Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On turning 38

Today I turned 38, and honestly, I'm really not bothered by that number. I think so many people are mournful on their birthdays. We travel through life, busy with the day to day, we reach another birthday and we become sad. We look at our lives and we see regret, we see missed chances or failed relationships and we mourn the passage of time. We look in the mirror and we see lines and grey hair or our changing bodies and we mourn our youth. We look at our lives and we feel old. 

I, however, do not feel mournful today. I have a few regrets and missed opportunities. I have a few relationships I wish I had tried harder to keep. I have lots of grey hair, a few wrinkles, and a body wreaked by 4 pregnancies in five years. But instead of sadness, I choose joy. 

I am filled with happiness today because I choose to focus on the blessings of my 38 years and not the disappointments.  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who loves me more now than he did 21 years ago. I have 4 healthy, delightful children that I have the privilege of spending every day enjoying.  I have a beautiful little yellow house (I've always wanted a yellow house) with a yard made for childhood. I have a handful of sweet friends and a family that gets along. 

I have purpose in my life, and I know the direction I'm going and who is going with me. I know who I am, why I'm here, who I love and where I belong. I know what I want out of this life and I know exactly how to get it. I know what to be thankful for and who to be thankful to...

Today I turned 38 and I am blessed. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A letter to my child on what should have been your first day of Kindergarten

My sweet child,

When I look at you this morning my heart aches a bit.  Today would have been the "big day"!  Instead it is just another hot and humid August day filled with the mundane of life.  Today is not the first day of school for you.  You are not off to Kindergarten like most of your friends.  No, today I will mourn just a little for the path we chose not to take. 

How can I explain the many long hours of prayer and discussion we took to reach this decision.  I know one day soon you will ask me that question - why? Why did we choose to homeschool?  I hope you will be satisfied with our answer.  It is a complicated one. 

We chose to keep you home for school because we love you.  Sometimes I love you so much it hurts.  We want what is best for you, and this is what we think is best.  When we first thought of sending you to Kindergarten, I knew I wasn't ready.  You are more than ready.  But me, well I wasn't ready to let you go. 

We were not ready to only see you a few hours a day and on the weekends.  We were not ready to have you separated from your brother and sisters all day.  We were not ready to have other five year olds influence all your choices.

In the five years since you were born, you have been my constant companion.  I had the great privilege of having you with me 95% of the time.  Daddy and I make many sacrifices for me to be home with you and your siblings.  Other than visiting your grandparents' house, you've never been to daycare or even mother's day out.  For this season of my life, you are my job. 

I enjoy spending my days with you.  I love when you whisper little secrets in my ear and snuggle up next to me for a book.  I love how you know what Lucy needs almost as fast as I do.  I love how you are grumpy in the morning and don't want to be looked at until you are reconciled to being out of bed.  Yes, some days are hard but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

You see, I want to continue on this journey with you.  I want to be the one to see you finally recognize all the ABCs.  I want to be there when you read your first book.  I want to teach you all about God and Jesus and faith and love.  I want see your smile when you figure out how money works and the phases of the moon and the bulb planted in fall will bloom in spring.  I am selfish.  I want those memories.  I am not ready to let someone else share the wonder of learning, of reading, of writing with you.  I want it to be me. 

This choice will be hard for all of us.  It will make you different.  Most children are not homeschooled and people will ask silly questions.  Our days will be long and filled with interruptions but I believe it will be worth it.  I know you better than anyone.  You have such a curiosity for life and I want you to pursue that.  I want you to fall in love with learning.  I want you to know what the words say in any book you choose.

And I hope one day you will forgive us - forgive us for keeping your world so small, for depriving you of the opportunity to make many more friends, for choosing to teach you amidst the laundry and  the errands.  I also hope one day you can thank us for giving you an extended childhood - one in which learning is done all day in many ways, where the day is not ruled by bells and schedules, where you only have to share the teacher with three others.

I mourned a bit for not taking the road more traveled today, but then I listened to you giggling at naptime with your sister when you were suppose to be sleeping and I knew we had made the right choice.


Our 4 year old

I thought this published in May, right after her birthday, but it didn't.  So I am just now publishing it though it was written months ago.

Lila Grace turned 4 on Saturday, the 18th. The last few months, our curly girl has grown up so much. Her development has been slower than her big sister's, not because there's something wrong, but because Lila likes being little. In fact, for this birthday she wanted to be 3 again!

The day of her birthday was also the day of her and Lyra's combo birthday party. I've never combined their parties, and I probably won't do this again. This year has been so difficult and this was a way to make it easier.

Lila Grace started her day by being awoken with Mommy & Daddy singing "Happy Birthday" to her while she was still in bed. She had her party at Jump, which was a big hit! Then we went to eat dinner with Nana & Pop.

On Tuesday night, Daddy & I took her to Build-a-Bear for her gift from us.  The bear's name is Lavender and is quite "girly" for a bear.  She also got a new outfit in purple - her favorite color.

The morning of her birthday it was raining.  The trees in the yard had bloomed and the flowers were falling with the rain.  She commented, "Look Mommy! It's raining flowers on my birthday!"  Our sweet girl sees the wonder and beauty in everything.  She is such a joy.