Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 2015...BITTER...SWEET

On this, the 20th day of July, the year 2015, I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually OVERWHELMED!  This month has been a whirlwind for my country, my city, my family, and me. And none of us will ever be the same again, for better or for worse, and my prayer is for the former.
July 1st- the first day of the month of my due date for my second son. He was due to make his appearance on July 29th.
Needless to say, he wasn't willing to wait.

July 4th-a day our country celebrates freedom, and the day my son, Patten Turner Strauss, decided to join in on the festivities.

July 5th-Some friends and family came to meet Little Patten. He was alert and cuddly and cute and everything a one-day old baby should be. We told our son, Shea, that his new baby brother would be going to "Shea's house" tomorrow because all indications pointed in that direction. 

July 6th- Due to extreme exhaustion on the part of my husband and I (I had essentially been in labor and in and out of the hospital for at least a week), we took advantage of the nursury services offered by the hospital. We sent him off to the nursury so we could sleep a couple of hours at a time between feedings. It is hospital policy that all babies that are born before 37 weeks gestation must have a car-seat test. He was born at 36 weeks and 4 days. This is where they put the baby in the car seat for an hour and monitor their heart rate and respiration. As we slept, they strapped him into the car seat. It quickly became clear to the nurses he was not going to pass the test. His respiration rate went up over 100 breaths per minute. My husband and I were woken up by a nurse we had never met telling us our 2-day-old son had just been admitted to the NICU. This is what we saw when we walked in to see our little guy.
July 7th-
July 8th-
Later that day...
Fast forward to July 16th- On the way home from lunch and shopping with my mother-in-law and my two boys, I got a call from my husband who was working a kids summer camp at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He said to go straight home and turn on the news but he didn't know any details. All he knew was there was an active shooter in downtown Chattanooga. I am sure you are aware of the shootings that happened in Chattanooga where 4 marines and one sailor lost their lives and many others put their lives on the line to make sure no more innocent people died at the hands of evil. They happened just a few miles from where my husband was working. We later learned that the shooter went to the same college as us at the same time. He was, up until the time of the shooting, living on the same street where my mom grew up.
Today, July 19th-

As I sit in the comfort of my home and watch my boys play beside each other on the floor and type this post with my husband beside me on the couch, I can't help but be grateful for all that I have. I can't help but take a sigh of relief that we were not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can't help but think about and pray for and hurt for those that no longer have their husbands, or sons, or fathers beside them. I can't help but worry about the mounting threats of more terrorism in the coming hours and days and years. I can't help but be sad at the state of the world that will be the expected norm to my boys if nothing changes. I can't help but pray that my boys be a part of a generation that turns from fear to peace, from doubt to hope, and from hate to love. I pray that my husband and I will find the words to say when our sons ask the hard questions like why did this happen, who could do something like this, why is life so hard, and why do bad things happen to good people? I pray this because these are answers I am seeking myself.
But through all of this sadness there is one thing I the end all that matters is LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13: 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.