Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Miracle Of Life

Today was an incredible day. One of my Coffee Girls was being induced today and last week she casually mentioned that if we wanted to come to the hospital for the birth, she'd be cool with that. I had never (EVER) even considered being present when someone else gives birth. It's not that I was opposed to it, it's just that I hadn't considered it. Yet, as soon as she said that, I knew I wanted to be there.

Her husband's parents brought their oldest son over this morning to hang out with us on their way to the hospital and there wasn't yet an update on how she was progressing. Around 4:20, her Sister sent me a text message saying they were going to have her start pushing around 4:30. I called Big Daddy, he rushed home to be with the kids and I waited at the door for him. I got to the hospital at 4:35, just as she was about to start pushing. Within ten minutes, her sweet baby girl was here.

Ya'll, I am rarely speechless. Today, I was overcome with so much joy in watching this baby be born that I had no words. She was so beautiful and so perfect. I was holding my breath as she was delivered and I don't think I took another breath until she was resting in her Mommy's arms.

I have had two babies of my own but because of circumstances with the deliveries, I didn't get to watch them be born as much as I got to agonize, sweat and scream while everyone else enjoyed the Miracle of Life. I get it. I get what people are saying when they talk about it. I never did before today. Holy moly. I still can't get over it. I'm so thankful I got to experience this today.

One of our dear friends is an OB here at the base hospital. He's an amazing man with a passion for his calling. When he talks about his job, he uses the word "miracle" often. What a miracle it is each time a child is even conceived, much less born. I've had some dear friends who have experienced such incredible loss in this miracle process in the last year and my heart breaks for them every day. I pray for their healing and comfort. I am at a stage in my own life where I am surrounded by friends who are rejoicing at this Miracle of Life as well as friends who are grieving It's loss. I am amazed by the strength of both.

As I stood there today with my sweet friend and her beautiful baby, I couldn't help but stop to say a prayer for the women I love just as much who are still hurting and broken from their loss. My heart was both heavy and delighted at the same time. I'm still sitting here thinking about it all...obviously. The thing I know for sure is that the baby that was born today was no less a miracle than the ones who were lost. And, God's love is just as strong for the Mom I stood beside of today as with the ones whose tears have yet to dry for their precious babies. This Miracle of Life is an amazing one. I'm trying very hard to stop taking it for granted.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Five.



My sweet girl,

Today you are five years old. It's difficult for me to admit that today is finally here because I've been struggling with it for weeks now. Not you, though. For longer than I've been struggling with it, you have been proclaiming to the world that you are almost five.

You feel like five is a magic number. You told us tonight at dinner that you will probably wake up on your birthday and your arms and legs will be longer and you will be much taller. You said that you would probably be confused by this at first but then you'd remind yourself, "I'm FIVE!" and then you would understand.

I am so blessed to be your M-O-M. (That's what you have been calling me now that you are learning to spell things. M-O-M. But you are caught off guard when I answer W-H-A-T because you don't know how to spell that yet.) Every day I learn something from you. You believe that everyone is good and deserves kindness. I often wish the world were filled with people like you.

Since the day you came into our lives, Big Daddy and I have been mesmerized by everything you do. You made us parents, after all. We've watched your every move so closely, afraid we may miss something.
This past week has been huge for you. You lost your first tooth! It was quite the event. The tooth fairy brought you a dollar and you wanted to spend it but your brother didn't have a dollar and you didn't want him to be left out. So, you went to your piggy bank and got out a dollar bill and gave it to him so he could buy something with you. While we were at Target, you wanted to buy something that had enough to share with your brother and our neighbor's son. When you realized that it didn't have enough for everyone, you put it back on the shelf and chose something else instead. That's the kind of girl you are. You always think of others. You are always writing letters and drawing pictures for your friends and you delight in watching their faces when they open them. Recently, you told me you were sad that people didn't draw anything to send back to you. It broke my heart but I realized that you are probably in for a lifetime full of this...serving others but not always being served in return.
You also got your first big hair cut this week. You have been begging for it for the longest time. Again, I was really having a hard time with it so we put it off. I realized this week that we needed to just have it done. Your beautiful blonde curls were all the way down your back and now they are adorable and shoulder length. Between this and the missing tooth, I feel like you really did wake up a big girl all of a sudden.

Sister, you really are my favorite girl in the whole world. You are such a beautiful person. I love every single thing about you. Your heart is so tender and sweet and you care for people in a way that I've never seen in such a young girl. It's going to be so much fun seeing the new adventures that five brings. I love you and I love being your Mom.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Not Even Sure What To Say About This

Is it wrong that tonight during our family devotional reading, J. read the word "paradise" several times and each time my children turned and looked at me with big eyes and giggled. And then, Sister started to sing "Cheeseburger In Paradise". Yes, I know. It's wrong on so many levels.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Snaggletooth

That loose tooth I told you that Sister was wiggling? It's out. We played around with that tooth all weekend while my Sister and her family were in town. We'd wiggle and she'd giggle. Then, we'd wiggle too much and she'd cry and vow never to let us touch it again.

Monday morning, she was laying on the couch with her head in my lap and we were chatting. I jokingly said, "Can I pull your tooth?"

"Yeah, sure. But, don't hurt me!"

So, I tied a little loop into some floss and slipped it over the tooth and told her to give it a tug. She did and the floss slipped off the tooth easily. After this happened a few more times, we were both laughing uncontrollably. I'm not sure what was so funny, the fact that the floss just wouldn't stay on the tooth or that we just kept trying the same dumb trick to get that thing out even though we knew it wasn't working. Whatever the case, we were having fun trying.

The last time I looped the floss over the tooth and just gave it a little tug, I expected it to slip off and we'd giggle more. Instead, this time, the tooth popped out and landed in her hair on the couch. I gasped and said, "It's out!" She had preemptively started to giggle about another failed attempt so when I said that, she sat up and looked at me with wide eyes.

"WHAT?"

"It's out, honey! I got it out!"

The tears came. "You hurt me!"

Then, after her hand instinctively went to her mouth and came back with blood, she shrieked.

"AND, YOU MADE ME BLEED!"

She was so mad at me. Until she remembered that she would probably get some loot for this tooth when she went to bed. Then, we were back to happy giggles.

She's been staring at herself in the mirror ever since. Yesterday, I heard her in my room laughing. I went in and she was looking in my mirror.

"I just can't stop giggling when I look at myself. It's so cute!"

Indeed it is, sweet girl. Indeed you are.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slippin' and a Slidin'

Lawsy me. It's been hot here in my neck of the woods for the past week. The kind of hot that makes you want to stay inside and pretend that it's a rainy day. Just opening the door to reach for the mail a few feet away makes me sweat. Finally, we got a little relief today. Who ever would have thought that weather in the mid 80's would be known as a relief? It's all about perspective.

We had to run to Target today for a shower gift that I need for the weekend. While we were there, we ran into a friend of mine...right in front of a display holding "Slip N' Slide" toys. As we talked, I kept stealing glances at the display. I looked from the display to my sweet kids sitting in the cart playing peek a boo with my friend's son. You see where this is going.

When I was a kid, we didn't have a Slip N' Slide. My cousin and I wanted one but never could convince our parents to get one. So, one hot summer day, we were poking around in her Dad's barn and found a huge roll of plastic that he had left over from a house painting project. We rolled that plastic out in the yard, stuck the water hose in the middle of it and took a running dive. After our first three dives, our legs were scratched and bleeding a little because the plastic was too thin to protect us from the sticks and rocks below. So, we did what kids do. We improvised. We found a box of trash bags on the shelf, the kind used for lawn waste. We each got inside of one and poked our feet through the bottom. Ta da! An extra layer.

That memory was fresh in my mind as I loaded up my cart with the new and improved Slip N' Slide. My kids will find plenty of other ways to use their imagination but they were going to have a real life genuine Slip N' Slide today.

We got home and invited a neighbor over to play with us. Can I just tell you how much fun I had watching those kids run and slide on that thing today? They had a blast. I had a blast. Big Daddy even ran in to change into his swimming shorts so he could play along, too. So much fun.

On a totally unrelated note, Sister has a loose tooth. Like a really, really loose tooth. It's wiggling and she cries if she bites down with it. I know it's time for these things but I was really hoping to force her into being a baby with baby teeth and baby cheeks and baby everything for a little longer. But, she's not a baby. She's about to start getting grown up teeth. This is killing me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Growing Up

Several years ago, I was in NC visiting my parents for a couple of weeks and decided to go to Target for a few things. While cruising through the book aisle, I ran into an a girl I'd been best friends with in middle school. We lost touch in high school so I was unaware that she was married and had a young daughter. Though I was already married, I didn't yet have kids and seeing her there with her sweet little girl threw me for a loop. We chatted about life and caught up a bit but I kept repeating the same stupid phrase to her over and over.

"Celia, you're a mommy! I just can't believe you are a mommy, Celia!"

I've looked back at that day and blushed, as I am now, at how Forest Gump I must have sounded.

It wasn't that I couldn't see her with kids someday, it's just that standing there with her daughter in Target, she seemed so grown up. And I didn't feel like we could be that grown up yet.

I've reconnected recently with several old friends from high school via Myspace and Facebook. One of the girls (I have a hard time referring to people my age as women sometimes) was in a one of my elective classes. She was a couple of years behind me but we had a lot of fun chatting and being silly in class. Again, I lost touch with her after high school (I'm seeing a trend...I'm not good at keeping in touch) so I had no idea what she's been up to all these years later.

As it turns out, she has two kids. Her son has autism and she has become this amazing advocate for autism awareness and research. She also married an Air Force guy and is living in our home town stationed at the base there. Lately, I have been reading her blog and looking at the pictures of rallies and conferences she attends on behalf of her sweet boy and I'm overwhelmed with emotion.

I'm so proud of her, first of all. She has taken on autism head on and is fighting for her son. I love that. But, I'm also just amazed at how much time changes us.

It never occurred to me thirteen years ago when we were sitting in the back of a classroom giggling and having fun that someday, we'd be moms facing battles on behalf of our children. The battles I face for my own are not the same as hers but they are battles even so.

I have been thinking all day about those middle school and high school days with girls I loved so dearly and trying to imagine them facing things like children with autism, losing children, dying parents and all of the other things that life throws at us. It's hard to imagine those girls fighting for anything other than free lunch periods and later curfew. But, it's not the same girls. I'm not the same girl. We've all grown up and despite everything else, we are all now a part of the same team. We are all women who will do anything for our children. Women who will fight for something bigger than ourselves. We are all moms.

I wish I could go back and whisper in the ears of my girls from high school and tell them to hold their chin up a little higher. Tell them that they are so much stronger than they seem right now. That one day, they will be someone's champion. I'd tell them to enjoy those giggles but not to lose touch because these girls sitting in the back of the class passing notes with you will be amazing women that you won't want to miss out on knowing.

Growing up is bittersweet.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Banned


A few nights ago, Big Daddy was outside playing soccer with the kids. It was his turn with the ball and he gave it a good solid kick. Brother ran after the ball and a few steps into his sprint, he fell and scraped his knee. When Big Daddy went over to check on him, he looked up with tears in his eyes and promptly told Big Daddy, "Dad, you are not allowed to play soccer...ever again."

Big Daddy told me this story once we were all settled in for the night and said he just didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to play soccer again. He didn't push Brother down, he just kicked the ball and Brother fell on his way to get it. Oh, the power of a three year old's wrath.

Since then, poor Big Daddy has been taunted by the rest of us about his inability to EVER play soccer again. Each time, he reminds us of his innocence and takes it with a grain of salt. Until he came home from work today and was handed this sign made by his loving children. Their Mom may have told them how to spell the words. But, I actually spelled out, "Dad can't play soccer" and since that's not what they wrote, I'm not taking any blame.