Yesterday was Tolan's birthday. He is now 38 years old. He jokes that 37 was the year he started falling apart (knee surgery, tennis elbow, etc) which is scary because this has also been my "falling apart" year and I am only 33! :) We had some fun celebrations with our dear friends, the Rhoads, and with my Mom and his parents. Oh, and with lots of pies!
Tolan and his parents celebrating his birthday. Love you, hon!
The truth is, I am totally, insanely, completely crazy in love with my husband. He has shown me so much love over the last almost 13 years of marriage, but saved special strength, love and support for this difficult year. The intensity of his prayers for me amazes me. The depth of his love amazes me. The level of selfless dedication amazes me. The amount of patience he has amazes me. The time he dedicates to our children amazes me. HE amazes me every day.
Allow me to share just a tiny example. When I was in the hospital, Tolan got up early every morning and went to work, taking care to try and stay on top of things at work (though he admits it was hard to concentrate at times). Then he would leave work and come to the hospital to be with me. There he would stay for hours at a time, sometimes going back and forth to work as needed throughout the day. When he finally left, sometime between 5-10pm (depending on what was going on at home), he would return to our family, try to help relieve my Mom, and spend time with the kids. After they went to bed, he often stayed up for hours, doing research on "Spinal Fluid Leak" forums, trying to help the doctors figure out how to seal my leak. He also researched each of my surgeries and "chatted" with people who had experiences to share. He spent countless hours trying to help me, even when he wasn't with me. And that doesn't even include his hours of prayers. On weekends, he was "on his own" and took care of the kids (often assisted by his parents, thank goodness!) while my Mom was in Orem. He took them to practices, games and brought them to the hospital nearly every week. He took them to the zoo, Lagoon and on outings to help keep their lives fun and normal, even though nothing was normal about life! AMAZING!
This man is my true match and the love of my life in every way! I am so grateful that God has allowed us to be sealed in the temple for time AND all eternity! I get to be with my best friend, forever...kinda gives a new meaning to "BFF". :) I love you, Tolan, today, tomorrow, always and forever.
Yesterday our three oldest kids all had soccer games. It made the birthday morning a bit hectic, but each of the kids scored at least 1 goal in their games! (Lindi scored 2 and Trenden was on his way to a 2nd when the opposing team flat out pushed him down because they knew he couldn't otherwise be stopped!) Our children are so wonderful and fun. They wear us out, but they are also amazing, I guess they get that from their dad! Daven is the cutest potty-training boy I have ever seen. He runs around naked most of the time singing, "I did it! I did it! I need a chocate! (chocolate)" It doesn't get any better than that...
This week I received an email from my wonderful friend and partner in suffering, Jodi Carlson. Some of you may remember my stories of Jodi C. (see my earlier post in April) who had a stroke 2 weeks after giving birth to her 3rd child. She continues to be a source of strength to me as we separately, but together, navigate our new worlds. With her permission, I am going to share a bit of an email she sent to me at 3:45 am Friday.
"When I have a bad day like today I have to remind myself there were bad days before the stroke so now should be no exception. And I always get upset because I think my kids are missing out. But a) I am here to be their mom, and b) they are healthy for now maybe because we can't handle more, and c) they are learning and gaining more than they are losing. I am so thankful that I didn't die that horrible night. I really am soooo happy to be here every day. I love my life, I really do. It is just very hard some days. And on those days the Lord seems to send others to help. Help. Not totally take it away because we still need to learn."
Wow! Jodi C. amazes me, too. Her words summed it up for me. We all have bad days, now should be no exception. And, the Lord always does send help, but He doesn't take away our struggles, He allows us to learn and grow from them...even experience horrible things so we can have miracles! Thanks, Jodi C. for the wise words and wonderful reminders. Love you. Jodi's stroke was almost 2 years ago (2 years on Nov 29, I think...) so they don't update her blog as often these days. But, it was her blog that I followed faithfully, every day for months and months and months that gave me the idea for my family to do this blog for me. To read Jodi's story, go to: http://jodicarlson.blogspot.com/ and go back to the oldest posts to see the real history of her miracles.
Tolan and I with my parents before going out to a presentation on the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYUH last week.
The last 5 days have been good days for me. Thanks to all of you who helped make that happen.