my fightin’stance


Sometimes it’s a gradual descent into darkness and sometimes it just hits you out of nowhere.

A girlfriend of mine and her teenage daughter came for coffee and showed me a video of the teenager at a self -defense class. There was this tiny little wisp of a girl standing on the mat, her eyes closed in total darkness, in total silence as her attacker silently crept around her. She couldn’t hear him, or see him until that very moment when he jumped and attacked. My insides started shaking just watching her! And I knew it was a class, knew she was just fine as she sat and showed me the video! Dressed in full pads and face mask, suddenly he threw himself at her and grabbed her from behind. I couldn’t help but laugh as she fought him so hard that he called it….called it because her hit had broken the face mask and cut his face. This girl used what she had learned and fought. Fought back against an attacker much bigger and stronger than she…not knowing where it was coming from….trained to be ready.

My last post on this blog was about letting go, when my youngest little boy turned 6. Since then, my oldest turned 20 (yes, that’s a whole new mama crisis). But in that 5 weeks in between I was in a bad place. Mary calls it a funk! Slowly the attacks came, pulling me down gradually, almost to a point where I didn’t see how far down I was. The thing was, it wasn’t anything that was a life changer…as I sit here typing life is back to normal (as in the normal craziness of mamahood…it feels like it shouldn’t be the norm, but we all know it is). It was little things.

My 3 youngest got sick. Not the kind of sick where we have couch and a t.v. day for a day or two, but the kind of sick where I wore a hole in the pavement going back and forth to the doctor for 3 weeks…strep, ear infections, horrible viruses, migraines, bronchitis and asthma attacks. One after the other….after the other….and then again as soon as someone got better. The hubs was traveling for work. Life was still going with all its responsibilities.  Finally healthy, I threw out my back and ended up with muscle relaxants that turned me into…let’s just be nice and say a different person.  I don’t do medication well, and between the constant pain and then coming off those every morning…my family was ready to run for the hills. Now, I know any mama reading that paragraph has been through something like this, numerous times…you get it!

Many times, the attack is much worse…

A phone call that leaves you on your knees

A road of sickness

A broken relationship

A rebellious child

A situation completely out of your control

A loss that brings perspective you never wanted


I’ve had an experience like that as well. As have you.

I was thinking about that video. She was prepared and ready. Ready to fight!

Psalm 144:1-2 says, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight– My steadfast love and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I trust and take refuge.”

It’s in Him that we find strength for the battles. It’s in His word that we find hope in the darkness.

Psalm 18:28-39 says, “For you cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine, the Lord my God illumines my darkness.

For by You I can run through a troop and by my God I can leap over a wall.

As for God, His way is perfect! The word of God is tested and tried: He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.

For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the rock save our God.

The God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect?

He makes my feet like hind’s feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]: He sets me securely upon the high places.

He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand has held me up.

You have given me plenty of room for my steps under me that my feet would not slip…

You have girded me with strength for the battle…..

IMAG0323 (1)

Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God…being ready for the battle. In verse 10, it says, “Be strong in the Lord [empowered through your union with Him] draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].  As for me, I need this every day. Every day can seem like something comes against us. His word is what brings hope and light to any darkness in our lives. My sweet mama friends, this is what we need to face whatever our day brings. In the devastation or the annoyances, it’s His grace and strength that brings us through. Will you look to Him today with me? He loves you. He sees you in whatever you are facing. He is pleased with your faithfulness in doing this mama thing, day after day for His precious little ones. Look to Him. Lean on Him. Let’s let Him train our hands for the battle and be ready to face whatever comes our way.


Letting go….

023The high schooler and I were talking SATs and college stuff when he mentioned a certain far away college to go along with his very dangerous occupation of choice at the moment. This of course sent my head into my hands with great lamentations. My 9 year old said, “Well, Mom, they can’t stay small forever.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I did some of both. Poor boys. It’s this business of letting go. I’m just not a big fan, and I’m realizing that it’s not just in these big things…it’s happening all the time.

We are a family of all boys, so you can imagine what my boys have done to the “Let it go” song, having a marvelous time making it gross and then laughing hysterically. Did I just ruin it for you forever? Yeah, me, too.

‘Let it go’refers to the act of releasing or relinquishing.

When Mr. College Boy was 6, I had the high schooler toddling around with his curls and dimples. When he was six, my older little was born, allowing us back into the precious “littles” days. Then when he was six, my littlest was still little! Now the that baby is turning six this week, and I’m sorry, but the puppy is just not cutting it.

IMAG0770Every season is a new stage of letting go, of saying goodbye to an age or time, or grieving a “last”. They sneak up on you, those lasts. The baby stops nursing, moves out of a crib, sends you away so he can wash himself in the big boy shower (yes, Mom, I let him. He gets generally clean)….it’s letting go. They get on that kindergarten school bus, or they go to their friends for that first away from mama play date. They drive away for the first time alone, or walk that graduation stage, or have to face adult consequences for the first time…it’s all letting go. For us mamas, I think it can be an issue of knowing if they will be okay. It’s releasing the control of being the one who makes sure they are safe, secure, and loved. We want the best for them, to not be hurt, to not make wrong choices, to flourish wherever they are. In the end, we have to trust in how we’ve raised them or are raising them, and in the Lord, who we gave them to in the beginning. All along they’ve been in God’s hands, a whole lifetime of releasing, of relinquishing control to the One who loves them even more that we do. It’s knowing that even if they choose differently than we would have or when they embark on their own path, He will never let them go- He never gives up on them or relinquishes His call or love for them. And that is the very best place for them to be.

skipping Valentine’s Day

We were both pretty weary. It has been one of those weeks (please tell me you have them, too…just do it) when I was pretty much at the end of myself. I looked at my hubby and asked, “Can we just be this Valentine’s Day? Let’s just take a break this year.” I just didn’t have it in me to make the effort and I knew it would be a relief to him to take off any pressure, as well.

I am a big celebrator. I LOVE LOVE LOVE parties, get togethers, holidays, celebrations of most kinds. Matt is usually so wonderful with them (and he teaches my boys how to do them well,too! ) except for his own birthday which we are not allowed to party for…such a stinker!

Sitting together in a little diner, I looked at my husband of almost 22 years and thought back to all the celebrations where he has made me feel special. But, I realized that the real show of love isn’t in the cards, flowers, gifts, or chocolate (well, maybe chocolate…it is quite possibly one of my love languages). It’s in the every day ways that he lays his life down for our family.

It’s how he works so hard for so that I can stay home with the children and homeschool. It’s when he comes home just as tired as I am, but puts the littles to bed and sends me off for some quiet, or when he cooks whenever he can,sometimes getting a whole meal ready for the evening before the coffee has even hit my brain….

It’s in his patience with my shortcomings,his love that covers my crabbiness, his laughter and humor that brings me out of a bad mood, his listening to my heart, even as so many other things are pulling for his attention….

It’s in his spider killing, animal disgustingness cleaning up (that is a real thing), not complaining about frozen toes on his warm legs…

It’s in his love for our boys, the way he raises them to love and honor the Lord.

I want to remember to tell him often, to thank him and honor him for who he is for us. I need to remember when he lets me down or makes me so mad that it’s hard to see the good…I want to see it-to choose to see it.  I don’t want to take for granted the day to day showings of love from him. Because sometimes, when he puts that oh,so perfect cup of coffee in front of me, it’s just as good as a bouquet of flowers.:)




2 are better than 1

january 16

Walking the path together, mamas, that’s what we are doing. It’s what we should be doing, but sometimes we find ourselves feeling isolated and alone in struggles or so busy with life that connecting with other mama friends gets put last. Feeling isolated puts me in a hard place, because we aren’t meant to do this alone!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good (more satisfying) reward for their labor, for if they fall, the one will lift up the other. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

I’ll never forget this day…years ago, I was having just a terrible day. Heading out to my garage to get in the car and take some time away, I opened the garage door to see my girlfriend pull in the driveway. I walked out and hopped into her van and we commiserated together because she was in my driveway for the same reason…except she reached out to me. After a while, we were laughing and talking, encouraged by our time together. We saw that we were not alone.

me, too

I get it

understand that one

I’ve been there

it gets better

it’s only a season

When one falls, the other lifts her up. We were each other’s safe place that day. She reached out and took the drive to my house.

Or made the phone call…

Or sent the text or email…

We “5 mamas” have all talked about the conference we went to this fall and how it impacted us in different ways. The theme was EMBRACE for 2015. 2016 has the theme THRIVE. To thrive means- flourish, prosper, grow, increase…the origin- grasp, get ahold of. (I’m “getting a grip” is one of my favs.)

I realized in my own life that if I want to thrive in the season I find myself in, I have to take care of myself.  As I made my list of the things I need to be able to do that, I put having real, authentic, laugh til you cry, cry til you laugh connections with other mamas is on my list. If you read the “Why 5 Mamas” portion of the blog, you know how this all started. I reached out. I asked some friends to join me. It turned out some of them felt the way I felt.

So, I invite all you mamas out there to join me. It doesn’t have to be this kind of get together, but in this new year, will you reach out? You may have all the friends you need, but there may be someone who needs you! Or you may need some new connections. But take care of this part of you. Thrive in this area of your life. Two are better than one!



If you want to join us on January 16th, click the link below for all the information!

We have picked the 1st of 5 locations for the RGT Mom Meet Up Training Days!
If you are in the northeast, snag your seat to the Rochester Meet Up – Saturday, January 16!
A special take-home gift if you RSVP soon! Don’t miss this amazing time of fellowship.
The next training session may be too far away for you to attend.
RSVP here:




longing for Paris

Our book club started the book, Longing for Paris this past September. Little did we know that our last meeting, planned out with a French inspired dinner, was to fall exactly one week after Paris was attacked by terrorism. It was definitely with a different feel that we met and prayed for peace and protection for our world.

The book challenged us to yes, follow the dreams that God has placed in our hearts, but to find “Paris” in our everyday lives, as wives, moms, teachers, friend….whatever roll we may find ourselves in. To be present in the moment and see and feel and experience the love and beauty around us, yet knowing that the desire for something greater is God given. Because of the hope we have in Christ, we know there is more than just this life. So, as I stood in front of my stove cooking for that night, I had feelings of gratitude. Because even as the beautiful city that inspires so many was still reeling from violence and grieving it’s loss, my family was safe. This violence had not touched our lives. My dear friends were on their way over to spend an evening with me, laughing and crying, sharing our hearts over this meal.

Coming into Thanksgiving, I can find the wonder in two lost teeth in one week, or a day spent with Nana cooking for the big meal. We can’t know what is coming, but for now, the piles of laundry, the legos all over the floor, the sleeping teenagers in their beds…this is all a wonderful thing, because it means we have life here, we are together. And for that, I am so thankful. ~Claire

Sometimes I have hard days where I want to run away. I hate those stories where the mother abandons her family. I could never do that, but sometimes I flirt with the what if questions found in that idea. Author Sarah Mae’s dream is to sneak away to visit Paris. Maybe with her family, maybe not. It depends on the day. My longings aren’t usually for a place but rather for a season of life.

I long for the day my family can go on short term missions trips together or travel the country and pray for people to be set free, anything where my kids can learn about the power of God by experiencing it first hand.

I always thought that would happen when we no longer had preschoolers or babies in the home. My big kids were past that age and it still didn’t seem like it could happen. Then my little ones came along. Now that dream seems even further off in the future.

Longing for Paris challenges me to really live life to the fullest in each season I am in, even if I can’t pick up and go to the place or time in my life that I desire most. I can make beauty, find joy, and decide to thrive right where I am.

What does this look like for me? That’s the question I’ve been asking while reading the book. Sarah Mae tells of how she and her family regularly partake in little tastes of her desires until she can one day physically go to Paris. I can read stories of God’s faithfulness to my kids, expose them to testimonies of miracles and heroes of the faith, help them understand and memorize Bible verses that may later become life verses to lead them, take them to services where the Holy Spirit is moving in power, etc. I want them to share my desire to see God move in power through them and through us as a family. In working on this list, I think I’ll find that much of my dream is becoming a reality right before my eyes! ~Angela


As I began reading, Longing For Paris, I thought to myself…I don’t have a desire to do something grande like moving to Paris, I wonder if this book will speak to me. The further I read Sarah Mae’s thoughts, the more I realized that our “longings” don’t have to be grande. Her writing encouraged us to be more intentional in our daily life. To look for the joy and beauty around us. For me, it became about reframing the every day. I’ve been trying to start the day with the thought of positive possibilities instead of thinking of the long to do list. The list still gets done (hopefully) but I try not to dwell on the negatives surrounding it. Emphasis on…try. We are all works in progress, right?
Taking time through the day to be thankful…even a ” thank you, Jesus” as I do the laundry or make lunch…seemed to lighten the weight of that long list.

I wondered more about my longings. Was there a dream God placed in my heart? To be honest, I’m still figuring that out. What I do know is that as I allow Him to guide me, true longings or desires of my heart are becoming more clear to me. I’m enjoying the right now and becoming excited for the possibilities and hopes of the later on.  ~Mary


Longing for Paris affirmed the verse “without vision, the people perish.”  It was an easy read, which flowed with stories and humor, and devotions at the end of each chapter. Enjoyably, the book created an excitement about Paris, or any historic destination.  The anticipation of a vision or goal helps to live focused and goal oriented. Living intentional is both biblical and motivating. Thank God for His vision and goals, laid out in His Word, that call us to live focused and make life an adventure!   ~Ginger


While reading Longing for Paris (ashamedly I have to admit that I have not completed the book, but please do not tell my fellow book club mamas, I fear I might get the boot!) so far there are a few things that I have really been mulling over. By nature I am a doer and I find it difficult to be still, let alone meditate. Sarah Mae encourages the biblical practice of meditation. Meditating to seek the face of God, to immerse yourself in his presence. In my current season of little children and all the many tasks they bring with them, I long desperately to be in God’s presence. I want to just be with him, to rest and rejuvenate in his glory and to feel fully alive in the midst of the one true God. I know in my heart of hearts that this is what God longs for too, because my worshipful meditation will shape me into a better wife, mother, friend and human. In reading this book I have a better handle of what my quiet time with God can look like as a mother of young children. I am praying that I can consistently adopt these practical tips into my daily longing to seek the Kingdom of God first.   ~Deborah

Mondays hate me, so I quit

Tomorrow-is-MondayMondays hate me. They do. I am thoroughly convinced that Monday is a living, breathing thing destined to make homeschooling a nightmare for me. As each of the first 6 Mondays of the school year ended, I was looking for the hidden cameras in my house. I really shouldn’t complain. Nothing really terrible happened…just life with four boys and a puppy, and my always patient and loving reactions. Not. Thank God for no cameras. Oh, a small recap, you ask?

I seem to remember the one morning where I had just finished washing the kitchen floor from a puppy accident, while attempting to do math with two of the children, when another one ran up behind me and with a kiss on the back of my head said something about the bathroom. That something I found out about an hour later when the 5 year old decided that flushing the clogged toilet over and over would fix it, and then his brother helped him by using the entire linen closet to sop up the water. Don’t you just love doing laundry?

Or there was that time that the teenager dropped an advil tablet on the floor and the puppy decided to eat it right up. Bet you didn’t know that it’s toxic to dogs, huh? I kind of thought that the hydrogen peroxide that I had to turkey baster down her throat to make her throw up was, too, but apparently it saved her very expensive purebred little life. Of course this happens when I’m supposed to be out the door in 15 minutes. (Apparently, having a dog again is good for the family. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.)

Add on everyone waking up overtired from the weekends, to bad attitudes, to the laundry still sitting in the washing machine from like…last Thursday, to it being my hubby’s longest day so reinforcements were not coming, it was not a recipe for success. And success was the goal for this certain letter type, list addict, task orientated girl.

My calendar is organized.

My school planner is planned.

My to do list is freshly updated.

And it was becoming more important than the people I was doing it all for. I was putting my list and my need to accomplish it all before the relationships in my life. My reactions to normal life stuff was showing it. And this was not who I wanted to be…definitely not what I wanted for this school year.

A friend introduced me to this book, Teaching From Rest, and there are some amazing nuggets in there….the things YOU KNOW, but FORGOT THAT YOU KNOW. Like…

Surrender my idea of an ideal day…

…or relationship, situation, experience…..

and give it to the Lord, trusting Him with the outcome

The being and becoming needs to come before the doing and checking off

…being in the moment, undistracted and focused on the people in my life

Do less to do it well

…simplify, simplify, simplify so that what I do choose to do can be done with excellence

Whose “well done” am I working for?

…work, serve for the praise of God, not man

It’s not about being “successful”…God is looking for our faithfulness

…to keep going, keep at it, persevere through it all

Every task, each assignment is an offering of love to God

…no matter how small or insignificant it seems

And most importantly, put relationships before anything else. This one. I mean, this is why I decided to homeschool in the first place…my children’s hearts.


So, I decided to quit. I quit Mondays.

Practically speaking, I redid the planners to make Monday an easier day, I emptied the calendar of any Monday appointments, I got up earlier and I let go of my start time a whole half hour. Listen, small steps, my friend. 🙂  And peace reigned in my home. No, everything did not go perfectly. The computer crashed, I got sick, the puppy…well, let’s just leave that unsaid. This is all just… life. I still have my lists, my planner, and my beloved calendar, but I put them back where they belong. I saw an immediate difference in my children and remembered the amazing gift I have in being able to stay home and school them.

My thing is the homeschooling, but I think those little reminders apply to anything we start putting in the “doing and checking off” list as being more important than the “being and becoming.” I know I’ll need to be reminded of this very often…at least every Sunday night.

a season to remember

TreesNovemberI was already a mama to my own little boy when I met him. I can still remember his little peach fuzz head, perfect little cheeks that I loved kissing. The first born son of one of my dearest friends, we had waited with so much excitement and anticipation to meet him and hold him. I went up to the hospital as soon as the news of his birth came, and I adored his little face from the moment I first saw him, never realizing at that moment how he would change me.

It wasn’t supposed to be like it was. We should’ve been rocking him at home, bringing meals and chocolate to a first time mama struggling with sleep deprivation, not sitting in the neonatal intensive care unit, not rocking him with tubes and machines beeping around us. But even there he was so loved. Peace surrounded him as family and friends never left him alone for a moment. His brave mama smiling and loving every single moment that she had with him.

He went home for a while, not even close to long enough. And then he went to his forever home, and I watched my dear friend, his oh so brave mama, bury her very own heart in the ground. His pooh bear sitting in his crib where he should’ve been. His mama going home to rock in the chair with empty arms.

It’s been many, many Novembers that his life has been remembered in my heart. I have watched as his mama has had more beautiful babies with perfect cheeks for kissing. I have watched her treasure and love her children in a way known to those who have lost. I have watched her go and sit with the other mamas as they said their goodbyes. She sat by my side, comforting me with the thought that our sons were together, grieving with the hope of our reunions.

November and December, as we celebrate the holidays and all that we have to be grateful for, I always think of it also as “his season”, for in these two months, we had him for a short time and then said goodbye. Goodbye for a short time as well. So tonight I remember how he felt in my arms, how honored I was and still am that my friend shared the gift of being able to spend time with him, and I am grateful.


Brave mamas needed

ocean_waves_ventura_california_usa_20120704Oh, the stories. There were so many that I have been just letting them sit, pondering them in my heart, letting them inspire me. When I first got home from the mom’s conference I went to, I couldn’t figure out which part I loved the most. I had three days in a row with 4 dear friends, the other mamas of this blog, time away from the craziness of home to rest and recharge, delicious food, wonderful worship and music, so many gifts given to us that filled our swag bags many times over, and amazing teaching from God’s word. But, when I really looked back over the weekend, I realized it was the stories shared that impacted me the greatest, touching my heart and challenging me in a way I wasn’t quite prepared for.

You see, starting this blog was not an easy thing for me to do. Even if my mom and my bff were the only ones who ever read it, it is still a really scary thing to put my thoughts, feelings, and stories out there! (and they know all my stories!) Telling my stuff gives the chance for someone to judge me or criticize me. But, as I sat listening to the speakers at the conference, I was in awe of their courage, their authenticity, and transparency as they told of heartbreak and rejoicing, in small events and life changing ones. I recognized myself in their words, drawing hope from those who had gone before me on similar roads I travel, and inspiration from stories so very different than my own. I saw that the real power came in the fact that they shared openly and honestly about their struggles and how God had brought them through.

I want to be brave like that. I love the song, You Make Me Brave, by Bethel Music. My poor children are forced to listen to it over and over. Just to have the courage to step out of the boat, out into the waves, and open up my heart and life to others, even with the fear.  After all, that’s where Jesus is.

Brave to do whatever Jesus is asking us to do. It doesn’t have to be awe inspiring to other people. Every one of us have different paths, different stories, different seasons. Right now I am a stay at home, homeschool mama with four boys. This is a very challenging (and awe inspiring) adventure for me, one that requires me to lean ever so far out of the boat and reach for HIS hand every day, so that I would be able to get out and walk with Him.

And so, I was challenged anew. I had been sitting kinda quiet on our blog…questioning if I really had anything worthwhile to share. So, I’m officially inviting some of you to hop on out of the safe boat with me. Will you share your stuff with me? Let’s see what He can do with some brave mamas and their stories.IMAG2773

In that moment

d354cf5ae5eeafeab3c80f291ea007dbIt began with one sentence, “I’m so sorry, but the situation is very grave.” It was that one moment, the moment that began a new chapter in my life. It was then that I knew my life would now be the before this loss and the after. It’s a line we create when experiencing a great loss; a loss of any kind, really, one that cuts down to your soul and creates an ache that doesn’t go away. Oh, it may ease with time, but the scar remains. And it becomes almost welcome, one that we are loathe to miss.  Because in feeling the ache, we remember. And in the remembering, comes the validation of the precious thing that was lost.

We all experience various losses throughout our lives as I had before losing my little boy.  The year before I had an early miscarriage.  Brimming with excitement, I had barely begun sharing my happy news, when it was over. When I finally became pregnant again, it was with a mixture of such hope and anxiety.  The joy was complete as I passed that “magic” number week 12, only to be dashed as I ended up in the emergency room. Put on bedrest, I was determined to make it through to the end.  My family and friends rallied around us. My parents, who lived close by, along with a friend who came to stay with us for days on end at a time, took care of my two little boys and our home. Friends came with meals, bearing gifts of books and magazines to pass the time as I lay in bed or on the couch.

Then one day I went in for a checkup. I had been very lightheaded for a few days, actually passing out at times. I asked for an ultra sound to make sure things were ok.  The doctor didn’t think I needed another one and recommended that I start to move around a little more. It is still with regret that I remember that day, wishing I had had the courage to stand up to him and demand an ultrasound. But, we chose to trust his knowledge and we went home. I tried to do what he said, even having short bursts where I felt better. One morning as I woke up, I knew that something was wrong. My belly was so large, far bigger than it should have been at the time. And every time that I tried to do anything, I felt as if I would faint. As I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, another expectant mother came to sit next to me. Eager to share and connect over swollen bellies and ankles, we compared due dates. “You’re so big, you must be having twins,” she said. With that comment came the confirmation that something was indeed wrong.  As soon as the doctor saw me, she measured me and immediately sent us to the hospital. It was there that I received the ultrasound I had requested days before. The screen showed a belly full of blood, a placenta almost fully abrupted, and a sweet, baby boy not long for this life. The doctor’s next words as he sat on the side of my bed were, “I’m so sorry. I missed it.” And that is how the next week in the hospital became my new timeline. The one I refer to as my before and after in my journey of motherhood.

People are so kind. They want to help, to comfort, to take away your hurt. The love that was poured out on us was amazing. But, there are some who said things like, “it wasn’t the right time,” or “try not to think about it,” or “just be thankful for the boys you have.”  And I didn’t get frustrated because I knew. I had been the one before who tried to find the right thing to say or do, even though I had not experienced that pain. There were also the ones who seemed sent from heaven to comfort my heart. It was these few who stood beside us and a tiny hole in the ground. On a beautiful, warm May day, my husband and I were surrounded by those few.  There was the dear friend who did truly know my pain, a pain that I had not understood as we buried her little boy on a cold, wintry day just a few years before. The family members who stood by my hospital bed and prayed for a miracle for our two lives, helping me keep my faith when only one of our lives was saved. And my two little dark haired boys, who only knew that now, instead of just one, two of our babies were in heaven. They stood there next to us as I looked down at them with very different eyes. I had loved being their mother, devoting my whole life to them to do it. But, in that moment putting that tiny box into the ground, I had a new perspective; one that I had never wanted to have.

A few weeks ago, I ran into someone I went to college with over twenty years ago. Full of hope and anticipation, we had stepped out into our futures. In that time, our only contact had been the recent peering into each other’s lives through social media. As we stood there, trying to fit twenty years into a few minutes, I was amazed at how quickly the subject of losing a child came up. We both were fortunate enough to have four children, but with quite large age gaps between a couple of them, explained by the losses of our babies. How quickly the invisible bond that draws two hearts together is woven.  Because in that moment you are understood.  Another mother who knows the heartache of knowing one or more of her children are missing. A child that she loved from the moment she saw the line on the test, a child that she dreamt of holding and loving, a child whose future is not in her arms, she understands. I looked at her beautiful face, more lined, her hair laced with gray, and saw not the young woman twenty something years old, but a mama who has experienced that joy of expectancy and the pain of loss. We spoke of this bond. We spoke of how sad it is to have it, and yet so comforting to just be known. We spoke of how perspective changed from the moment that line is drawn. It’s in the after, that we begin to see how precious life is. We see how fragile it is, and how quickly it can change. The loved ones we have begin to be seen through different eyes. We don’t always remember to appreciate the moment, but when we are reminded of what we have lost, we remember that difference.

In the end, there are some mamas who don’t show the heartache, suffering silently, wondering if people will understand. Any woman who has lost a baby to miscarriage, a stillbirth, and even an abortion, has lost their child. I learned so much during that time from those around me who showed me that they understood, that shared their stories with me. And those who may have not had the same loss that I did, but still reached out, willing to hurt with us, bringing comfort in our loss. I learned it’s ok to grieve, and it’s important to have something tangible to remember the one who was lost to us by. Every year we go visit that grave, to remember, to feel, to not forget, and to look at the boys we have with us as the miracles they are. We watch them grow, some looking down at me now as they wrap their arms around me, and we know that as full and as wonderful, and as miraculous it is to have them, there are ones missing. Ones not with us now but never forgotten.  And when I am privileged enough to have a precious woman share her story with me, I get it. I understand. And somehow, whenever that happens, a tiny piece of my heart heals.