On a Prayer..

Dear Pastor H,

I am writing this letter to give my ten year old daughter the voice she will need to sing the praises and prayers that have been hidden within her..

If I had to guess, I’d say you probably get a couple of hundred of these heartfelt, devastatingly tragic letters every month… maybe more. Probably a good bit more than you could possibly have the time to read… Still, I hope somehow this letter finds its way to you. And when it gets there I hope you’ve got time to read..

My name is Amber. I live in small town Mississippi and my youngest girl believes that you will one day change her world.

Miss Sandra Grace Howell has been Gracie since the womb, and she’s brought me more happiness and joy and pain and worry and fear and an utterly unfathomable love within this life than I could have possibly imagined. More than any single soul could really ever need..

She is my anchor, my hope, my sorrow and delight. She’s so much more than what she looks like and I wouldn’t give her back or change a thing..

But if things had been different…

Gracie was born full term (38wks, 3days) and with an APGAR score of 8 and then 9 after two minutes of life. Being insulin dependent, I was inundated with amniotic fluids and, after about 7 hours of labor, had to have a c-section. The next time we saw her we were told she had had some complications and that she was going to need some specialized care. At 4 days old she was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital in Jackson, MS.


She was more than a month old before we got to bring her home with us. The Drs still weren’t sure it was a good idea, but we’d spent enough time in the NICU and her daddy and I wanted her at home.. if she wasn’t going to live she still had five siblings to meet and who wanted to love her.

The day we left the Dr looked her daddy and I straight in the eyes and told us we would do well to simply “hold her and love her and keep her comfortable”.

It was 5 months later when she finally woke up. She started smiling more and sleeping less and she was beautiful. Every couple of months would bring some new and incredible things we weren’t prepared for and it was crazy. She was smart and aware and not blind or deaf as we’d all imagined.. She would likely never walk or talk or feed herself, but she was a miracle.

I do apologize for being so long winded, Pastor, but I had to tell you that to tell you this..
Last month we went to an orthopedic surgeon. (She has a bursa cyst on one knee and I want it gone).. So, off to orthopedics we went. Always the skeptic, I regarded this new doctor like the quack I had so quickly assumed he would be and prepared myself to comfort my child in the wake of his obvious shortcomings.

Boy, was I wrong..

It would seem as though Dr Ortho is the answer to our prayers. With an incredible 90% success rate in regards to the surgery left dangling like a carrot, I couldn’t be more excited or more afraid for what’s to come. I mean, 90%.. I am utterly blown to pieces every time I hear myself say it out loud..

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Well we’re scheduled for November and I couldn’t be more terrified and thrilled and leery if I tried..

Essentially, they’re going to put her to sleep and reconstruct her legs from about mid-thigh down to the arches of her feet. Crazy isn’t it.. Try imagining that through my eyes. This is a BIG deal. Big enough to stand before Him (and as proxy, before You) in hopes that you might take some time out for my girl.

And so I ask you, as a mother, as somebody who has not been blessed with faith enough to move this mountain on my own, would it be possible for us to come and lean on you? On your voice? On your strength? On your unfaltering relationship with our Lord in this mess…?

If you can find time you between now and Halloween, I will be more than blessed to afford my child the opportunity to hold your hand and even possibly to hear you speak her name in prayer. All you need to do is tell me when..
I sincerely appreciate the time that has been taken here today. We’ll need all the prayers we can get, and somehow Grace thinks your prayers are special..

Many blessings,
Amber and Gracie Howell ♥️

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My Broken Road

Okay soooo.. maybe I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and somehow lost what little grip I once had on reality.. Everything sucks, and I can’t seem to make things better no matter what I do.

And I’ve tried.

Nothing’s gone as planned in so damn long I’ve about given up. I’ve been trying to pull myself out of the funk I’ve buried myself in, but I’m in over my head and I’m starting to suffocate. I’ve been choking for a while now, really, I just couldn’t see the forest through the trees.. There’s a small part of me that really can’t help being grateful to have been so happy for so long, but the rest of me still wishes that I’d seen it coming..

It wouldn’t have changed things, really, but maybe I’d be hurting less now. I mean, what in God’s name is freaking wrong with everybody? For serious? Just thinking about it leaves a bad taste in my mouth..

Yes. It’s that bad.

I want my daughter back. I want my friend back. I want my husband back. And I want them all RIGHT NOW. More than all that though, I want myself.

Somewhere in the midst of all the bullshit and the rubble, it would seem that I’ve run off and lost my way. And while it kills me to admit it, I don’t know that I can find my way back home. At this point I’m not even sure I want to.. find my way, I mean. Still, home’s not a safe place for me now anyway, and I can’t believe how bad some of it hurts..

I could probably name a new ocean for all the damn tears I’ve shed this past year..

I think Im gonna need a bigger boat..

Screw It

You know, I used to sit around and dream about what my life would be like when I finally got where I was going.. What marriage and children and living would be all about.. I think most little girls are just like that, I guess.. but who knows? Not me, that’s for damn sure. I don’t rightly know much about anything nowadays, and I’m having a hard enough time working out my own dreams to stop and think seriously about anyone else’s.

Shitty, but it is what it is.

A year ago I’d have probably wondered if that last statement made me an asshole or not, but today I just really don’t care. Now that makes me an asshole.

O freaking well.

Nowadays I sit around and dream about what my life will be like when I finally get where I’m going.. When my kids are all grown and the man that I’ve stood by has gone..

Will it all come together somewhere down that invisible line we spend most of our lives toeing in an effort to live long and prosper?

Again, who even knows?

I just want to be happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted really.. Someone to spend my old lady years with; who will love me and maybe not laugh at my jokes, but take notice of me in any case.. I’m tired of feeling invisible. I’m tired of walking on eggshells when I should be dancing on air. I’m tired of being alone..

Fantasies of a Stressed out Mom

TEENAGER (by definition)

{WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY} – Any person between the ages of 13 and 19.

{URBAN DICTIONARY} – God’s punishment for enjoying sex.

The reality of it all is that teenagers suck (usually from a couple of years before until a couple of years after the actual teens). And while I’m pretty sure this has been one of those undisputed-since-the-beginning-of-time facts that most red blooded Americans should already know, we just don’t seem to think about it until it’s right there in our faces..

WTH?

Where’s the survival instinct? The authority? The RESPECT?

It’s gone, that’s where.

Kids these days are born into what I like to call the Age of Entitlement. Everybody owes them something just for being alive.. it’s kinda suck-ish, really, and an absolute shame.

But what do we do? Hell, I’m not sure there’s anything we can do at this point.

Suddenly the adults are all acting just as badly as their kids. We have riots and school shootings and movie theater massacres like once a month… And the suicide rate. Don’t get me started on that shit… Yet it’s all for what? Because someone’s momma wasn’t pay enough attention? Or someone’s girlfriend didn’t want to go to the prom? There are umpteenth new and extraordinarily profound reasons for it all nowadays, and I can’t find the validity in any of them. They’re just kids. Spoiled little hormonal buttheads that think they rule the world because we don’t tell them any different. It’s funny, but looking back I can’t remember anyone ever having to tell me such things….

Still, at the risk of running slightly long winded today I’ve got to take a few minutes (or years) to touch on the subject of my own teenagers. I have been absolutely blessed to have raised, or had a hand in raising, an amazing group of not-so-tiny humans.

Between us, my husband and I have six kids.. and with the exception of one, they have all managed to grow and mature into smart, beautiful, contributing members of society. Don’t get me wrong, that one just so happens to be beautiful and smart (and way too much like her mother) but she also has an attitude thats so incredibly large it casts a literal shadow over everything it touches.

It’s distracting, and so ugly it actually takes something from her… I can’t quite describe it, but if you have teenagers of your own you probably know what I mean..

Teenagers are scary. Like Mr. Gump’s widely known Box of Chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.. I’ve tried my best to curb the enthusiasm she seems to have for feeding the beast inside of her but nothing helps. I can ground her, take her phone, strip her bedroom, blah blah blah.. I get nothing. No reaction. No tears. No improvement. Just a blank face and a monotone voice that breaks my heart in a thousand new ways every time it comes around.

I guess I’m bitching. It’s been a bad week.

Any advice?

Story of My Life..

Tomorrow is Monday. Usually my favorite day of the week, this one happens to be slated for a full day of chores. (WTF Monday? You coulda warned me.. 😒)

It has come to my attention that we’ve less than a full pack of pull-ups left here in the house, and I don’t have a clue where to buy them.. They were being delivered once a month by some place out in Pearl but they stopped for no reason sometime earlier last year. When I called (and I’ve called like six times – seriously) I’m told we need an updated prescription and that they’ll fax a request over to her doctor. Well after waiting a few months and getting nothing i went to the pediatrician and asked her what to do. So she finds the website and prints out the forms and then sits down with me and fills them out. I can only assume she faxed them in as I have yet to hear back about anything.

Its SO frustrating. If I were a toddler I might throw a tantrum. Hell, I might throw onevanyway..

What is..

….

Being a mother has been the most thankless, heartbreaking, under appreciated job I’ve ever had. They don’t tell you that part in those  books for new parents, but it would be nice if they did. You know, maybe some kind of a “Two Sides To Every Story” themed book. Or maybe “What To Expect From Your Teenager”.. That would’ve been great right about now. 

But no, here I am, nursing my feelings yet again.. I mean really. What the hell? It’s like kids these days sit down and practice this stuff like it’s a sport. I don’t know..

Things were different when my girls were still little. I made a lot of mistakes but they loved me anyway and it showed. They were so full of life, I thought I’d never need anyone but then. 

These days it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll do from one minute to the next. It’s mind boggling sometimes.. I get a headache just thinking about it. Maybe I did something wrong? 

Is This Really It??

I’m having something of a day today. Not that it was really very different from most other days.. You’d think that by now I’d be used to my life, and I guess for the most part I am. But sometimes it gets me, and I feel alone and it sucks. 

Being a mom is just about the only thing I’ve ever done right, and I’m proud of the job that I’ve done. I’ve made a LOT of mistakes and I’ve fallen more times than I thought I’d come back from, but I never gave up on myself or my kids and I’d do it again if I could. 

Then there are days like today, when nothing feels right, and I wish I could go back to bed.. But I can’t, of course, not when there’s still so much stuff left to do and without me it wouldn’t get done. 

And I’m tired.