All it took was baby kittens…
Up til then, Indiana really had no interest in sitting up by herself, and we didn’t think she had the strength yet to hold herself up. But at my sister’s house one evening about two weeks ago, I took Indy in the bedroom to see Marcy’s new baby kitties. I sat her down next to me, and I guess she forgot that she didn’t know how… and just started sitting up all by herself. Not just for a couple seconds, but for a long long time. I just sat back amazed, called Joey in to see and started filming.
I think there must be something to that for all of us. Most of my career goals have come from not realizing that I couldn’t do something. From just being focused on something bigger than the work I was doing. And pretty soon, I was doing something that I knew there was no way I could ever do.
Since that first night, Indiana sits up by herself a lot (we put a pillow behind her, just in case she falls back). She’s discovered paper too. Yesterday, after checking the mail with Indy, Joey gave her an envelope to play with. And this is what came out of it. Indy would swap the envelope now and then with a toy, but for most part, the noisy paper was her favorite. Mine too.
Two weeks ago today, our little Indiana turned six months old. At about 6 am, when she woke up…Joey and I brought her into our bed, laid her between us and sang “half-a-birthday to you”. It was a precious moment.
The last six months of our lives has been filled full of moments that we never dreamed that we’d get to experience. And not just because we have a beautiful baby in the house to watch grow. But because, we’ve been really living. Because there’s been ups and downs and true joy and true pain… we’ve been able to really feel life.
In honor of Indy’s half-birthday, I put together some video clips of her that I have taken since she was born in February and put them to music. The song is one my friend Tim Johnson wrote before he passed away in 2012. His co-writer, Julie Durden, is singing. It’s written about her niece who is deaf, so it’s not exactly Indiana’s story. But in other way, it is.
Indiana is perfect…just the way God made her.
A couple weeks ago, we took a family trip to Alaska. We were actually part of a music cruise with some other wonderful country music artists and fans that were on the ship too. Although my wife and I are taking this year off from touring and playing shows, we were booked to perform on this cruise long before we knew a baby was coming or we made plans to take time off. So we all went and made a family vacation out of it. Me, Joey, Indy, Heidi, Hopie, Joey’s mama June, our niece Magen and the kids’ good friend Kenzie all boarded a flight on the 18th of July and got home the night of the 26th. We did perform a couple of songs on stage and during one of the songs “If I Needed You”, we brought little Indiana out and Joey sang to her. It was precious. The scenery was breathtaking and the whole trip was incredibly special for all of us.
I made this video for my blog a day or two after we got back, but my mother got sick and I never got the chance to post it. Then on the 30th she passed away and it just didn’t seem right to share something that was filled with so much joy in a time that my family was hurting and grieving the loss of someone we love so much.
Mom has been gone a dozen days now and I still am now sure what to write or say about it. I think, like some of my siblings, I’m still trying to fully process what has taken place. I do know that my mother loved to smile and laugh and that in the end she wanted us to celebrate her life and not mourn it. The day after we got home from the cruise, Mom had asked me to show her some pics or video from our trip to Alaska when I had them ready, so I had brought this over to her house to show her the morning she passed away, but of course, she never got to see it.
I sure hope they have internet in heaven.
It’s been over two weeks now since Joey’s surgery and she’s really doing great. She’s pretty much back to her normal self – doing what she loves to do…. homemaking, spending time in the garden and being a mommy.
Yesterday afternoon, we drove down to the river with some friends, family and all of our kids. It’s just a short ride through our neighbor’s back field and two cattle-gates to get there. The weather was beautiful and the water was perfect. It was so much fun watching the kids of all ages (us grownups included) splash and play together. We’ve lived here in our farmhouse next to Duck River for fifteen years, but can’t tell you when, if ever, we’ve spent time wading and swimming in it with friends. We’ve canoed down the river and we’ve fished it dozens of times or more, but never really spent an afternoon like this one. I’m not exactly sure who’s idea it was, but it was sure a good one. I think our little Indy loved it as much as Joey and I did. Our neighbors Gabe and Mandy had some friends from church over, and Joey’s sister Julie and her kids were here visiting from Indiana, so it made for a wonderful memory that I didn’t want to forget. So I brought along an iPad and using the 8mm app, shot a few video clips to help us remember our day…
People have asked how Joey keeps smiling through all of this. Well, I think a better question is how can she/we not be filled with joy through all of this?
The truth is…”cancer” is such a little word compared to the word “love”.
I’m reminded of that every day a hundred times. It’s in Joey’s eyes and in mine when we hold our little one. She’s 4 months old now and a bundle of nothing but joy. It’s no wonder that…
…our days aren’t spent in tears, they’re spent in awe of this amazing chance to love and be loved by this little person
…our nights aren’t spent in fear, they’re spent listening for a laugh, or a coo, or a cry from the cradle, just so we can see her again and hold her in our arms
….our lives aren’t spent in worry, they’re spent in wonder at the incredible blessing that we’ve been given to be right here. right now with her, our older girls and family, our friends and with you.