Redemption at the West TN State Fair

It was Tuesday, September 11, 2018, and I had been planning to take Charlotte and one of her best friends to the fair that evening. Charlotte was excited for days leading up to that night, filled with chatter about what she and her friend would do and see at the fair.

I wanted to be excited too, but I was mostly sad. Sad that I didn’t feel like taking my daughter to the fair. Sad that I was sad. Sad that life had become so dark and unbearable that I didn’t know how much longer I could bear it.

That Tuesday came on the heels of a Monday that was emotionally difficult: I had left work abruptly mid-morning and spent large chunks of the day crying (I know, depression is super fun). On Tuesday I found myself dreading the day and trying to figure out how to make it through. I wasn’t scheduled to meet with my therapist that week, but by an act of what I know to be God’s providence, his office called to see if I wanted to take a slot that had opened up that afternoon. By an act of what I know to be my own desperation, I quickly said yes. By the end of the appointment, my therapist was on the phone with my husband, telling him about my very specific, actionable suicide plan and recommending that I seek inpatient treatment immediately.

That’s how I ended up checking myself into a psychiatric hospital in Memphis that night instead of taking my daughter to the fair.

There are a lot of things that are hard about being hospitalized, but breaking a promise to my daughter broke my heart. After I got back home, I apologized many times, and her sweet heart of course accepted all of those apologies, but I wished I could make it up to her. Still, as much as I wished I could have been there to take her to the fair or been there later that week when she lost her second tooth, I knew that my seeking treatment was helping to ensure that I would be there for many more fairs and many more lost teeth. I had to trust that God would redeem the time that we lost.

And last Tuesday, almost a year to the very day, God gave me a gift: He gave me the chance to take my daughter to the fair. Even though it was approximately 200 degrees outside, and even though I sweat profusely and the hair stuck to the back of my neck and my hands felt perpetually sticky and grimy, it was marvelous. I watched Charlotte and her friend (the same one I had planned to take with us the year before) giggle and smile their way through three hours of rides. I watched them share jokes and scream and gesture excitedly about everything, and I couldn’t keep the grin off my own face. “I can’t believe I almost missed this,” I thought to myself. That night I was filled with gratitude–and still am–that I am still here, still living this life of mine.

I may have missed the fair last year, but this year I didn’t. And that’s what my daughter will remember. Here’s to many more nights at the fair.

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Walking in Memphis

Today I’m so thankful that I got to go on a field trip with Charlotte’s class. This was something I was not able to do at all last year because I was working full time, so I was glad to have the chance this year. The students traveled to the Orpheum Theater in Memphis for a performance called “Red and Green” by a group of artists known as Rhythmic Circus. The show involved tap dancing and beatboxing and live music. The best part was that Charlotte wanted to sit by me. 🙂

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Grainy Orpheum pic

And I wouldn’t have been able to go at all were it not for my wonderful in-laws, who watched Ava for me. They moved to Jackson back in the spring, and it has been wonderful for all of us to have them in town! I’m so glad that Charlotte and Ava will be so close to both sets of grandparents as they grow up. We are blessed indeed.

I’m also thankful for the fact that thanks to one of the teachers at the school, I was prevented from driving to Memphis on a very low front tire. The teacher noticed the tire when I dropped off Charlotte, so I was able to go immediately to a gas station to put air in it. Then a friend of mine helped secure me a ride to Memphis with her and another mom, and my father-in-law came and took my van to a tire shop and got it fixed while I was in Memphis, so it was ready and waiting for me when we got back! God was definitely watching out for me today.

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Today I’m thankful for this sweet moment:

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I have worried about the age difference between the girls, that it would mean that they won’t be close. I don’t know if they will be close or not, but I know that right now, Charlotte is completely enamored of Ava. She will try and cheer her up if she’s fussing, she wants to help me with any task (with the exception of changing diapers), and she loves to play with her. I can only hope and pray that their bond grows stronger as they grow older.

My Budding Bookworm

Tonight Charlotte read all of the text from our devotional reading. I’m thankful that she’s volunteering to read to us, when we used to have to practically bribe her to do so. She used to get frustrated when she encountered words she didn’t know and would want to quit, but she is learning to keep going. She reads out road signs and signs in stores and likes to read stories to Ava. Much to my delight, she asked for chapter books for Christmas. I have loved seeing her grow more confident in her reading and hope that one day soon she will be hunkered down in her room, her nose buried in a book. I spent many a day like that in my childhood and am all the better for it. She loves stories, and I hope she carries that love with her for the rest of her life.

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Reading to a very tiny Ava.