Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Our big girl!

Our big girl!
Growing so fast!

Kylie 1 day old

Kylie 1 day old
Curling up

Bryleigh Addison

Bryleigh Addison
Our youngest miracle


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A reflective moment in the aftermath of the storm

My entire life, I have wanted three things: to be a teacher, to be married, and to be a mommy. There was a time in my life that I did not think that I would accomplish those last two, and there was a long period of time after I accomplished the first two that I didn't think I would ever get to be a mommy. I watched myself each month, waiting for those two lines, waiting for some sign that I was a "normal" woman, so that I could experience the joy of motherhood like so many people in this world.

I watched my best friend from childhood get pregnant, and then my very best friend, and my sister, and two other friends get pregnant. I had fertility treatments that failed. I had negative test after negative test. We had to stop multiple times because I had the max of clomid and couldn't afford the injections. Finally, I gave up. I was so broken, so upset that God didn't want me to be a mom. I was weak and torn. I was mad at everyone who complained about their children, because I didn't have any. I was jealous of every pregnant woman who walked in my path. I cried every night becasue I wanted something so badly that I could not have.

On April 30, 2009, that all changed. God granted me the one thing I begged for: a child was growing within my womb. A child that was created by me, Chris, and God. A child that was chosen for us to parent. A child that depended on my body and my life for his/her own life. A child that answered every prayer I had ever thought, spoken, or written.

When Kylie was born, it didn't cross my mind that she might die. I was scared to death in the few weeks before her birth, and I was terrified when she was born, but I was so hopeful. When Kylie died, part of me died with her. I became bitter, angry, and more broken than I ever imagined. I shut people out. I felt guilty for every smile, every laugh, every moment that I didn't cry. I felt angry that everyone around me got to have the family they wanted, and I was stuck with a c-section scar, pain, grief, and childless. All of that, and nothing to show for it. All of that pain, that praying, that crying out to God... all of that misery, all of those doctor's appointments, the surgery she endured, and the pain she must have gone through... all of it for nothing.

I thought God was punishing me, that he was playing a cruel joke on me. I felt that he thought I was a bad mom, that I didn't deserve happiness. I became even more bitter. I was jealous. How dare people tell me to forget my child, how dare people complain about being a parent... my anger was normal in grief, but it was also something that lasted longer than I should have let it.

When we found out we were pregnant with Bryleigh, the fear and anxiety could not take away the excitement... but I was still angry. Why couldn't Kylie's pregnancy have been so uneventful? Why couldn't she have been so lucky?

But by the time Bryleigh arrived- I was elated. This moment, this healthy baby... she was worth all the worry and concern I had and so much more... and this child was so lucky, because she has a sister as her true guardian angel.

God did not answer my prayers the way I intended in any of these instances, but He has taught me that though we have storms and tragedy in our lives, what we do with it is just as important as the grief we must experience. God was patient with me, and He knew that I needed time. I still wish people would not complain about their children so much, and that others would spend time with their kids and love their kids, and I wish people who didn't want or need children didn't get to have them and that there was no such thing as infertility. I still wish that no mother would have to say goodbye to her baby, that no parent should ever bury a child. However, I know that God is good all of the time. I know that God has blessed me immensely, and He gave me Kylie to teach me more than I could ever learn from her on this earth. I have learned patience, kindness, love beyond this world, and so much more. She has taught me about being a good mother, about being a good friend. She has taught me about myself, and about my relationship with God. She has helped strengthen my faith, and she has led me to an understanding about so many things I never would have had. She has used Jaycee in our lives to help us get through the tough times, and to know that regardless of blood relation, she is our child. She has used Bryleigh to show me that there are rainbows after the storm, beautiful, amazing, and pure.

When I look back today on the past 8 years, I realize that I have changed and have become someone I never thought I would become, and I am okay with that. I am blessed to have the opportunity to share my story with others, to raise awareness, and to be a source of support for other parents who have lost. I am blessed with three of the most beautiful daughters I could ever imagine, and I have been given the opportunity to do things I never imagined possible.

I want everyone to know that I may not understand your situation, but I want to be here for you, and I want to be a support for you. I want to share Kylie with others, and use her life to inspire and help.

Tonight, I am humbly grateful. To God be the glory.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

March for Babies 2012

My dearest Kylie Brielle,

Words cannot express the feeling in my heart today as I pushed your baby sister in a stroller through Research Park, as we all wore shirts with your sweet name, footprints and face. For three years, we have walked for you, in your honor and memory. We wanted to give back, and we have found an absolutely BEAUTIFUL way to give back to honor your precious legacy.

Kylie, you have taught me so much about being a mommy and about doing things for others. Your life has blessed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined, and I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to have such beautiful, special, sweet children. My blessings are immeasurable.

This year, we became top family team for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW! Your life lives on within us, and we are better because of it. You may be gone, but your memory and your legacy will never die. I will always carry a piece of you with me, and days like today make me feel so close to you. I could feel your tiny hand on my heart, urging me to keep going, guiding me that even though I was tired, I could do it. You are such a source of strength for me, and I am so grateful to have you as my perfect guardian angel.

Sweet girl,  we have raised $19,500 for the March of Dimes in three years, all because of you. That money will help so many families. I have prayed over it and asked God to bless the donations we have collected so that maybe another family will not have to say goodbye to their precious little one because of what we have done. In my lifetime, I could never expect to leave an imprint on people like you have. You have touched so many lives, and your memory will continue to be a blessing to others.

Today, as any other day, I am so overwhelmed with pride that YOU are my daughter. How did I get so lucky to be blessed with three amazing children? What did I do so right that God blessed me with you?  I don't know what I did to deserve such a perfect family, but I am honored that God gave me this life and the gift of motherhood. Being a mommy is more priceless than I ever imagined, and you showed me that I could have children of my own, after being so afraid that I would never have any.

Kylie Brielle Keith, you are my inspiration. You are perfect and pure, and I could never put into words just how much I truly love you. My face is streaming with tears as I write, because there will never be enough words to explain it. I love you with every fiber of my being, and I miss you so much that my heart feels like it might burst out of my chest.

Thank you for being mine. Thank you for leading my life to help others, and thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for making me who I am as a mother, a wife, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and an advocate. Thank you for showing me the path that my life needed to take.

For you, we walk. We are Angel Kylie's Hope.

With my most sincere and deepest love,

Your Mommy

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Those were the days...

Tonight, while eating dinner at a local restaurant, I saw Mr. Satterfield, my 8th grade Social Studies teacher. Mr. Satterfield was one of 5 teachers for our core classes at Madison Cross Roads (the others were Mrs. Ibezim, Mrs. Dickgeiser, Mrs. Bailey, Mr. Abernathy). The 8th grade teachers at MXR took great pride in the bond they shared as educators in order to create a positive atmosphere for the students. When a position in the 8th grade came open, I remember the teachers telling us that they interviewed the candiates together as a team, and they all had a say in the hire of the newest addition. Each teacher had a unique sense of humor, and when you put them together, I can honestly say I think we had the best, most hilarious, most caring group of teachers anyone could ask for.

My eigth grade year was a year of freedom that we all knew we deserved (we had been in the same school since kindergarten), and it was a special kind of freedom that many of us respected; after all those years, we were FINALLY the top of the school. I think the small size of MXR in those days was something that we took for granted, because we were able to have 9 grades in one building, and we only had one subject-area teacher per grade (in middle school). We had no more than 120-130 kids in our class, I think, and many of us went to school together from K-8 (and most of us went to high school together, too). Our parents knew each other well. Most of us made up the cheer squad/basketball/baseball/softball teams at school. Our little siblings were in the same grade. We didn't worry about drugs, or alcohol, or sex- those things did not exist to me in middle school. It's not that we were sheltered so much as it just wasn't an issue at our school. If one person stepped out of line, the parents normally found out about it easily, and it was taken care of immediately. Our parents never blamed the teachers for problems; they went directly to us, and our parents trusted the adults to take care of us and make good decisions for us.

In 8th grade, I learned a lot about life and morals and values. Though we had a lot of fun and laughing, we had a lot of structure and life lessons as well. Mrs. Ibezim, a teacher I had feared my whole time in school, was nothing like what I expected. Granted, in Science we did mostly book work, she taught us about agape, loving yourself, and respecting others. The teachers treated each other with respect, and they ALL worked together on things. The kids saw this, and they worked together.

I know it sounds like I am painting a false picture here, but this is how I remember middle school. Sure we had some issues, but what middle school kid (or teacher) doesn't every now and then? I use my middle school days as examples to my kids, but they normally can't get past the "only one english teacher, math teacher" etc. to get what I'm trying to tell them.

Tonight, seeing Mr. Satterfield reminded me that I am so blessed to have received an education at Madison Cross Roads School. No matter what anyone says, I am who I am because of the teachers and adminstrators who believed in us and molded us into respectful, responsible human beings. As a student, I respected and looked up to every teacher in the building (with the exception of one or two, but I was too young to see them differently then). My fellow classmates did not, to the extent we have today, disrespect and cuss out and flat out disobey the teachers like they do now. Maybe part of it was the big wooden paddle with holes drilled into it, but regardless, we were a bit afraid of trouble, and we knew that whatever trouble we got in at school was NOTHING compared to the trouble we had when we came home.

Today, as I look at my profession and I look at kids everywhere (in the news, out in public, at dance, at restaurants, at school, at daycare, etc), and I look at parents everywhere.

Where did we go so wrong in this world that we stopped teaching and expressing the importance of values, morals, respect, and kindness? Today, I see parents who do not parent. Parents who accuse the teacher before hearing what REALLY happened. Parents who think their children are perfect angels WHILE their kids are yelling at them and chewing them out. (If I EVER raised my voice at my parents in public, they didn't care who was around, they would have knocked my flippin' teeth out!) Parents who want to be the "FRIEND" and not the PARENT. I see parents who are too busy with their own lives to TEACH their children how to act and react, how to make positive decisions, and how to participate in conflict resolution. I see parents who ignore their children when out in public and let them run around like banshees.

I see children who are not taught to respect all people regardless of their differences. I see children who are not taught to respect others enough to behave in public. I see children who are not taught the difference between right and wrong, or children who are taught that if someone does something to you, you get to get them back. I see children who are always looking for a reason to be angry. I see children who have absolutely no respect for any adult. I see children who are self-absorbed and who have an "entitlement" issue.

If I could tell these people anything, it would be this:
Parents: You need to get off your behinds and start being an adult. A child cannot raise themselves; that is YOUR job. You need to put your personal life aside and teach your children right from wrong. You need to model respect for others and others' property. You need to MODEL positive behaviors and good choices. You need to step up to the plate, because quite frankly, your current methods of parenting SUCK and make you look bad. Do your job. Teach your children to accept and respect others, regardless of their age or difference. Do not push hatred or disgust on them. Love your children, and hug them daily, but do NOT be their friend. Teach them what it means to work hard and to appreciate what you have.

Kids: You need to get off YOUR behinds and start appreciating the gift of life. Life is too short to spend it miserable, angry, or upset. Life is too short to spend your life trying to pick up the pieces from bad choices. Learn how to respect adults, regardless of how you feel about them. Learn to bite your tongue and keep in those smart remarks and rude statements. Do not talk about people, and don't put yourself in a position that you may not be proud of. Be happy that you get to go to school to get an education, and stop doing things to jeopardize that. Try hard in everythign you do; the way kids act today, there aren't going to be many options for you when you get older and into the working world.

It terrifies me that my children are growing up in a society where people feel so many things are more important than their own children or growing family. My students already think I'm "old fashioned" and a "mean" mom because I am standing by the principles I grew up with. However, if more people were raised using these same principles, we as a country would be in much better shape.

So tonight, after my rant, I thank my teachers at Madison Cross Roads for believing in me while instilling respect and courtesy. I thank them for helping raise me with the same morals and values my parents had, and I appreciate their love for us. It is truly an honor to be an MXR Comet.