Sunday, May 15, 2011

Travel Lessons learned from MawMaw Boots.

I loved Curtis' Grandma. He called her MawMaw Boots. This was his Dad's mom...and if you know Curtis' Dad, you should know that his mom was just a female version of him. Funny as can be, could light up a room with her smile and big laugh, and had a heart as big as you could imagine. I loved every minute I got to spend with her.

Unfortunately, she is no longer with us.

When Lexi was 4 weeks old, we traveled to West Virginia so she could meet Lexi. We knew MawMaw Boots wouldn't be with us much longer. She was very sick, but still had a little life left in her.

One night, I volunteered to drive her up the hill to her son's house (they lived directly behind her on the same property, but she was too fragile to walk.) And as we drove, she looked at me and said how much she appreciated us making the trip...knowing it wasn't easy on our family. Then she went on to talk about how traveling with your family is so important...and how those memories will last a lifetime. Her eyes were filled with so many memories, it was as if I was reliving them with her. She had 5 boys, so money wasn't always easy...and she said that. She said, "We didn't have a lot of money...but we always found a way to travel and be together." And then told me that we should always do the same. I promised her we would.

I think about that conversation a lot. Especially when friends tease us about going away all the time...or taking too many vacations. The truth is, I learned from MawMaw Boots and I learned from my parents and my in-laws, that getting away is sometimes the best thing you can do for your family. And it is in those moments, away from jobs, school, the house, chores, bills, and responsibilites...that memories can be made. Memories that were strong enough for MawMaw, whose mind was failing her, to remember with vivid clarity.

We made memories like that this weekend. And as I was sitting here thinking about them, my mind wandered back to my drive with MawMaw Boots nearly 5 years ago now. And I know we made her smile.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Escaping Nightmares: Headed to Jibberland.

Yesterday, I asked the good people of Facebook for advice on how to take care of my baby when she has nightmares...which are about 6 out of 7 nights a week. So many of you gave me great advice. And I thank you. So many of you talked to me personally and I'm thankful for that too. Several of you offered to pray for Haley, and for that, I'm more than grateful...but honored you would think of my family.

I got one email last night from a friend of mine who I had talked to at church yesterday. She has two daughters of her own, one of whom has experienced bad nightmares also.For some reason, her words just made me tear up...I'm even doing that now as I type this. I can't really explain why. But what came out of her email inspired me to take up the blog again...and that's a big deal.

Before I go into her advice, I will tell you that I feel like I have tried everything. Praying...which is what I do when I wake up from a bad dream. We have encouraged her to do that also, but what a pang in my stomach when I heard her say through her tears, "I keep praying to God...but he's not answering me." Man...that is so hard to explain. And so heartbreaking too.

We've taken away tv, video games, scary books...anything that has seemingly promoted fear. Doesn't change anything.

We've let Molly (our dog) sleep with her, left the light on, left the door open. Nothing.

She does ask us each night to sleep with her. And while I know that is a temporary solution, it doesn't teach her how to self-soothe...or put herself back to sleep. And I want her to learn how to do that as well.

We've read with her, snuggled with her, prayed with her. Still the same.

I used to tell her not to talk about her dreams, because I was scared it would make them more real. But we've started talking them out more...helping her understand that most of what she is dreaming about could never happen, and that mommy and daddy are here to keep her safe. But when she told me that she is dreaming about a "monster trying to steal her soul," I was left a bit speechless.

There is heavy stuff going on here. And I am taking everything you have suggested to heart.

I have several new things I am going to try. I tried the first one last night after reading my friend's email.

I told Haley that her friend Jeselyn had the same experience. And one night, Jeselyn crawled into her sister's room. And her sister made up an imaginary land called Jibber. There are no monsters or bad things there and there is lots of candy. So I began to tell Haley about this land. And this is what we created together.


A land where the streets are made of chocolate chip cookie dough. And you have to walk on your hands so your mouth can be close to the cookie dough ground at all times, so you can eat while you walk.

A land where the trees are pink cotton candy.

A land where the rainbow is made of laughy taffy.

A land where there are NERDS (the candy). That was my suggestion since it is my favorite candy. Haley asked me where the NERDS would be, and I said, "in the library of course."

A land where birds poop gum packets.

A land where the ice cream store only carries her favorite brand of ice cream.

A land where the playground is made of gobstoppers and the houses are made out of cookies.

This is the land that Haley can go to whenever she gets scared. A happy place. I told her Jeselyn invited her to go there anytime...and it sounded so good, I would probably be in there too.

We laughed and smiled and talked and cuddled before she went to visions of Jibberland danced in her head.

She was so happy. She never woke up.

So one night down.

No nightmares. We'll see what tonight may bring. But at least I am armed with ideas, prayers, and a passport to Jibberland.