Thursday, April 18, 2013

What a mother.

Over spring break, we were delighted to find out baby number four would be joining the ranks this fall.  Okay, we are definitely delighted, but there was a variety of other emotions that surged through first - I was a bawling mess.  Not because I am having a baby (well, I was looking forward to all of the delicious summer cocktails around the corner, and now I suppose lemonade will suffice), but because I am having a baby in Florida.  We have lived here for two years now, and have nicely settled in and gotten used to traveling back and forth between here and Denver, and the heat is...well, it sucks, but I know now not to go outside from May until September, and we have (finally!) made some great friends to get us out now and then, of a baby coming tossed out any good vibrations I had been getting from living in Florida.  When a woman is pregnant she needs her tribe - or, in other words, her mother.  My mom is 1900 miles away!  How will she babysit for doctor's appointments?!  How will she come over in the middle of the night when my water breaks?!  How will she whisk the other children away and change a diaper or two so I can take a nap?!  All of these things she was able to help me with for our three girls, and it was a huge blessing that we all both loved and appreciated, and that I maybe hadn't realized was so special until now that it's not available.  Of course, I sobbed all of these things to my mom over the phone, and because she is awesome, she came out for a couple of days to put me at ease.  We always love when Meemaw comes - the girls adore her - but I was especially glad to just have her around for a few days to let go of my anxiety over the whole thing.  We lunched, we planted tomatoes, we shopped, we talked about how fast the girls are growing and how sweet my husband is and how silly my brothers were (and are) and how everything is going to be fine.  And how maybe someday we'll be back in Denver, but for now, this is our life, and it's great.  I am so thankful that my mom is willing and able to come visit - I know when we were kids we lived out of state for a while, and my mom's mother was not able to do the same.  They got a call on Sundays, and a visit for Christmas, which was a happy and precious time.  It makes me extra grateful for free long distance and video chats (even with a bad connection), and healthy, travel-savvy parents.  And still, even if all I got was a letter delivered by stagecoach twice a year, I'm always grateful for my ma.

Friday, April 5, 2013

This little light of mine.

My first child, the blonde, turned six last weekend.  She, of course, had big plans, and turned six with style - got her ears pierced and everything (sob).  Fancy shopping, fancy dinner, and even skipped a birthday cake so she could order fancy dessert at the restaurant.  She's a fancy girl, what can I say.  The blonde is our walking experiment.  As the first child, all disciplinary action, privileges, and milestones are tried out on her before we run them on the other girls.  She's how we discovered that if you want a baby to sleep in it's bed, you cannot let her sleep only on your lap for the first six months of her life.  She's how we learned that it's ok to throw away a onesie.  Not all poop explosions are worth cleaning up after (in a public restroom).  She's how we learned potty training is not a race, and not all kids work for stickers.  She's how we learned that if you spell the same secret word in front of your kids all the time, they'll figure it out and ask to go to the P-A-R-K.  She's how we learned that children cannot always be reasoned with.  Sometimes they just need a little hug and some candy to forget the trouble they've gotten into.  She's how we learned that the dark is scary, and everyone needs a night light.   She's how we learned that they grow too fast.  We spent so much of her little time counting down to milestones, and wondering how she'd change, that suddenly, she has, more than we had thought.   She is teaching us that she won't be a kid for long, and now is the time to let her just be one.  Let her like princesses for as long as she wants to.  Let her snuggle whenever there's a lap available.  Let her brush her own teeth, but still zip up her jacket for her.  Let her be silly, but be serious when she wants to be.  Let her imagine she is any wonderful thing she dreams up, and let her continue to teach you how to be a good parent.  Mistakes will be made, but fortunately, all I see in her are things we did right - she is loving and kind, she is honest, she is compassionate - she is a gem, and she shines not because of us, but because God has made her a wonderful child.