Sunday, April 21, 2013

Angels in Heaven

My cousin posted this picture of her and her mom on her facebook wall tonight.  It brought a tear to my eye and I wanted to share it.  This is my Aunt Amanda.  Isn't she lovely?  She's holding her daughter, Tenney (who reminds me a lot of my sister Erin in this picture). 

The honest truth is that I've been thinking about my Aunt Amanda for almost the entire last year.  (I've been meaning to write my thoughts down, but haven't until now.)  She died when she was 28 from a brain tumor, and she had 3 little kids.  So this entire year that I've been 28, with 3 little kids, I have contemplated what that means.

Having 3 little kids is so hard.  Somedays I think I've completely lost all sense of who I am because I'm so focused on the kids.  It might sound dramatic, but I've had to redefine myself in ways that helps me cope with my "new life", and yet doesn't erase the talents and parts of me that have made me who I've always been.

Having 3 little kids is also so amazingly beautiful, celestial, and sweet.  When I'm at the end of my rope and am so exhausted that I think I don't know how I'm supposed to keep going on with all the responsibilities of being a mom, they'll do something to make me laugh or say something only an angel child could say and it's like magic that makes me forget how hard I thought everything was.  Then there's the endless imaginary games and hilarious ideas they come up with that keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what awesome memory we're going to make next.

After we had our 3rd baby, we bought a mini-van.  The reality of that situation hit me like a ton of bricks--just a few short years ago, I was looking up to friends and family who were moms with 3 kids.   I remember driving around in shock for days thinking, "Oh my gosh. I am a mom with a mini-van."  I felt so old!

But then I'd think about Aunt Amanda and her 3 darling, kids.  All of a sudden, at this amazing cross-roads sort of moment in her life, everything was cut short, and that's when you realize that 28 is JUST the beginning.  There's so much life ahead of us, so much to miss.  Even when it's chaotic and exhausting and hard, we can't ever wish these moments away.  How much would she have paid if she could have bought just another day with her husband & kids?  There's no price for the blessing of having a family and being able to be here to see them grow.

What's interesting is that even though I have never met her in person, I have felt close to my Aunt Amanda and love her (especially because of the way my dad talks about her, the stories of others, and the pictures Grandma took).  There have been moments in my life that I felt like she was watching over me and helping me from the other side.  Because of those impressions, I really do believe that there is life after death, and that angels are watching over us.  Aunt Amanda has been one of those angels for the Tenney-11 family, and we all love her and the lessons she's taught us.  And boy do we love all 3 of her awesome kids, Tenney, Gordy, & Garrett, who pay tribute to her name by the good lives they live.

I hope to posess all the qualities my dad has told me about my Aunt Amanda.  She was beautiful person inside and out, she was fun, she was bright, and she walked in the light of the Lord.  I also hope to never take for granted these beautiful days with my husband and kids, because this moment in time is everything I live for.