Sunflower Peekaboo in Seth's Garden

STILL a Fairy Tale

Sunflower Peekaboo in Seth's Garden

Sunflower Peekaboo in Seth’s Garden

Six years ago this very moment my husband and I looked teary-eyed at our computer searching for a fitting name for our first baby.  We had been debating names for months.  In our fairy tale life we would have had another 85 days of expectant bliss to decide.  Sadly that wasn’t our reality.  We’d been thrust into a world of sadness we didn’t even know could exist.  July 29th, 2009 we received the most devastating news any parent can get.  “I’m sorry to have to tell you but your baby has died.”  To be honest I don’t even know if that’s how they said ‘it’ or for that matter who said ‘it’ but you get the point… NO fairy tale ending here!  I remember moments of those early days trying to comprehend what had happened to our precious child.  grief quote-with-imageJuly 29th we got the news.  We went home called our families and cried our eyes out.  We just rested there in our dark room curtains drawn as the clouds cried with us for days.

July 30th We ached.  Every ounce of my body ached still holding so strongly onto my baby I just couldn’t imagine how I would survive letting this life go.  We walked at our favorite local boardwalk.  Along a peaceful nature trail.  I worried that someone would ask when I was due surely that would be my undoing.  No one asked.  Later Brent re-proposed to me promising to love me despite all of this worry and sadness.

July 31st started early. We drove an empty car.  No car seat, no baby bag, no blanket, no camera {If you know anyone ever whose going to the hospital to have a stillborn or sick baby please encourage them to take along baby stuff!} Even just a toy or book, a camera, a blanket, an outfit… something!  We brought none of the beautiful snugly baby items we’d just received at our shower days before.  We didn’t know it was okay to bring stuff.  We must have talked on the drive but all I can recall is silence.  We agreed to take the long road so we didn’t have to relive this drive past the hospital.  Make this drive different from our everyday commute.

This is a different day one that we needed to embrace and love despite its harsh edges!

Most people would assume the story only got darker and more heart-wrenching from that moment on.  Somehow we mustered the strength to embrace the day and share teary-eyed forced smiles.  We loved!  After a full and painful labor our baby became our first son, Seth Alexander Danega.  Sure he was born still but he was STILL born.  He still lived, he is still one of my children, and he is still an amazing part of our lives!  He’s the reason I ached to welcome his little siblings.  He’s the reason I’ve worked to create My sOnflower.  He’s the reason I must carry on and share his story.  He’s one of the reasons I’m still so in love with his daddy!  He’s the reason I’m the daydreaming momma I am today. :)  Our time in that delivery room could have become a memory of agony and heartache but instead we choose to see his beauty and our love!  Go love on your babies dear one!  More posts to come about the ways we’ve chosen to embrace the love of our son Seth who was STILL born!  Tomorrow we have a 6th birthday to celebrate.

i choose joy

Please don’t read this and take away sorrow or sadness take away a message of loving unconditionally even when it’s hard.  Go do something wonderful today!

brighter tomorrows

Braver, Smarter, Prettier… Do any of those er’s really matter?

brighter tomorrowsImagine a group of teen girls trying to find their place in the world viewing pictures of models or their peers.  There may be some kindhearted compliments.  Almost without exception these conversations morph from kindhearted observations into a competition of comparisons and often result in crippling self-doubt.  She’s so much skinnier than I am.  Her hair looks better than mine ever does.   His girlfriend is so much prettier than me.  What has occurred in our society that causes young girls to turn even the nicest compliments for their peers to self-bashing?  Why not stop with “She’s beautiful, I love her hair!”?

Surely there is a place for comparison in some aspects of our world.  Academic standards and sporting events certainly deserve a ranking system.  What has caused this desire to create a hierarchy in so many facets of our culture?

Imagine her tomorrows... must they include negative comparisons?

Imagine her tomorrows… must they include negative comparisons?

Prettier, skinnier, smarter, stronger, better, braver, nicer, sexier, fatter, thinner, uglier, weaker, more hardworking, handsomer.  You get the point.  But why?  Why must we add the -er to ignite a comparison?  Imagine if the next generation was raised without the need to compare the most trivial things.  Might they develop a deeper self-worth?  A self-worth and true appreciation for individuality that goes beyond a hierarchy of comparisons.

Still not convinced that ditching the -er may be a healthy (and dare I say necessary) step for our society to move forward?  Consider this next socially prominent scenario.  You may have heard recently about Caitlyn Jenner.  Articles and opinions about this transformation are everywhere.  This story is seemingly captivating the minds of many Americans.  I saw multiple people on my personal Facebook feed ‘share’ posts downplaying the strength of Caitlyn to undergo such a tremendous transition.

Photograph by: Mark Hogancamp

 

A viral post from one man Terry Coffey stated “As I see post after post about Bruce Jenner’s transition to a woman, and I hear words like, bravery, heroism, and courage, just thought I’d remind all of us what real courage, heroism, and bravery looks like!”  He included the photograph above to highlight the bravery of soldiers.  Upon further investigation Terry learned that the photograph he chose was a rather ironic choice.  In essence the photographer Mark Hogancamp was inspired to create sets and photographs after being severely beaten for… cross-dressing.  Hopefully this irony ends up teaching people to be mindful of their hasty judgements.

Regardless of your beliefs on this issues can you provide me one good reason for comparing the bravery of two different people experiencing completely different lives and obstacles?  Why is this necessary?  I believe wholeheartedly that both of these lives require immense bravery.

What good is derived from a world of unnecessary and condescending comparisons?

What’s accomplished when we write or even simply ‘share’ a post stating that one individual is braver than another?  Does it lift someone up or encourage a happier tomorrow for all?  If not why add more judgement and negativity to a world that currently has far too much bad news?

Did you re-posts a negative post about Caitlyn (or someone else)? Do you talk about people who you see to be prettier, smarter and better than you without recognizing that in doing so you’re putting yourself down?  Be good to yourself and remember that tomorrow is a new day.  With that comes a chance to start fresh while recognizing these hurtful comparisons.

Ranking theses experiences on a scale of bravery or beauty takes away from what the true focus should be.  Isn’t it better to identify these people as unique and courageous for surmounting the obstacles before them?

To see works by Mark Hogancamp please checkout this great article in the News York Times.

This Moment

A Friday ritual.  A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. ~inspired by Soule mama

…{this moment}…

our 7th anniversary

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