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Thursday, February 25, 2010


I’ve always been a bleeding heart.  Sad stories can gut punch me so severely that I have a hard time coping for days.  Ever since I had my child, stories about children with terminal illnesses or children who suffer abuse at the hands of their parents and/or friends/family have really struck a chord with me.  Don’t get me wrong, I always hurt for these children before I had Anna, but having my own child has taken this to a whole new level for me.  I often avoid reading sad stories now because I know they will affect me greatly, sometimes to the point of sobbing and feeling physically ill.

Each time I read or hear about something sad, my first response is to go pick up my child and hug her.  This usually results in a major side-eye from her, and I’m sure if she could talk in full sentences, she would say, “What the heck, mom?  Get away from me!”  It doesn’t matter, though, I want to take the time to let her know how loved she is and how important she is to me, and that I will do everything within my power to make sure she has a wonderful life.

So, when I read stories like the one I'm about to share with you, I spend an extra amount of time with my child. Like last night, for example. After reading about Layla Grace, I went into Anna's room where she was asleep, picked her up from her crib and rocked her in the chair.  Of course she woke up within a minute and then wanted to play like a wild child, but I didn’t regret it for one second.  For those few hours she was awake, I was able to show her how much I love her, and I was able to spend more precious time with my child who is growing at rapid rates right now. 

I think back to the times when I get frustrated when Anna  spills milk dots on the floor I just steam mopped or drops sticky pancakes off of her high chair tray.  I think back to the times where I just want to sleep for 10 more minutes or lay down for a nap – JUST A 30 MINUTE NAP.  I think back to the times where I want to just take off on a whim and go to exotic locations like Graceland.  I think about all of the moments of frustration I’ve had with all of the above and want to slap myself for ever feeling this way.  Sometimes you need a good dose of perspective to slap you back into reality and make you grateful for the many blessings you have in life. 

That hot new car or beautiful house on the water – none of that matters in life.  Being late on a bill or not having enough money to buy a candy bar at the store – who cares?  When you read stories of people whose lives have been flipped upside down by a diagnosis that is too reprehensible to imagine, none of that matters.  None of it.  All that matters in life is life.  The lives of your children.  The lives of your family and friends.  Strip away everything else, and that’s what you’re left with.  Life.  That’s the important stuff.  The stuff that makes the world go ‘round.  Let this be your focus.  No matter what you’re going through, no matter how many hard times you’re dealing with, if you have your health, you’re wealthy.  If your children are healthy, you’re wealthy. 

I dedicate this post to every mom and dad out there. Please go home today and hug and kiss your child. Tell them how special they are to you and how nothing else matters as long as they are happy. This is the good stuff, folks, don’t ever forget it.

I further dedicate this post to Layla Grace and her wonderful family. I pray that God gives them strength through this and the love and support of the thousands of people who have been touched by their story. If you want to read more, please go to Layla’s website or follow this family on Twitter.  

4383312667_e77c356acc Photo of Layla from her public Flickr account.  I claim no ownership of this image.


Aly said...

oh how sad :( heartbreaking.

Molly said...

This story killed me last night. I just cannot fathom the pain of losing a child. I, too, held my son a bit longer and closer :(

God bless Layla and her family.

Emily said...

Oh Natalie. My heart is breaking for this beautiful with you. Thank you for posting this so more people are aware of poor Layla Grace and her family. It really puts life into perspective. Love you!

OhioFamOf4 said...

I just read about Layla Grace last night after a friend posted the link on Facebook and it made me feel the exact same way. I was physically ill over the times I've sent my kids back to their rooms so I could sleep just a few minutes more, or yelled at them for something that is not important in the big scheme of things. I just couldn't read anymore after the part about her sisters telling her goodbye, maybe for the last time. This poor family has really been on my heart since yesterday.

Jenn Maron said...

I just wanted you to know that I found your blog from your "guest blogger" spot on The Foster Family's blog. I started reading your blog today and I'm hooked. You are the real deal and talk about the things that I think about often. I have 18 month old twins that I just woke up from their gloriously long 2 hour nap so that I could hug them and tell them how much I love them.

So thank you.

Stephanie J. said...

Why oh why did I click on that link and read her story. Now I have mascara running down my face and Allie's asking me why I am sad. Hugs indeed.

{katrina} said...

Great post Natalie! She is a precious girl and it's heart-wrenching. I stumbled upon her story a while back and have been following ever since.

Another great story is the one of Madeline Spohr. Although she left this world on 4.7.09, she's still making a huge impact!

Maggie Dickinson said...

I have been following this family's blog as well. I cannot imagine what they are going through. It just hurts my heart to read stories like this and know that it could be my son who is the same age.

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