Fix you.

Isn't it true that we wake up most days thinking that life will generally be the same when we go to bed at night? For the most part, that's how life goes. But then the days come when life is turned completely upside-down. Life simply won't be the same, ever again.

Sometimes it's good- you get engaged, and eagerly anticipate your wedding day. The day you graduate from college. The day you find out you're going to be a mom or a dad. The day your child is born. Someone surprises you with something small but exciting, like my BFF did when she gave me a haircut for my birthday. Or maybe it's a big surprise, and someone you love is coming home early from deployment, or they show up on your door step unexpectedly. Life is full of all kinds of amazing surprises.

But sometimes it's bad. A loved one passes away. You receive a devastating diagnosis at what should have been a routine doctor's visit. A baby dies of SIDS with no warning whatsoever. A car accident happens that takes a person's life. Or you wake up one day only to find out that your dad- your big, strong, wise dad- has suffered a heart attack, and was taken into emergency surgery for a quadruple bypass. Family comes together, not quite processing the gravity of the situation, until you go into the room, and see him lying there with tubes hooked up to so many different fluids and machines that you can barely breathe yourself. You choke back tears, knowing that he is OK, but given that there is still a looming, gigantic aortic aneurism that can't be operated on until he recovers from this first major surgery, you pray and pray that God will protect him from a rupture in the weeks until the doctors can complete their work. 

That was how I spent today.

I don't even know how to begin to tell you how much my dad means to me. We didn't always get along, God knows, but when all is said and done, he is my hero. He has a piece of my heart that no one can touch. He is as proud as can be, and has this silly tendency to just brush things off like they're nothing (like when he was joking around with my mom before surgery- no big deal, right?), and for goodness' sake, whatever you do, don't get him started with his political opinions! But, oh my gosh… he adores his family. And we all adore him. And while we aren't big on saying so- well, it's no secret how much we mean to each other.

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The things that I have witnessed and experienced in recent months make me amazed that the human heart can withstand so much change and contain such an astounding volume of love. Our daughter was born and it was as if my heart ballooned to epic proportions just to accommodate the love I have for not only her, but my husband as well. We lost Mum Mum, and while I was rejoicing that she was with the Lord and no longer in pain, there were things that I wish I could have said to her before it was too late- and it's not like I didn't have time. My husband and I witnessed a horrendous wreck right before our eyes that makes me shudder to think that had it happened two seconds later, all of us, including Linnea, would have been a part of it, and the people involved in the wreck may not have walked away. I learned of a young couple who lost their first child to SIDS when she was five months old- a story that tore me apart and, even though I don't know them personally, I think of them every day. A police officer was murdered two weeks after the birth of his second child, and his wife has been left to care for her two babies and mourn the loss of her husband. I learned this week that the mild dysplasia that was discovered during my pregnancy had progressed to severe, or "cancer-in-place" – one step below invasive cancer – that fortunately was caught in time and removed by my doctor. And today, I am eternally grateful that my dad is still alive and in recovery mode from a life-saving surgery. 

So if you ever want to justify to me that it's worth treating people like they'll always be around, that it's a good thing to wait to make things right with the people you love – that is, if you ever bother doing so – I would laugh in your face. Because take it from me – life is short. My 95-year-old grandma said so before she passed away. She talked about her teen years as if they happened yesterday. Don't ever take your loved ones for granted. Don't ever treat them with anything but love and transparency. Don't put off forgiveness or believe that sick myth that "time will heal." It won't. Don't fear real relationships in life, and don't be fake or mean or unforgiving, because when you reach the end and your life is flashing before your eyes, you will see nothing but static on a broken TV.

The song "Fix You" by my favorite band of all time, Coldplay, has been on repeat on my iPod in recent months. It's therapeutic, it's heartbreaking, its words are healing when I can't make sense of things that are happening around me. It crescendos to a state of hope and desperation that sometimes only music can provide. I don't want to lose something that I can't replace if I can help it. I hope the same for you.

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above earth or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream, down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face and I…

Tears stream, down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face and I…

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

Bird Problems.

This is an old post I promised I'd re-post for my friends Kiersten and Dave, who are experiencing some bird problems of their own. It has nothing to do with mommyhood or crafts, but it is springtime in Arizona, and therefore it's that time of year when the mockingbirds are full-force in all their defiant, obnoxious, tweeting glory:

Recently my dad and brother found a new weekend pastime: shooting. I'm
not entirely sure what could have brought this on, but if I were to
guess, it would be an exercise in defending their constitutional right
to wield firearms whenever and wherever they like. While my dad claims
that it is for protection from home invaders (because those
run rampant in their neighborhood), I tend to think it is less an act
of familial preservation than it is a big F-you to gun control
advocates trying to take away his right to shoot them if he was ever
physically attacked by one. While I know that guns in-and-of themselves
are harmless, I have a tendency to want to lock myself up in a
thoroughly insulated titanium box for my own self-protection whenever I
am around one (and rightfully so, considering that under my brother's
instruction, my sister blasted a hole through her closet wall and into
the next bedroom… at least the "bullet" was a "blank"… hahaha!).

Anyway,
this blog isn't really about gun politics as much as it is what I think
my dad and brother should do to put this new hobby to its most
practical use. As long as they don't mind shooting in the dark, in the
middle of the week, in some God-forsaken area near our apartment, at
11:00 at night, and either pissing off a lot of residents in the
process or emerging as full-fledged heroes. Here's why:

Spring
is in full force in Arizona, mixing cool nights with warm, sunny days.
THOR likes to run around in the grass and stick his little nose out the
window when we drive around. The orange trees and wild desert flora are
blossoming and everything smells heavenly. Sounds like a fairy tale,
right? There is a window of about three weeks, maybe a
month that this lasts. In anticipation of the inevitable inferno that
is the Arizona summer, Cody and I want to put off using the A/C as long
as possible because APS IS THE DEVIL AND WILL ROT IN THE LAKE OF
FLAMING SULFUR FOREVER (see the book of Revelation for proof), so we are leaving our windows open at night to let in the fresh air, and closing them during the day to hold it in.

Two
nights ago, as I settled into bed with my husband, our dog, and my
book, joyously reading and looking forward to a restful night, my peace
was broken by a shrill, earsplitting, incessant, and ever-changing…
bird call.

As is the case with most noises that keep me awake at
night, be it a neighbor pounding his bass through the walls or one of
those annoying car alarms where the horn honks erratically and stops IF
AND ONLY IF its owner comes to shut it the &%#! up, my first
instinct was to blow up the culprit with a bazooka. But since I didn’t
have one of those handy at the time, all we could do was close the
bedroom window- much to Cody’s chagrin, who describes sleeping between
THOR and me akin to being trapped inside a car in the middle of the
summer in Phoenix with no A/C and the windows rolled up. When that did
absolutely nothing to muffle the annoying song of what I think is a mate-less, sex-deprived, attention-starved male Northern Mockingbird,
I started to go crazy. I even tried earplugs to drown out this crap,
but I could only get an earplug in my left ear, because apparently my
ear hole in the other ear is too small to accommodate a foam earplug.
Now there’s a problem I never thought I’d have.

On that note,
I’m not sure which will be more annoying for my neighbors: the constant
bird noise, or me taking up a shotgun at every tree within a half-mile
radius in an irrational, ruthless, apocalyptic, sleep-deprived rage
until the bird noise is finally brought to a bloody end.

Originally written and posted to my former blog in March, 2008