If the closed door doesn’t reopen, sometimes ya gotta open it yourself.

Our home.

I can remember the day we bought it like it was yesterday. My husband Bart and I were so excited…this was where we were going to begin our lives together as a family! We made plans to surprise the girls, driving them over to our newly purchased home and telling them that Bart’s good friend Jason had “just bought this great new house and he had wanted us to take a look at it.” It was so much fun to watch the girls “oooo and ahhh” as they walked from room to empty room saying things like, “I would want this room to be mine” and “look how pretty the wood floors are momma!” knowing in our hearts that this was indeed OUR new home! After 15 minutes or so of stringing them along, Bart said, “I think this is a really great house, don’t you girls? So great in fact that I bought it for US!!!”

After the initial shock and confusion wore off, (I mean, we did a darn good job of selling them the story that it was in fact Jason’s new house), the girls couldn’t contain themselves! The shrieks and squeals of joy could be heard a mile away and they turned somersaults and cartwheels on the basement carpet. They flew up the stairs, giddily talking paint colors and bedroom decor. I’ve never seen my husband beam with pride as much as he did that day…he had made a dream come true for all of the girls he loved the most…including our Skylar, as the backyard was glorious! It was truly the perfect day.

Our home isn’t the largest home in the neighborhood but it isn’t the smallest one either. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms and beautiful dark hardwood floors that I adore (well, at least I adore them when it’s not raining and our two large fur babies aren’t tracking in mud and water every five seconds. 😉 ) The walls are filled with family photos of precious memories, framed wedding vows, and poems of love written to one another…so many that my mother told me we needed a bigger home for more wall space. Our dogs are encouraged to snuggle on our couches with us and sleep with us in our beds at night. We don’t allow TV’s in our bedrooms so that on the rare occurrence that we ARE all home at the same time, (crazy schedules) we spend that time TOGETHER…with family game nights or watching movies in the basement. This home is filled with squeaky cabinets, overstuffed closets, contagious laughter and endless amounts of love.

I am in LOVE with this house. Every single room in it…all but one. The door to it has been closed since May of 2015. Every now and then one of us will open it and put something in there if we don’t know where else to put it. Old Halloween costumes put in the closet, large pieces of luggage that didn’t fit somewhere else, a plastic bin of clothes the girls have outgrown. But whatever it is, it is quickly put in there and the door is rapidly shut again. It is a source of pain. Of what “could have been”…of what “SHOULD have been”. See, when we moved into this new home of ours and the room selection with the girls began, this room was already earmarked. It was already claimed by another little girl…our daughter Sammie Reese. I was 15 weeks pregnant and we couldn’t wait to make this room special for her. We had chosen the colors of her nursery, bought bedding, and a car seat. We were madly in love with her already and couldn’t wait to hold her in our arms.

God, however, unfortunately had other plans. At 17 weeks, at a routine ultrasound our daughter’s heart had stopped beating…and in so many ways, so did ours. After 3 days of induced labor, I delivered our angel on May 24, 2015. We held her in our arms alright…just WAY too soon and for only a few fleeting moments of what was now heartbreak instead of joyous celebration. Upon returning home from the hospital, we closed the door to her room and it remained closed.

Permanently.

The thought of what was “supposed to be” made it too painful for us to open. So we just didn’t. Bart and I were given another opportunity for the door to possibly open in September of 2016 but it was short lived as again, no heartbeat at 9 weeks.

You know the old saying…”When God closes a door, he opens a window”? Well, in our case, our proverbial window was closing rapidly as well. I was an almost 45 year old woman who had suffered through two miscarriages…one very late one. Unfortunately, my age was hurting our chances with every single day that passed. The window was not only closing, it was about to be sealed shut for good. And it hurt like hell. “I love my husband with everything that I am God,” I would pray every night, many nights through tears. “Please, PLEASE let this happen for us. He is such a wonderful daddy to the girls. PLEASE GOD.”

Fast forward to present. It’s March 5th, 2019. I turned 47 four days ago. Our window unfortunately for us never did open…in fact, it sealed permanently shut. And along with that, the door to Sammie’s room remained closed as well.

Until yesterday.

I woke up in the morning and looked over at the man sleeping beside me…the one with his arm wrapped tightly around my waist. He was there…loving me and the girls, caring for us each and every day, giving us his all, fulfilling every promise he had written himself in his wedding vows. HE WAS THERE. In every single way possible. He had just surprised me four days before with a beautiful birthday dinner, flowers, and a card with handwritten words from his heart. We had fought through the pain…the IMMENSE pain of loss…and were still HERE.

TOGETHER.

Was it easy? Not in the least. It’s still not. We both have our days of sadness and tears. We cry for our Sammie. And all that she would have and SHOULD HAVE been…because TOGETHER her daddy and I have something pretty amazing and there is no doubt in our minds that she would have been too. So Monday morning, I felt as his wife, I owed HIM something. AND WE, as her parents, owed Sammie something too. I absolutely knew what I had to do…and with that, I gently kissed his forehead, got out of our bed, made some coffee, took a deep breath and…

OPENED THE DOOR AGAIN.

We may never understand why God chose to close the door of Bart and I having a child together…especially when we love one another so very much. All I DO know and what I have learned is this:

Sometimes, if the closed door doesn’t reopen, you gotta open it for yourself. And that’s just what I did yesterday…not just for me but for Bart, Hannah and Hailey, and most of all for Sammie. The poem Bart wrote to his daughter about her mommy will remain on the wall and this room will now become a place for our family to get healthy. Inside, outside, and all the sides in between. Just like all things, it will be a work in progress. One that will require a new mindset, strength, and a lot of patience. But we will do it just like we have done everything else.

TOGETHER.

The door is now reopened…God was just waiting for us to turn the handle. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this family. I am now fast falling in love with every square inch of our house…ALL of it. EVERY ROOM. Because we became a true family here, bruised and battered as we may be. And when the day comes, as it inevitably will that we sell this house and move on, I will both smile and cry knowing that THIS HOME made us EXACTLY who we are…

WE ARE THE BURTONS. We hurt hard, we work hard, and more importantly we LOVE hard. We hold one another’s hand when we’re scared, give each other endless hugs when we’re sad, protect each other’s feelings from those that hurt us, and frustrate one another to NO end. Lol. Thank you God for being patient with us. Thank you for giving us one another. Thank you for not letting us close “the door” permanently.

Do YOU have a door that needs to reopen in your life? Just a question…

It just may be time for you to turn that handle and open that door for YOURSELF. And if you need some reinforcement, call me. I will be happy to cheer you on. ❤️

Hugs,

Shannon