Sunday, July 28, 2013

19 Months: One of Them

You have become one of them, little Grace.  Bit by bit, over the past month, your eyes and ears have become more and more alert to there whereabouts of your brothers and sisters: where they are headed, what they are doing, what they are about to snack on. And, as your vocabulary has increased, both in understanding and in speaking, your attentive little countenance quickly follows every detail of their interaction, and then you insert yourself into the equation. "Pahcicl!!" (Popcicle), you interject. Or, "Go side!" (Go outside).

When they laugh, you laugh. And, all the better if you can make them laugh.....which you do often. If they are headed out to the swing set with their popcicles, then so are you. When they are going to the woodshed, off you go.  Bikes and trikes? You're out there.  And pretty amazingly, they look out for you.  You are not often left behind, at least not when their friends aren't over to distract them.  "Come on, Gracie!" we'll hear them say.  Or, "Get Gracie!"

When they are coloring their states, (we are learning the states and capitals this summer), you are right up there with them at the dining room table with your pens and paper, often coloring your arms and face in addition to the paper. (Thank goodness for washable markers!)

I recently had a minor surgury on my arm, and couldn't lift over ten pounds for a couple of weeks.  Your brothers hauled you around and in and out of your car seat and crib.  You "might" have a few extra bruises and scrapes because of it, but all in all, they did a great job.

You have a stubborn, and determined spirit, and are not easily detered from your intended goal. 
This has also been the month of "My!" and "Me!" (You will notice neary everything you say ends with an exclamation point! And, this is not without intent. Those phrases that don't end with gusto are instead followed with a sly, sing-song nature and frequently end with a silly smile, your head tilting back and eyes slighly squinted at us. "Naaawwwwww" (No). Then there's the sweet little head nodding with your "Yes", though you don't lift and lower your jaw as much as you used to.  It's still adorable however. :-) And "No" (though "No" is much more often accompanied by an a frown, a poked out lip, or a shove of the arm.)  One of your favorite new little expressions is to make a face of suprise - eyes popped open to their widest, looking back and forth, and your little mouth in an "O". 

You have also started running.  Not a fast, hard run, no.  However, that forward trot that seems to exist at an angle that could be easily toppled or tripped.....and sometimes is. :-)  Many times, you will be seen wearing around your navy blue owl backpack.  And, if you aren't wearing it, odds are one of your big brothers is.....which is pretty cute too.

Words are coming faster and faster and with increasing confidence. I often ponder this stage of life - between 18 and 24 months, where a little child goes from baby speak and progresses into the many words and patterns of the preschool years. It's as if you are crossing a bridge between the stages.  I do love the little words that only a Mama can understand..."boot" (book) and "Bah ble" (Bible - which refers to many books).

"Baby" is still the name of your increasingly favorite blanket (that you now like to drag around when you are feeling first blanket dragger. :-)  ), in addition to your dollies (also referred to as "Dah ee"), and your favorite stuffed friends (currently the giraffes).

You love attention and being silly. No one would accuse you of being shy.  Your older siblings have been in a water awareness program this summer, and you love walking around the lawn to other families, standing right next to their picnic spot and staring at them.  When it's time for your brothers and sisters' swim session, you insist upon going to the meeting carpet with them and waiting with the class until it's time for them to go back to the pool. 

Snuggling with Mama is still a favorite past time, for which this Mama is very glad. You have started to climb up and down onto our bed and now like to crawl under the blankets right next to us and pop in your thumb.  True snuggling. Oh, Gracie.  One word continues to describe you: Joy. It was the describing word that we knew of you before you were born, and it continues to amaze us how much increasing joy you bring into our lives.  You are a bright light, Gracie.  Shine on.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Trying to capture just a tiny moment of my heart as a Mama....

I cannot begin to explain the hundreds of thousands of words living inside of my head.  "This for sure is something I'll need to blog," I'll say.  And, it will float around in my head, being added to every few days, until I assume the thought finds a remote file to place itself on, as it rarely happens that I actually sit down to write.  I've always wondered just how it is that people can keep up with their blogs.  I envy the memories they have captured.  I had many, many beautiful moments to capture too.....but I likely never will remember them. 

I have come to understand that I am a writer.  Growing up, I always assumed that statement meant that I needed to have a great list of credentials, or have written for my school newspaper and studied journalism and writing through college.  I did neither of these. 

What I now understand about myself is that my writing is how I best express my heart.....for myself, to myself, and hopefully to someday benefit or encourage my children.  Perhaps I'll even inspire someone else in their own life journey along the way.  However, writing is my form of "scrapbooking".  (Of course, I wish I did that too, and I may.......when I'm retired. :-)  )

The problem seems to be, that these children of mine are growing up so quickly.  They said it would go by fast.  Every older person I have met in the street, at the store, or at church has said time and time again how quickly it all goes by.  The strange thing is, I didn't think I would notice until it was over.......but I am noticing!  Watching my beautiful children grow and change as the weeks and months go by is nothing short of a miracle!  Yet.....yet.....somehow I want to run out and yell, "Wait!!!! Stop!!!!!!!  I'm not ready!!!!!!" 

I'll pull a book off of the shelf to read to Grace, and my mind will go racing back to reading it to Caleb.  I realize that I didn't really read it to Emet or Ru Bear.......or that I did, and that Gracie is the last one through.  Next stop....passing on to a friend, or storing away for Grandkids. Grandkids? Really? Can I be thinking such thoughts already?

It's in these moments that I'm infinitely thankful that we have made the decision to homeschool this next year, and until God leads us otherwise.  My throat closes up and I think that I don't want to miss a single moment.....of anything.  Even the tantrums. 

What about Caleb?  How quickly he is growing up, becoming a boy......a baby no longer. Second grade this Fall!  On his first day of Kindergarten, I remember him telling me that he liked it, but he would rather just be home with me.  He missed being home with me.  I wonder if he'd still say that now?  I think he might, because he's my tender boy that doesn't want to hurt Mama's feelings.  Well, at least he still likes to snuggle with me every day. 

What about Emet?  Charging ahead into life, he is! Brave and bold.....not to be left behind in any pursuit.  In my mind right now, I can look back to him and his brother sitting in their superhero underwear together on the couch tonight looking at his Starwars LEGO book, planning to somehow obtain all of the Starwars LEGOs in the world!  No more Thomas the Train.  At least he still likes Larry Boy and likes to cuddle Mama.

What about Anna Ruth?  She has been the one to bring these thoughts to me the most lately.  Her changes have been slow, but steady.  I think it's because she's the first girl.  I've noticed lately that somehow she slipped into little girlhood, and left behind toddlerhood.....perhaps without me really noticing.  Or, I did notice.  In those "I really need to blog this" moments that I have now forgotten and never captured.  She is quite a big helper to me, the nurse of the family, and one who will disappear quietly upstairs to play dollies or read by herself.  At least she still comes down in the middle of the night and crawls in our bed to snuggle. 

What about Gracie?  I don't think she is going to give me much of a chance to hold on.  I can watch her eyes and see her calculating how to fit right in with her brothers and sisters.  They love her, and she them.....and she is not to be left behind!  But she sure loves to cuddle with her Mama.

Cuddle bugs, one and all, they are.  And, I AM SO THANKFUL to God for this gift.  For, though my mind simply cannot grasp how quickly time is passing and things are changing; though my hours cannot seem to find time for the expression of my words and memories, my arms are full of my babies who love to cuddle me. 

Oh, God.....hear my heart!  There must be a greater plan you are crafting than that we Mamas are purposed here for scrambling to grasp and capture the moments whether in words, pictures, or mementos.  Surely you are etching deep within us the very purposes for which the beautiful yet painful job of mothering involves.  Surely our hearts and souls are being transformed from the experiences that our minds may not remember, even though they were those things we never planned to forget....yet never captured....and now they are gone, to us at least. 

I trust these things to you, Oh LORD, because I cannot fathom them.  Tears stain my cheeks as I am called time and time again to "Let go" of another precious last with my children.  Even the little things move me to tears.  I receive inexplicable joy and simultaneous pain in seeing these moments pass before my very eyes, knowing that even the most precious ones, I will likely not "capture". And, even if I captured every moment.....would I miss them all in the attempt? Would I ever simply "be" in the moment and not trying to get behind it, whether in word or on camera.  I struggle with that as it is.

For those who have read my blog.....if only you knew!  If only you knew how many more precious moments and memories have occurred within the walls of this little, loved home.  If only you knew how God has so greatly transformed my mind and heart as a much I have been humbled, and yet how much I have been raised up.

I think I fear sometimes, that, when it is all said and done.....when the last little one has left home, that I will want desperately to remember, and I won't be able to. And so, I simply must trust that you, God, have a greater purpose than I can understand, and that you won't leave me wanting when I am in need.  You haven't so far, and so I can trust that You won't then either.

Oh, You, I leave this your Purpose and to your Glory.  I barely know how to process it all. My words will simply never be enough.