Thursday, December 23, 2010

We Gave Thanks

Over Thanskgiving Break we spent 10 days with people, in places, and with things that we are indeed greatful for....

We gave thanks for connections made (and connections kept) with mission companions. For the memories relived. The abundant laughter. Of our children's acceptance of one another.

We gave thanks for friendship. The oldest kind imaginable. Where there was never a time without that bond. Where generations before us had already created memories of their own together and then watched as we did the same. For the sharing of mothers and grandmothers. The second home (that was just 2 doors down). For the ease of reunion as if time and distance had never made it's interruption. For the promise to make more time in the future. For "Sister Friends".

We gave thanks for weather. A different kind of weather that is found about 6,000 feet above our very comfortable climate here at sea level. The kind of weather that offers four seasons. The smell of static in the air and the shock of it on my fingertips as they brush a child's cheek or grasp a door handle. Struggling to catch leaves mid fall. Praying to stay on icy roads. My children's fascination at holding frozen water in their hands. Capturing the token of a promise made long ago.

We gave thanks for family. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Great-Grandparents. Siblings. Nephews. Nieces. Parents.

We gave thanks for delicious food. For sharing our thoughts and shedding some tears over heaping plates. For mass quantities of soda (100 oz to be precise). For having enough and for having excess.

We gave thanks for temples. For forever families. For covenants. For
Freedom to worship the way we believe. The way we know. To stand in holy places. For scriptures. For missionaries. For those who stayed faithful despite persecution at it's worst.

We gave thanks for all this and more. For sharing childhood places, people, and memories with my children. For the visit back home. Not home as a location; one made of wood, stucco, and cement or a valley nestled in the mountains. But home as in people. Special beings that we've shared pieces of time with, having gleaned something (many things) from each of them that have shaped us into who we are today. We huddled closely with these people, this home, and together... We Gave Thanks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cruz Thayer Sowards

Dear Cruz,

This blog post is about 5 months past due. Not very good repayment for a baby boy who treated his mommy well during the 9 months she housed you.

You tricked me in the beginning. I thought you were going to be a girl. I felt so different than I did with your two older brothers. But Daddy knew all along that we'd be opening up our stored boxes of blue. I went to the ultrasound with visions of pink and an eagerness to shoot Daddy the "I told you so" look. Instead I left with the peaceful excitement of bringing another boy into the world. A boy that we would teach to be a man. Another missionary to prepare. I was wrong about you being a girl. But it was so right.

A few days later I received a disturbing call. Your ultrasound showed a worrisome cyst on your brain. "No need to worry just yet.", they said. "It could be Trisomy 18 or it could be nothing. These things come and go during pregnancies. We just want to rule out the worst case scenario." I feared the worst and missed you already. We had to talk with a genetic counselor before seeing you again and she happened to have an opening the very next day. We were so greatful and relieved to see that the cyst had already dissipated and we were in the clear. The ultrasound showed that you were going to have all your fingers, toes, organs, and....even hair.

I always feel vibrant and healthy during my pregnancies but even more so with you. We were a good team. I felt light on my feet. Sometimes I would even forget that I was pregnant. I never even got the pregnancy waddle swagger that I did with the others.

Your due date was June 22nd. I thought you'd decide to make your appearance later rather than earlier. But you surprised us by coming exactly on your due date! The night before we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Less than 6 hours later I was up walking the floor and timing contractions.

Daddy rushed us to the hospital.... 45 minutes away.... and we literally barely made it. I don't know how we did it. If it took us any longer, if the traffic had been any thicker, if I had stayed in the truck while daddy parked it then you're name would have HAD to have been "Ford" because that's where you would have been born.

You took your first breath just over 3 hours after my labor had begun; 6 minutes after arriving at the hospital; 3 minutes after Daddy made it up to the 5th floor. I was officially admitted to the hospital while holding you tenderly close to keep you warm. It was all so shockingly easy that it didn't even seem real.

We are so glad you're here. We are so glad you're healthy. You've taken up ownership of a piece of all of our hearts and our family wouldn't be complete without you. I'm sure there is a lot you could teach us if you could talk. I wonder if the veil is thin for you. Right now you are our little piece of heaven and it is our responsibility to make sure you get back there someday. That we all do. Together.

So this is your story. Minus a lot of details of course but we can fill those in later. Welcome to the family baby Cruz.

I love you,