Today is Laney’s birthday. She would have been 21. On the 21st. They say that it is her “golden” birthday.
I want to tell you about how lucky we were to have Laney. After she was born, she stopped breathing 3 separate times. After lots of tests and procedures to figure out the reason, they sent us home with an apnea monitor and a profound fear that if we took our eyes off of her, she would stop breathing. So when we drove anywhere in the car, my hand was always in the back seat on her chest, feeling it rise and fall. When she slept at night, I was in her room more than my own. Watching and loving her. This went on for 8 months. And then they told us she was okay to come off the monitor. But that was scarier than not having the monitor at all. I swear I must have checked on her every 15 minutes during the night for months. It took me a long time to not worry.
And then I think of all of the fun things and personality she brought to our family and it makes me smile. How she wanted to help me redo the kitchen. How we had started planning what we were going to do. But then things changed. I still felt like I needed to go through with our plans to redo the kitchen. So Ally came to the rescue and helped me. It was incredible how much like Laney she is. When it came time to buying the paint, she said, “This one,” and I knew it was right. Ally also helped sand, paint, and reassemble the cupboards and drawers.
When I went to look at samples of counter tops, Ally looked through them before I had a chance, and picked a couple with extreme confidence. And they were just what I was thinking. She has a take charge attitude, just like Laney. Ally was actually my Balm of Gilead during this project. Working with her made me think about teaching Ally and didn’t allow me to think so much on the fact that Laney was supposed to be the one helping me.
I was able to get the kitchen entirely done before Laney’s birthday. It has been a labor of love, and it finally occurred to me that I was doing it as my gift to Laney for her birthday. I am sure she loves it. I am posting pictures of the kitchen before and after so that you can all see my gift to Laney. I am so incredibly proud to be Laney’s mom!
Sometimes, we have to face tough things in our lives. Sometimes it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have a tendency to think that whatever we are going through is going to be that way forever. But it won’t.
One of the things that I have learned over the last several years is that if we do our best and then leave the rest to the Lord, He will take care of the rest. I have seen this repeatedly in my own life. In the life of my family. Even in trying circumstances, He is there, lifting me up, guiding my life. Even in the midst of this particular trial, He is there.
I lost my job in February. Having that job was where I was supposed to be at the time, I have no doubt. I wasn’t there very long. Just long enough for the people there to help me through the loss of my daughter. Because I know He is guiding my ship, I wondered where my next destination was. I love being home with my family. Doing all of the mom things that I can’t do while I am working. Having time to do some remodeling, too. But, my ship is being steered in another direction.
I got the most amazing job yesterday. It is doing what I know I will love and the best part is that it will be making a difference in the lives of people. What else could I ask for? I am excited about the new opportunities I will have and the new people I will meet. Because I did all I could do and then waited on the Lord, He rewarded us tremendously.
I have no doubt that He is allowing Laney to help bless us as well. She probably had lots to do with this new opportunity. I know she is excited for me, too. I just wish she were here to put up a poster for me like she did the last time I got a job. That would have been the icing on the cake.
This weekend, Laney would have turned 21. On the 21st. So as I have been thinking about her short life, and her arrival, I can’t help but smile. You see, Laney shouldn’t have made it. But she did. And instead of having her for just a few hours or days, we got to have her for 20 years. 20 years that were amazing.
I wanted to share a few things about Laney that you may not know. She thought that birds shouldn’t walk because they had wings for a reason. She loved grammar, and if you didn’t use it correctly, she let you know. She disliked caramel, barbecue sauce, and hot fruit (cobblers, etc.). She loved sports from a very young age. She loved to go to the desert, and she loved to clog. She loved the movie Contact. She loved everything to do with space. She loved Garth Brooks and Steve Tyler. And the Green Bay Packers.
She loved Hershey’s chocolate bars. She would often wake up in the morning when she was younger and the first thing she would say was, ” I need chocolate!” She also loved to help me with my DIY projects. When she was 9, she helped me paint our entire house. Just the two of us. She was so creative, that she often came up with her own projects along with helping me with mine.
But one of my favorite memories is one we laughed about just a few weeks before her accident. She always watched her feet when she ran down the basketball court. We were reminiscing about that, and she burst out laughing at the fact that she STILL did. She never stopped watching her feet when she ran.
While taking this week to especially remember Laney, I want to point out that she didn’t just have things that she liked. But she had things that she loved. She loved going to the temple. She loved Jens. Loves him still. She loved that she was going to marry him. She loved hanging out with her friends. She loved writing in her journal. She loved helping others. She loved to encourage them. She showed that in everything she did. So this week, I am concentrating on the things Laney loved. And maybe in the process it will make things a little easier.