In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"I want Jingle Bells!!!"

Every December 24th,
we attend a Christmas Eve service at our church.  
I love it.  
 I love the Christmas carols,
 and the lights,
and getting dressed up,
and seeing everyone in their black and red Christmas attire. 
 I love the "cold" weather and the atmosphere of love and kindness. 
 The "fruit of the spirit" are almost tangible.

In previous years, we used a babysitter,
or my parents watched the boys for the evening service. 
 But last year we decided to brave it,
 and take the whole family. 

John and I found seats near the back (for three reasons).  
I found a few programs for the boys to color,
dug through my purse and found a few pens,
and held my breath. 

It started out okay. 
The music was loud (hooray!).
The singing was loud (yay!).
We breathed a little sigh of relief
and sang along to a boisterous "Joy To The World!" 
But then came "Oh Come All Ye Faithful".... 
a slower moving, more emotionally-focused song. 
 Not exactly Andrew's cup of tea. 

That is where the trouble began.  

Andrew did not like "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" 
and he quickly made his displeasure known. 
He started yelling out requests:
"Jingle Bells!!!  Jingle Bells!!!
Jingle Bells!!! Jingle Bells!!!"
during the softly sung,
 "Venite Adoremus, Venite Adoremus, Dominum."  

 We tried denial for a few more verses;
we tried shushing;
we even tried muffling,
but to no avail. 
 He just kept getting louder,
and louder, 
"I want JINGLE BELLS!!!"

So I took him outside.

There, in my brand new Christmas outfit,
I followed him all over the church grounds
as he climbed and jumped off every cement structure in his view.  
I found a parent of another ejected two-year-old.
We talked
while we waited for our "lucky" spouses to emerge from the service. 

It was one of those times in life
when you don't realize how sweet it is until the moment is gone. 
It was just Andrew and me
(which was, at the time, a rare one-on-one opportunity).  
But I don't remember appreciating it.  
I remember longing to go back into the church and sing, and sit. 
I remember resenting that I had been the parent nominated to leave the service,
and griping in my mind about having to follow an active two-year-old
around the church parking lot. 
"Don't I do enough of this every day?"
 I grumbled to myself.

I wish it were possible to always enjoy every moment.
To treat each day with awe and wonder.
To appreciate the gifts I have.
And always find the joy.

I didn't see it as a sweet time for Mama and Andrew.
I missed it.

 I keep envisioning this December 24th. 
If all goes well this week, 
it will be Andrew's first time back to church since the tumor was discovered.
I can't wait to sit in the pew with him
and see things through his eyes.
I can't wait
to see what he does.
If he yells out "Jingle Bells!!" 
I might raise him above my head
and join him
and laugh
and cry.

Or we might leave again.
And this time,
I will enjoy the moment
in the chilled air,
adoring him
as he grabs my hand
and climbs cement blocks
and races through the prayer garden,
happy and playful.

Lucky me.


  1. This is such a sweet post Julie. :)
    Griffin just did this to me at Madison's school concert. When the crowd was hushed and they turned the lights down Griffin shouted, "No! Wake up!" and then he kept shouting "ABCs!" cause he wanted them to sing the alphabet song. I'm glad to hear (I think) that things are going well. I really hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. XO

  2. TRUE!!! LUCKY YOU :))))

    I hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas Julie.

  3. Oh how things have changed so much from last year, for me and for you. The things that I wish I would have held onto more and the things I wish I would have let go sooner maybe one of my biggest regrets of all. Live and Learn and take the time to cherish these moments!

    I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas!

  4. So sweet Julie! I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas!

    PS - your new header is AWESOME!!

  5. I would have reacted just as you did, Julie. I have so much trouble focusing on the present moment and so much trouble seeing the upside in an aggravating situation.

    If you and Andrew do end up singing out "Jingle Bells" in the middle of "O Holy Night" this Friday, please make sure someone gets a photo you can post. :)

  6. i love your new header! i think it's always a struggle to find the line between living in the moment, and planning and looking forward to the future.

  7. It's So. Very. Hard. to live in the moment, to enjoy everything (the good and the bad). Even when you want to, even when you know you should, it's just to easy to get frustrated or aggravated. Thanks for the poignant reminder to keep trying, Julie. I wish you, John, and the boys the best Christmas Ever service yet, even if you end up in the parking lot. =>

  8. This is so beautiful Julie! Thanks for the reminder to appreciate the here and now.

    Next time you find yourselves in the parking lot you should start up a rendition of "Jingle Bells" with all the other moms and kids. Then wait to see how many people inside come out to join you!

    I love your new header.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Beautiful! Loved every single word. Can't wait to hear about this Christmas service! :)

  10. It's so hard to remember to cherish those little moments. We never think anything bad will happen to us, to our family.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  11. So funny! I can just see it -- yelling out "jingle bells"... and yes, I would feel the same as you did, but those moments are precious to have, and maybe even more precious because they were not appreciated as much at first, and then you find the hidden unexpected joy in your memory. This year - if the same thing happens - I know you'll appreciate anything that happens. As would I. Merry Christmas!

  12. I was that parent for A.J. It is unfortunate that we are unable to attend the Christmas Eve service due to my work schedule, but I remember the year we did attend and A.J. was maybe two years old and she just wanted to play. I dislike the feelings I had in my heart at the time. I believe it is a Steven Curtis Chapman song where he says "Teach us to count the days, teach us to make the days count." We only get the day once, capture the moment. So many times I blow it. At times I never think that it is a privilege to be A. J.'s dad. It is. Thank you Julie. It is great knowing your family.

  13. Such a poignant post, Julie. Thank you!

  14. Love it. Thanks so much for the wonderful reminder to enjoy every moment!


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