Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behold Your Little Ones

Me explaining to Lauren why Camille was in the box and why she couldn't come out to play.

I am a new mother.  One of the many miracles that have come to me in all of this happened shortly after I returned home from the hospital.  Camille past away on Sunday around 4 pm. We took our girls home from my sister's house to our house that night.  

Perhaps I better give a bit of background here.   I had pretty much been at my wits end with certain behaviors before all this happened.  I love my kids but some times their craziness drove me nutty.  Some more than others.  Actually Camille was the only one I never had to discipline. The others all have made me crazy at one time or another but she was the one that always just made me smile (too young to talk back or learn to hit or be mean to siblings).  I struggled to keep myself calm and loving when the others were really acting up.  I know every mother goes through this.  It is hard to see the sweetness of your child when they are mad and hitting you or screaming at you for not getting their way.  

Lately, I was having a particularly difficult time with one of my kids.  That night we got home I was struggling with getting this child to do what I needed her to do.  Before the accident, this would have been beyond my capacity to deal with running on a total of 9 hours sleep for 4 days. But as I sat with this child in her crazy sleep deprived state I saw her through new eyes.  I saw her through Camille's eyes--and she was glorious.  I felt the love Camille had for this child and how much Camille looked up to her and admired her.  Consequently, I will never look at this child the same again.  This happened to me again the next day.  

The girls got down a couple of statues from a high shelf.  By the time I got downstairs that morning they were laying on the floor broken.  Both were special to me- a Lladro I bought in Spain when I lived there and one given to us for our wedding.  The Lladro was broken beyond repair.  Before the accident I would have been devastated by this and would have been severe in my punishment.  Now I just looked at the statues and thought, I could go buy both of these tomorrow.  They are just things and they are both replaceable.  It is only money.  I still let the girls know that I was disappointed in them for getting my things down from the shelf and that they shouldn't do that but I also let them know how much more important to me they were than any statue.

Annie and Lauren hugging their sister goodbye

My kids have been easier to discipline.  I can feel a heavenly presence in our home.  I don't want that presence to leave.  I let them know that now that Camille is an angel, she can only be where there is love.  I believe they feel her here too.  We are all working together to keep the atmosphere of LOVE strong in our home so Camille can be here with us.  It has been really nice.

So I guess my message for the day is -- Love your little ones--even the ones that drive you crazy.  If you could see them the way God sees them -- you would be astounded at their glory.  


i said...

This is where I come for a daily dose or should I say "scoop" of perspective... I love the angel in the home analogy. Thanks for the reminder, especially since my patience level is low today! I needed that! :)

Kdskids said...

Thank you for the sweet reminder to see our children as God does and to love them unconditionally. Your words are powerful and speak volumes to so many of us. I know that I feel the of your sweet spirit when I read your messages. Thanks again for being so willing to teach us the wonderful truths you are learning.

Hugs - Kathy Fairchild

Camille said...

you are one amazing woman. and i visit your site daily because i take an incredible amount of strength from your insight and perspective. i feel your strength and love for your children and the gospel so strongly and i just want to say thanks. btw, i am friends with e & rach from byu days. we have been praying for all of you since the beginning and will continue. you are incredible!

Anonymous said...

I'm so amazed that you are able to find ways to lift and improve others, even in your time of loss. I think all mothers with little ones struggle with this at different times and stages in their childrens lives. This message to all of us with young kids is one more way that you are using this experience to bring good into the world. Thank you.
P.S. the photos are so touching.

karilyn said...

Hello, you do not know me but I have spent much of my morning reading your blog from the beginning. I love your family and my heart and prayers go out to you. I think you are an amazing woman. Your girls are so blessed to have you for their mother. I admire your strength, testimony and live. You inspire me to be a little better. I will hug my daughter longer tonight because of you. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog just a few weeks ago and have read and re-read each post both in sorrow and in awe of the way that your faith has carried you through. I have challenged myself to grow deeper in my faith because of this.
My husband left on an 8 day trip the day of Camille's accident and normally these 8 days would have been a challenge with my two little ones but with each day I was more patient and thanful because of the journey you have shared. I can not thank you enough for putting this journey into words for all of to learn and be inspired from.
I pray that you continue to find strength from those around you and truly thank you from the bottom of my heart because I too was going through a tough mommy period last month and feel that I have learned more from your blog than any amount of parenting books could have taught.
I wish you God's peace and love now and in the times ahead.

Martha said...

Thank you for sharing these tender moments with all of us. I don't know you, but I am friends with E and Rachel from BYU Freshman year. You have an amazing family of support and love, and we can all see it through this experience you have had. You have shared it with all of us, and I thank you for showing me how to be a better mother and wife. I have talked many nights with my husband since hearing of your experience, and we have learned and grown from you. Thanks for inspiring me and showing me the importance of our children as God's. I too have struggled with them at various times and not known what to do, usually resulting in frustration and anger. I think twice now when reacting and try hard to just love them and make sure they go to bed each night knowing that their mommy loves them and they are more important than anything. Thanks for sharing the pictures too. I look forward to your posts each day and the way they lift me up.

Marleen said...

Thank you. I feel that lately I've been at fault for being to harsh with Nora. I also feel I haven't given her the amount of individual time that she needs because I'm usually dealing with baby. We will be doing more individual time on a daily basis now. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I heard this song from the Little Women Broadway soundtrack and I thought of you..... your family is amazing and our prayers are with you.

Days of Plenty

I never dreamed of this sorrow
I never thought I'd have reason to lament
I hoped I'd never know heartbreak
How I wish I could change the way things went!
I wanted nothing but goodness
I wanted reason to prevail
Not this bare emptiness
I wanted Days of Plenty.

But I refuse to feel tragic,
I am aching for more than pain and grief.
There has got to be meaning,
Most of all when a life has been so brief.
I have got to learn something,
How can I give her any less?
I want life to go on
I want Days of Plenty

You have to Believe,
There is reason for Hope
You have to Believe
That the answers will come
You can't let this defeat you
I won't less this defeat you
You must fight to keep her there
Within you

So Believe that she matters
And Believe that she always will
She will always be with you
She'll be part of the days you've yet to fill
She will live in your bounty
She will live as you carry on your life

So carry on,
Full of Hope,
She'll be there,

For all your Days of Plenty

Emily Sherinian said...

Wise words Steph! I'll be watching SYTYCD tonight and thinking of YOU! Be on the lookout for a rather haphazard package from the Sherinian crew in the mail. Compiled with lots of love and probably not enough patience. Thanks for your reminder. Love you and think you are amazing. xoxoxoxo Em, Aaron, and the squirts

Twinkletoes said...

The way you have shed light on perspective is amazing. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. The pictures are touching. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Having 2 friends lose their toddlers in just about a months' time has also increased my awareness that just living through a day together as a family is a blessing... no matter how stressful or imperfect it might have been. I just had baby #5 (the oldest child is not yet 8), and it's been really tough for me, not just since he was born 7 weeks ago, but the last few months of pregnancy as well. I just feel there is not enough to me to go around to all the demands that are on me. But it is sad how sometimes our blessings (our children) can be percived as trials when we have the wrong perspective. Thankfulness is a choice we all have to make, and usually we have to re-make the decision many times.

I also agree that, as horrible as it is, there are even worse things than losing your baby in an accident. I had that exact same thought a few weeks ago, soon after our other friends lost their baby. I was trying to get my family ready for church (alone, because my husband was in China), and I wondered for a minute if it was really worth dragging all these really small children to church by myself, and how much they would really get out of it. Then one of my 4-year-olds said, "I don't like church. It's bowing." And suddenly the realization came... there are worse things. Needless to say, we all made it to church that day.

I gave your website address to our friends in our ward that lost their toddler as well, hoping that it might help them somehow.

Thank you for your amazing blog. I can't believe the detail you include. We are still praying for you.

Love, Ann (Melinda)

Rach said...

Yes, this too happened to me. I'm more patient and I realize kids are kids and are only small once. Lil wants to wear her princess shoes to the store? So be it. I NEVER would have let Han, but you know what? I wish I had...

I'm still far more patient and understanding than I ever was before. Losing a child changes your entire outlook on life.

Lissagerl said...

I spent much of last night reading about the last week of your life and have been so touched. Another friend who has also been reading reminded us to read again today to gain perspective and help us become better mothers. Your post today was something I needed to hear. The day started bad with 2 of my boys and I often struggle to be patient with them. Thank you for giving me perspective. You're right. Cleaning up pee in kitchen really means nothing. I need to enjoy every moment I have with them at such a tender age. Your testimony is truly inspiring and I fell blessed I have been led to your blog to feel of the Spirit you have.

Melissa Engelbrecht

Carolyn said...

I really have felt that love in your home while I've been here! I've always looked to you and watched how you parent your girlies, Steph. You and Jonathan are good examples for me. I was so touched with you explaining to the girls about Camille not needing that part of her any more (on Saturday). They listened as you told them, we were putting it away safe and sound until Jesus comes again and Camille would need that part of her. I was standing in the back of the room watching and listening and crying. Our little children are such treasures.

MaryClaire Brown said...

thanks for that reminder. i definitely have my ups and downs when it comes to patience with my kids. yesterday, ironically, was one of the downs, so this post helped me remember what's really important. camille really is an angel and she will be with all of you in ways and at times that no one else can.

Sleepless In St. George said...

You know a year or so ago I lost my voice for a few days. I found that the kids thought I was playing with them and they began to whisper to me. The house was so much quieter. I thought then and there that I was going to be much more patient with them and not yell as much. That lasted a little while, but I forgot about it until you made this post. Thanks for reminding me to be a better mommy! Your words and the photo's you post are so touching!

Anonymous said...

Its so nice for all Moms and Dads to have this reminder. It is so easy to loose patience when you are home all day everyday with your children (hardest but most rewarding job ever). It is nice to be reminded of the important things in life. You are so right its only things and money. Thanks for the reminder!

Tara L. said...

Thanks for reminding what is most important.

Heather said...

I come to your blog as well for a daily lift. Thank-you for your inspiration & courage!
You are the one whose is hurting but, your words of love & purity help me see my children in a different perspective. Things do happen for a hard as it may be but, you are changing the hearts of people all around you & I appriciate it!
I don't even know you but feel your spirit! You are an amazing woman!

Sister Ballard said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog everyday. You are very inspiring! We are working harder as a family to be together forever because of Camille. We are more kind and gentle with each other. Personally, like you said you were doing, I am remembering to repent everyday. I want to be pure like Camille. We love her and thank her for the beautiful example she is and was. Also thank you for helping me be a better person every day with your words. Love you.

Shanan said...

Steph - you never cease to amaze me! Because of your family's experience, I too live my life more pure so I can constantly have the presence of the Saviour and loved ones who have passed on in my life.

s g said...

What a great reminder. I love how positive you are Stephanie. Today my kids are testing me as well, like any mom, and I know I need to remember to change my view.

Thank you for wonderful thoughts. We continue to pray for comfort and love for your family. You probably aren't even aware of the endless number of lives you and Camille have touched.
-Sara G.

Jaime said...

Once again, you truly amaze me. I cry as I read your posts, and I always walk away uplifted! Thank you for sharing at such a difficult time in your life.

Raena Johnson said...

Hi - I'm a friend of Megan Daugherty's and just had to read your blog after she mentioned your strong faith. I don't know you but I wish I did. You have left an imprint on my life as a mother that I will never forget. You are my hero the next time I think I'm having a "hard" day. May I shed some tears on your behalf so that your load may be lightened.

Anonymous said...

I loved President Hinckley's memories of his childhood because his dad apparently handled his mistakes and discipline very well. Definitely NOT the way I was taught or gravitate toward myself ..... It's a good message to remember. And, the thing is, our kids will learn how to be forgiving, patient, nurturing, etc. by watching us so we owe it to them to teach them -- that's our job. Still much easier said than done and "life" gets in the way and we, like our children, need forgiveness for our imperfections, some more often than others (::cough cough:: ... me) ....

Thanks for sharing more tender memories with us. I'm glad we're here so that you can talk about all these things. I think it helps all of us in different and needed ways.

Leslie Wiley

Rhonda said...

How true. Oh how true.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I just want to say "thank you" for sharing such personal thoughts and feelings. I can't even begin to understand what you are going through and yet you are helping me be a better mother. You are an amazing family and Camille is very lucky to be a part of it.

Scrappy said...

I sometimes have to remind myself of this with my children, and my husband too... I try to see them as God sees them. :)
Thanks for the reminder. Your wonderful example helps me to be a better, more patient mommy.

ALS said...

HI Stephanie,

I just found out about all that is going on and my heart and prayers are with you and your family. You're doing great. Love, Amy Thiriot Sorensen

Jen said...

as I sat down to read blogs tonight relieved that my kids finally fell asleep and said a quick prayer for patience (again)....your blog was the first I opened and your post was the exact words I needed to read.

Thank you for making my day.
God Bless you and your family

S said...

Thank you for reminding me to go with the flow. Rachael has often stated the same as you. I need to remember this. Love and prayers

Anonymous said...

I cried for you again today. Like so many others. Like yourself, I'm sure. I'm so sorry, Stephanie. You must miss her so! I'm sorry for the quiet, lonely moments when it is still so very hard to be separated from her. I'm sorry for the deep ache in the pit of your soul that must feel like it will never go away. I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful. I wish it were the millenium NOW!!! Hang in there!

munyer jerk chicken said...

Thank you again and again, Stephanie! Your insights continue to make me reflect and make some necessary adjustments.

Val said...

I don't know you, but I love you! You are amazing and so inspiring. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Your family is in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I am absolutely inspired by the words you write. I am crying my eyes out right now. You are such an amazing person and your family is beautiful inside and out, I can tell. Thank you for your example. I have two little girls of my own and one on the way and I will cherish every moment I have with them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

annilee said...

You too have inspired my family more than you will ever know! We have all joined together as mom's, and truly do cherish our children a little more every day! Camille has blessed us all more than she will ever know! I too read your blog every day, because I am so inspired by you, and your strength! Your girls are beautiful! Thanks for making me a better mom!!! And may your angel in heaven watch over and bless your family every day!!

arah said...

i have to agree with you about this posting. We lost our daughter last November just after she was born. I now look at my little Brinley, who is 5, a different way. How less worried I am about things and how greatful I am for her and her curiosity and love she gives me back.
She had a hard time adjusting to things, but talks about her little sister, Olivia, like she's right here with us.
I am so sorry for your loss. You are doing an amazing job getting through this.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your experience and your personal thoughts. I am too inspired by your story and your little Camille. I have 3 children and I will definitely hug them a little more and try to appreciate their sweet spirits even when life gets a little crazy as it inevitably does.

Lori said...

Up to this post I have been suprisingly calm & able to control my emotions. All along I keep thinking, "What can I say to this woman?" I would continue reading feeling like there was something I was to learn from you & Camille like so many others who are reading this. The obvious of course, but then I finally came to it. Your words, "I struggled to keep myself calm & loving when they are acting up," hit me like a sledge hammer. I have my own two children & 2 foster children. My own daughter just got married last Saturday, my son is 9 & the foster children are 4 & 6. Their squabbling & thus contention has been getting to me. My daily prayer (or even unceasing prayer) is for the Lord to help me be calm & kind to my children. I've been embarrassed to admit this to anyone. How can I not be kind to my own children let alone the foster children who have been abused!? I think to myself, "You are the wrong person to be a foster parent. You have no patience!" I desparately needed to hear SOMEONE else say they have or had issues with this, but more importantly I now have a new perspective on it all. I have learned from you Steph, but I am so sorry that it had to be this way :( My thoughts & prayers will be with you & your amazing family.

Jensen Fam said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I think everyone needs reminders like this post to help us keep life in perspective. This post is just what I needed today and think it will in fact make a difference in my family's life from now on. Thank you.

Kelly said...

I just found your blog through a blog of a I have read through your story with Camille and am so sorry for your loss. How blessed we are with the hope of a life everlasting in Heaven with our Father. I wanted to tell you that this post is what I needed to hear today. I have four children, ages 12,6,3, and 2. Three girls and the youngest is a boy. Yesterday I was having such a hard time with them getting into everything...and I mean EVERYTHING. My husband and I were both at our wits END. Things getting lost, broken, messes made, etc. I had lost my temper many times. I needed this post to remind me that all that really does not matter. What matters is that they know I love them and that I do not want to cause fear in my home from the punishments I give (not severe, mind you, but anger can hurt). I will go forth with a sense of peace and with your advice behind me. Thank you and God Bless and keep you all.

Magnolia Designs said...

I know that our Heavenly Father sent me to your blog...there are no accidents. I was looking for "Our Scoop" blog for a recipe for breadsticks that I had seen there recently, I was making them for supper last night. I couldn't remember if it was blogspot or wordpress, I googled it and stumbled here. I have read about your loss in your precious Camille. I am deeply saddened for you, but so very encouraged and blessed by your abiility to triumph and move ahead to honor her. I have 2 of my own, 2 and 7 months and a step-daughter who lives with us half time...somedays, lots of days lately, I feel overwhelmed...unable to be objective and nice, when really, this is all I ever wanted God to give me, beautiful, healthy children. When I read this post, and some others in light of your mothering since Camille's was all the Heavenly insight and perspective I needed. Thank you for being able to candidly share your wisdom and insight with the rest of us. I will remember you and your sweet family when I start to lose my patience and my perspective.

Warmest Regards,
Kathy Murray

Anonymous said...

The picture of your two girls hugging Camille goodbye made me brake down into tears (before I was already crying) I am so terribly sorry or your loss and cannot imagine the pain you must feel
- Claire

Serena said...

Just stumbled across your blog now. I am in the process of wanting to change the name of mine and get it redone and start blogging again. We have 3 chldren and I totally relate to sometimes feeling like they are driving you crazy and our youngest - 2 1/2 seems to be the one that softens my heart as he doesn't really argue with the kids. We were with a friend last night and her kids and she couldn't believe the way my kids speak to me. It's almost like I am their slave. I want our home to be more loving - but not sure how. We are members too. Our daughter is 6 and our other son is 4 1/2 - they either love each other and are nice or are at odds with each other. Any advice? I feel like on this journey of motherhood that I haven't learnt as much as I would have liked to have about being a better mum.