Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It's been a while since I stopped and reflected on the current stage of parenting.  I often write about one child or another or maybe just wax philosophical :) but today I was thinking about my babies...
who are not babies anymore.


We are past diapers and coos and toddling.  We are past learning to talk and adjusting and, at least for the time being, adding to our family.  The kids, they are a'growing and we are looking the teen years square in the face, with more preteens and elementary years quickly on their heels.

Time really does fly.

I don't want to forget these days.
I cherish the stories of when my children were little and life was so, so simple.  Time is not kind, and I want to be all here right now...treasuring each moment in my heart and thanking Him, always thanking Him.

So today I ponder this season.  My oldest, now 12, is in that stage of confusion that exists in those fuzzy man/boy years.  He grows and reaches for the man he wants to be, yet still retreats into my arm and onto my lap when he just needs to "be."  And I eat those moments with a spoon.  He loves well, in between relentlessly tormenting the girls and reminding Drew that he is not "old enough" for whatever it is he doesn't want him to do...which just infuriates sweet Drew.  He babies Mari when she cries, invites Drew into his room to sleep at night because they really do love being together, and sits side-by-side with Katie to watch a good movie when his friends aren't around to see it.  He helps Gracie with her math...feeds her the answers, actually, until I catch him.  Ahem.  He drums like a budding rock star and our house is filled with his beats.
And he smiles.  Oh, how his smile lights up a room.  In this age of being "cool" and not coming across as "emotional" or "girly" his smiles are a gift to my days.  He is a study in contrasts right now, which I guess is typical of overtly-manly mama's boy who follows his dad around like a puppy, just wanting to be grown yet resisting it when the sun goes down...
"Mom, will you lie down with me for a minute?"
Yes, my sweet boy.  Yes, I will.  Always.  Those late night talks when the lights are dim and all is quiet in the house and Jesus feels very, very near are priceless.

Katie.  My growing up girl at ten going on twenty.  Beautiful, strong, and the life of any gathering.  My water-baby, gliding through the water and loving the intensity of swim meets.  She laughs from deep in her gut and cries hard when she has to.  She loves fiercely and is often overcome with the need just to be near.  She is my constant companion, the ears that appear out of nowhere to eavesdrop on every.single.conversation.  She is the arms always around my waist, the head on my shoulder when I read, the giggle when my clothing choices are not up to her very fashionable standards, and the little mama that I can count on to hold things together and keep the routine when I am away.  She is growing deep faith-roots, learning to trust Him for the details.  She is my front-seat sitter, my voracious book-reader, and my night owl.  She helps me meet my word quota for the day because we talk and talk and talk each and every day.  Oh, how I love the relationship we have now.
She is going to camp this summer.
For a month.
Because she begged to.
I'm not sure I'm ready...but she is convinced this is the year.
She will live in God's creation, learning to hear Him in the quiet, to worship on the rocks and look to the cross standing the the woods when she feels homesick.  She will experience Him on her own, without me telling her how, and I pray her relationship with Him will become that real and vital thing that I long for her to have.  She will be in the Word and journal and sing and she will be gone for a MONTH.
Oh my word.

Gracie.  My ballerina girl.  Sweet and happy and creative and musical and busy and a temper that never fails to surprise me.  She is always making art, out of everything.  She is always dressed to the nines, because we must always sparkle.  She laughs and dances and twirls and swings and loves her some Jesus, oh yes she does.  She endears everyone to her within 30 seconds of meeting them and has nicknames for all of her friends.  She makes lions out of spoons and paper plates and creates masterpieces from play-dough.  She mothers Mari a bit, but they have grown to be such sweet friends.  These sisters giggle in the night and wake up with plans.  Gracie helps Mari when she can't reach, picks out clothes for her that match, and even lets Drew participate when he promises to cooperate.  She is maturing to the point that she and Katie have a fun, sisterly relationship.  They can almost share clothes, and they both LOVE to shop at Justice (when we have a coupon...Mom's rule!) and they are even beginning to share friends.  My sweet Gracie blesses me with her tight hugs and face-smothering kisses.  And she thrills me with her prayers, her faith, and her heavenly focus. How many 7 year-olds talk about "when I get to Heaven?"  She does.

Drew.  Tall, muscular, meaty boy-hands that still seek to rub that skin on the back of my arm when he is tired.  He is either intensely happy or intensely not.  He lives for sports of any kind and is really good at all of them!
I can say that objectively because I did not contribute a single gene to his incredible athletic abilities.  He is amazing, truly.
He shoots hoops, kicks the soccer ball, swings the baseball bat, flips on the trampoline, and thinks everything his big brother does is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  He watches DJ's coach give him drills, and then he goes out there on his own and does them.
He wants to do everything his big brother does, and won't stop until he figures it out.
School?  Well, I'm having to be creative there, to be really flexible.  He wants to learn, but is easily frustrated.  He needs to move and wiggle so lessons have to be short, sweet, and to the point.  I am so glad he is home with me where I can teach him how he learns best, where his need to run and jump is understood and phonics can start after he jumps on the trampoline for a few minutes.  He adores his Daddy, wanting to go everywhere Daddy goes, but I am happy to say he is a total mama's boy.
TOTAL mama's boy.
How I love his cuddles and sweet I-love-you's.  He thinks I am beautiful and tells me so.  He thinks my singing is wonderful and begs for just one more song.  He relaxes during story time and breathes so deeply that I am almost lulled to sleep mid-sentence.
He is just inches away from Jesus.  Any moment now he is going to give his life to Him.  It is coming soon, clearly, and I hold my breath in anticipation.

Mari.  My Ethiopian princess.  When did the change occur?  Was it the trip to Disney when she saw her Ethiopian friends and realized they really were all in America and growing and happy?  When did she learn to trust?
Because she has.
My husband and I went away for a couple of days alone last week.  A much needed break in a busy season.  I always have concern in my heart for her, because either one of us being gone in the past has caused setbacks in her attachment.  We would return to a wall, a coldness, a silent signal telling us "I've made it without you for the past few days, so why would I need you now?"
But not anymore.
We returned on Monday to squeals of happiness, legs running and arms extended and happy cries of "Mommy!  Daddy!  I've MISSED you!'
Oh, thank you Jesus.
A boo-boo that needs to be kissed instead of brushed off.  Cries that are no longer just for attention but genuine, truly reaching out for comfort instead of trying to pull attention away from someone else.
She is settled and happy and her accent is gone.
I miss it.
But her grammar is still often hilarious, thankfully.  :)
She is learning to read and so proud.  She loves to learn, loves to ask questions, loves to laugh and run and be part of her family.
She loves to talk about Ethiopia and remember the good.  She has forgotten the hard.  She proudly tells new friends "I'm from Africa!" and smiles when I use an Amharic word.
I refuse to let her forget them all.
She is a ray of sunshine, a sweet bundle of love and smiles.
And I am in awe of what God has done.
She and Drew are like twins...the best of friends.  They are always together and think the other is just a ball of fun.
Again, I am in awe of what God has done.

These days are so sweet.  I fight the busyness so we don't lose sight of those important moments that God places throughout our days.  We must intentionally focus and keep our eyes on Jesus so that we can love each other well.  Our little nest is sacred in my eyes, and I believe that protecting these sibling relationships is one of the most important gifts I can give my children.

I am so thankful for the five little hearts that God has given me.  Lord, may I walk worthy of their trust.

1 comment:

  1. Holy smokes. I'm sitting in my driveway with tears iny eyes. What a momma you are, sweet friend! I have really heard God calling me lately to KNOW my kids hearts and dang friend, you nail it!!! What a blessing your friendship is to me and I'm so thankful I can walk this crazy parenting journey before me and can be my mentor!!!!


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