Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"My Friends"

Emerson ran excitedly to the sandbox at the softball fields. There were a couple of older girls playing there, likely six or seven years old. After introducing herself to them, and asking them to play with her, she looked over at me, giving a confident "thumbs-up". My heart practically burst with pride.

I watched them play. The group grew throughout the evening as they built castles, chased one another, made "sand angels", and dug in the sand. Emerson was happy and carefree and everything a three year old should be.

We talked about her time later that evening. Over and over again, she talked about "my friends".

She could not, I'm quite sure, have told me their names. She knew they were older. She could recount the games they played. It never seemed to dawn on her that she may never see them again, and their relationship would likely never amount to more than the play they shared on that summer evening in June. Nevertheless, they were her "friends".

I admire her for that. Without knowing anything else about those children, the fact that they played together made them her friends. Why shouldn't they be?

I find myself, for whatever reason, more inclined to see other people...other women...as competition (in what?), as a threat (to what?), or as a challenge (for what?) than I am apt to see them as potential friends.

When did that happen? How did that happen? And how in the world do I change that? Because I don't think it's healthy. It's certainly not Christ-like, and it isn't the example I want to set for my girls.

Then again, on that night, Emerson was the example. She showed love, she demonstrated kindness, and she reminded me that the world is full of "my friends"...most of whom I just haven't met yet.

Brennan: 18 & 19 Months

May 2, 2016

Sweet Brennan, I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to sit down and write a monthly update for you. Actually, I have quickly-written notes from several months ago that never made it into blog-form that I will try to decipher in order to recall the details I was trying to capture...but I know I won't be able to remember all of them. It bums me out already that I have not written more specific details of these early months of your life. There is no shortage of photos, though, and I hope the pictures tell the story. The happy, happy story of this life we are getting to enjoy with you. (This age of social media, I tell you! A girl has to pick her medium! There are only so many hours of the day!) Truly, though, I am sorry for not making more of an effort to document these things for you, and for myself. But, grace is greater than guilt, and that is a lesson that your mommy is learning and clinging to.

  • You are currently wearing 18 and 24 month clothing. You would probably fit into some 2T styles, but I just cannot allow it. Not yet.... At your last doctor's appointment, you were in the 85th percentile, I believe, for height and weight. You're just right.
  • At one point, Emerson was regularly asking for pieces of gum, which she received and you did not. You have associated "gum" with a treat of any kind, and you will frequently reach in the kitchen cabinet and try to pull out "gum-ma" for yourself. You (and your sister...and your mom) really love treats!
  • You are still waking up at least once in the middle of the night, and for a couple of months upon awakening, you would call to me in a short, disgruntled, and determined tone of voice. "Mommy! Mommy!" As if mad at me for having the audacity to not be in your room when you awoke. The moment I walk through the door, however, you immediately change your tone and greet me with a "hiiiiii! ... hiiiiii!" Cheerful, high-pitched, and pleasant. How can I possibly be frustrated to have been awakened with such a perky greeting?!
  • You continue to be Emerson's shadow, repeating her movements and following her lead. I am so thankful that she is the example you have to follow. I don't want you to become her, and I don't get the impression that you want to be her, either. It's as if you are determined to be your own person, and you are using all of the resources you have available to you to figure out this thing called "life". You do so love your big sister, though! And, she loves you more than you yet know.
  • You call Emerson "Eye-yah", and it has become increasingly easy to tell when you are calling her by name, or trying to get her attention. I love that.
  • You love your books, and consistently choose your "Elmo" search-and-find book, "Bob the Builder" opposites board book ("Baaa, Da Bah-Da!" you sing as you pick it up), "Bobo", and "Duck and Goose". You are so proud to know those books well.
  • You enjoy television, and are able to ask for "Sophia the First" ("Iii-aww!"), "Zoboo" ("Ah-bo!"), and dear old "Daniel Tiger" ("Die-yah").
  • Your hair is really starting to grow, and has become increasingly blonde. So beautiful.
  • You have a "look" and a pout that is quite serious. You furrow your brow and really put on a show. More than anything, I think you're proud to know how to make your face look that way.
  • When you swing in the backyard, you lean your head back, close your eyes, and make the most delighted face. I can only imagine what you're thinking, but you just radiate joy in that moment, and I love the delight you take in it.
  • Fighting the car seat has really taken hold in the past month. You have consistently enjoyed riding in the car seat, and even now (once we hold you down and force the seat upon you) you seem to enjoy car rides, but goodness...it's been a willful struggle lately!
  • "App-uh!" (apple) 
  • "Guy-de? Guy-de?" ("Outside?" OR, a request to nurse on the other side...depending on context.)
  • You recover quite quickly from frustration or hurt or disappointment.
  • "Yeah-yeah." ("Thank you!") You are so very polite, and love saying thanks. Actually, until you are acknowledged, you continue to express your gratitude in an increasingly loud manner until you know you have been heard.
  • "Ah-you." ("Love you.")
  • "Ah dooo!" ("I do!")
  • "I knowwww!"
  • "Doo-se?!" ("Juice?!")
  • "Ah-bah!" ("Amen!") You love to pray and bow your head at the dinner table, reach for my hand and Emerson's, and wait patiently for the "Amen". Often, you'll clap and cheer once we've concluded. You know it's something special that we're doing, and you are so proud to participate. How much the Lord must smile to see your joy in talking to Him!
  • You love your yellow blanket! It was on the back of the recliner in your room in the early days of your life, and as we sat there to nurse, it must have unknowingly become a comfort. You now find it at nap time and bedtime and love to cuddle with it as you nurse and when you wake. Adorable.
  • At bedtime, you generously offer hugs and kisses to Daddy and Emerson, and sometimes Royal, and those genuine end-of-day shows of affection melt my heart.

I love you so dearly, Precious. We are making so many treasured memories together, and I am loving every moment of watching you grow. Each season with you has been a blessed one! 
You are full of life and personality, confidence and energy. 
You have such a special place in this family of ours, and you fit in so perfectly. I hope you always know what a gift you are to me, Brennan Elizabeth, and what a gift you are to this world. I love you.