This is a phrase I have repeated to myself many times during this pandemic. Life upended when news of the virus broke out but most especially in the travel industry where I built my career. Business travel came to a stand still. This wasn’t the first time. Change happens in travel and when it does this is what we do. Breathe in, breathe out, and breathe through, and believe with every fiber of our being that challenges do not last forever. We can use this time to strengthen and empower ourselves to endure our hurdles. We will adapt to the new way, whatever that is, and come out the other side more resilient than ever. Our ability to progress and move through difficulty is what our industry does best.
Breathe and Believe.
These words had new meaning for me as my sister, Deedy Breaux, fought Covid-19 pneumonia in the Clearlake Methodist ICU. I had to tell my self. Have faith! DO NOT GIVE UP! The longest night of my 2020 was not in March when travel went quiet. It was the cold night of November 19th as I awaited news of my sister’s fate. I knew it was very dire; a deadly virus, a caring nurse, and a DNR directive. This hero who dedicated herself to every child she cared for in one of the largest children’s hospitals in the state of Texas lay fighting all alone. It hit me in the gut. It forced me to my knees. I knew. I just knew she could be on her last breath. I prayed she’d wore enough PPE to reduce the viral load at exposure. I hoped the experimental treatments responded in her blood. The last words I heard from her by text said “I can’t even get enough air to cough. I love you so much. Don’t stop praying for me.”
Breathe and Believe.
It’s all we have. It’s all we need.
My sister survived when others have not. Her healing a Godsend we all needed. A happy ending we had to know was possible. The travel industry will survive as well. As we pass through these days into the next part of history. Let us all remember to have faith. Walk in whatever spiritual peace you are in. Take care of your health. Find joy in all you do. Laugh every day. But most of all…
Breathe and Believe.
Recovery is here! Get your vaccine as soon as you can. Share the hope the vaccine brings to our loved ones and to all those who love to travel.
My sister’s story was published by the Texas Children’s Hospital blog. It is an incredible story of a modern-day miracle.
Friday, August 23, 2013 – I turn 42 years old. I have the day off work. It is a FRIDAY! And on top of all that, I am invited to my daughter’s ultrasound with her and her boyfriend. In my life of beautiful things to count, it is one of the best birthday presents I could ask for. And I get to see her. There on the screen, all squishy cheeks with her head down and ready for GO time.
But the little booger is just not ready. Sydney has zero signs of labor. And that is OK by me. I want her here safe, and when it is time. It doesn’t have to be on MY birthday (although that would be so cool and totally trump my last gift).
But no. It’s not time. Or is it?
The ultrasound tech seems to think so. The fluid in Sydney’s amniotic sac has dropped significantly. So much so, she thinks the Doctor might go ahead and induce her labor before the baby runs out of juice….TODAY. On my Birthday! SHUT UP!
And that is exactly what they do. Admit her to the hospital, put her in a delivery bed, and give her the medicine to start the contractions.
I’m in disbelief. There is NO way this is happening…ON MY BIRTHDAY.
Let me tell ya, I am giddy! Ridiculously! So! THIS is the best birthday present EVER!
The night wears on and the clock hand is nearing midnight. I tell my sweet grand girl it is okay if she is born the next day. No matter what, she is still the best birthday ever. And in my heart, I know this little one wants her own special day and that brings me so much joy.
I post a poll on Facebook to predict the time of birth. Hey, if it’s gonna be a long all-niter then at least I can do something to pass the time. So many of my sweet friends choose before midnight. HA. My prediction? 5:30am
Midnight passes and my birthday ends, but the labor does not and the night goes on. Sydney is given less than a 1/2 teaspoon of pitocin. The previous medicine given at Noon the day before is still working and she doesn’t need the pitocin. This is good. This is more natural (even though it is not). If anyone has been induced before (raising my hand) with pitocin. That stuff is a beast. ::shudder::
As we go into the wee hours of the early morning August 24th. The labor is steady, but not too strong. Sydney tries to stay comfortable. My mind drifts, and my eyes start to close.
Quiet hours go by until, finally, the nurse begins moving the bed and moving extra people out of the room. Baby is ready. Sydney is ready. And it is time to begin the push phase. Brandon and Sydney allow me to stay as the one additional person that can be in the room (shhhhhtup….best day after my birthday present ever). Not only do I get to see my grand child be born into this world, I also have my camera (of course). Having given birth, I know the moment is fast and fuzzy. Emotions are high, moms are tired. I want them to have photographs to cherish. To re-live that moment again and again. Birth Photography is becoming more popular (although it’s expensive). I studied the ins and outs online. What lenses to use….What settings…..Where to stand. I just prayed I would get it right.
5:30AM – It’s GO time for baby. Let the pushing begin.
I am a little amazed my time prediction is thissss close.
Sydney had an epidural earlier for the pain. She is given oxygen for the health of both of them. It is so hard to push when you are numb, but she does. It takes a lot of strength and resilience. She gives all she has every contraction. Brandon is at her side coaching her all the way through. It is exhausting. Exhausting to watch. Exhausting to wait. My stomach is in knots because it is sooo hard watching your child struggle and strain. A friend did warn me that I would be torn up by this and I am.
The baby’s head is RIGHT there. The only thing holding her back is her Daddy’s ears (HA! Kidding! But really funny when the doctor actually said that).
At 608am, Averey Elizabeth enters our lives with the most beautiful cry. She sounds just like her Mama and looks just like her Daddy. My heart springs from my chest. So amazing. So beautiful.
Averey’s first moment of life.
Getting Dad to cut the cord of his new baby girl.
Brandon cuts the cord of his baby girl.
She is beautiful.
And a little upset with all of us…haha.
Daddy and his baby girl.
Averey on the scale. She is only 5lbs 4oz and 18inches long. So tiny!
Dad holds his baby for the first time.
Mom holds baby skin to skin. A precious new family.
I am really glad the camera is in my hand and in front of my face. I am pretty sure it is keeping me grounded. I think I would be a blubbering puddle if I didn’t have a “job” to do.
I follow baby while Brandon pushes her crib to her first bath and we join what I call the Grandpa Brigade – Great Grandpawpaw, Grandpaw, and Poppy (Brandon’s Grandpa, Dad, and my husband Jason). It is completely adorable to watch all these big boys – who waited all day and night at the hospital – melt into a puddle over their tiny new baby girl. Did you see that? She already has them wrapped around her bitty finger. Just. Like. That.
I melt too. My eyes are googly and misty and OHMYGOSH we have a new baby in the family. Then, I realize I should go check on my baby! My little girl who just gave birth. Ooops my bad!.
I go to Sydney and stay with her while they get her clean and move her to the mom and baby room. The new room is exactly like the delivery room except the bed does not have a piece that comes off at the bottom and it is on the other side of the hall. Although it is not different, it is different. There is something in the air on that side. See, this is the place where babies cry and moms listen. They are held, fed, and loved. But most of all, they get to learn about their new parents, grandparents, family, and friends.
One second we are unpacking in the new room, the next second, they bring in a freshly clean bundle of joy. I swear… I forget to breathe.
She is so incredibly beautiful. I love every inch of her. And what they say is true. It is an incredible kind of love when you hold your grandchild for the first time. One that can not be described in words or pictures.
Me (Grammy), my daughter Sydney, and Miss Averey Elizabeth.
Poppy Jason holds Averey. Gosh doesn’t she look tiny?
Poppy and ANOTHER girl to spoil.
Mom, Dad, and Baby make three.
Auntie Bridget holds Averey. She is a little pro at holding her. I heard she has been practicing for months.
Poppy Jason, Auntie Bridget, and Auntie Molly with Averey. This is the only photo we have of Molly holding her.
And THIS. This little package, wrapped all in pink and tied with a hat bow, is why I had the most crazy, beautiful birthday EVER.
How could I not?
“A Grandmother’s Prayer”
Oh Lord, I do not ask for much,
Eternal beauty, or youth, or such.
Just give me a little hand to hold,
And I’ll forget that I’m growing old.
I do not ask for cloudless skies,
A life that’s free from tears and sighs.
Just give me a little face to kiss,
And anxious moments will turn to bliss.
For what is there, really, that means so much
As little hands that reach and touch,
As little eyes that search and see
Only the best in fragile me?
So let me grow more loving and wise
By looking at life through their wide eyes.
For through these little ones, you have given
This grateful grandmother a glimpse of Heaven.
Author: Barbara Burrows
When someone rejoices with you, because your joy can’t be contained…
From all ends of the spectrum. Blessings are no joke. They sneak up on you and they make you realize how grateful you really are. Truly grateful for all the big and small things life throws your way.
When my very young (but grown) daughter told me she might be pregnant about two months ago…
…I was not angry, upset, or sad for her.
What I felt……..was joy.
I KNOW. Nothing is an accident. People make mistakes, but God doesn’t.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. -Psalms 139:13-16
News to share….
Countdown to parenthood a little over FOUR months. Get ready kids. 🙂
And here they are…two months after she told me.
Sydney’s belly is really growing fast at this point. We didn’t want to announce it all too soon. Of course, we told family right away, but not the general public/social media avenues.
Til now that is…
Which is why I can share my unexpected blessing with all of you. I am going to be a GRAMMA with a grandchild! OMG!
And honestly? I can’t wait.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
It is just hard to believe my BABY is having a BABY. It took me several weeks to really process that. I am not ready for her to be all grown up and a mommy *cry!*.
But she is going to be…..no matter if I am ready or not.
We are doing weekly photos throughout her pregnancy. This one will be all hooked together like a movie watching her belly grow. I found that on Pinterest, because Pinterest is awesome like that.
Of course, I have BIG photo plans for the baby when he/she gets here. No, we don’t know what it is yet. And yes, we will find out. Apparently gender reveal parties are all the rage these days. Not to mention, Sydney and I went to Buy Buy Baby a few weeks ago, it was our first outing for baby and we had to buy something. As in – yes this is real and we are buying a baby thing – but there were very few non-gender things. We settled for a long-sleeve white onsie. Awh.
We told the little girls tonight. I had no idea how to do it. They are six and eight years old. Smart as little whips, but I think I will leave the birds and the bees talk to their mom. Heh.
I showed them a photo of Sydney at week 18 (above) and then I said, “Do you notice anything?” After a minute or two, one of them said, “Welllllll, her belly looks bigger.” I breathed a sigh of relief and then displayed on my phone the sonogram photo next to Sydney’s belly.
This was taken week 16 and the sonogram photo is at about 8 weeks.
I said, “Do you know what THAT is?”
Surprisingly the six-year old answered. “A BABY!?!”
Hands clapped over mouths in surprise, as they looked at each all wide-eyed. Then Bridget questioned aloud, “Is she married?” It made me smile because that is such a six-year old thing to say. So sweet and innocent, and no, they are not married yet and may not be for a few more years (I hope). I want Sydney to finish college and both of them to have jobs and a home, etc…etc.
Then I told them, “You two are gonna be AUNTS!” Except I pronounced it the North East way Aunt, not Ant like we say here. They have Aunts, we have Ants. I think Bridget declared she didn’t want to be an Aunt. Molly giggled some more, and proclaimed she would be a fourth grade Aunt standing up tall and holding her chest out. I think she will make a very fine Aunt.
But when I told them their Dad was going to be a GRANDPA???
It got REAL.
And they laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Molly had TEARS streaming down her face, because apparently, Daddy being a Grandpa is flippin’ hilarious.
I think we are all still smiling. I hope you are too.
I can’t say it is the first time the Dallas/Fort Worth area experienced snow on Christmas, because guess what? A few years ago, snow gently tumbled into Cowtown just in time for the big day. It made Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning so beautiful……I was moved to write a poem about my Christmas Dream it inspired.
That year marked my very first white Christmas that I can remember since moving to Texas – twenty, or so years ago. You might say….I have been deprived. And perhaps, that is why Old Man Winter granted me another – a mere three years later. And this time, I have my camera with me. And honestly, I am perfectly content to watch the kids stomp in, and out of the house. Eyes bright, and cheeks red as they warm their hands in front of the portable heater only to beg, and plead, to return outside – five minutes later.
I look through the window at the falling snowflakes – tumbling, swirling, and drifting. Mom, husbands, and sister-in-laws chatter about life while glancing out the windows in time to see a child’s back dash from a flying snowball. Shrieks and giggles ensue.
I am heavy, and stuffed from turkey, ham, and the best sweet potato casserole in the whole universe. I enjoy this relaxed view, observing, rather than partaking in any fun outside with no coat or gloves. Did I mention it wasn’t snowing or super cold when we left for Grandma’s house?
As I was saying…toasty and happy, I have no problem keeping my feet dry inside the house while waiting to dive into the wondrous desserts of CHOCOLATE PIE (my fave!), and many other goods – iced sugar cookies from scratch, cheesecake, pumpkin pie.
Utterly and totally satisfied……..until I saw her……
And once I saw her, I couldn’t NOT see her.
With her bowl of snow, and her cherub cheeks. She practically begged me to come take her photo.
I grabbed a plastic bag, made a hole for my lens, and out I went. No coat. No gloves.
And it was wonderful.
The more I looked. The more I saw.
The more I saw. The more I had to take.
There was something about them…….all covered in snow.
Reverent in their crystal white setting.
I venture to all parts of the yard – front, back, and side – looking at every thing I can find transformed by the wintry atmosphere.
I guess I got carried away.
But having wet feet and cold fingers is absolutely worth it.
In the end, my little wonderland adventure got me some great prints for my mom-in-law of her snow-white garden(Christmas present next year?).
And the chocolate pie for dessert? Tasted even better.
Hope you all had a very Merry and wonderful Christmas.