Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Life keeps moving.  And moving. And moving.  Luckily Grayson still does not, because my house is pretty much a baby danger zone.  We will baby proof, one day.  

Last night I spent some time in another hospital chair, this time with my friend Aimee.  She has watched Grayson for me on numerous occasions and been such a help in our lives over the past six months.  Aimee gave birth to a baby boy yesterday and had a really crazy and rough day as they learned that their sweet baby boy had a heart condition and needed to be transferred to a local children's hospital.  The first procedure went well, but the next few days are critical as they take him off meds and see what his heart is capable of on its own.  Will you please surround Aimee, Tom, and sweet baby Joshua with prayers? Will you pray that people step up and watch their two other daughters while they try to navigate this crazy path?  Thank you in advance.  I will post updated prayer requests when I have them.

The new job is going well, but I developed mastitis (a.k.a. feel like death syndrome) for the third time last week and had to call in sick on orientation.  I hate calling in sick, and I hate calling in sick on orientation even more.  The tasks and the charting feel overwhelming, but the location feels like home.  It is good to see familiar faces.  I know the newness will wear off and I will once again become efficient and not look like such a deer in headlights, but until then I am taking it one step at a time and trying to take it all in.  

Jon and I have decided to go on a medical missions trip with our church.  I am so excited to be able to bring some of the skills and knowledge that I have, and I am also excited and petrified to have my world rocked.  I am always in need of a reminder of how good we have it and how fragile life is.  I am so easily consumed by the tasks and trials of day to day life, that sometimes I lose sight of the big picture.  I am hoping God can use the trip to help me focus on the big picture for a long stretch of time.  I hope my heart breaks and I am able to love, pray, care for, and teach the people God surrounds me with.  I hope that they are able to teach me as well.  We are really in the beginning of this process and could totally use prayers as we move forward.

Grayson and I will be flying to Florida in May to visit a friend.  Any tips on traveling with a 7 month old?  

With all this rain and flooding, we now have no doubt that our summer project is to demo the "finished" basement and look into waterproofing solutions.  Please let me know if you would like to practice your sledgehammer skills.

My brain is fried.  I am going to go shower before Grayson wakes up and hope that this is not his long nap for the day because this momma still wants to sleep for a little bit before work.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dirty Little Secret

This is one of those over sharing posts.  The ones where I out myself and my imperfections and hope that those that know me in real life will continue to love me anyways.

Have you ever had a time where you impersonated your dead mother and got busted?


I have.  It was awkward.

Long story short I was trying to close/resolve one of my mom's accounts and last time they refused to talk to me because I wasn't her.  OK, fine.  So I faxed the required documents and waited for a month for a call.

No call.

So yesterday I called and just said I was her.  I know all the security questions and managed a lot of things for my mom before she passed.  Well about 5 minutes into the conversation the woman realized that the documentation had been completed and the person she was speaking to was dead.  Whoops.  My bad.  She sounded none too pleased.  So I tried to be nice and explain that I had been on the phone for a couple hours and needed to speak to a real person and have my issue resolved (Yes, I lied about my identity, and yes, I know this is just an excuse).


Puts me on hold.

"Ms. Bender, this encounter has been noted in the account and your issue has been resolved.  Thank you."


At this point a string of not so nice things streamed through my head.  You wackadoodle.  It was my mom that died and I am stuck doing this and you are annoyed with me?!?  Do you think I want to make these phone calls? I answered all your security questions correctly so it's not like I swindled information out of you.  Now, I have an easily guilty conscious so I felt bad for a good 30 minutes after I got over my furious rant before I told myself to get over it.  I do realize I lied and was in the wrong, but sheesh, how about some grace or at least don't act like I am the epitome of evil.

Other awkward moments this week include walking out with my top shirt still pulled up during employee orientation after pumping.  We will blame this lack of brain function on my lack of sleep.  I also whacked my head on the glass above the food in the cafeteria that I didn't see as I went to further inspect the possibly inedible pizza.  It made a thud.  A loud thud.  And it is hard to laugh it off while your eyes tear up.

Have you ever used a walk up ATM at a bank instead of the drive through?  I hadn't.  It was in this little room.  Apparently there is etiquette that you do not enter the little room while someone else is still in there, even though you cannot see through the tinted glass to know that the room is being occupied.  I have never gotten such a terrible glare for opening a door before.  I am a magnet for crabby people this week so I should not have been surprised.

While I am outing myself, I want to openly admit that I am not a very proper person.  Jon and I recently went to a nice dinner where I asked which fork was the salad fork.  I sound like a terrible person for saying this out loud, but I currently want to blow etiquette and "propperness" to the wind.

I do not want to send thank you notes out to people who came to my mom's service.  I don't want to think about my mom's service.  I want to pretend like it never happened.  My sweet sister-in-law offered to address them for me, so I don't have too much to complain about, but I am just angry that the principal exists.  Of course my family and I are thankful for love and support, why do I have to perform one more task, in the midst of many tasks to express it?

I just want to be done.  I just want to heal.  I just want to feel better, and I don't want to write/send/think about what to add to a thank you note that is another reminder of my mom's death.  My heart is spent and I feel like grief is getting harder and heavier as time moves forward.

This is not my most mature or glorious moment, just another honest one.  I am incredibly grateful for every single soul that came to the service, or who has loved us in another way throughout this journey.  I would instead like to send virtual hugs instead of generic card.  I am also still incredibly angry that I had to have a memorial service for my mom.  I am still angry that she got sick and died, so this seems to be the thing I want to have a temper tantrum about and fight kicking and screaming.  Maybe instead of sending virtual hugs I just want to continue to ask for hugs.  Because I do not feel like I am healing and I still feel broken.  Maybe that is why I wanted to scream at the lady on the phone.  Because I still feel broken.  Because my heart still aches.  I know grief is a journey and I know it is OK to feel and process every emotion that I experience, but just because I mentally know it is OK does not make it easier or less complicated.

So please know that I am both incredibly thankful, but I also think thank you cards for attending a memorial service are stupid.  I also lie and impersonate my dead mother.  I am far from a proper or perfect person, but luckily there is no perfect way to walk this journey.  Instead I hope to embrace grace, love, and humility as I continue to fumble along.

Grayson and I went for a walk on the first "spring" day we experienced.  It is now cold again with a chance of snow flurries in the future.  He continues to rock my world and melt my heart.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Sorry for my absence.  I love my job.  After long, frustrating days or nights with Grayson, I sometimes question whether full time work would be easier for me than staying at home.  Sometimes it might be, especially in the magical world called my brain.  However, after the past two weeks of full time orientation, I am even more grateful for this transition in my career and the flexibility of my job to work part time hours in the middle of the night.

About two weeks ago I returned to the hospital I started my nursing career at.  I will be working on the maternal/child resource team (L&D, Antepartum, Mother/Baby, NICU, and Peds).  While it was so incredibly hard to think about leaving my friends, this position will allow me to have a schedule that will work better for our family and also to work a little less.  It will also open the door to spend more time in a level III NICU which I have always wanted to do.  Currently my work is my social life.  So it was difficult to want to make any changes, but I feel incredibly blessed for this door to have been opened and for this opportunity to better take care of my family while still doing what I love.  It is also awesome that I am able to return to a system that I know is great and some fantastic people as well.  Hopefully it will be a smooth transition and will once again feel like home in no time.

Two weeks ago I said goodbye to some amazing coworkers.  I honestly and truly cannot say enough good things about the people that surrounded me at work while I walked the most difficult season in my life.  I will never forget the people that cried and instantly prayed as they heard the "code blues" over the loud speaker, and they knew that it was my mom's heart that needed resuscitating.

I will never forget the people that gave me such a generous shower gift and surrounded me with love as I brought my baby boy into the world. I was lucky to work with some high quality people, and I am so incredibly grateful that they let me into their circle and called me friend.  Thank you for all the support and love, and even more importantly, all the laughs over incredibly inappropriate things at all hours of the night.  You girls made working fun and taught me that I am more than capable of working the night shift and even enjoying it.

This season of my life seems to be one of good-byes.  I kind of hate it.

Outside of work I have had to say goodbye to a couple friends in the past few weeks, and there are going to be a couple really hard goodbyes in the somewhat near future with people I would consider to be a part of my core. My inner circle of support is getting ripped away and I am a wee bit ticked off and petrified about the whole situation.  

I get that I am in a stage of life where people move, and get married, and have babies.  But I would like them to get married, move in next door, and have babies at the same time as me so that we can raise our littles together.  With each goodbye that I have to say, I feel myself guard my heart a bit tighter.  I want to build my walls up higher and keep people at a distance.  While I know there are people who I can start to pursue a relationship and friendship with, I am so utterly sad to let go of the people that know the deepest parts of my heart.  I'm scared to let go of the relationships that don't need much work, but rather are a comfortable ebb and flow that have withstood the test of time.

Immature Jaci wants to throw herself on the floor and throw a tantrum over these goodbye situations.  I don't think I have really presented my best face or opened up to much of anyone over the past year, and I think I'm scared to.   I'm scared that people that didn't know me before everything happened with my mom won't be able to handle me.  Or more truthfully, they won't want to handle me.  I'm scared people won't want to get into this mess with me if we weren't already really good friends to begin with.  And these last few months have taught me that life is one freaking big mess.  

I am still navigating and learning how to do this whole community thing, and adding a baby to our mix changes our entire social dynamic.  Read: I now have very little availability outside my home in the more convenient evening hours.  But regardless of my availability,  I am trying to make a little mental commitment to reach across the divide and start to make friends while continuing to invest in the relationships I have.  When I am honest and truthful, I can admit that I want to know and be known. I want to embrace this truth and to start digging in and living life with people and in community.  I want to be vulnerable, not just from behind a keyboard, but in real life as well.  I want to head into my new job with my head looking up, ready to share my heart and be open to people who are also feeling like they need to build some more relationships.  I want to meet and be in community with other moms, so that I don't feel so alone in this new parenting thing.   I want to tightly hug the people who I know I will have to say goodbye to in the near future.  I want to be intentional with those relationships and plan visits and trips.  I want to be better about writing cards and making phone calls.  I want to reach out because I want people to reach out to me.  I want the deep and rich love I have felt over the past year to continue into the next season.  So if you have been my friend for a long time, or we just met, thank you.  Thank you for listening to my heart and sharing yours.  I have just walked through a really rough season and I am having a hard time saying goodbye to many people I care about.  Please push through my built up walls when I am unable to see them so clearly around me.  I truly want to get to know you better, I have just let me fear get the best of me lately and it is going to take me a little extra time to warm up.  I am going to trust that making friends and investing in community is worth the risk.  The reward will be great, now I just need to remain conscious and reach out in a season where I do not want to walk alone.