(as always, this was started . . . over a month ago! So here'a little catch-all update)
On the morning of K's most recent sleepover at her aunt and uncle's, I was reading a book that held this so-true reminder: "Grieving in parenthood begins at conception. Children will eventually leave. A woman who gives birth, or any mother, knows it, although for awhile she may be in denial. Letting go is a daily event. Children are never really ours. It is an illusion to think otherwise"
As I write, we just returned from a wonderful trip to Bismarck and are now heading into "wedding week" for Uncle T & Aunt K. We are so thrilled!
Things to remember:
One morning a couple weeks ago, for the first time Karis was sad when I dropped her off at school. So I walked her in and straight to her beloved teacher, Miss Julia (our friend, and daughter of my boss). She kindly took Karis and . . Karis was smiling brightly when I picked her up . . . and in her cubby was a beautiful drawing by Miss Julia with a bible verse on the bottom. I cried. Feeling thankful. We all learn and grow together.
At this stage in the game, we're enjoying the kids' early bedtimes . . . and once in a while we sneak out when they're asleep for a gathering here or there. Our favorite date spot is Milton's, we sometimes go there during the dinner hour while the neighbor girls come over to feed our kids noodles and play with them. I've been enjoying leaving at dinner time every now and then to meet friends for dinner, go to book club or attend a church meeting. It's easier to leave two kids than it ever was to leave just Karis - I find that interesting, liberating, and healthy. I'm always grateful for how hands on Trevor is, and he also sets a good example of maintaining identity and pursuing new interests (lately: pilates, 90px or whatever that is, hunting, hiking, running, reading new things for his book club, networking during his days, reaching out to those around him with joy).
Something I think about lately is how we're all really just trying to live together peacefully and with as much kindness and joy as possible. There are always countless chances to practice daily. To end the days with a pile of regrets and another pile of victories . . . knowing that tomorrow is another mystery that will unfold with more things to add to the piles.
Life is precious, the days fly, the years do also. Trevor and I are quickly approaching ten years of marriage, yet I sometimes feel like I'm still 22: "How did I end up with these two kids and a house and neighbors and . . . ". This is a sweet season, I'm aware every day of the snapshots that will make up the memory book in my mind . . .
Some snapshots in my memory (note that these reflections are written in the morning after I have a 12 hour break . . . I wonder what I'd write at night, or in the middle of a road trip?):
Watching Karis hike in the valley behind my parents' house, picking "bouquets", the breeze blowing her hair and her free spirit so evident. She also loved to twirl and twirl in the backyard . . . in her new "princess Ariel" nightgown/dress.
Watching Uncle Karl teach Karis to ride a trike.
Watching the kids bang on the piano together, practically head banging as Karis sings various renditions of "Let it Go".
Watching Karis's "Spring Sing" at her preschool, and the way people commented on her exuberant expressiveness.
Watching Karis and Judah interact in the backyard - Judah waits for Karis at the bottom of the slide.
Watching Karis talk on the phone to my grandma, composed like such a little lady.
Watching Judah wake up, stretch out his arms
The way my kids laugh while riding in the car during torrential downpours
Rocking Karis before bed, the way she spills over my lap but still fits, reading her the part of Proverbs 31 that I've read to her since birth, singing "Jesus Loves Me" . . . wondering just how long we will do that?
Rocking Judah before sleep, the way he maneuvers himself into the crook of my right arm (he makes sure it's my right arm). Saying his baptism verses, reading from I Love You This Much, singing "Jesus Loves Me" as I zip him up in his sleep sack and nuzzle him as lay him down in the crib.
Carrying Judah around, making sure that he's in my left arm (he makes sure it's my left arm). The way he rests his hand on my shoulder while securing his other thumb in his mouth.
"Rise and Shine" in the morning, followed by reading from Karis's beloved "big girl princess books" in her tiny toddler bed (but only after I shower, insisted by Karis). More "Rise and Shine" when Judah gets up, more books . . . singing through our "morning work" (usually unloading the dishwasher), playing "morning music". Mornings are the best.
In random reading/watching/listening:
From Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
"What is enough? As always, it seems the more I can distinguish between my trued needs and my wants , the more I am shocked to realize how little IS enough"
"They have large human hearts, getting larger. As they age, they're becoming more intensely themselves, and it's so good. Good for them, good for us, good for the children to see" (talking about her parents)
From Resurrection Year
"Dreams are the precious gift of our imagination. They create worlds that aren't yet real. They beckon us toward these worlds to inhabit them . . . they are uniquely ours. At their best, our dreams reflect our own personalities"
From Call the Midwife (the last lines of the show - sniff sniff, I'm grieving the end)
"For what is joy if not recorded, and what is love if not shared"
From a podcast by Shuana Niequist
"Don't let logistics get in the way of purpose/passion/calling during this crazy time of life (with young children)"
Lately there were three verses and/or quotes that popped up in various places of reading. I figure when that happens, they must be things that deserve thoughtful attention:
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self control"
"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children"
"Enjoy life with your wife (or husband, I suppose), whom you love, all the days of your life"
A random attitude check:
I had to (well, I guess I offered) to run an errand for Trev this morning: bringing his rifle to a gun shop. Ironically, I knew this shop well, because I drove by it sometimes multiple times a day - it's located on the corner of the road to our first apartment when we moved to Minneapolis. It made the most sense to do this errand on the way to preschool this morning. I was inwardly grumbling the whole way, irritated at the urgency of this errand in what is a plenty busy week (whoa, attitude). I was hoping it would be easy to just drop it off lightning fast and leave the kids in the car. Nope, no windows by which I could watch them - so I quick ran the gun case in, explained myself to a gruff and unsmiling man, then went back for the kids. Bring the kids in to this unlikely place to bring kids. I'm then greeted by a different, smiling man - a man that I recognize right away and tell him so: "Hey! I used to serve you coffee at Caribou!". He was one of my fave regulars, oh so long ago, and he remembered me (and I really think he did, didn't seem to be politely pretending). Well anyway, it was a good reminder that what I grumble about can turn into the highlight of the day. And it was a fun memory with Karis, later in the day she exclaimed, "Mommy, wasn't that a blessing that we saw the guy you knew at the gun shop?!". By the way, I never said, "Hey kids, here we are at the gun shop!". She figured it out (of course).
- "Mommy, let me tell you a story . . . " (and proceeds to tell me stories about our lives. Such as a story about a busy mommy, or a baby who decides to stop nursing)
- "Daddy, can you text mommy and tell her that I miss her and that I hope she's having a special time. Let me know when she texts back"
- (playing outside) "Hi Robins! HI ROBINS! Are you friends? ARE YOU FRIENDS?!"
- "Are your hands wet?" (she doesn't like when my hands are wet)
- "I'm the leader!" (yes you are!)
- "Mommy, we have caterpillars at school! And they're going to turn into RACCOONS and then butterflies!"
- "Don't bite! Judah, no biting!" (laughing hysterically as Judah chases her around trying to bite her)
- She loves to stand on our furniture and sing concerts for us. I love this.
- She loves to wear her princess dresses (and she has many)
- She calls Trevor "Trevor" (refuses to call him daddy. Picking my battles here - especially since Trevor doesn't mind one bit)
- "Grandma Carole is the chief of shopping"
- "Mommy, do you know where I think the owl mother went? I think she had to go to book club!" (while reading Owl Babies, in which they are concerned about where their mother went)
- "The stinky cheese umbrella is too small for me, I think we should give it to Joshua Asp" (the stinky cheese umbrella is a sponge bob one, HA)
- "Praise God we're out of bad traffic" (indeed)
- "Daddy, I made dinner. Do you like the quiche?" (a tricky way to get K to eat eggs: have her make the quiche)
- "I'm so blessed to have rain boots. I think you should look for some, mom" (true)
- "Look mom, the church has a moat!" (on a rainy day)
- "Mommy, remember to be silly every day!" (I asked her to remind me, it's helpful)
- "Mommy, did I get too small for that dress?"
- "The sir didn't come back!" (after someone at our table at Perkins called out 'sir' to the waiter)
- "Other people can't call you mommy. They only call you Andrea"
- Books she's loving lately . . . An Angel for Solomon Singer, The Secret Remedy Book, Mr. Putter & Tabby, Alfie & Annie Rose
- Walks. Like, really walks. Started taking steps at exactly 15 months and now by 16 months it's his main mode of transportation. I LOVE the beginning walking stage, I wish it would last forever. The look of pure delighted self-satisfaction . . . the tummy sticking out . . . the sideways walking and holding one arm down to balance . . .
- I love how he toddles over to me almost falling over himself, smiling in the hugest and squintiest way. Sometimes he squeals.
- Still crawls super fast. Sometimes while wagging his head back and forth. This kid is part puppy and still says "woo-woo" whenever he sees an animal or even a picture of an animal.
- He calls Trevor "ma". He is obsessed with Trevor and throws a fit when Trev leaves the room.
- Went on a nursing strike and never went back (deserving of its own post that will likely not get written)
- He loves milk and says, "Meh! Meh!" when he sees his sippy cup
- Judah adores music, loves to dance, and plunks away on the piano like a pro (well, like a 16 month old pro)
- He loves to climb on anything. Lately he hoists himself up on chairs and just sits there. He can easily find a way to climb on top of the dining room table.
- Asks for "more" by doing a little shoulder shimmy
- LOVES being outside. We discovered in Bismarck that he has a thing for collecting rocks - that is, collecting them in his fists and giving them to you
- He loves his thumb and pootsie. He loves for me to carry him around all morning, with his thumb in mouth and holding his pootsie.
- He has a mullet (for another day or two, anyway)
- He loves placing things on his head: such as blankets, crowns, headbands
- He loves to burrow into piles of clothes on the floor and roll around
- He loves to walk around with a blanket over him, playing peek-a-boo with himself and stumbling all over the place
- He's super social and observant
- He sometimes shakes with excitement
- He loves to empty the laundry basket
- He loves to hand things to others
- One of his favorite games is to dig in the cupboards for k-cups (future coffee drinker!)
- He is still "Squishy" to me, another fave nickname is "Judah Rudah"
|Just passing the afternoon away in their jammies|
|in the church nursery|