Tag Archives: children

hope.

Even though my husband is actually the one who gets paid to do youth ministry, I actually teach a middle school discipleship class at our church on Wednesday nights. That’s right; one other brave volunteer and I face off against upwards of 20 middle schoolers each week by choice and I happen to love every minute of it.

Well, if I’m being honest, every minute of it that I’m not scolding them for doing weird things like drawing on each other’s faces.

Last night our lesson was on grace (specifically, how God will always love you no matter how many faces you draw on). To start out the class I had the students write down all the things they like about themselves and then share them with us (the point being that once you are in Christ, God only sees the good in you and not the bad). One little girl’s answer really struck me.

“I love that I’m really good at the cello,” she started, “and I love that I’m so pretty. Like, I’m really pretty. And I love that.”

Now, if I were to stand up in front of a group of my peers and say that, I might get smacked. But I love that she so boldly stated that for three reasons:

  1. She stated it as if it was a total inarguable fact (and, if I could weigh in, it absolutely is).
  2. She wasn’t ashamed or bashful about this.
  3. In a world where the vast majority of teenage girls today say the exact opposite about themselves every day, how refreshing!

Today when I went grocery shopping, I had so many people stop and tell me about how beautiful my baby is (isn’t he though?) and the whole time I just kept thinking about that girl in my class, and praying that my son never doubts his unique beauty or his worth in this world, despite all the things society may tell him.

And so, today (and yesterday) I’m grateful for the hope in a future where kids/teenagers/adults/people rise above a society built on self-esteem crushing lies.

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things i love thursday! (september 5, 2013)

Things have been so nuts! Dan is getting ready to head out of town AGAIN, and we just launched all of our fall programs at church, so things be cray cray around the Durrenberger house. (I HAVE been blogging, by the way. Check it out over HERE please!)

But it’s Thursday and I have so much to be grateful for. And SO!

dax_bookshelf

THINGS I LOVE THIS WEEK:

  • FSU FOOTBALL IS BACK and dang, our quarterback looks good!
  • There is a Seminoles club in Naples! Yay!
  • Beer.
  • The above picture — Dax looks just like me/my brother at this age. So fun! (And no, before you ask, he isn’t walking yet. But so soon!)
  • Sleeping in. (WHAT???!!!! WITH A BABY???!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!)
  • Frappucinos.
  • When Dan and I just happen to randomly wake up at the same time in the middle of the night.
  • Teaching Dax how to blow kisses and clap.
  • Reading.
  • New music from two Cases! (Neko and Eric)
  • Side note: no one makes the F-word sound as beautiful as Neko does.
  • New music from Libby!
  • Taking Dax to the park and letting him experience grass and dirt on his little boy body.
  • Sharing Daddy’s glasses.
  • Big, gourmet burgers ON THE CHEAP.
  • Old dudes wearing shirts that just say, “Naples.”
  • Quiet times in coffee shops.
  • Learning new songs on the piano. Just ’cause.
  • Being impractical with my spending money. Finally. (Hence, new music and new piano books.)
  • Mom is coming to visit this weekend!
  • Random strangers coming up and telling me how beautiful my baby is, particularly “his” blue eyes. (To which I reply, “Actually, they’re mine.”)
  • Secret blog posts by my friends.
  • Hugs from middle schoolers and high schoolers.
  • Getting to volunteer in student ministry again.
  • Being able to encourage a brand new mom at Publix. She was shopping with her mom and ogling Dax sitting in my cart and saying, “How do you shop without help?” I looked at her with her six-week-old boy in a carseat in the big part of the cart and said, “BABYWEARING. Also, having a 13-month-old who can hold his body and head up on his own helps a lot. It gets better, I promise!” (I love love LOVE encouraging new moms because I believe they are the ones on earth that need it most.)
  • Xylophones.
  • Watching Dax play with babies his age at church. So cute.
  • Rain at naptime.
  • And finally… beer again because duh.

What do you love this week?

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the worst tuesday.

Summer is winding down and fall is supposedly creeping in but I can’t feel it because it’s still hot as crap and the rain still won’t stop and I can’t differentiate my Mondays from my Thursdays or my Saturdays because everything is always the same.

Except this past Tuesday. Tuesday was vastly different from any other day of my life.

Late Monday, I noticed that Dax was running a bit of a fever. I never actually took his temperature, but I could feel that he was warm to the touch. Apart from that, he was acting completely normal; he was playing happily, sleeping fine, not coughing, not sniffling, not anything out of the ordinary. So I chalked the fever up to teething and just gave him Tylenol sporadically and thought nothing of it.

When I came home from work on Tuesday (thankfully a half hour earlier than I normally come home on Tuesdays) I found him lethargically lying belly-up on our babysitter’s chest.

Jeez, I thought. These 12-month molars must be brutal. 

I took him from the sitter, handed her a check, and said goodbye. I then took Dax into his nursery to nurse him and put him down for a nap. When we sat in the rocking chair, he nursed for maybe thirty seconds before stopping suddenly and throwing his head back.

His eyes rolled back and he started to shake and stopped breathing and it was a seizure.

The next few minutes were a blur of me screaming uncontrollably into his lifeless, purple face, splashing water on his body, crumpling to the floor and clumsily dialing 9-1-1, scream-sobbing into the receiver that MY TINY LITTLE BABY BOY IS HAVING A SEIZURE MA’AM AND HE IS ONLY ONE YEAR OLD AND PLEASE GOD CAN SOMEONE HELP ME HE’S NOT BREATHING DID YOU SAY SOMEONE IS COMING WELL WHERE ARE THEY HOW MUCH LONGER PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO SCARED PLEASE.

And then suddenly my house was flooded with upwards of ten men and women in different uniforms — EMS, firefighters, police officers — all trying to simultaneously calm me down and take care of Dax who, by that point, had stopped seizing and was draped across my chest in a collapsed heap of laborious breaths and pained sighs.

An ambulance ride, ER admittance, flu swab, chest x-ray, and long chunk of waiting around later, we found out that Dax came down with some virus (probably roseola) which caused him to have that high fever. The sudden temperature spike in his body triggered a febrile seizure.

Thankfully these seizures don’t cause any injury to the brain or the child — they’re just terrifying as hell for anyone, particularly a parent, who happens to be present.

And so, I learned the hard way that (until he’s older than 5) anytime I sense that Dax may be getting a fever, I have to be incredibly aggressive in treating it to avoid this happening again.

hospitaldax

As terrible as this whole experience was, there were some surprising bright spots. The first was in the form of a community — a new one — that wasted no time in showing us love. Three friends came to visit us in the hospital (two of which brought us food), and another friend came to check on us the following day. Not to mention the flood of prayers that washed over us by the way of texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages.

The second good thing to come of this was a healthy dose of perspective. Before I left for work that morning, I was freaking out about our house being a mess for the babysitter. I was running about like a chicken with its head cut off trying to straighten up and clean up and even as I was driving away I was mentally kicking myself for not having enough time to do the dishes. Because I was nursing when Dax began to seize, I was basically naked when the emergency team showed up at my house. I couldn’t have given two sheets about the fact that I was bearing it all (or that my house was messy) while a bunch of firefighters and paramedics did a life-saving dance around me. All I cared about was my baby and whether or not he was going to be okay.

Even though he’s technically still contagious, today you can hardly tell Dax is sick at all, let alone that he just had a freaking seizure. He’s eating a bit more today, playing happily, and sleeping great.

And I am worn a bit ragged but so very grateful.

happydax

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open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

daxbday1

That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

daxsleep

daxsleep2

Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

daxsmile

And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

daxpickle

At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

daxpeek

You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

daxflower

You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

daxsleep3

I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

daxsnuggle

Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

daxlaugh

Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

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loss and gain.

It’s been hard to blog because my heart is on a roller coaster this week. One that I don’t think comes with safety harnesses. I’m alive in the euphoric highs of road trips with my little family and the prospect of new opportunities but, at the same time, a little bit too close to the plunging lows of death, destruction, and hatred.

This is one of those weeks I question my choice to bring a little boy into this world. 

I think he can sense it, too. The past few days he’s been exceptionally clingy to me. Last night, for the first time in a long time, his cries from his crib could only be quelled by me holding him close. It was one of those nights he sprang out of slumber with shrieks of fear or sadness or pain or something, and would basically fall back into lifeless dreams only once he was lifted into my arms and against my chest.

The first time I got him out, I just held him and looked at him. I could only hear the sweet sounds of his sleepy breaths and the fast drumbeats of my heart against my ribs, and I thought to myself, How am I going to protect him from the pain of loss — like that of the Boston marathon explosion, or that of losing the closeness of a family-like community because of relocating for a job, or that of being rejected by another person or organization — if I can’t hold him this close all the time?

Many of my dear friends are also experiencing their own losses — rejections from PhD programs, breakups, miscarriages, divorces, deaths of loved ones — and the pain is a heavy burden for all of us to bear sometimes. And I’m definitely feeling that this week, the reality of pain and loss, as well as the overwhelming desire to protect my little boy from ever experiencing it.

One thing that a lot of people have been doing in order to find comfort in the sadness this week is echoing a quote by Mister Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

I’ve been trying to focus on this in a more abstract view. Finding the good in the evil. The joy in the sadness. The healing in the pain. And when I look into my little boy’s sweet eyes, I just have to cling to this. Because later, when he comes to me in pain, wishing something wasn’t a certain way, I have tell him something that I need to learn to believe myself. That is, only in hurting can we really learn to heal. Only in darkness do we feel the need to search for the light.

Only when we lose something do we have room in our lives to gain something. And, right now, when everything hurts and doesn’t make sense, that’s all I really know for sure.

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a job built on second chances.

You know what’s funny about babies?

They’re humans.

I know that sounds ridiculous but I’m pretty sure other parents can level with me here. Sometimes, you think your kid is a machine, right? A machine which, when you push exactly the right buttons, will do exactly what you tell it to. Feed Child at X time. Put Child down for a nap at Y time. Do all these things and Child will cooperate with you without fail. And DEFINITELY without tears.

At least, that’s how some of the parenting books may make you feel.

But you know what? Children, even babies, are humans. They’re little walking, talking brains with emotions, desires, pushes, and pulls. There is no perfect formula for child rearing. You just do the best you can today and hope it doesn’t end in a meltdown. And, if you are unsuccessful, you try again tomorrow.

Yesterday Dan and I tried to follow a formula. We tried to stick to a schedule. A method we’ve followed since he was two weeks old. But our child, who is not a machine, decided he didn’t want the same things we wanted.

He didn’t want to sleep.

He didn’t want to nurse.

He just wanted to be awake and wiggle. And cry. And be awake. And not sleep. And be hungry but fight me rather than nurse. And not nap. But lay on the bed with his eyes closed like he wanted to nap. Then cry.

It was a hell of a day, I tell you.

According to my friends and the Interwebs, it’s probably because he’s starting the teething process (WHICH BLOWS MY MIND INTO SMITHERINES YOU GUYS… MY BABY BOY!). Of course. Just after we get through a rough bout of colic, he starts to teethe.

Because he’s a human. Not a machine.

This post doesn’t really have a point. Just letting you all know that sometimes, parenting is hard. And today, I’m thankful that, after yesterday, and after not exactly getting it right, I haven’t been fired from the position of Dax’s mommy. For better or worse, each day is another chance to be the mom I was called to be.

It’s another day. I’m here, and I’m trying. Thank God for second chances. And second second chances. And second second second chances. And so on.

For good measure, here’s a picture Dan snapped of Dax passed out hard after raging all night. Party hard, crash harder, y’all.

For more adorable pictures of the human I helped make, follow me on Instagram.

 

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things i love thursday! (october 25, 2012)

Wow you guys. I haven’t been this sleep-deprived since HAHAHA OH WAIT I JUST ALWAYS AM SLEEP-DEPRIVED BECAUSE I’M A NEW MOM AND THAT’S JUST LIFE.

Anyway. In lieu of a nap, here’s my weekly love list. Voila!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Smiles and coos from my little boy.
  • Writing songs with a good friend.
  • My mommy came to town for a couple days!
  • Got to see the Pooles again and hang with baby Jack.
  • Calling Dax a sack of potatoes. Because he is one.
  • When trying to figure out lunch options: ME: “Oh. We have a voila.” MOM: “What’s that?” ME: “Instant stir fry.” MOM: “Oh. Voila!”
  • Making mad music.
  • Carrying around a napping baby in a sling. Call me crazy but I love to wear my kid. Like skinny jeans.
  • Skinny jeans, for that matter. Particularly, wearing PRE-PREGNANCY skinny jeans.
  • Eric’s Dax voice.
  • @HonestBaby and @HonestToddler — seriously, all parents should follow these Twitter accounts. Sheer hilarity.
  • Scream-singing to my child (and my entire neighborhood, for that matter). I’ve found that, as far as my kid is concerned, pitch and key do not matter as much as sheer volume does when it comes to lullabies. (Sorry neighbors.)
  • Humbling gChats.
  • Bathtime cuddles. (LOOK AT THAT FACE, I CAN’T EVEN.)
  • Cupcakes.
  • Finding someone to watch Dax on Tuesdays.
  • Getting sweet emails/messages from friends who are thinking about having babies. (If you’re on the fence, PLEASE GO FOR IT! HAVE ALL THE BABIES!)
  • Seeing my friends chase after callings, even when they’re scary.
  • All you can eat sushi.
  • Encouraging tweets.
  • Libby on the drums!
  • Using “Instagram” as a verb.
  • My husband’s dad beard is finally not so scratchy. His ghost-stache, however…
  • Sweet, selfless friends.
  • #fatbottomgirlprobs

YO. Whatchu love this week?

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