Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just Like They Said


She was the reason I started this blog almost seven years ago. She gave me the name, mother.

She looked like this:

And I looked starry-eyed.
And while every newborn season is tough, each morning coming into her room was like Christmas morning. The long night, nursing woes, and new mommy inadequacies faded as I stared as this precious gift.
Seven years ago, this was you.
People told me how fast time would go and how quickly you would grow up.
And then, in a blink of an eye, just like they said, this was you one year later:

Tiny and petite, reserved, and my constant companion, but not for long. You were already gaining a new companion who was growing inside of me.

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, just like they said this was you:

2 years old and a big sister. In an instant you were no longer a baby, though looking back, you most certainly were. But you made the big sister role look easy. You loved Grant from the day he came home.
And just like they said, another year QUICKLY passed by and you were no longer a toddler.
We survived potty training and the "terrible twos" which weren't so terrible. And sailed into another beautiful year. Your personality began to reveal a much more outgoing side. You showed an eagerness to make new friends as the "social" you began to bloom.
And, just like that, just like they said, another year passes in a blink of an eye.
And you are four
 and due to be a big sister a second time in a few weeks. You danced your way into the four's, literally. You had a ballerina party. And so began the "extra-curricular" activities stage of life. You began taking dance lessons. I believe you enjoyed the social aspect of it more than the actual dancing. You once told me you wanted to quit because Miss Anna made you raise your leg too high and it hurt.
And then, just like that, just like they said, in an instant, you were five.
I think your legs started to sprout here and that preschool look turned into a little girl look. Taken from the lines from my favorite children's book, your legs "sprouted like two string beans." We started homeschooling officially. That decision that I kept saying I had years to decide, well, just like your age, it crept up so quickly. And now, we were doing it, me and you, hitting the books and starting a whole new adventure together, kind of like your Dora Adventure party.

And just like that, just like they said, in an instant, this was you:

6 years old. First grade. You'd stay outside all day if I let you. You're reading, but not enthusiastically. But you're teaching me about patience and repentance. And we cap the year off with you first lost tooth.
And just like that, just like they said, in a flash, this IS you:
7 years old today.
You are sweet. You are shy in large groups but outgoing in small ones. You enjoy making new friends. You can be dramatic and overly concerned about what to wear. Let's face it, you change outfits throughout the day. You are eager to help. You love your siblings but at times can be dramatic, did I already mention that? You thrive on affection and encouragement. It's like water to a listless vine. You love to give and that is something I am cautious not to squelch, even if it is something I would rather you not give away. You are becoming a more confident reader. You have a very quarky sense of humor and an infectious laugh. You are a nurturer.
They were right, you DO grow up so fast. It takes my breath away to know that as fast as the first seven years have passed, so shall the next seven years go. In seven years you will be fourteen.
It's a sweet reminder for me to slow down and drink you in. To gaze at you a little longer so that moment will stay stamped in my memory even if it passes on in time. It's a reminder for me to let go of the unimportant things that seem so pressing: email, Facebook, sweeping a hundredth time that day, or a mindless tv show. It's a reminder to be intentional and purposeful in what I say to you and what I teach you. For you are precious. You are worth every minute of my time at home. The Lord gave you to me and I am challenged daily to be a good steward of you because you ultimately belong to Him. And you will look back and see the many times I have failed you. There are times at night after a rough day I want to crawl into bed with you and hold you, to erase the failures I made that day with you. But I pray that through my failures you see the gospel. You see that I am not perfect and I am a sinner just like you. That I need Jesus DAILY and that His forgiveness covers a multitude of sin. I pray that at least in my failures, by His grace, I point you to Him. And I pray you will find refuge in Him.
I love you Hannah.
Happy Seventh Birthday!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Here I sit. It's 1:03 am. I'm in the spare bedroom with Kate, Hannah, and our dog, Molly. We are also accompanied with three changes of clothes, a plethora of "Tuff Stuff," red Gatorade and new stains on the carpet and Futon as well as a grocery sack full of paper towels and tissues.

I crawled into bed about an hour and half ago and yet, here I sit.

As soon as I tucked myself in for a restful sleep, Kate began hacking up a terrible storm. I'll spare you the details but it was alarming and, well, gross. And having Hannah sharing a room with Kate, I thought it best to move this show down to the only "quiet" room in the house, the spare room downstairs.

Except, Molly stays there.

So in the midst of major coughing, dry heaving, crying and gross stuff I manage to move Molly and her crate to the den.

Tissues and paper towels abound as I try to...well...help with the coughing.

Moments later the door opens and Hannah joins the party. "Afraid" to sleep alone, she suddenly becomes my greatest asset as the storm thickens.

Molly begins to cry. And what I was trying to spare the rest of the house from enduring with the loud coughs of Kate was being thwarted by a very noisy dog. Mind you, our house is VERY open with little reprieve from noise, except, of course, in the spare bedroom.


Hannah retrieves Molly and presto, another observer to this little chaotic mess.

That gets messier as Kate begins to vomit. All over me and all over her.

Hannah then makes a mad dash to get new clothes for Kate while I wipe her down and ward Molly off from doing what dogs do.

In the next several, several minutes Kate vomits more, I change her again thanks to a second run by Hannah for more clothes and I proceed to douse the room in Tuff Stuff stain remover in hopes to erase any long lasting memories of this night.

Except there's one that likely won't be erased as Molly jumped up on the dresser where Kate's RED Gatorade was sitting and dumped it all over the floor. Tuff Stuff, round three.

I'm left with two girls who don't want to leave my side and thus I pull out the Futon for a restful place to lay. In so doing I unintentionally reveal my hiding place for Christmas presents to which Hannah's mouth drops wide open.

And here we sit. Praying this is the calm AFTER the storm and for a few hours of shut eye before a new day begins. And so I bid you adieu as I crawl back into bed but this time with two girls, a dog, and the smell of Tough Stuff permeating the room.

You just can't make this stuff up.

P.S. to credit John, I intentionally did not wake him because if one of us can sleep then he might as well since he's got to get up early and do hard labor. And I unexpectedly got Hannah out of the deal who proved to be quite the enthusiastic helper since it meant being awake at midnight!

Mommy's Moment: The Jumpy

You know that moment. That moment when you have to just let go. Let your children experience life on their own. You know they'll get pushed. Their patience will be tested. They may fall. Another child may hurt them. They'll be tempted to lose their temper. They'll have to fend for themselves. Tears very likely will be involved.
But sometimes you just have to take a step of faith and let them go...
let them get on that jumpy.
You know, the one that looks like this:
Where scared kids, impatient kids, overly confident kids, and kids who just want to slide down all get jammed up at the top in a jumpy jam.
And all we can do is cajole. Encourage the scared one down. Advise that jumpy hog to get off. Remind that impatient one it will soon be their turn. Even the fierce skull tattooed elbow dad stood helpless as we all watched the jumpy jam explode.

But our kids learn how to be patient and how to watch out for their team.
And how to make new friends. Or protect each other from bullies. I'm not quite sure what was happening here.
Making friends, we'll go with that.

And in the chaos our kids learn how order promotes the best experience.
Our kids also learn that when one kid just doesn't want to take one more step forward, it's really hard for an adult to scale up the jumpy for relief. Even if they look down at you with big wide eyes just waiting for you to take action. But you stand helpless. Therefore, it's time for that 8 year old sibling to step up and carry her the rest of the way only to push her down the extremely high slide.


Who needs a character building book when you have a jumpy?
Experiencing "the jumpy" is a crash course on the hard knocks of life.
It's a survival of the fittest at its best.
And so, when I saw my three disappear into this obstacle of a jumpy:
I hoped they'd come out in one piece on the other side.
It's an accomplishment if you can come out of this with a smile:
  I am proud my kids survived the kids three times their size walloping over them and pushing large air filled tubes in their faces.
I think they may be ready for Wipeout.
Or maybe not.
They didn't venture back in.
But like every challenge in life, there's always the silver lining.
And the jumpy teaches us that too.

Life is tough and bittersweet. And if anything can prepare your child for that fact, it's the jumpy.