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Big Love Goes to Kindergarten!

I wanted to run in.  I wanted to run into her room and melodramatically yell, “Don’t you realize what school means?!  It means less time with mommy, less time playing.  It means no more mid morning walks, no more waking up when you feel like it or eating when you feel like it.  It means restriction.  How could you possibly be excited to go!”  I wanted to lie next to her in that little bed and talk about all kinds of wonderful things, wonderful things that we’ve done and ones that we want to do.  I wanted to hear her talk about what she wants to be when she grows up and how magic dust makes her boo boos better and how her brain and lungs and every other part of her body works (since that’s what she is interested in).  I wanted to do anything to keep today from coming.  Alas, it was dark and she needed her rest.  And so I decided to step outside with my tissue roll and lay on the trampoline and look up at the stars.
But I didn’t see the stars.  The tears flooded the cool black mat.  I couldn’t even stop them.  They just came.  Not the quiet, silent tears that we often have as adults.  Real bellows, sobs.  My neighbors already know we’re weird so I didn’t even care what they thought, if they thought anything at all.  And while my head thought, “How absurd to cry over such a thing,” my heart felt real pain.  I felt silly and stupid and childish and heartbroken all at the same time.  I mean she’s not dead or dying or even ill.  She has no disease, and she has no disability, but  I felt mad that she would no longer be here with me all the time, where I could be in control of what she sees, hears, and does, where I could kiss her any time I want.  I wanted to scream up at the sky and the planes passing by.  I wanted them to know my stupid, absurd, feelings.  I was glad no one was there to see such a display.  And finally when no more tears would come and the sobs had ceased and all I could hear were the crickets’ songs, I prayed earnestly for peace.
You see our decision to send Big Love to public school did not come lightly.  And it is not what we really wanted to do.  And it still is not.  But it’s what we feel is best for her and our family right now.  And, until we see that it’s not, she will continue to go to public school.  And I will continue to pray for peace.
I am happy that she’s happy.  I’m over the moon that she loves her teacher and is excited about school.  And you can bet I’ll be there to volunteer, eat lunch, for field trips and parties.  But ultimately, my absurd display out there, at night, on the trampoline (Big Love’s 5th birthday present no less) is a sign of my mistrust of God.  I have to let go of my control and let God be in control of her life.  I have to trust that He will guide her and us through this process and that whatever comes her way will not be more than she can deal with.  After all, He has brought her through some pretty tumultuous times already.  I have to recognize that God’s way is much much better than mine.

Baby Love’s Beauty Full Seashells

“Mama! Mama!  Wait.  This one’s beautiful,”  she says to me as we walk along the beach together at sunset,  just her and I. “And this one and this one.”  She’s said it for almost every single one she’s picked up.  Every one of them is beautiful.  Every little piece.

They are beautiful because everything about the ocean is beautiful, from the fiercest to the most docile, from the deepest blue to the darkest gray, from trough to trough, and from crest to crest.  Every grain of sand, every animal, shell, and plant.  There is nothing about the ocean that is not beautiful.

Every piece together makes a beautiful whole.  Just like us.  Our fragments make up who we are.  Some fragments are jagged and holey.  Some are smooth.  Some are not fragments but whole pieces.   And then somehow God collects our pieces and puts them in a jar, ugly and beautiful alike, and the jar is filled.  And it is not a jar filled with lots of ugly pieces of seashells, or whole seashells or rocks.  It is a jar that is filled with us, who we are, and there is nothing ugly about what God has made.

They are beautiful because she is beauty full.  They are beautiful because everything is beauty full to her. And they are beautiful because they are hers.  And they are her first ones.  I think I will keep them forever and ever.

Princess Rock Star

“We find a delight in the beauty and happiness of children, that makes the heart too big for the body”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I figured that Big Girl has had several posts devoted to her (and she’ll have another one at the end of this month) and feel like Littlest Munchkin deserves some super bloggy attention.

She is the epitome of life. She asks me if she makes my heart super happy. And I answer that she does.  She makes my heart super duper happy. She dances in our living room with wreckless abandon in a princess outfit and holding a guitar. Sometimes she closes her eyes, holds out her arms, and just sways to the music, her guitar rocking back and forth with her body. Sometimes she’s covered head to toe in nothing but bracelets, necklaces, rings, and crowns.  She’s definitely got a way about her.  She wakes up my senses in ways that no other can. Each of my children do.

I think every child a mother has is loved equally as much but in such different ways. Avery is so very much like her father, in almost every way. If I hadn’t bore her, I don’t think I could actually claim her as my own. Anabel, however…well, she’s so much like me, but oh so much better. She’s hot tempered, passionate, independent, a leader, mischievous, diva, princess, angel, sugar and spice, and everything nice all wrapped into one short, yummy little package.  She is my go-anywhere-do-anything-at-least-once child.  I was like that.  I kind of still am…just a little bit more inhibited than I was.  But Anabel is not.  She is uninhibited.  And it. is. beautiful.  I think if I loved her any more, my heart would simply pop.

Avery’s Birthday Part 2

Avery’s birthday and birthday party were a smashing success!  Thank you to everyone who helped make it so fun and wonderful not just for her, but for all of us!

We went to the lake with some friends the day of her birthday.  It was rainy, but we had a blast!

The gift!

The first cake.

My parents got her a big box full of Zhu Zhu pet stuff.  She loves it!

The “birthday party” cake!  Delicious!

The birthday girl and her daddy at the pool party.  They are so cute!

The next group of pictures are courtesy of my dad!  Thanks dad for taking such wonderful pictures and for being there for Avery’s 5th birthday party!

And just as her party was winding down and all the cake-filled, wound up children grabbed their balloons to go home, it started to rain.  It was appropriate really.  The end of the party, the end of the celebration of Avery’s birthday.  The moving forward.  The downer after every high.  As I packed up all of our things in the truck, the rain trickled down my cheeks and face like random teardrops and, while I was sad that I was then forced to accept that Avery had turned 5 (as if I could have stopped it anyway), I was also content in knowing that she had a very, very happy birthday.

The Birthday Girl is 5 {Part 1}!

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The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four – of secondary importance is to prepare for being five.  ~Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, 1985

“Your loss is her gain.”   – My mom.

Avery has most definitely loved being 4 and prepared for being 5, but what about me?  I’m not ready.  I’m not prepared.  I am in no way, shape, or form desiring of my baby to be 5.  It may seem melodramatic.  It may be over-the-top, but I don’t want her to be 5.  And I know that there are moms out there that feel the same way.  I want her to be who she is now for much longer than she will be.  How could something that seemed decades away when she was born have happened already?!  The truth is, that I must accept that her sweet little life is not about me.  It’s about her.  I am quickly coming to accept that while I mourn the passing of her babyhood I must at least put on the face of excitement for her childhood and for the upcoming events of her life.  My views on education, the world, and religion will make a huge impact on hers. And so it is.  She will be officially five in a matter of hours and my heart is braced for impact.  My face has a smile and my voice has enthusiasm, and my hope is that if I fake it long enough, I truly will be happy that she is turning five.  When that happens, I know that no matter how I was feeling at the time, my sweet, smart, lively, simply fantastic little girl will have had a wonderful birthday.

My darling first born daughter,

We have been through so much together, so much since your surprising conception.  You have endured hardships that were not of your own doing.  You have overcome obstacles that were placed in front of you by someone else.  You love and forgive like no child I have ever met.  You have so suddenly erupted out of babyhood and into the whirlwind of a girl that you are today!  You are so very, very special, Avery.  Your perception of people and your world is so often far wiser and clearer than mine, and your love for life is so evident to all.  You amaze me in so many ways.  You love God and you love other people, and your nurturing has already proven fruitful, fruitful for me.  Thank you for loving me as you do, for forgiving me as you do, for correcting me at just the right moment and in just the right, respectful way of a child.  Thank you for being unique and for holding your own, for behaving so well, obeying so well, and for being so willing to  please.  You have been and continue to be the most wonderful surprise I have ever received, and I am privileged to know at least some of the reasons God blessed us with you when He did, in such a time that we were poorer than poor.  Throughout our family turmoil, you held steady.  You aged, but you were always my little girl.  You comforted me.  You served your family without even knowing.  You are a wonder and a miracle to us, Avery. I hope that you will look back on your childhood with “happy tears” as I do and know that no matter how much I will miss you at this age, I will love you always as you are, where you are, and for who you are.  Happy 5th Birthday to my first-born, God-ordained surprise!

Love always,

Oh, The Pain!

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“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be”

C.S. Lewis

My big girl had her 5 year doctor’s appointment yesterday.  My mom and I tried to make it a happy fun day,  and the doctor’s office rocked it with cool little stations, stickers, and prizes.  It’s hard to sugar coat something that will be, in the end, pretty painful, but I think they did a great job.

Big girl Avery awoke yesterday morning brimming with excitement about going to the doctor.  She asked several times before we actually left.  “Will I get shots, mommy?” she would ask with a quirky little smile.  “Yes, probably,” I said dreadingly.  Her smile was almost bashful, a funny little kind of smile like she was still excited about going but maybe only half-heartedly believing that there would be pain.  We ate lunch at Applebees and moved on to Target.  Mom bought little packs of stickers for the girls for after the appointment.  It was fun.  I could almost forget about the bulbous knot in the pit of my stomach.  I knew the pain would be temporary.  I don’t think I was so wrapped up in the pain that Avery would experience as I was in the knowledge that this appointment means she will be going to school soon.  Something I guess I thought was forever away when she was born is now approaching like a freight train.

After the doctor’s appointment and on the way home, my stomach was sick from stress and the laughter of the girls running through the Target had changed to silence from Bel (finally) and a soft chatter from Avery in the back seat playing with her prizes and drinking her slushie.  I had explained to Avery that the shots would help keep her well and safe from lots of yucky things, and that way she could grow up strong.  The reasoning seemed to suffice in exchange for the 5 minutes of pure hellacious screaming we had endured.  In a few moments of silence, though, it occurred to me how the situation we had been through is very much the way God works with us.  We have pain and suffering, and we don’t generally understand why.  But we know it’s for our good.  We know that, while we’re screaming and not understanding why it is absolutely necessary for us to go through such pain and suffering, that the pain will end. And at the end (let’s be honest) we usually get a reward.  It could be only a sticker, but mostly it’s not.  It’s something obvious and wonderful.

I cried when she got those shots.  I held her down.  It was some of the worst few seconds of my life.  But after the screams stopped, after what seemed like an eternity in slow motion, my sweet Avery settled down, picked out her prize, and she knew that I would never make her endure something so painful that wasn’t necessary…because I love her more than breath, more than life, more than more.  God probably loves us that way too.

Dessert + 4 Girls = Favorite part of the meal!!

My increasingly-naughty-but-ever-so-adorable Anabel’s new “mean” look.

Each child in the “kindergarten roundup” got a cowboy hat and a star.  They made great efforts to make it fun.  The kids even got to color.

Avery will have to see a pediatric eye doctor for followup on her vision.  She may or may not need glasses.

Believe it or not, her hearing was fine 😉

This is actually an eye test…which she passed!

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Avery and Anabel had fun playing doctor while we waited for the doctor.

“Seriously?”  I said looking at the nurse.

“Seriously.” she said.