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Jayson is his name. 

I just found out that his parents have decided that tonight will be his last night.  
And tonight, he'll finally be at peace. He is one of many, many babies with Heterotaxy syndrome. One of three babies I know to have died because of it. I've asked myself before why I let it hurt me so much. He is Rowen's age, you know. So little.

So, what can I do about it? Absolutely nothing. 

I crawled into bed next to Emma and put my arms around her. It was one of the saddest feelings I've felt. Knowing somewhere a mother was crying and watching her baby slip away. 

I wanted to cry. I wanted to sob as I laid there next to Emma in the dark. 

I don't think I can ever take them for granted again. It would be selfish of me. I don't think it would be right for me to complain because Emma decides she doesn't like to pray, or listen, or do anything I ask her to do. And I shouldn't complain when she pushes her brother or screams or pees in the backyard. Or when Rowen is fussy, or wakes up at 330 am and wants to cuddle, or refuses his bottle because he just wants to play. Because you know what? They are here. With me. How can I complain? 
I can hug them whenever I want. I can hold them close to my heart and feel them breathe...whenever I want.

And there is a mother out there who can't. 

So I'm going to try. I really am. I'm gonna' try to remember the feeling I had tonight, as I lay next to my very healthy little girl. And when I find myself complaining, I hope I can stop. Stop and remember exactly what I have to be grateful for. 
Stop and remember all the little Jayson's out there. 

And the ones who are left to miss them.

I know that this Blog is normally written by my wife, Becky, about cute kid stuff.  If that’s what you are expecting, you might be warned to close this out, and go find some Baby Blues comics to read for a while instead, because I’m going to get a little political.  But it’s a bit different from the sort of thing you might normally hear, so maybe you can dare to read a little more.

My wife and I are both Conservative Republican Mormons.  So, it should be no surprise who we were rooting for in the recent 2012 presidential election.  (As an aside, I am one of three Mormons at my workplace, and the only one who voted for Mitt Romney.)  I must say, we did not vote for Romney in the primary since we thought there was a better candidate.  But from the first presidential debate, Romney had us, hook, line, and sinker.   The more I watched him, the more I realized he was the good kind of Mormon.  He’s not the type to throw his weight around as soon as he gets a little authority, as he supposes.  I am convinced that he is a very noble man.  A very good man.  And I believed that he would actually be the first president since – I dunno, Washington maybe, to actually do something about the national deficit / debt.  To me, that is the most important issue there is, more than any particular special interest, social program, or even military spending.  If the debt gets past a certain point, then the dollar will begin to fail, the economy will crumble, and all of those noble programs will come down with it anyway.

But enough about the political side of things, this is a sappy chick blog, so I better talk about my feelings for a while.  As I watched more and more news stories, Youtube videos, etc., I began to become more and more excited about Mitt.  So much that I confess, I found myself lying awake at night thinking about how wonderful he was, and what a phenomenal leader he would make.  I of course don’t care for Clinton or Obama.  But I think I dislike George W even more, and am not particularly fond of G H W Bush, so I was super-excited to finally have a candidate I really liked.  I like him even more than Reagan.  I began to think I might just go ahead and pop the question once the election was over.

I was so confident that Mitt would take it, it least by a hair, but maybe by a landslide.  The first sign of trouble came a couple days out when I decided to check the odds in Vegas.  You see, odds-makers don’t care about politics. They care about one thing, making $$$.  I didn’t trust the polls completely, but I figured odds-makers would favor the person who was truly likely to win.  Once I Wikipediaed how to read odds, to my surprise, they were favoring Obama, and that by a pretty wide margin.  That was a bad sign.  Then, to make it even more worrisome, no less than three conservative talk show personalities predicted an Obama victory.  Hmmmm.  But I still held on to my belief, my hope that Mitt would take it.  I wanted that sooooo badly.  

I got home early on election night.  The results began to come in, and the early news on the swing states was not positive.  In fact, there was very little of good news (from our point of view) the whole night.  I think we had maybe a combined 90 seconds where we were hopeful, but that didn’t last.  Eventually they called the election for B.O., and even then, we held on to a desperate hope that it would work out, until the truth was inescapable: Romney had lost.  Every state that the polls had shown leaning even a little to Romney went to Romney.  Every state leaning towards Barack went to Barack. And the battleground states, infuriatingly enough, well, every last one fell blue (except Florida so far).

Once we realized the truth of it, the finality of it, we were devastated.  Now, of course, I have been disappointed in the outcome of presidential elections before.  Who hasn’t?   You get angry, want to cuss and yell, and then you pretty much forget about it.  This was different.  There was a feeling deeper inside, a feeling of such despair, such denial that it was hard to deal with.  I had really put my hopes in Mitt, and it didn’t work out.  I felt almost as if I had just personally campaigned for months, and lost.  I guess it’s a little like the feeling of losing a long-time job, or even a loved one.  An ache that leaves for a while, but always returns.  I know I will be criticized for this – people will think, “Man, it’s just an election, get over it, dude!”  But it’s tied so strongly to our future as a nation, and I was so set on it, it is a horrible disappointment.

A little before the election, a friend of Becky’s, in response to a glowing post about Mitt, replied “putting your trust in one person is irresponsible. (in my opinion)”  We didn't really care for that, for he is such a good man, and there was such promise that he would be able to turn things around.  Well, jump forward to the day right after the election.  I found myself online, looking at a graph that shows the spending versus the income of the federal government.   Right around the housing crisis, the lines began to diverge.  As I stared at those red and blue lines to make sense of them, trying to see Obama’s hand in all of this, a new thought began to dawn on me.

 As much as I am against his ideology, it really isn’t the president’s fault.  Even Romney couldn’t have done too much right away.  I began to realize this truth: That annoying post on my wife’s Facebook was absolutely correct.  You can’t put too much confidence in one mortal man.  It follows, then, that you can’t place too much blame either.  I began to realize, this mess our nation is in, it isn’t really about the president.  This is our fault.  Greedy bankers anxious to loan as much as they could; greedy loan officers wanting quick commissions; not caring if the people should buy such a big house or could afford the payments; over-zealous folks buying way too much house for their budget; and above all, people just not living within their means: that’s where this really came from.  That is why we are in this mess.  If one man could come and fix everything, what would that mean for us?  We could do anything, be as irresponsible as can be, and as long as we elect a great politician, it will all be better.  Somehow, that just doesn’t seem right.

I think we are headed for some seriously difficult times as a nation.   If (or when, rather) the debt hits a critical mass, and the dollar begins to fail, it could mean 50% unemployment and 100% inflation (just imagine getting your salary cut in half each year).   But that’s not really the president’s fault, nor is it really his responsibility alone to fix it.  The fault and the responsibility are also ours.  So, I really don’t feel quite so badly anymore about the outcome of the election.  I will just go about trying to live a good life, and to live within our means and pay off our own debt, just as I had hoped Romney would do for the United States federal government.  And that, in the end, is really all that matters.

I remember the chalk board. I remember the looks. I remember the laughing, and that bathroom stall. The stall I can almost see perfectly clear in my mind- where I was shoved into the wall just left of the toilet, hit in the face several times, and left to feel two inches tall. And alone.

Bullying. It's such a strong, ugly word, isn't it? I personally am not mad at those who picked on me. And I definitely will never divulge those who did it to me. At least not on here. Obviously something was going on with them. I feel bad for them. But I don't feel bad for myself. I made it through just fine. 

But it was hard. Seeing your name written on the chalk board with mean words. Groups of kids and teenagers surrounding you every morning, chanting mean things. And my personal favorite- someone must've decided freckles were not beautiful. Because boy, they had me convinced. And after hearing it so long, doesn't that mean it's gotta be true?

I remember spending the majority of my school years covering up my face with thick bangs. Hiding. I remember being approached in the bathroom and being asked (in different words), why I was so ugly. And I remember feeling so damn ugly.
And then I'd go home, stuff it down deep so no one would know, and think of excuses to tell my mother, as to why I could'nt go to school the next day.
I remember playing kickball, and rounding second base, just to be tripped by someone. I remember skidding across the dirt. I remember the laughing & the embarrassment. I remember the bleeding. I also remember getting to my feet, making my fist into a ball, and knocking this person to the ground. 
She never bothered me again.

But I don't remember just the bad. I remember wonderful things, too. 
I remember my mother. I remember rushing home, opening the door, and knowing that my mother would take me into her arms and hold me close and tell me she was so happy I was home. Then she'd kiss my forehead, smile into my face, and ask me how my day was. And then she'd listen as she peeled potatoes. I remember thinking if I could just make it home, everything would be okay. Our home was safe. I wasn't a loser there. I was loved and worth something. Good thing my mother had no idea. She would've turned that school upside down. Did I mention I have a superwoman for a mom? Yea. I do.

I remember certain friends. Friends that accepted me no matter what the newest rumor was. Or no matter how many people whispered mean things. I remember a very special friend. She was new. We had exchanged a few words, and afterwards, I overheard people whispering to her not to be my friend, giving her reasons to join them in being mean to me. And I remember watching her walk away from them, and I cringed as she approached me. I started to tell her she didn't have to be my friend, but she cut me off & said "I don't care about that", and then she walked with me to class. I loved her from that moment forward, and she's been my best friend ever since. And I will always be grateful for her. I love you, Jess. You saved me. 

So here I am. And you know what? I'm a better person. I'm a better mother. I'm a better wife. A better friend. I can look at that picture up there and love myself. So, thank you, bullies.You made me who I am. And someday, everything will be clear to you. The tears you caused, the sadness. You made it really hard for an innocent, BEAUTIFUL young girl. That's right. I was beautiful.

I have my own family now. I have a daughter who doesn't care that I'm imperfect. She doesn't have any clue what I went through as a little girl. And if she did, I'm sure she'd wrap her 2 year old arms around me and say "You're beautiful, mommy". 
I have a son who can't wait to see me in the morning. He loves my face. And I love that.

I have a husband who loves my freckles. Who loves the gap in my teeth, and the weird, unruly red hair that comes out in the sun. He doesn't care that it's not perfect. Or that I'm not perfect. He loves me. He loves ME

So in the words of Taylor Swift, "Someday, I"ll be living in a big old city.
                                               And all you're ever gonna be is mean. 
                                               Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me. 
                                               And all you're ever gonna be is mean."

And tonight, after I post this, I'll turn the computer off. I'll take my two beautiful children in my arms, tell them I love them, and then I'll tickle them until they cry in laughter. And then I'll kiss them goodnight, and wait for my wonderful husband to come home so he can pull me into his arms, and tell me how much he loves me. ALL of me.

Then I'll look in the mirror and actually like what I see. And I won't think of those people anymore. 
Because I'm worth more than that.

I always was.

Another little baby gone. Why do I sit here, with my heart in my hands, and so close to tears.....

It wasn't my child. I didn't spend the last six months with him, waiting for results, shedding tears, and going home empty-handed each night while a nurse takes over watching him breathe as she takes notes.

But I'm sure his mother did. 

And I'm sure her heart is broken. I'm sure she's somewhere crying in a quiet room, wishing with her whole devastated heart that her son were in her arms.

But he's not. 

He's in Someone else's arms. Someone with a greater plan, and a greater love, than we can imagine. And I cling to that. I desperately cling to that knowledge. 

I don't know why this affects me so much- It's frustrating, irritating, and sad. People walk by me, they go to work, they laugh. And here I am, thinking of this family, and of this precious little baby boy. Part of me wants to stop the clock, as if a moment of silence should be heard... for this little baby who is gone. 
But that isn't real life. That doesn't happen. 
What does happen, is a day will go by, a week, a month, and eventually years. And little by little, hearts will mend. The best they can, anyway. 

It's just the beginning for this little guy. We can't begin to imagine the beautiful things he is seeing right now. His body relieved of pain and anguish, his tears now swallowed up by a pure love of God. It can't get more beautiful than that, can it?

You can't tell his mother it'll be okay. Not right now. Because it's not. 

But in time, one day, it will be. 

And that day will be amazing.