How many more sleeps?

This post was originally posted in March of 2014 and reposted today because I miss my travel partners.


“How many more sleeps till Nana’s house?” The question asked hundreds of times in past 7 years.

Anna would always be so excited about our pending trips back to Ohio. She loved visiting Nana and Papa, so much that as a toddler she would announce to the entire plane “We’re in Ohio”, upon landing in Cleveland.

During these many trips across the county we developed some really fun games, learned how to not kick the seat in front of us and found that novel toys and new Wonder Pet videos were the key to a day of traveling. We also had many discussions about what the “little bag” was for. Anna, in her 7 years, never once got sick. For her the barf bag was more of a means to make an awesome hand puppet to entertain her Mama.

In 2011 Abigail, Anna and I made a trip to Ohio for spring break. I knew that it was going to be one of many trips back East that the three of us would take during this time. I promised the girls that we would try to get back every year during the Spring to see family and to go on a little adventure together. They loved that idea. In the Fall we were already planning our March visit to Nana and Papa’s new house.

During that very first trip I knew that Abigail was a little nervous. She had never really flown without her dad before and although she was really comfortable with Anna and I, I knew that she was probably going to get a little home sick. I felt so blessed to have her with us and to introduce her as my daughter. Anna was excited to show her Nana’s house and to introduce her to Isabella.

On the first leg of our trip all was going according to plan until Abigail looked at me, a little green, and said she wasn’t feeling well. I knew this was going to turn from a joyous plan ride to a smelly, yucky, barforama real quick. I can deal with a lot of stuff but one thing I can’t deal with is someone throwing up, not even my own kid. So here I am, in a very confined space about to experience something I knew was going to make me gag. I was hoping she was just imagining that she was sick, you know when kids just feel a little woozy and nothing really happens. This was definitely not the case as she was starting to convulse a bit. I looked at Anna, eyes wide and said, “quick Anna, give me the barf bag.” Anna promptly reached into the pocket in front of her and grabbed the hand puppet, I mean barf bag.

I put it up to Abigail’s face and, as she held it, I rubbed her back saying a little prayer, “please God, don’t let me barf.” Abigail did get sick but I never saw it, everything went into the bag. When she was all done she looked at me and said, “I feel much better.”

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

I was so proud of her that I stuck out my hand and gave her a high-five along with telling her she was a rock star. We all laughed and continued to give the high fives every time we retold the heroic story of how we, all three of us, worked as a team to make sure the barf went in the bag.

I’m smiling as I type, thinking that my girls are giving each other a high-five as I retell the story.

Our first trip back East as a threesome was amazing. My family loved Abigail as their own and the cousins bonded as if they knew each other since day one.  My heart was full each night as Abigail would give my dad a big hug and say, “good night Papa.” I know his heart was full of love too.

We did have some issues with delays on the way back home but ended up in a fancy hotel in Chicago. Every trip since then my girls would pray that we would have delays so we could jump on the beds in Chicago again. Such great memories of our adventures together.

spring 18 spring 6spring 32 spring 13 spring 21spring 30

This week my heart has been heavy. I’ve been struggling to pinpoint the cause, worried that maybe it was due to bringing Linus into our lives to soon. I’ve talked with friends about their spring break plans, I’ve watched the weather change as the sun beams through our windows and sensed the spring fairies presence as I watch the tulips and daffodils starting to take form in the front yard.

This morning the reason for my heavy heart dawned on me.

This week, Anna would be asking over and over, “how many more sleeps Mama till we go to Ohio?” I would be replying in single digits. We would be dusting off the suitcases and I know that both girls would have a pile of their favorite clothes sitting neatly on the floor waiting to be packed. They would ask if I was secretively putting together a goody bag for the plane and secretively I would be.  They would want to sleep in the same room, something they loved to do when something exciting was approaching.

We would all be so excited!

My heart is heavy because I want to hear Anna ask, “how many more sleeps Mama?”

Photo taken by Anna on a trip to Ohio.

As for bringing Linus into our lives too soon. He is our healer sent from God and I truly know this to be the case. As my heart is heavy, he fills it with Joy. I’ve watch all week how this little guy has brought happiness to those he comes in contact with. Our community, our close friends and especially Anna and Abigail’s friends needed Linus. We needed Linus. He brings a smile to everyone that comes in contact with him and that brings a smile to my face.

I just wish my girls could snuggle with him, he’s a good snuggler and so are my girls.

18 thoughts on “How many more sleeps?

  1. While the stories bring tears to my eyes, I enjoy hearing about, not only your two beautiful girls, but your extended family. And the beautiful pictures. The love they brought into this world continues to spread through your words. May God continue to hold all of you close. Silly thing to ask. We know He will. Thank you for sharing …


  2. Cindy gave a truly beautiful perspective, I cried reading it. Susan, I hope you feel all the snuggles Miss Anna and Abby are sending through your sweet Linus. I am so glad you and Tom have some fluffy ball of joy in your lives. Thank you for bringing him to the school to share his cuteness. My kiddos talked about him all that evening. Big loves to you.


  3. Susan,
    Wish I could send a hug through cyber space,this blog was so heartfelt. I know nothing I can say can ease your pain, just want you to know I love you💗


  4. I love these stories! I love the teamwork for the barf bag! The things that brought you all closer together! And Linus is snuggling with the girls in the best way he can – Anna’s blanket. ❤️ He can feel Anna’s love in that blanket! I’m so happy that he has the healing touch!!


    1. Hi Rebecca…I spent some time on your blog and will continue to do so. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself and for so many years. So sorry for your loss too. Wish we could have coffee.


  5. Such wonderful memories to have, Thank you for sharing these warming thoughts.. 🙂
    We are sending love and prayers to you and Tom
    Love You Susan xoxo


  6. So glad you could make all those trips with your beautiful girls to be with your family. I’m glad Linus is giving you companionship and spreading smiles to you and so many people who still have aching hearts. All these new changes are probably bringing up a lot of emotions. Hugs and love.


  7. So many precious memories made when you and your girls came to Ohio. I can remember so many of them…from the girls playing upstairs at Nana and Papa’s house with their dolls (introducing Ella to American Girl) , making a fairy lands in the backyard, Anna and Ella swinging in the tree house at Whitehouse Farm, and the list goes on and on. Not a day goes by that we don’t talk (or sing our bed time song) about the girls… They will live on in all of us forever, especially Ella and Aubrey. We can’t wait to meet the newest member of our family, Linus… We love you all so much!


  8. Such sweet memories. Instead of ‘how many more sleeps’, Timothy measures time in ‘how many more wake ups.’ All week it’s been 4 more days and a wake up until Spring Break, 3 more days and a wake up, etc. I shall treasure those moments with all my heart. Love, Hugs and Prayers………Always.


  9. So beautiful Susan,
    The first thing I thought of was Anna grinning from ear to ear running through the airport into my arms. Abigail so happy to be in Ohio at her Nana and Papa’s house. She loved us so and we dearly loved her. Cousins so happy to be together.
    I will never question God’s plan only be eternally grateful for my precious memories.
    We have all experienced so many ( I call them winks )from God and the girls. These winks always letting us know they are happy and always with us. Little Linus is your wink . His timing is perfect, he is perfect and he is doing his job with perfection. Hug him for me.


  10. My heart goes out to you, Susan.
    As I finished your post, my thoughts went to the girls, and I could imagine Anna asking that same question, but with a slight twist: “How many more sleeps, God, until Mom and Dad are here?” and that no matter how many He names (and I can imagine that there are A LOT of them left), Anna must be grinning and saying, “Wow! Is that all?” because to her, time is so short while for us, we feel each passing moment in so different a way. She and Abby are probably grinning that no one will need a barf bag for that trip, though maybe when they come to help you return Home, too, they’ll bring one just to make you laugh, to give you a high-five, to say, “Way to go, Mom and Dad! You made it! It’s all in the bag thanks to the Savior–all the pain and sorrow and longing, so let’s go play!”

    Keeping you in our prayers (because it is so long and so far away right now), and so glad you have Linus!

    Cindy (p.s. I hope this makes you smile. If not, just bop me on the head). 🙂


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