Monday, November 20, 2017

The whys. And Adoption Awareness Month.

It is Adoption Awareness Month. I see lots of children posted on social media as "available for adoption." I see lots of beautiful quotes and ideas. I appreciate this.

I get asked to speak during November. To raise awareness, to tell our story, to share what being an orphan really means. Many times at these events, I am told I am a saint and that I am patient. You should know, that I am neither. I have been told I am rude and abrupt, which is probably more accurate.

During these times, I get lots of questions.
I get asked why often: Why do you have so many kids?

Mathematically, we don't have that many. Of the 118,000 kids currently ready to be adopted in the U.S. foster system and the 17.8 million orphans worldwide - I have a total of nine children, eight of whom are adopted. 8/118,000. Or 8/17,800,000. Think on that for a minute.

I also hear frequently: Why adopt?

I have at least nine obvious reasons.

Nine reasons. Right here.

But beyond the overt. Really. Why?
I have so many answers.

Because we like kids. Our crew is fun and funny. Witty and weird. In most cases, we mesh well.

Because brothers and sisters are so great. Some of the children in our household should never be allowed to be an only child. They just don't have the personality for it. It would bring about a selfishness from which we may never recover.

Selfishness is not released easily. It is torn piece by stinging piece from our character, but it is never entirely removed unless we willingly cut it from our own flesh. Kindness, humility, generosity, sacrifice are the antithesis of selfishness. They are a discipline, unnaturally occurring, requiring time and practice. It is hard and precious work.

Because Adam, Asher, and Auggie needed the best protectors. And they got them.

Because Adam is uniquely terrified of any fern or ficus. And truly requires significant moral support when he is in close proximity to foliage. And his sisters provide that. Or maybe, they just laugh. 

Because adventures are better when shared...

Because lonely should never be the only word that describes a tiny, young soul.
If we have the capacity, the means, the functionality, the faith, the kindness to provide one child with one home in this life, shouldn't we? There is a ME factor in there that seems to stop us short. Where the comfort and convenience of ME is the highest priority. And the loneliness, heartache, hurt and needs of another ranks somewhere beneath retirement, house, or car.

Caring for others different from ourselves. Forcing our eyes to see and our ears to hear, even when we want to shield our senses from the very real horrors around us. Being kind and compassionate to those that can't or won't reciprocate, this is what begins and builds kindness and compassion within us.

I am not saying be reckless and irresponsible. I am saying to evaluate what is and isn't important. Most of us say we are for human rights, for civil rights, for social justice. It sounds nice. But many times, that is all it is...sound. And so we have children that are unnoticed and unknown.

And no one should be entirely unnoticed or entirely unknown.

Adam in an orphanage in Ukraine.

Asher's list photo. My sister and I were his first visitors. Ever.

Auggie. Ukraine. 2015

 Because all humans should be important enough to another human to be missed.

So, Happy Adoption Awareness Month. A time when the beautiful quotes on social media flow as freely as the hypocrisy. And the faces of family-less children are shared and liked. Also, a month when statistically, there are no more adoptions than any other month. And no excessive hands thrust upward to volunteer to foster. 
In a perfect world, adoption is unnecessary.
But that is not our world. It isn't fair, but it is reality.
It leaves young lives confused, flailing, and alone. 

Adults, we should be lining up to take these children. The broken, abused, hungry, alone. The unknown. We should be tripping over one another to get to them. It should look like Black Friday at Walmart, pushing and shoving and desperate, not to get more stuff, but to help. Because people are more significant, right? Right?

Our family adopts because we have experienced the fullness of being broken.
And we cannot go back.
Because we have some extra, and we can share.
Because we can't just say humans are important and have no proof.
That is just deceit. Words are never enough. They are meaningful, but not enough.

Adoption is hurt and pain. It is beauty and ashes. Life and death. It is failure and success. Joy and sorrow. Defeat and redemption. It is the story of the gospel. And sometimes, I really hate it just as much as I love it. 

Adoption binds our family together.
It has ruined us for the better.
We will never not know and not see.
We can't. 
So - Why adopt?
It is so simple. Why not. 


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

swimming lessons.

This week, one of our teeny boys, Asher, was gifted some water floats. He loves to swim. Asher is a good swimmer, but not a safe one. He doesn't stop attempting to swim, even if the water is freezing cold. When we are outside, we put him in a flotation device whether it is appropriate swimming temperature or not.  

Because he WILL jump in. To test out the water.  
He HAS to know if it is warm or cold.
Warm means he will swim until I pull him from the water.
Cold means he will still swim, but find the surface on his own. Not always quickly. 
But he will.

I used to try and control his movement. To save him from the cold. It didn't work.
He has to try. He must learn this on his own. So instead of holding tightly, I let go. 
And shiver as I watch my teeny boy hurl himself from my grasp into the cold water. 

And I learned the lesson.  

These past months, we have been in a normal but odd-feeling transition. We have seen some of our kids chase demons. Or be chased by them. We have seen struggle and success and struggle and heart crushing defeat.

This is the life we live, with scarred humanity. Some of my kids bear more overt scars than others. And that is hard. And not always okay. And not everyone understands.
I know that I don't.

I hear that God doesn't dish out more than we can handle. I hear that a lot. 
I know the meaning is good. I do know. But good intention does not equal truth.
If God gives us only what we can handle God is rendered irrelevant. 
He becomes unnecessary if I can do it alone. And I am sure that I cannot. 

Can any person really handle humanity's failings? 
Probably no.

So here I sit, on my computer, hashing out how life works. And contemplating the aftershock of foster care and tragedy. And the whys of behavior rooted in abuse and neglect and trauma. And all because Asher was gifted some floats. My brain is weird.

The truth is, I like what is logical. And nothing borne of tragedy is logical. There is no sense to be found in behavior that births only innocent victims. Therein is the life of children in the foster system. Searching for clear answers in murk and mire. Some never understanding: There are no good answers. 

And these children can be swallowed up in anger. And rightly so. Having zero control over any aspect of any single part of life brings rage and confusion and fury. The very human response to loss of control yields a battle for control. So children enter this war, armed with logical reasons to be angry, but fighting the wrong enemy. 

A few years ago.
When our children first came to live with us, I thought I was prepared to let go. I knew they wouldn't stay, foster training told us this fact over and over. But then - adoption. And we settled into a quasi-quiet existence with former-foster-youth I could legally call mine. I didn't have to wonder when the call would come moving them from our fold to another.

But then hopefully, they get old. 
And I still want to direct and guide and boss. 
And I can't. Or shouldn't.  
What the heck.  
I want to save them.
But that isn't right.

At some point, just like Asher's obsession with swimming, the need to jump can take over. The fantasy of the past, the curiosity of what was or could be can become the all-consuming focus. And like the frigid water, it has to be investigated. Sometimes, just being told it is cold will not work. And that is not necessarily always bad. Even if it makes my bones shake to witness. Because regardless of my warnings or attempts to rescue him from diving headfirst into waters that will inevitably sting, he will jump. 

Ready or not. Cold water or warm. They will jump. Flinging body and soul into the abyss. 
And all we can do is hope and pray we have provided them a sufficient flotation device. And hopefully enough sense to aim for shore. So that even if they go under for a bit, and we totally panic - There is always the hope that they will rise to find the surface   
and swim

For information about foster care and/or adoption

Friday, September 22, 2017

hate. and things I can't change.

6 months ago today. Auggie died. And that is not changeable.

He is still gone. And we are still here. Most days, we are good. We do life and fart jokes and weird competitions and school and activities. But, on days that mark Auggie's death...Honestly, I just kind of hate those days.

I really hate today.
There is no logic in it. I can recognize that.
I hate it like I hate the hotel I was in when I listened to the doctor telling Nigel (in person) and me (on the phone) that there was nothing left to try. I hate the Newark airport, where the girls and I flew from to go home to a house without Auggie in it. I hate his empty chair that that I cannot give away. It is Auggie's. It cannot belong to anyone else. Yet.

Tomorrow, I can breathe again. I will survive today. Maybe not graciously. But I will.

Today, I am working very hard on concentrating on the good.
The many smiles. The sweet humanity in our home.
The happy face of Auggie that greets me in pictures on the wall.
But the hate is still in my head today. An ever-permeating cloud...I am working on it.

So today, I am searching. Because I DO know that there is still goodness and beauty.
There is still light...even in this day's darkness, Auggie's light still bounces around our house with regularity. It is within our precious memories, the laughter we find so freely, the tears we cry in happiness and pain.

Sweet moms.
Sweet moms that live this life.
The life that is unreal and insanely unfair.
I see you.
Even worse, I feel you.
I don't want to, just like you don't want to.
But I do. 

There is light. Even if it is hard to find. Or feel. It is there. 
Sometimes in the fleeting smile. In the small, cool breeze.
In the loved, but unwelcome reminder that we are one less.
And always will be. 

It is in the tiny things that we can locate some comfort.
And I love it. And I hate it.
And I am not sure that will ever change.

Monday, June 26, 2017

our American life.

Hello sweet friends, 

Life has been so weird of late. Auggie is still gone. We are still here.
Corban and I went to NYC for meetings. I thought Judsen and Joe were going to come with me too, but when I offered they said New York is the city and it smells wonky.
They are kind of right. NYC in June does emit a certain funky aroma. 
I felt good about going, because it was with Children's Rights.
And I really just love them. 

If I am painfully honest, I felt a little freaked out. The last time I went to New York, Auggie died. But that is not the point of this post.

A brief life-update:

Asher goes to his ABA program and LOVES it. He only uses me as his personal toilet every-other-day, which is a drastic improvement from multiple times a day...right? I will take the progress. 

Adam breaks things and asks for two snacks. Not one. One would be insufficient. 
He is also entirely obsessed with being a chicken farmer. He gets his boots on every morning and cries and cries by the door if he is not a morning-time chicken checker.

Joe and Judsen are at the farm most mornings. They love the outside, dirt bikes, vehicles (of any kind), the chickens, and all things that are not inside chores or schoolwork.

Mia has become a talented artist. She draws and paints and texts her friends. She is almost a teenager and reminds me of this every day. When she turns 13, we will have five teenagers. This is not funny. 

Corban is writing original poetry. He reads.  He reads some more. He asks for new books and reads more. Sometimes he swims. And then he reads again. 

Celee drives all the places and sings at church and dances and works part-time for Nigel organizing. She is beautiful and responsible and I cannot even handle all of this.

TC is in his grown-man school figuring out grown-man things and learning to be a commercial diver.  He lives states away from us now. And I over-text him. And over-call. And he tolerates me. And I really love that. 

Largely, life is normal. And that seems abnormal. But maybe not. 

Having things to do.
Everyone in our family has their things-to-do. And they are doing well. And getting older and seemingly wiser. I think, while Auggie was alive, his needs filled a lot of time. I did his scheduling, his doctors' appointments, his therapy. It isn't specific to special-needs moms, it is just being a mom. Your kid needs something, you meet the need. Am I right? I didn't mind. It is a busy-ness that many friends are familiar with. It isn't bad, it is reality. And I was happy to be the one to do it. But, with Auggie gone, it really has left a peculiar void for the days and I am unsure how to fill that space. Or if I even need to.

Right now, I drink lots of coffee. I have discovered Salted Caramel Mocha Creamer...and friends, consumption is HIGH. I write a lot. And read a lot. I periodically aggravate DSS with foster parent and child advocacy questions and requests. I hang out with kids. I have some days where it seems as though nothing is required of me. And I really do not like it. Is it odd that I am less productive? I feel like I have excessive time to get everything done and then I am late getting it done. My logical brain cannot make sense of this phenomenon. So basically, I annoy myself.

The things we hear.
We have people say all the time, "I grieve for you" and "I feel so sorry for you."  I know the meaning is good. I know the heart is right. I KNOW THIS. I am sorry for me too, sometimes. But my kids. When the kids hear someone feels sorry for us they are quite confused. Last week, we ran into a very kind acquaintance at the grocery store, and she said she was so sorry and felt so bad. I smiled and thanked her and said we were doing okay...and one of my children inquired, "Did you know Auggie?" The woman responded that she hadn't. And that same child pointedly said, "Well, then don't feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for YOU." (cringe) I am so sorry sweet, sweet lady. It was said rudely. I just wasn't sure how to correct that in that exact moment. I think I was a little happy and a little horrified and just not quite sure how to proceed.

All the talking.
We are a talk-y family. We TALK. A lot. Given our grouping of people, it is the only way we can function. We have meetings. The kids have meetings. I have meetings with the kids. The laundry room is my "office" and we will meet there to discuss hard subjects as needed. We think through difficult and painful scenarios in alternatives. And the alternative in Auggie's situation is that he starved to death, alone in an orphanage. That means we never would have known him. His face. His giggle and that big, fat grin. We never would have known him. And that would have been the true tragedy.

The things we learn.
Auggie broke our hearts. He did. But not just when he died. Auggie opened our eyes to the lying-down rooms in orphanages. I had heard and read about them. But there is nothing that prepares you for rows of children-that-look-like-infants-but-aren't in cribs with blanket-covered plywood as a mattress. There is no accurate, relatable manner in which to convey the horror of slightly-living bodies wrapped in rags.

I left that orphanage acutely aware that I had lived a life entirely unaware. 
How could the world miss this? And how did I? 
The things I see.
What I am seeing emerge in our children here is deep, genuine gratitude (and maybe sometimes rude gratitude). But gratitude nonetheless. The younger Irons are better humans than I am, and always have been. Many times, I have to sincerely search for gratefulness, but it is always there. It lives beneath the sad and selfish. When I find it, it disperses new life and energy into the fold. Gratitude is contagious. 

Weird and new things.
I am watching all the weird things happen. Children maturing. Moving out. Becoming seniors. Turning into teenagers. Starting middle school. Learning to communicate and start real big-boy class. This breathing life is for the living. It goes on. And it is weird. 
And good. And tragic. And so, so beautiful.

As our kids grow, I am witnessing them digging deep within their own experiences and finding commonality with other wounded and healing souls. The injustices in their lives connecting freely and naturally with others living similar circumstances. I love having a front row seat to these events. These experiences make me smile and can assuage the still-raw spirit.

Looking forward.
And this is where we find ourselves, in our American life. With lots of fun and funny children. Missing one tiny boy, and knowing that will not change. There is no remedy in this lifetime. Only in the next. That has to be okay. And it is. 

Please do not misplace your grief for us. Aim it at the ones that truly need your heartache...those languishing in foster care. Those alone in asylums. The hungry. The starving. The abused and ignored. Find these people and be the solution. These humanitarian and civil rights tragedies can be solved in our lifetime. But not by angry social media rants. As in all crises, only action evokes change. So my friends, let's get to work.

Many blessings.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

parenting. more. and better. and being good livers.

Friends, these past weeks I have found myself holding my tribe close. Maybe annoyingly so. It has made me think about how I parent. And how I used to parent. And what exactly I am trying to cultivate in our kids and our family.

I am not sure I could have answered that very clearly a few years ago.
Because I really didn't know.

Parenting in the beginning. 
In the beginning, I was super concerned about behavior. Are you saying please, thank you? Did you shake hands? Did you introduce yourself without being prompted? Did you leave McDonald's without screaming your head off? Did you accept consequences without throwing a fit? These were my worries.

It was a very superficial way to parent. My kids behaved, most of the time.
But I am not sure they knew why they behaved, except that maybe they would get in trouble if they didn't. And sometimes that is okay. Sometimes not.

The metamorphosis. 
The parenting change came slowly, over time. A molasses-like evolution that is a direct result of our children schooling me in the arts of kindness, compassion, and resiliency. These younger-than-me people taught me about a world beyond my comfortable life and my selfish wants.

It is still a difficult lesson. And I am still learning.
This manner of living  has created a singular focus in our family for people living marginalized lives. Living my white-ish life with all of the privileges is not necessarily real. Assuming that others have our same opportunities is absolutely not real. And living with the people I live with, makes these realities impossible to ignore.

While we evaluated and re-evaluated and adjusted our parenting to better suit our particular children, we tried to pinpoint exact lessons, for everyone's benefit. (especially me, I am not good with subtle lessons.

One constant theme we came 
back to again and again:
We need to know where we want to go
and have a plan to get there.  
This applies to being a kid. And an adult. 
We started implementing this idea in our parenting. 
What kind of kids are we trying to raise here? 
And what kind of kids do I not want to raise? 
And how do we get there? 

Parenting now. 
I do not want to raise whining, sniveling children frightened by every shadow.
Sometimes there are fights that should be fought. Wars that should be declared. Sometimes we must chase the shadows. We must be the light for lives marred and darkened by trials and tragedy.

As Nigel and I are getting older-ish, I am more and more unimpressed with talkers and complainers. I am more interested in do-ers. I want to raise children that DO. Life-livers, not just passive observers.

"I want to raise children that DO.

Life-livers, not just passive observers. 
More and better. 
A few days ago, Corban was having a particularly hard time with Auggie's death, as we all do at times. And I asked him, "Corb, could you have loved Auggie more or better than you did?" Corban responded, "No, but I could have loved him longer." 
 In our situation, Corban's answer is the absolute best I could hope for. That is exactly how I want to live. And how I want my kids to live. As a lover of people. All people. I want to know that we couldn't have loved more or better. That we said yes, even when we choked on the word. That we chose to GO. That we chose to DO. Even when it wasn't ideal.

I don't want the kids to spend their days protecting themselves from the possibility of failure or heartache. I want them to dive head first into this life. To love bravely. Without spending time to think: this might hurt.  I want my humans to know the valuable part of this life is found in what we are willing to give.

This does not mean that we will always get it right. There is no place for perfection in this arena. Only, what I hope, is a true, earnest effort to love people.

The plan. And how to get there. 
The plan is to raise functional, society-contributing adults. Getting there means taking risks on humans. This is how we find and promote justice, peace, joy, and kindness to the generations beyond us. I am realizing there may be no risks too outlandish for the sake of humans in the brutal periphery. I know my children would agree. Kids are always the first ones on board with any scheme that involves people. They want to adopt first, to foster first, to invite people to live with us first...while I drag behind them, weighing the cost and potential disasters, they charge ahead.

We get to there by saying yes. By giving grace. By correcting wrongs, teaching forgiveness. By loving those around us. By doing hard things because that is what is right.

I want to be fearless like the minors that occupy my house and life. I want to love bravely, to choose what is hard over what is convenient. In the end, I want to be able to answer the question "Could you have loved more or better than you did?" with an honest NO.

Parenting is hard. Life is hard. We spend our days fretting about irrelevant subject matter. Being entirely drawn in to unimportant frivolities. I am hopeful that we are getting closer to what matters. Because I really want to paint a picture of service and kindness and justice for our children. Of brokenness and love. A life given up and poured out for another. A life loving well and being well-loved is well lived. And that is where we are going. I hope.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lasts. And Auggie's legacy.

We are still here.

The kids all have their moments of sadness. And that is okay. We talk about Auggie a lot. He affected so much of our day-to-day activities. And it just feels weird with the gaping absence of Auggie, comes the empty minutes of the day, where I find myself seeking activity or sleep. The wide open expanse of time is foreign. And I am unsure of what that looks like long-term.

Our house is strange to me. I see Auggie's possessions. His tiny clothes. His medical equipment. His crib. His pillows and blankets. I see them, but not Auggie, and I am not sure that will ever be normal. I cling to the little remembrances. Even the things I used to find exceedingly annoying. The last hospital bill. The last of his laundry. The last phone call to cancel his doctors' appointments.

I have lots of odd questions. We applied for Auggie's passport the week before he died. What happens to that? Does he still get one? Will I find his sweet face on a passport in the mail this week? Adam and Asher's passports have arrived. And I assume, if Auggie's passport was approved, that his will be here soon.

Logic and emotion.
I find some solace in the communication from so many that are now interested in the realities of children without families. For some reason, Auggie's death pushed families considering adopting or fostering into families committed. And I do like that.

I have always been logical. My husband finds it wildly irritating. That is what comes as a byproduct of having George as my dad. I know the chances in this life of dying are 100%. No one will escape. I also know that we were told Auggie's life expectancy was likely shorter than most.  But my emotions, my heart...I just want to hold my teeny boy.

In our family, he was spoiled. If we put him down, he pouted and fussed. SO spoiled. I single-handedly did that to him. And I am not even a tiny bit sorry about it. He was attached to a human being almost all day. When we first met him, he hyperventilated every time I picked him up. It was so extreme, that I had to face him away from me for him to tolerate being touched at all. It was all I could do to keep from squeezing him and squishing him close to me. His terror later dissolved into needing and wanting to be around familiar humans at all times. Which is entirely amazing.

I can get angry at the injustice of it all. The fact that Auggie spent 4 years and 7 months being systematically starved, almost to death. He was alone. Entirely alone. He is the weakest, strongest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Going forward. And all the questions.
We get invasive questions at times, and that is okay sometimes and sometimes not...I can forget that we are somewhat conspicuous. Our normal is not everyone's normal. So, let me clear up a few things all in one big blob:

Our kids are doing pretty well. We don't need any food, but we do love company. Yes, there are thousands of children like Auggie, he was not the exception. If international adoption is not for you, there are 104,000 children in the U.S. foster system that need a family.  If you really need to bring us something, bring toilet paper or ranch dressing, we never seem to have enough. Auggie's body was not at his memorial service because we allowed our kids to decide what they were most comfortable with...and the consensus was that they wanted him cremated and to be in our house, with us. I don't know if we will adopt again. We might. But I am feeling a little gun-shy at present. 

This will be another last for me. The last blog dedicated entirely to Auggie and grief. His life is over, but his story is not. I cannot re-live and re-think and second guess Auggie for the entirety of my life. Auggie was beautiful and brave. He demanded and possessed courage and patience...qualities that remain elusive and unnatural to humans, and only seem to emerge through sufferings and hurts.

I am not sure I can ever properly explain the impact our boy has had.
I hope he inspired others to step blindly, to reach into the darkness, unseeing, unknowing...
To go and do. 
I stated before that the time is now...but that isn't correct. I was so wrong. The time has long passed, and we have missed the boat. Children are dying. And not dying like Auggie did...loved, warm, protected, fed, with a family...They are dying alone.
This is not okay. This will never be okay. 

Auggie was and is interesting to the public, his life considered a humanitarian anomaly. Even though that isn't accurate. Some of Auggie's story is quiet and reserved and will remain with us. He was our son, our brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend. We knew him. His quirks, his likes, his dislikes. His pooping habits. His ticklish spots. We knew him.  And now, he isn't here.

And I am attempting gratitude. Even in this choking grief.
Gratitude for the short life that blessed our family. 
For all the hard things we thought we couldn't do, but we absolutely could.
We learned patience. And courage. Lessons Auggie learned years ago, and modeled so well.
We learned to speak for those with no voice.Whether it was popular or not.
We are learning to choose gratitude, even when we have a hard time feeling it.
We saw our hurting boy be bold and brave. And so we learned we could do that too.
I will hold these lessons dear for the remainder of my life, until I see my son again.
This is Auggie's legacy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Being okay.

Hello my friends,

It has been one week.
We are okay. Not great, not whole. But we are okay.
And I will call that pretty good for the moment.

I keep going back to the thought that this is not where I expected to be right now.
I expected Auggie to live much longer.
I hurt.

Can your spirit physically ache? I think it can.

The kids have gone back to doing lessons and chores and real life.
And I have too.
We are sluggish at times. But we are getting it done.
One step, one thing at a time.

I was asked if I knew all of what I know now, would I do it again?
Yes. Absolutely.
A million times again.
There are zero scenarios we can dream up in which we would not want Auggie.
Heartache and all. Hospital visits. Ambulance trips. Sleepless nights.
All of it. I take all of it. Willingly.

There is a dark side of humans. One rarely discussed, and often-times underplayed and unknown.
In the states, we see it again and again in the foster system. Abroad, in orphanages, asylums and institutions. Where children are invisible. Hidden away. Where life is marginalized to meeting only the bare minimum (or less) of what is required to live. Much less thrive. This is not acceptable.
But our actions communicate otherwise.

Fairness, unfortunately, has little bearing on what happens in this world. Although, I am not entirely sure that is always bad. Many of us are unfairly privileged. Enjoying and even expecting comforts precious few humans will ever experience. The problem comes when we hold on to these privileges so tightly, feeling life is unfair if we are not readily given and gifted what we want...while knowing masses of humans lack what they need.

Hundreds of thousands of children have no home. No family. No person to call their own.
These children need you. They need me.
Be a voice. Be an advocate. An activist. Be a family.
Refuse to allow this tragedy to continue into another generation. 
We are the ones that can change this

It can be hard and dirty work.
You will lose your heart. You will lose your soul. You will hurt.
But, I promise you, in the end, you will know, it was worth it.
Decide now, that as functional adults, merely breathing in and out until the end of our life is not good enough. It never was. Because a life lived only for you, is not a life at all. 

Right now. I cling to what I know.
I know I am raw. And we are wounded. My mind is foggy and I seem to be forgetting things that I don't usually forget. I know that I miss Auggie. And I know I have to function because we have other sweet kids that are also hurting. This is not just about me.

I know that I want Auggie to be more than just some planetary blip.
I know that one of my biggest fears is that he will be forgotten.
His remarkable story dying quickly, like him.

I know that each of our kids has transformed us in some way.
Auggie is no different.
His needs were so unique. His story so unbelievable.
He was the boy that lived.
And we are blessed beyond measure to have called him son. 

Thank you, friends. For your kind words. Your food deliveries. Your company. Letters. Flowers.
Thank you for answering your phone at unmentionable hours when I couldn't sleep. Thank you for crying with us, laughing with us. Thank you for sharing this unexpected and surprising life with us.

I am so grateful.
Many blessings,