Yesterday we celebrated your third birthday. I am writing this letter the day after because I went to bed early on your birthday because I was really, really tired. It’s no surprise that your mommy was tired, because you fit your nickname well and are a very busy boy. You are so joyous an exuberant that I can get lost simply watching you play. I am so glad that God saw us fit to be your parents. I am so glad that He surprised us with you.
You had a rough start, baby boy. You were not cherished in the way that a little jewel like you should have been. You were disregarded and pushed aside. It is because of your rough start that you amaze me so much, because you are the most resilient, joyful little over-comer I have ever met. Your smiles and giggles light up any room, and you are often complimented on your sweet personality and charming ways. You love to give hugs and kisses, and are the first one to show care and friendship. You have so many endearing phrases and quirks, but one of my favorites is when you insist on kissing any perceived booboo, even if it means kissing mommy’s toes when she stubs them. You will go out of your way to make sure that people around you are safe and well. If someone sneezes you say “Bless you!” If they continue to sneeze, as I often do, you say “Be careful!” Or “Are you all right?” If your sister is crying, you get her her blankie, pat her head, and say “It’s okay, baby.” And I can always rely on you to bring me a tissue.
You love people, and you love to love them. You pay attention to what makes the people around you happy, and you go out of your way to do those things. A few months ago, your Tati Rachel had hurt her toe and had to wear her flip-flops when we went out. More than a month later, she was talking about her toe hurting again, and without any direction or fanfare, you went to where we keep our shoes and got her flip-flops and laid them at her feet. Not only was it an incredibly sweet gesture, but it showed us how incredibly socially intelligent you are. You pay attention to people, and that is an incredible gift that our Heavenly Father can cultivate and use to show others His love.
You love your family and enjoy naming everyone in pictures, and even blowing them kisses. You are especially close to your Tati Rachel, but your Uki, Daddy, and baby sister are close seconds. Mommy is always important too, but I’m pretty sure that you just assume that I’m there and don’t worry about me too much. You are very blessed to have lots of grandmas, aunties, uncles, and even a big brother who love you more than you will ever know.
You are a little guy, only measuring in the 15th percentile. Although you are growing steadily, your petite build means that I probably won’t have to buy you any new summer clothes this year. Speaking of clothes, you are quite the fashionable little guy. You love to dress well, and you especially love your hats. You literally turn heads every time we are out, and it would be an extreme rarity for me to not get stopped at least once on an outing for someone to inquire about your hat-wearing and how cute and handsome you look. You dress yourself well, but still need mommy’s help every now and then for things like stubborn snaps and buttons. You do not need my help, however, to find stickers. You are a sticker fanatic and seek them out whenever possible. A couple of weeks ago we were at Target looking at the clearance racks when I realized you were taking the clearance stickers off of the tags and putting them all over your face. Thankfully, the nice associate ladies were right there and found you some alternative stickers.
You are just starting to learn how to go on the potty, and your sticker obsession is a big help in that task. You love getting to pick out your Sponge Bob sticker after you successfully go on your little potty chair. Sometimes you will sit on your potty chair as often as possible, just so you can get a sticker. And in case you were wondering, yes, this little tidbit will show up at either a graduation celebration or your wedding.
Busy Boy, I never knew that parenting a little boy could be so much fun. I always suspected it could be this way, but we’ve been through so much heart ache this past year or two that I almost forgot to believe that life and parenting could be fun and joyous. It’s not always easy parenting you. You still struggle with your temper and accepting decisions, but you have learned that hurting yourself doesn’t help you get your way, and I am very glad for that. In fact, most days the most defiance we get out of you is a little whining and whimpering that are solved by the simple phrases “Do you need to take a break?” and “Are you a happy boy yet?”
This year I am excited to see you grow and learn in everything you do. Your speech has come such a long way, and I can’t wait to hear even more of what is in that incredible mind of yours. I am hoping that you will be able to play T-ball this summer, and I am really, REALLY hoping that you love it. I want to teach you how to swim, and I am really looking forward to watching you peddle your tricycle up and down the drive way. I know that God has such big things for you, and this is just the start of the adventure, but I am enjoying every moment of it. I can’t believe that you have already been with us for 10 months. Soon, our first year together will be done, and the memories will just keep building on themselves. I can’t even fathom most of my hopes and dreams for you, because every day that unfolds just blows my mind as to your potential and what you might have been put on this earth for. Of coarse, my one hope for you is that you will become the young man that you have been called to be, as passionate lover of Christ, and a lover of the people He loves. Beyond that, it will simply be a joy to watch you become who you were designed to be.
I love you so much, my Busy Boy, my son of my heart.
Today was very spring-like. It was near 80 degrees, which is very odd for the U.P. in the middle of March. Heck, just a couple weeks ago we got over 2 feet of snow overnight! It’s wonderful to see the sun and breathe in the sweet, earthy air. I am seriously getting some Spring cleaning fever, which is difficult to satisfy with a needy 4 month-old hangin’ around. In a way, okay, a big way, I am hoping that this change of weather is symbolic that we are entering into a new season in our lives. Things have calmed in a way that I couldn’t have imagined a year ago, but with that comes some sadness of the realities of why things are so calm.
Wednesday was Gabe’s 19th birthday. Yup. I am the mom of a 19 year-old. That wouldn’t be so weird if I weren’t still 2.25 years away from 30 myself. I mention this not just to say “Happy Birthday” to my sweet son, who is reaching back out to us, and trying to make some very hard choices right now, but also because his birthday marks the beginning of a huge season of trauma-versaries for us. Huge, life changing, never-thought-our-life-would-be-like-this, trauma-versaries.
It’s been a year.
And instead of sitting here on a Friday night with two adolescent boys watching a movie, or playing a board game as a family, or dealing with the latest tantrum fallout, I am sitting here with my sister, my husband, and a sweet 4 month-old who has never even heard me raise my voice, watching the DVR recordings of our favorite shows.
It’s only been a year.
And one of my sons is living on his own in the next town over, doing his best to deal with the consequences of the adult choices he was so eager to make. Our relationship is being restored, finally, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to be the parent to an adult child.
The other of my sons is also dealing with the consequences of his choices, and on a scale he can not possibly comprehend right now. He won’t be coming home. He’s in a place that I pray will usher in the healing that he so desperately needs. He will be 13 at the end of this month. I’m missing that. I’m missing him. The real him. I’m not missing the trauma. I’m not missing the way my heart still races when memories of that time come invading my mind.
In a few weeks Hubby and I will be heading to the Parenting in SPACE conference. It will be a big reunion for me, and a big opportunity for Hubby to connect with other dads who “get it.” As excited as I am, the conference also marks the first domino leading to what we thought was death, but was just the intense heat of the refiner’s fire.
So maybe you can see why this is rather surreal for me to be sitting in a quiet house next to a sweet baby girl who looks into my eyes with peace and adoration.
The alarms are gone. The padlocks are gone.
There are still holes in the walls, and we even found a random poop smear (how did he get it up there?), but with my Spring cleaning fever, I’m sure those will all be resolved soon.
And then what?
Maybe eventually we will get used to this newness. This season of expectation. Expecting good things. Anticipation.
What is He up to?
What will this Spring bring?
PS, Be looking for a new Springy theme next week! I didn’t expect winter to actually disappear before Spring officially got here.
I decided that I will just have to blog about other things. So that will be my new pursuit. There is a lot I can’t blog about, but that will just force me to be more creative and get out of my gripey rut.
My first visit with Baby E went really well. I got there just as they were finishing feeding her, and I rocked her for an hour and 1/2 until she fell asleep. As I rocked her I sang to her, introduced myself and our family (including describing all of our critters) and sang some more. She made excellent eye contact and even smiled a few times. She really likes to be swaddled. The nurse says that when she is sleeping and having tremors that’s one of the only things that calms her. I had to re-swaddle her a few times during our visit, as her right arm kept finding it’s way out, and was hanging in space. Then she would start whimpering.
She is SO CUTE! Chubby cheeks, blue eyes (for now) and reddish blond hair. The nurses are hopeful that she will thrive in a family environment. So excited! Oh, and she is just 4 weeks old, and is already in 0-3 clothing…mostly.
They are expecting her to be ready to come home by next weekend. She will still probably be on her withdrawal meds, but hopefully minimal. They are looking for her “scores” to be at a certain point, as well as making sure her breathing/heart rate are stable.
For those of you who are wondering, I have dear friends who are planning a baby shower for our family. I will let you know more details soon. We are registered at Target under my name ( http://www.target.com/registry/baby/FX5AX396WMDY ) if you are wondering what we still need. Please keep things as gender neutral as possible, as well as avoiding anything that has “mommy” or “daddy” on it. I love you all! Thank you for loving our family through this new adventure.
Anywho, It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Jeremiah has a lot of trauma-versaries in March, and he is coming up on his two-year anniversary of being with us. He has never been with a family for two years before, so this is such a huge deal to him. He’s been taking every opportunity to show us that he is totally freaked out and that he KNOWS that he is going to have to leave any day, so he might as well do it on his terms.
Yeah. That’s been fun. But, hey, he’s still here.
Anywho, because of above circumstances, there has not been a whole lot of academics being done so far this month. Some days he can’t even handle being down stairs at all, he just wants to hide in his room, and I do mean hide, and I have to be okay with that. Actually, on those days, I AM okay with that. I get some house work done, take a lot of deep breaths, and use that time to recharge ME! Then the next day we try again.
We’ve been reading through The Chronicles of Narnia, which he is absolutely addicted to. It’s become a huge motivator and a great bonding/snuggle time. Something I sometimes have to convince myself to do.
But this week he has been really trying. Still lots of ups and downs, but he’s working through the feelings instead of letting them take complete control. Today, as a reward for all his hard work, we are going to have lunch with Daddy at a new gourmet hot dog joint called Johnny Dogs. I am super excited! First, because I am psyched that Jeremiah actually accomplished his goal of finishing his work all week, second because Hubby has been talking this place up since this past summer when the owner was selling the dogs off a cart in the park. I WANT IT!
Anywho, Jeremiah is excelling. He struggles integrating new material, but once he gets it, he doesn’t lose it.
Oh! And he has a new Psych. doctor appointment next month to help with his meds. YAY! This has been a big issue since he has only had a family care doctor up to this point, who admittedly does not have the expertise to handle my growing child’s medication needs.
And by growing, I mean growing! He has grown another 1/2 inch in the past 4 weeks. A total of 3 1/2 since last October. Holy wha!
So we are truckin’. Surviving. Hoping to start thriving any day now.
And now, off to Johnny Dogs!
Update: Johnny dogs was great. So yummy. Then we came home and J. had a complete and total melt down. Of coarse. I knew it was coming, but I still wish he could just let himself have good things. It’s a major bummer. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that Gabe’s 18th birthday is coming up on Monday. Yeah. What a weekend this will be.
With all the new year’s ads telling me I need 6-pack abs, and sculpted thighs and biceps, and big boobs… okay, got those…
I LIKE MY BODY!
Really! I realized that today. I like my body.
I mean, yes, there are things I would like to change, but for the most part, I really like me.
Here are the few things I would change:
My arms. I would like to get them more toned. I am very strong, but I struggle with the typical woman-wings. When I looked at my friend’s wedding pictures from this summer, there were only two things that made me cringe. #1 No one told me how see-thru-ish my dress was. (Thanks, Hubby!) #2 My arms looked HUGE!
The first thing I notice if I am swollen is my double chin. I’m about ready to get one of those as-seen-on-TV neck exerciser thingers.
And now the things I love about my body:
My butt! I love my butt! I have an ars and am grateful for it. Hubby loves it, Juji loves to perch on it, and I can sit on hard benches much longer than my boney-butted counterparts. The only disadvantage to having a butt has to do with the next thing I love about my body.
My small waist! I am a true hourglass figure. I love how curvy I am. The disadvantage to this is that when combined with feature #1, it makes it nearly impossible to find pants that fit properly. SOME women’s clothing companies are finally getting wise and making pants for different body types, but they are EXPENSIVE! So, I wear skirts and dresses A. LOT.
My hair. I have very thick, healthy hair. Although it occasionally frizzes, because of its natural waviness, it behaves itself most of the time. It grows like CRAZY, so I get to try different things with the cut often. I have no idea what to do with it most of the time, so it usually ends up in a pony tail when it is long, or a headband when it is short. I love it when my little sister, Amelia, is around, because she braids it for me. I can’t braid my hair myself.
My eyelashes. I’ve got lots of ‘em.
My smile. I’ve got good teeth, my nose dimples, and it makes other people smile.
My height. I am 6’1″ barefoot, and I can reach stuff!
There’s actually more, but those are the most significant. So although it would be nice to be able to find clothes more easily, and I wouldn’t mind if my tummy were a little flatter, or my legs a little thinner, I really like the sexy woman I’ve become. I really have no interest in becoming my anorexic teenage self again. I feel like a real woman, and I like it that way. SO THERE!
(And I will read this post to myself often.)
I hope you can find YOUR beauty today, and throughout the year.