is as healthy as can be.

This really IS the short version. 😀 There is so much more…but, for now, I’ll leave it here. This is the beginning, at least, of the story. Bug is my Miracle. I tell her that God knew I needed her…and I thank Him for her every day. She continues to surprise us, not to mention her doctors and nurses!

Shine On!

I stumbled across this blog post thanks to a Facebook friend, and had to share it, because I have been thinking something very similar this week about my KatieBug. I happened to drive by her school twice this week at just the right time to see her on the playground. I’ve often said I wish I could follow her around for a day without her knowing, just to see her at school, how she works, plays, and interacts, when I’m not around.
I know most of the time she has playmates – she talks about them all the time. But both times I drove by this week, she was off on her own, doing her thing.

And then, this morning on the way to school she was telling me that during playtime yesterday she was playing with a small group of kids and there was one little girl who was mean to a little boy, and she said, “I just got him and tried to comfort him and we walked away.” 

I was so proud of her for that. 

She truly DOES shine from within, as do so many children. They are the ones who fall soundly in the middle where academics and sports and clubs are concerned, but who have gifts many who know them may never see. I pray she never fails to realize that I see it, that those who matter see it, and most importantly, God sees it. He sees inside her precious heart to the soul who loves and cares and believes and feels so deeply.

So take a minute and read this wonderful blog entry: