Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Kat

Dear Sweet Kat,

Happy Birthday baby girl.

You are six and a little piece of my heart is so sad that I cannot hardly stand it.  Six.  Six seems so big to me.  You asked me not to cry, and so I have done my very best to hide the tears that were inevitable .  It goes bad too fast.  One day you are asleep on my chest and the next you are tall and thin and breathtakingly beautiful with the intuition of a 30 year old woman and the soul of someone who has lived for 100 years.  This past year, your fifth year of life, has probably been one of our best.  Our easiest in years.  The three of you healthy, happy, living in a beautiful home that your daddy bought for us.  Josie growing bigger everyday and mama finally healthy enough to play chase or wrestle.  We started kindergarten at home. You and Presley with the same curriculum.  You are both smart.  Reading isn't fun yet, but the numbers and science you seem to enjoy.  You love music.  Right now Danielle Bradbury is your favorite.  But Taylor Swift still runs a close second. You love pink, you love crafts, you love barbies and ponies and anything that sparkles.  You love to shop, which is going to be fun and expensive for your dad one day. 

Your birthday was celebrated with those we love most in TN.  You had a few friends come to paint pottery with you and your sister.  And then we joined the Wilder clan for dinner along with Aunt Kasey, Uncle Brett, and Ms. Shannon at Chuy's (your favorite).  It was a great day.  You were fun, you were polite, you were grateful, you were Kat. 

At six you are many things.  You are funny and silly and rough and tough.  You like to play hard and you love to wrestle with daddy.  Your sister is your best friend. You two are inseparable.  Your hair is long and blond and your eyes are a deep blue that are set like the eyes of a baby doll.  You are beautiful.  You love to dance and sing and are doing both right now at Roots Academy.  You are smart, you are stubborn, you have a double dose of temper and you use every ounce of it.  You are intuitive and very aware for your age.  In many ways that is good, in some ways I think it keeps you from enjoying being a kid.  Daddy says it is a good thing because Presley and I would be in big trouble without you.  He is right.  You are so much help to me.  And truthfully I am tough on you.  I am hoping one day you will thank me for it rather than resent me.  I do know for a fact that you know that I am always doing my very best. 

Kathryne Elaine, you are a gift to us.  An absolute beautiful gift. I am blown away that I get to be your mommy.  I have no idea what you will be when you grow up, but I am certain it will be something incredible.  I love you baby girl, daddy loves you, sissy loves you, Josie loves you and Jesus loves you!!!


Happy Birthday Doc.

Just over eight years ago I made a huge decision that changed the entire course of my life.  I decided NOT to get married.  Yep, you read it correct. I was engaged to a man that I, for years, thought was the one I was supposed to be with and I called it off.  Handed back the ring, walked out of his condo and never looked back.  It was the single best decision that I ever made.  It was brave and crazy and hard and brilliant.  Less than 6 months later I married Doc. 

Today is his birthday. And for some reason no matter how I try to make it special, it always seems to fall apart and just be another day for him.  One year I planned to celebrate with Kat and Presley and instead he came home from being out of town and I was so very sick,  Four days later we lost Bennett.  The year that followed that is all we were able to think about so it just went right by.  That was 2010 and 2011.  Honestly 2012 escapes me but 2013 we had brought the tiny one home only 6 days before. I cooked, the girls decorated, Josie was home on oxygen. we gave it our best shot but the man worked until after 7 and to say he wasn't in the mood to celebrate would be an understatement.  That did not stop him from eating banana pudding ;).  This year I planned for some of his favorites to be in town and made reservations for dinner. But as the week unfolded we seemed to get one phone call after another and the day has resulted in him going to Atlanta this afternoon.  In short, we will not even see him until tomorrow.  It is not for lack of trying mind you, but the man's birthday always seems to get away without him really celebrating.  Unfortunate to say the least as in my opinion he should and deserves to be celebrated.  After all this is a man who gives everything he has to people all over the state and beyond daily doing his best to bring them hope and healing.  He is an amazing doctor and if you were to ask any of his patients they would agree. 

None of this bothers him.  He doesn't care. To him it is just another day.  But to ME it is THE most important day of my life.  Without this day in 1975 I would not have the sassy, beautiful, stubborn, bossy, brilliant 6 year old that keeps me sane.  Without this day I would not have the head full of blond curls that wakes up next to me everyday asking me what kind of muffins I plan to make and telling me what she remembers from school the day before. Without this day I would not have given birth to my Bennett that I had dreamt of and wanted since I was old enough to want to be a mama.  Without this day there would be no tiny miracle that changed the hearts and lives of people all over the country.  There would be no undeniable proof of the power of prayer in my home.  There would be no Josie Hope.  Without this day I have no idea who I would be or where I would be.  But I know for certain that I would not be Melanie Hall, and I was born to be the mama of these four babies and the wife of the man with the world's best set of dimples and an unusual obsession with ice cream sandwiches. 

So Happy Birthday to the man that has made all of my dreams come true. Though it seems like we have spent the last eight years just trying to survive, I look forward to living the next 60 celebrating the fact that we DID survive ;))  I love you.  I appreciate you. I am proud to be your wife.  Together we have survived more than I even knew was possible and I know that with you by my side we will conquer anything this world brings us!! 

See you soon Doc.
Your Girl 
P.S. George Strait ;)))) 

Friday, February 14, 2014

That's Who I Think of on Valentine's Day

It is Valentines Day.  And though I have an AMAZING trip to Cali to write about, I do not have the pictures or slide show ready so I skipped to write about Valentines Day.  In honor of what my husband thinks is the single most ridiculous "made up holiday" of the year, I decided I would take a moment to tell you what I think.  Especially since what he thinks makes for a short and not so inspiring blog. 

I am going to start by jumping on board with Doc. Yes, it is ridiculous.  Yes, it is commercial.  Yes, it is an excuse to spend money on something that will eventually get thrown away.  Now that that is out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. To me Valentine's Day isn't about chocolate and teddy bears. Valentine's Day is about the men that have influenced me and loved me for the better part of my life. Men like my daddy. My brother.  My Uncle G.  My brother in law.  My husband.  These my friends are the most important, wonderfully inspiring men in my life.  I'll start with my daddy.

My daddy has been married to my mama for over 40 years.  And if I am being honest he really isn't very good at most holidays and usually needs a bit of help.  That being said my daddy is the single most humble, kind, generous man I have ever met.  And he loves my mama 100% all of the time through the good, through the bad and yes, through the ugly.  And good gracious have we seen some ugly!! He is funny, he has a wit that cannot be matched and he loves with his whole being and I love him with mine.  That's my dad.  That's who I think of on Valentines Day.

My brother, Mike is 36 and single and lonely if I am being honest.  And years ago we were both single together, but never lonely.  He was my Valentine.  He took me out, he spoiled me, he even brought  me flowers a few times.  He was and is one of my very best friends.  He loves with his whole heart, which he wears on his sleeve.  And one day, he is going to make a killer husband because he had my daddy as an example and three women raised him. ;) I wish I was there today to make him feel as special as he is to me! That's my brother.  That's who I think of on Valentines Day.

Unless you have followed my blog for sometime, you probably do not know who my Uncle G is.  So real quick, he is married to my daddy's sister and he has had a hand in raising me, two hands if you count my twenties.  I don't think he realizes what an impact he has had.  But he is the example of the husband that you all dream about single ladies.  My Aunt Patty, she is the most spoiled woman I have ever met.  My Uncle G is selfless.  He is kind and gentle and if you are lucky enough to be someone that he loves, he spoils you every chance he gets.  Be very jealous of Aunt Patty.  My Uncle G helped shape who I wanted to find as a husband for myself one day and honestly I found one not so far from the example he set.  My Uncle G. That's who I think of on Valentine's Day. 

My brother in law.  Well I have two so let's start with the one I have had the longest.  Robby and my sister have been married since we were kids.  Seriously, 18 years this year.  Now in all fairness Robby, like dad, not so good at holidays. BUT thankfully he married a woman who doesn't care.  What Robby is, is much more than what he isn't.  He works hard, he loves his family, he loves Jesus and he is as loyal and faithful a husband as you will find.  He loves my sister unconditionally and I have no doubt they will be married for their whole lives. Not many people do that anymore do they? Robby. That's who I think of on Valentine's Day.

Onto brother in law number two.  Brett.  Brett is a Hall.  So he remembers holidays and he is good at them.  It is just in these boys.  But that is not why Brett is on my list.  Brett loves me and my girls like we are his. He is caring and nurturing and has a giant heart. One day, he will make a an amazing husband and father.  But my girls and I will always consider a piece of him ours.  He loves us full blast, all of the time, with every ounce of his heart.  Brett. That's who I think of on Valentine's Day. 

And then there is Doc.  Who, by the grace of God, picked me to marry rather quickly which I am sure gave me an advantage. ;)  I write about Doc quite a bit so most of you already know that he spoils me rotten.   Yes I went to Cali, yes he met me at the airport with yet another bouquet of tulips, yes he bought all of my clothes for my trip without me present.  I know, it is gross.  But that is not all you should know about Doc.  Doc is kind.  He has conversations with people in a way that makes them feel special. He has a way of making people feel better and if you have ever had one of his hugs, you know what I mean.  He is gentle.  He cares about people, which makes him a great doctor that is always working even when he is not there.   Doc is funny.  He has wit, he makes me laugh.  He sees the world in a very realistic way.  He thinks he is owed nothing.  He has zero sense of entitlement and almost always expects to work harder than he has too.  He is 100% committed to the four of us.  He will not stop until we have what we need and what we want and what he thinks we deserve, which is everything.  He is a good mix of the men I mentioned above.  Humble, kind, faithful, loving, nurturing and selfless.  I am beyond blessed that he is mine.  And though we put little emphasis on this "made up" holiday, he will always be my Valentine. Doc. That is who I think, dream and breathe on Valentine's Day and everyday. 

So even though this holiday is mostly about loving on the ladies, it always reminds me of the men I love most in the whole world. I am blessed to have each of them and pray that they know it. 
Happy Valentines Day Big, Mike, G, Robo, Brett and Doc.  I love you all bigger than the sky!!!

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Yesterday I turned 39.  And though I thought that it would be a tough day for me, it was completely normal. I barely even thought about my age as I hurried through the day cleaning house, wiping butts, and playing dance party.  I was prepared to go into a deep dark state of depression, anticipating the year ahead.  Knowing that in 364 short days I would be 40.  Ugh 40.  It sounds horrible today, right now.  It sounds middle aged.  Only a number, yes, but a milestone as well. One that I have dreaded for years.  But today, and yesterday and maybe even tomorrow, the dread is gone. 

I don't know if it is the fact that I actually survived my thirties despite the health problems, the stress, the loneliness, the heart ache, the grief.  Or if it is the fact that I SURVIVED my thirties!! More of a celebration if you will.  Either way, I survived and I am blessed and I don't give two shits about the fact that next year I will be forty.  It no longer matters to me.  Maybe it will on February 2, 2015.  But I doubt it. 

You see my thirties have been the best, longest, toughest, most agonizing years of my life.  We as a family have survived some of the most difficult things that families go through.  Distance, business, death, loss, sickness, you name it and Doc and I have done it over the last eight years.  The miracles that we have witnessed would blow your mind, probably the greatest one being that our marriage survived.  Second to the Tiny One of course.  And so 39, though it sounds old to those that are 30 or 25 or maybe even 38, is only a testimony to the mercy and love of God in my family.  I survived.  My heart survived.  My body did not fail though it came close a few times.  My family did not give up on me, though my time and energy seemed always to be focused elsewhere.  My friends, the ones that really loved me, they are still present though I have spent little time maintaining those relationships.  My kids were not lost in the chaos though they may have felt like they were at times.  My marriage did not end, though many would have walked away, to somewhere, anywhere but the house that seemed so full of loss and sadness and sickness and stress.  Miracles.  Mercy. Grace.  Those are what I celebrate on a day that marks yet another year of my life gone by. 

I have learned a lot in my thirties.  Some things that I already knew and were reinforced. Some that were lessons that came with the chaos.  Here are a few.  I learned that you can survive death, even in the form of a child.  I learned that you can will your body to do anything if you ask Jesus to help, even keep a baby alive for just a few more minutes.  I learned that if you love someone with your whole heart they will be right there when you wake up from the worst nightmare you have ever had.  I learned that forming relationships early in life and maintaining those during your "busy" years will be a huge blessing during the hard years.  I have learned that scary to you, is scary to your mom and dad no matter how old you are.  I have learned that some friendships are worth letting go so that you have the energy to hold onto the ones that count.  I have learned that people who have never met you can love you.  I have learned that faith is the foundation of ALL relationships and without it you will eventually fail.  I have learned that Jesus is the One and Only Healer and that the power of prayer will save a life.  I have learned that marrying the right person will be the single most important decision of your life other than the one to follow Jesus. 

In two days I leave for a trip to California where I will meet one of my very favorites for four days.  Many have said that I have earned such a break.  I disagree.  I believe that though I will enjoy every second of my time, my place and my heart are here with my girls and my husband who could use the same four days he has gifted me.  And though my body will relish in the rest, I have not earned it by being a faithful wife or a mother that loves her kids more than herself.  That is what is expected of me by my Maker, by the One that loved me enough to give my these babies and that man that provides for us.  All that to say that I cannot freaking WAIT to see Meg and enjoy myself. 

39 will be another year of my life spend doing exactly that is expected of me with all that He gives me.  I will enjoy it.  I will rest when He allows it and work when He expects it.  My wishes?  To rest more than I work.  To see my family more. To make some memories with these girls and to look forward to the rest of my life.

Happy Birthday to me!!