Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thoughts from Shots....the elusive line of exposure.

Thanks for the patience. I think one of my many New Year’s resolutions will to be write more frequently. Writing forces me to sit and trace a thought miles further than I ever would have. Often I am thankful for the destination to which I arrive- sometimes not. I have not attained the maturity to appreciate a jaunt that winds up with facing my own shortcomings. No matter the arrival point, always better for the frolic.

Hazel is smiling, cooing, and growing. Just last night she set a personal record for sleeptime. We have encouraged her that records are made to be broken. Needless to say. she is awesome.

Ginny is knee-deep in filling Christmas orders. She has surrounded herself with some great friends and co-workers who have allowed her to carry on the jewelry business with both hands on Hazel. Words cannot convey how fun it has been to see her actively mother again. She smiles a lot these days- even at 1am, 3am, and 5am.

We are heading to Lake Providence for Christmas with Ginny’s family. Therefore, I am taking bets on the number of times I turn down the opportunity to hunt. And with that one sentence, I offended an entire town. Should be a great time. By far, Hazel’s longest road trip. I’m sure there will be stories.

I continue to promise that this blog will include things that are a little more out of the box of what I have blogged about in the past. I intend to widen the scope of things I put on here by throwing out a thought, video or something I just thought was funny. This must be the goal because if I wait on a good thought, I am afraid this blog will quickly become annual.

With that said, more of the same.

Ginny, Hazel and I bundled up and ventured out to Hazel’s 2-month appointment yesterday. We approached this visit with great excitement as well as hesitation. On one hand, it was a normal 2-month appointment. That is amazing, and very exciting. On the other hand, we knew they were coming. Shots.

We had never done a round of shots. And we were fine with that. The experience of losing a child tends to push you one way or the other- middle ground now seems unattainable. Either we will be parents who worry about everything. Every fall. Every cough. Every germ. Every time we’re not around. And who could blame us? Or we will be parents who worry about very little. “Oh the flu? She’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

Honestly, I am not sure where we’ll land. But I hope it’s somewhere that acknowledges that we are not in control. If we were, he would be here.

For those of you who know me, be proud. I did not embarrass Ginny by threatening the nurse with a lawsuit or with death if she were to appear to screw anything up. This is actually not a joke. I have come so far.

And as three shots penetrated the legs of my baby girl, I saw it all unfold before me. The elusive line of parenting. A brief synopsis of all the inner-struggle that raising this little girl would be.

Because here is the truth about immunization shots. The Dr. is giving a small amount of something terrible to my daughter. The effects of polio are horrible. And there lies Hazel- introduced to a world with pain. If not fully understood yesterday, it will not take long for her to ascertain that although this world contains glimpses of beauty, it is not nice.

And the elusive line beckons. How will we parent Hazel? I know my default. I will gladly die in order to protect this girl. I want to keep any and all things far from her that would cause her the least bit of pain- emotional or physical. Yet, there I stand and allow another to cause pain and infuse my daughter with disease.

Because, what comes natural is not always best. Immunizing inflicts pain today to deter greater pain tomorrow. Introduction in small amounts allows the body to build up resistance.

In the same way, I want my daughter to rub shoulders with the world. I want her to taste the hurts, shortcomings, and pain of this world. I want her to know need. See need. Understand need. This is nice to type, but follow through will prove tough. I will be battling my default.

Where the line falls of that which I hope she is introduced to, and that which I hope she is never introduced to, is the elusive part. Many times it seems that the goal of parenting is total safety. This communicates many things- foremost that we are in control. Thus need becomes a foreign idea.

But this is a fallen world. Desperately in need. May my words and actions convey nothing less. I hope not to run or hideout or seek, at all costs, to avoid the pain. Instead, may I allow my daughter to see things as they are, even if that is terrible. And may the taste and pain of this world create in her an insatiable desire for something better.

I resolve to seek the line. It’s always easier to not wrestle with demarcation, and just keep it all out. But lack of immunization to the world produces those bewildered at life’s toughest lessons. And the pain of this world is coming. I cannot stop it. But I will be there at its introduction because it is I who allowed entry- in the smallest possible dosage that will achieve the objective.

So, I am thankful for theses thoughts that came from shots. If nothing else, it was these thoughts coming fast and furious that allowed me to not physically harm the nurse.

I welcome comments. And feel free to posts in the comments ways that you have seen this introduction done in effective ways or ineffective ways.


Seth Jones said...

why would you ever turn down the opportunity to hunt?

Scott Burns said...

Hey buddy... I never knew what it was like to love such a little baby until my brother and sister-in-law had their first child just this last wednesday!.. You guys have a Merry Christmas!.... You don't necessarily have to go hunting, but I would consider clay pigeons if I were you!

etrhodes said...

I loved to hear in your post about Ginny smiling so much these days. In the midst of all the sorrow there is still great joy! Thanks be to God!

JBW said...

Matt, go hunting it will be very good for you, its more fun than you think. I will hopefully miss that 2 month appointment for Mae. I wanted to really hurt the nurse when I saw Thomas get some shots several months back, maybe even a year ago and I hated every second of it and I still vividly remember it.

Cassie said...

I look so forward to yours and Ginny's posts. I too, am so happy to hear she is smiling so much now. I have a 2.5 month old and had to go through the shots a couple of weeks ago. Not much fun at all! I hope the two of you realize how many people you have captivated with your story. You guys are truly amazing to be able to share it with others in the way that you have. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

Mindy said...

You don't know me, but I have been reading your blog(s) for a while now. Thank you so much for the update! I'm so glad to hear that Hazel & Ginny are doing well. I really appreciated your post. Something important to think about as we parent.

Anonymous said...

It is just amazing the revelations that come through our journey as parents. What you said can also so coincide with how God views us as his children. Good insight.

Barbie @ Mamaology said...

Wise words! Parenting is like a pendulum, swinging to permissiveness and then to protection. It's very hard to keep it perfectly in the middle (which in itself is different for everyone), but as a parent I pray that the Lord guides me enough to keep my swing as little as possible. That He would keep me humble enough to see when I am too far one way or another.

Laurie in Ca. said...

So good to see you here Matt and I love your honesty in your post. As a grandma now, I can look back and evaluate my parenting skills, good and not so good. Parenting is painfully the most beautiful responsibility of us being vulnerable human beings. It is a delicate line; balancing raising them up and falling more in love with them day by day, and training them to be ready to leave and go out into the world, prepared. Many mistakes along the way but God is so gracious and loving and understands the heart of a mother and father. He is there to pick us up when we fall, just like you will be there when Hazel falls. And she will, but you will kiss her and make it better until she is older and needs bigger intervention. You will know what to do, because you will be growing up yourself as she grows up. You will do fine because the Lord will guide you. Being a grandma for me is my reward for raising my twin sons the best I could and my reward is watching their kids now. The hard part is over and I can just love on them as my sons struggle to be the kind of dad that you want to be too. You will be just fine. And to read that Ginny smiles so much just warms my heart. Hazel is blessed to have such wonderfully human parents. Sorry this is so long. I want to encourage you to enjoy this journey of raising Hazel, and the Lord will be with you every step of the way. Looking back in hindsight someday in the distant future, you will see this journey in full color. In the meantime just enjoy the experience. God is in control of it all.
Have the most wonderful Christmas, being surrounded by the ones you love. I look forward to reading about it when you post it.

Laurie in Ca.

Carey said...

I have been reading your blog for quite sometime now and have wanted to leave a comment. I live in Lake Providence (actually in Ginny's parents old house). My husband and I have a one month old and I made our appointment for our two month check up and shots today. Your post just touched me deep inside. Isn't it amazing how so many everyday instances have such spiritual signifcance. I wonder how many times I miss out on the Lord's lessons just because I'm not looking? Anyway, I have been grappling with this "line" that you are talking about and the best thing that I have found is to Pray! Pray! Pray! and not just your words and your heart. But God's. Pray his scripture over your daughter. Prayer is the one thing that allows me to face the enormity of parenting with any sense of confidence. Of course, not in myself but in the Spirit working through me.
PS I won't tell my husband that you don't hunt :)

AW said...

I have always said that God is teaching more through being a mom than any other venue He's ever used. It's painful, it's raw, it's beautiful, it's fun, it's awe-inspiring, it's exhausting. I wouldn't have it any other way!

So glad to hear that Ginny is smiling more these days. What a blessing to hear that.

You do realize we want more pictures, right? :-)

The Hull Munchkins said...

You are right, the pain of the world is coming to our sweet little children. As a parent that has been one of the most difficult things about this life; to watch my child suffer... and there is nothing I could do to stop it.

But then it has proven to me over and over again our need of a Savior. And although my daughter might never understand her need, she feels His presence more tangibly than I ever will. (Abby has special needs)

It's comforting to me knowing that we have a heavenly Father who feels "fatherly" towards us in every way. I never could have understood that until we had our first... now things will never be the same.

Thanks for sharing and updating. I think about your family as you experience the "normal" baby things, but missing your son all the while.

Unknown said...

I am a mom of 4, and have found that the best way to introduce the hurts in small doses is by being present during battle as much as possible. Fielding the flaming arrows as they come while allowing my children to witness the battle so that they can model what they see when I am not there to protect them seems to be what works so far. My oldest son (age 8) just came home from a sleepover where he was quizzed by one of the parents about the makeup and origins of our family (my children are all biracial, african-american and their father and I are white as the driven snow. ) We have preached the joys of adoption from day one while fielding often inappropriate questions from others. I was livid that the parent did not reserve her questions for ME, his mother, but proud that he handled them with grace and we were able to sit together and talk about it. But the mama elephant in me wanted to go have a throwdown, just so you know. sigh

Randi said...

A good book to read about immunization is by Dr. Stephanie Cave, pediatrician and mother of 4 or 5 children. She has only written one book on vaccines but I have found it to be very balanced on both sides. My parenting with the twins tends to be straight in the middle of the road. I let my kids spalsh in puddles, but I am informed before we do things.

Anonymous said...

That was great about the hunting. I thought you were going to say something about how much food you will be talking about or turning down. Corey has never hunted so we can just relax together by the fire. I long to sit down with you and Ginny and catch up. I also cannot wait to meet your little miracle. It warms my heart to know my sweet Ginny is smiling more. Thanks for the posts!

Chris, Kristin, and Emily said...

i have so missed these long and insightful posts. i all well know the business of your lives and that you take time to share with everyone says a lot of how you are in your writing.

i am thrilled to hear of Ginny's smiles and Hazel's record breakers! and your feelings are so familiar and yet i am reminded normal by those around me. i am thankful you have this opportunity to feel this way not matter how frustrating it may be at times.

hoping you all have a safe trip and a blessed christmas!

Team Honnoll said...

I also enjoy reading your posts. It is a terrible blessing, however, that you always remind me we are not in control. I'm ashamed at how much I try to do on my own, without asking for direction and failing to pray for God's will. With so much happening all at once (and so many many immunizations- sheesh!) it's hard for me to take a step back and let God (and doctors) do his work. You are a very insightful writer. Let me know if you figure out this fine line of parenting... I already know I tend to swing way too far on the protection side, all the while talking about how I want my little boy to experiance the hurts and let downs that teach us this broken world is not and can not be our home, the things that make us long for something better. You don't know me (although I think you may know my husband) but I see so much beauty in your family's life, and I am thankful for the honest words you share in your blog. Hazel is very very blessed to have parents whom are in love with their creator.

Katie said...

Merry Christmas Mooney family!

Elle2702 said...

Merry Christmas Mooneys! I know it will be special.

I recently had a brush with the past. A memeory that I did not want to relive, a date that was encroaching that I wanted to avoid. The date we lost our daughter. I loved that line, if we were in control, he would still be here. Man the truth...and it can be so hard to let go...of the control. So in the attempts to avoid the pain and concentrate on the future... I was delt a blow, I had a friend, not a close friend, but one the same loose her child at week 25. No explanation. No reasons, no chromosomal problems, no blood clots in placentas, no reason given. It snapped me back immedatiatley to somewhere I had thought I had mended, somewhere I thought I could tread on and be ok. I was wrong. I realized I cannot let that part of my life, my child, ever rest or die or be just a lost pregnancy, it is more that that. In the end, I laugh through the tears, knowing God speaks to us today if we are still enough to listen, or if we can see the humor. I tend to laugh a lot these days.

Love the writing, you both are very theraputic in your talents...I am glad that life has filled your life in which writing becomes more cumbersome...means that little girl is getting a good amount of attention.

Again Merry Christmas and many blessings.

The Teel Family

Laurie in Ca. said...

Merry Christmas Matt and Ginny and Hazel,

I hope your day is a wonderful one with family and love. I am sure Eliot is not far from anyones heart today and I am thinking of him too.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt, my 2 month old received her shots as well 2 weeks ago. And when she looked at me after the first shot and cried I about lost it. Then the second and then the third.......I wanted to sock the nurse. I so well know the feeling.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! What a great post! I peek in ocassionally ever since I saw your 99 balloon video. You guys are truly an inspiration to many and a great example of putting your faith in our Lord! May God continue to bless you and keep you in his care!

Here is a website you, or your readers, might find helpful with immunizations its Children of God for Life:

God bless!

Unknown said...

Very interesting connection of immunizations to the protection of a father. You can only do what you can I suppose! Much blessing this Christmas and New Year.

battlewounded said...

Great Post, and I too have been so touched by you and your precious family.

My advice as a parent of daughters, and a nurse/counselor of teen girls is this: When in doubt, err on the side of protection. You can always reveal what has been hidden, but you can't hide what has already been seen.


val_gal1129 said...

hi matt! Rhema's mom here...thanks so much for the updates. when i can make it online, i love stopping by to read the latest news.
i def relate to the wonders of parenting. Elle is 15 months, and it's just now i am not setting my alarm to check on her in the middle of the night. i remember praying when she was born for the Lord to keep her healthy until she is at least a year, because honestly, i wasn't sure if i could handle another little one getting sick. well, 13 months pass, and two different double ear infections. i just chuckled at the first dr. apt! every month joel and i get a little stronger--
we are in the early stages of discipline now--redirecting and loving her through her learning. even though there are days i worry for her: does she feel loved today, is she safe, etc. i am just so grateful to be on this journey with joel...and our Father!

The Spears said...

I just found your blog through another friend of mine. Although we don't share similar stories, we share two things in common. My husband and I lost our first born child a little boy this past August. We only had our Carter for an hour and 21 minutes. The other thing we share is the faith we have that the Lord is so good and in control. We have learned so many things during this past fall. One thing we know for sure... When we can't trace the Lord's hand, we know that we can trust His heart! We are continuing to trust His heart and praying for another blessing one day soon!
Brent and Jenna Spears

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt and Ginny,
Thank you so much for your steadfast love for your dear sweet son, Eliot. I've been able to share your story with others thereby spreading the gospel message of faith in Christ even in adversity. Also, I've been so encouraged by your example as we've been seeking to minister to our daughter who has Pervasive Development Disorder (a form of autism).
Please know that what I share next is with a spirit of love and concern. I noticed that someone left a comment about the book by Dr. Stephanie Cave about vaccinations. I would encourage you to study it along with other resources out there ( to get the latest information on vaccinations. Our daughter had a seizure after her four month shots. As I've networked with other parents having children on the autistic spectrum, the common denominator is vaccinations and/or antibiotic use for ear infections and the like. There's a new book published in 2008 called, The New Childhood Epidemics - Asthma, Autism, Allergies, and ADHD by Dr. Kenneth Bock that could be a consideration. Many children are unharmed by the current protocol for vaccinations. But there is an alarming increase in the "new childhood epidemics" that we should all be aware of. That said, it really is a personal decision. But my encouragement to ALL parents is to do some research on the safety of vaccines, which vaccines are really necessary, and when to administer them to a developing immune and neurological system.
All the best to you.
A concerned friend.

Anonymous said...

Hello Matt and Ginny,

Oprah was right about that Eliot´s story was shared with the world. We are from the Netherlands and we´ve just watched you two in Oprah´s show. What a amazing story, you two inspired many many people. Congrats with the birth of healthy Hazel, she looks beautifull.

Good luck to you and keep on writing.

God Bless you. Irma and Laura

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is actually the first time I've been on here to read your blog. As with so many, I watched 99 balloons at church this morning, and it moved me in a way I couldn't imagine previously, and it's 12 hours later, and I'm so moved I just have to know more about Eliot. I think being a parent enables me to connect a little bit more to the fear of losing ones child...
BUT, I'm so glad to find out that you had baby Hazel, it's a double surprise since my daughter is also called Hazel! I'm really glad I took the time to search for Eliot tonight, and I wish you and your family all the best!