Monthly Archives: March 2009

The 29th

Standard

Three months ago today we lost our baby Jack. It feels like so much longer to me.

There were only twenty-eight days in this past February. With no 29th, we kind of skipped over the monthly “anniversary” of Jack’s death. It was kind of nice actually. This month, however, I have felt the 29th looming nearer and nearer throughout the last couple of weeks.

But this month I have also spent a lot of time reflecting on what “life” must be like for Jack. I don’t know how things work, and I don’t know what he is “up to”. I would like to think that he checks in on us from time to time and that he hears me when I talk to him. I’d also like to think that he gets to hang out with my dad.

I have only barely touched on my dad’s passing on my blog a couple times. Whenever I remember him or think about him, I am overcome by a myriad of emotions for reasons that are too difficult to explain. During Jack’s life and then his passing, I was so focused on the grief I felt in losing my son, that I didn’t really relate it at all to my dad.

Lately, however, I have been thinking about the wonderful man that my dad was. How many lives he touched, and how many people loved him. How I am so proud to be his daughter. How much he is missed by those who loved him; especially his children and his wife. I was also thinking about how much we are all looking forward to when we get to be reunited with him again (my mom never lets any of us forget how much she is looking forward to it!). And actually, I guess I always imagined that my mom would be the first to meet up with him. I never thought that my own child would be reunited with my dad before I was.

It’s nice to think of the two of them together. I’m glad that Jack had a “familiar face” to return to, and I am certain that my dad was one of the first in line to welcome him home (if not the first). I bet he and my dad “look down” upon us here on earth; grieving and hurt and longing for them, and whisper: “hang in there. It will all be worth it. You have no idea.”

I miss my dad. I miss my Jack. I find peace in knowing that they are together. I like knowing that not only is Jack not “alone”, but that he is with the greatest man that I have ever known.

Someone once asked me if Jack’s death brought with it a return of some of the pain and sorrow that I felt about my dad’s death. The answer is no. I was only fifteen when my dad died, and yes it was very difficult. And yes I am still sad about it. But I knew then, at the young age of fifteen, that my family was eternal. I never questioned it, and I never worried about whether or not I would ever see my dad again. Because I knew it then, I know it now, and there has never been even a moment of the tiniest most minuscule doubt in my mind that my Jack is mine forever. So while I will never be “grateful” that my dad died, I am grateful for the lesson that I learned because of it, and the testimony that I gained.

Think She Loves Her Babies?

Standard

For the longest time there was NO way to convince Megan to play with her baby dolls.

Not the case anymore…

Getting the girls ready for bed:

047

A some point she decided to let the girls sleep on her pillow:
049

Another night:
0051

This time she wanted to have some of the girls next to her. I imagine she probably wanted all of them with her, but the six of them don’t all fit on the pillow:

Babies

From left to right: Baby Bella, Baby Ellie, Baby Nya, Baby Megan, Baby Rose and Baby Ruth:
0101

She calls them each by name, and when she gets juice: they all need juice. When she gets a diaper change: they all need a diaper change. When she gets snacks…well, you get the idea.

Loving this phase.

225

Perspective

Standard

SickTowards the end of the day yesterday, we could tell that sweet Megan was starting to feel a little sick. This morning she woke up feeling really yucky. She spent the day watching Elmo and cuddling with mommy. By the end of the day today, she was feeling much better and seemed to be already getting over whatever it was.

SweetheartEven at her sickest, she is always such a sweetheart and is quick to give a smile or make a funny joke. She can’t even tell me what is wrong or where she is hurting and sometimes there is nothing I can do to make her feel better besides give her kisses and hugs and lots of love.

And yet…she doesn’t complain. In fact, she even finds reasons to smile. While watching her today, I was reminded of how we have been exhorted to “becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us]” (Mosiah 3:19).

Often we find our children mirroring our behavior; trying to act like mommy and daddy or trying to do the things that they see us doing. Little does my two year old know that it is I who wants to be more like her. I want to be more patient, and humble and full of love, even in the face of my biggest trials or sorrows. What a great strength and example she is to me.

Mom and Meg

Family Home Evening

Standard

Megan playing the piano after church

Megan playing the piano after church

This Sunday during Sacrament meeting, Megan was really interested in the hymns. Usually she just sings her own songs during the congregational hymns (out of her pocket size “Children’s Songbook”) but this Sunday, she wanted to follow along in the hymnal. In fact, the song was “Behold the Great Redeemer Die” and she sang the first word: “Behold”, at the top of her lungs, and then stopped singing because she realized she didn’t recognize the tune and she couldn’t follow along fast enough. During each song, she wanted to sit on my lap and follow along.

Megan singing from the hymnal

Megan singing from the hymnal

For family home evening tonight, we decided to have a lesson on sacrament meeting. We explained how there are three songs, an opening and closing prayer and also prayers for the bread and water, and three speakers. I had emailed our organist this morning and asked her to send me the songs that we would be singing next week. We sang two of those songs for our FHE opening and closing songs, and I plan to sing them with Megan throughout the week so they will be familiar next Sunday.

Megan learning about the water

Megan learning about the water

We also talked about the Sacrament and how the water symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ and the bread: His body. Megan has never partaken of the actual sacrament. It is a chore just to get her to eat at mealtimes: I am NOT going to force her to eat the sacrament bread or drink the water. I have offered, and she has always refused. When she understands that the sacrament is not just “food”, then we will encourage her to participate. Tonight, she listened very intently during family home evening (for the first time). I imagine it won’t be too long before she understands. In fact, Adam told me that he heard her repeating to herself later what we had talked about. He heard her say: “we say a prayer, then sing a song…”

Megan saying the closing prayer

Megan saying the closing prayer

The lesson in Relief Society yesterday was also on sacrament meeting. I have been thinking about the sacrament and the atonement a lot lately, especially with Easter drawing near. I hope that the sacrament will always have very special meaning to Megan, as we teach her that because of Christ’s atonement, her brother is always part of her family.

I plan to make this Easter a special one for Megan. Perhaps amidst the colored eggs and chocolate candies we can all find ways to focus on the Savior and how He alone made it possible for our return to our Father in Heaven.

Wedding Events

Standard

Meggie

Family with Bride and GroomAdam and I weren’t planning on spending our Spring Break in Las Vegas, mostly because we didn’t even know when Spring Break was. We were planning, however, to spend the weekend of March 14th – 15th in Northern California. When making travel arrangements, we learned that the week following was Spring Break. Totally cool.

On March 14th, Adam’s older brother Josh was married to (our now sister-in-law) Alyssa, for time and all eternity, in the Oakland LDS temple. The entire weekend was really wonderful.

Family at the beachFriday night, the entire Johanson family and entire Redding family, enjoyed a fun dinner at Applebee’s as we got to know one another and share stories about the happy couple. The next morning, we all went to the beach (minus the bride and groom who were probably getting ready!) and enjoyed the cool (cold) beach weather and sand beneath our toes.

Megan at the Beach Miss Megan LOVED the beach! It was a little on the chilly side, and everyone was freezing, but Megan couldn’t have cared less (I am pretty sure most of her cousins felt the same way.) She ran around laughing; just having a great time. Perhaps a relocation to beach front property is in order…for Megan’s sake…of course…

After the beach we got ready and headed to the temple. Adam and I (along with my mom who spent the weekend with us, and Megan) were the first guests to arrive and were able to walk around the temple grounds a little bit and check out the visitor’s center. Adam and I then left Megan with my mom and headed to the temple for the ceremony.

I thought the wedding was perfect. The sealer did a beautiful job, and Josh and Alyssa were just glowing. It was a sweet reminder to me of the promises that I too made when Adam and I were married in the temple. During the ceremony, I was strongly reminded that as I live up to my temple covenants, I will be with my Jack again.

Party AnimalThe day continued to run smoothly and we all had a great time at the reception that evening. It could be argued that no one had more fun then Megan (bride and groom excluded). She danced the night away! At one point, she kicked off her shoes and really got down to partying. By the time we left, her cheeks were bright red, and her feet were dark black. She has been asking to go to a “party” every day since then. Lucky for her, Uncle Jake’s wedding is just around the corner. Can’t wait for more reception fun for her. She is SUCH a sweetheart!

It really was a great weekend, and we are so happy for Josh and Alyssa. We were grateful to be a part of the their special weekend. We are excited for their new journey and wish them life’s every happiness.

Johanson Family

Thank You Baby Conley

Standard

Several times in the weeks before heading out to Vegas, I would ask Adam what I was going to do about meeting baby Conley. I was reminded of when I met baby Lyla (my brother’s daughter) while home for Jack’s funeral, and how it was too difficult to hold her or even be around her. Obviously, it was all too fresh at that time. I knew that I couldn’t be around Conley for a week and not hold him. I imagined that we would have to take it slow, and I prepared myself to feel embarrassed of the breakdown that I believed would inevitably occur.

Meeting ConleyFortunately, I surprised myself. The second I met Conley, I wanted to hold him. I was not overcome at all by emotion, I was just happy to meet my little nephew and hold him and kiss him and love him. The entire week with him, I never felt jealousy or sorrow (in his behalf), it was almost as if I was just a normal person. Whew. Talk about relief. If only baby Lyla could have been there! 🙂

Conley and MeganI am optimistic that overcoming this situation may help me with the other babies that I am around. There are several new babies either at church or amongst my friends that I have avoided (hardcore) as of recent. It has been difficult to associate with the women who I was pregnant with because for months and months we all shared such a special thing in expecting our babies, and now their journey has reached its happy ending (or beginning) and mine ended in sorrow. I hope that little Conley opened the door to some sort of healing in that regard.

Resting with ConleyMothers of my angel Jack’s earthly peers…hold those babies a little closer, love them a little more, enjoy those late night feedings and those diaper explosions, relax amongst the messes and chaos. I probably don’t need to remind you that this is one mom who would trade almost anything to have what you have.

Is it the second coming…yet?? 🙂

Airport High Risk Security Threat = ME.

Standard

About ten minutes after arriving at the airport in Des Moines on Thursday, March 12th, for our trip to CA for Adam’s brother’s wedding and our following Spring Break vacation; I realized that I forgot my driver’s license. I was so upset, but tried to remain calm as we tried to figure out what to do. We had been dropped off by someone who doesn’t have a cell phone, and besides, we wouldn’t have been able to get the ID in time, nor could anyone get into our apartment without first getting the keys from us. Adam opened up his wallet, perhaps hoping that maybe, just maybe, my license was inside. I was 100 percent certain that it was not, but he did pull out my OLD BYU student ID. The line for our airline was long, so instead of wasting time waiting to see if they would take my student ID, I went to another airline and asked if it was acceptable. The guy told me that he didn’t know if my particular airline would accept it, but I could try.

We finally got to the desk, and they told us the ID was fine, but they would have to flag me and I would have to go through a few more security measures in order to fly. I breathed a sigh of relief, not caring as long as I could travel without a ton of much added stress.

Megan gets a rideIn Des Moines they did a “pat down” and tested all my belongings in some machine with some weird brush like thing. It actually wasn’t too bad, it just took a lot of time. Megan also had to be “patted down” which she did not enjoy.

In Las Vegas they were a little more intense. They had to call “the database in Washington” to confirm my identity. I had to answer all sorts of questions like what states I have ever lived in and who lives at my current address among other things. This time, instead of a pat down, I had to go through this new machine that “electronically” removes all your clothing so they can see your entire body. Nice.

And in San Fransisco…they hardly checked my ID. In fact, they didn’t even check it to get my tickets. At security, he hardly glanced at it and just let me pass on through (I think it helped that they have a “family” lane, and he was more lenient since I was holding Megan). San Fran is my new favorite airport.

We fly out of Las Vegas tomorrow morning and I am not looking forward to the Las Vegas security measures as they take the longest and are the most intense. I can’t complain too much though. At least I got where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. But I will NEVER forget my driver’s license again!

Megan at the airportAnd speaking of flying and airports…Megan was EXCELLENT. We had delays every time we flied, and she was so pleasant and happy. She obediently sat in her seat and was calm and quiet in all of our travels. We brought along the game “memory” which Megan got for Christmas but hadn’t played yet. SHE LOVED IT! She played it for a long time both at the hotel and on the plane. It was awesome. Flying with a young child can add so much stress to an already taxing and stressful endeavor (especially when you are flagged as a security threat). I am so grateful for Megan’s sweet personality and pleasant deposition. It has been such a fun trip: ALL things considered.