Sunday, January 26, 2020

What If....

I once read a quote that hit me hard..

What if you woke up today with only the things you said thank you for yesterday?

Whoa.  Don't get me wrong, I believe in gratitude and I listened to the whole Oprah podcast on it, and my guru Brene Brown says gratitude is how we drive out fear (clearly Brene doesn't have to send five kids to college at the same time someday, but we'll let that slide).  

I want to practice gratitude more.  But to think about it in a way as in I would only have today what I was grateful for yesterday?  My, how my life would be different.  

We all have struggles in different stages of our lives.  Given that I work with teenagers, I see the questions of a sense of self, first loves, fears of leaving home, and most of all--rejection.  I am in my mid-thirties with five three-year-olds, so I mostly feel exhaustion, fear of finances, and fear of sickness.  But, I see others who deal with caring for ailing parents, special needs children, spouses, etc.

Let's be honest..most of us don't live the life we imagined.  One of my favorite quotes in high school was Henry David Thoreau, 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.

Life the life I've imagined?  Psh. Let's be real, Henry David, this is not the life I imagined. As I reflect on our infertility struggle, I really just wanted a baby whose eyes pool into dark, mystifying muddy puddles like my husband's and a baby who would make us a family.   A family to decorate the Christmas tree and a family with whom I could see all of the national parks.  I wanted giggles and tickles and afternoon walks and a stroller. Not an eighteen-wheeler stroller like the one I have now--but God had other plans.  

I think what I'm trying to say is that most of us don't have exactly the life we imagined.  We probably have some of it (I do have a child whose eyes do pool into mystifying muddy puddles and I love it).  But still, most of us don't have all of the life we imagined.  But, my friends, that.  is.  ok.  I don't think this life was intended to give us everything we wanted.  If it did, we wouldn't anticipate heaven the way God wants us to.

My therapist encourages me to grieve the life I thought I would have (a few kids, a dog, one baby monitor, a double stroller and maybe a minivan). I think now I've come to realize that God was just teaching me that He made me for something different.  And He made you for something, too. Maybe something different than you intended. 

So, let's remember to be grateful--despite the aches, the grief, the fear, the pain.  This world is indeed broken, but there is light when you look for it.  

A baby update?  Well, their not babies anymore--that's for one.  Here's an update by kiddo and some silly photos and videos.  

Ava--Ava recently started gymnastics.  Ava is so brave.  She went into that gym knowing absolutely no one and never cried or clung to me.  She thirsts for knowledge and she loves to learn new "tricks."  Her favorite thing now is to "stick" every landing she can.  This girl has more bravery than I ever did.  I'm so proud of her.  
Ava getting ready for her first day at gymnastics class

Clara--I wish you guys could meet Clara.  She's so goofy and funny.  She still sings Jingle Bells in January and accepts every opportunity at nudity she gets.  She and Ava have a very special bond, but she's truly learned to play with all of her sisters.  I love that she seems to be the joy that holds everyone together.  Clara and Izzy recently started music class and they are loving it--though not nearly as much as they loved their trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Now THAT was fun.
Clara is the one you think she is..right there in the center.

Clara with clothes on!
Clara and Izzy visit Grandma and Grandpa's house

Here are some Ava/Clara shenanigans:

This is Clara and Ava putting their "babies" to bed, saying the prayer we say with them each night.  Then, they say "Silent Night" to their babies, just like I sing to them each night.

This is just Ava/Clara antics.
Millie--Millie is pure compassion.  When I hurt my ankle over Thanksgiving, she put her little hand on my face and said: "Don't worry, Mom, I'll take care of you."  She's three.  But she'll take care of me?  Wow.  I now know who will be managing my nursing home care 40 years from now.  Millie continues to be our bookworm.  I offered music and gymnastics classes to her, but she asked if she could just go and "read books."  Yep, read books we shall, my love.  

Luke--Oh Luke Thomas.  He's still a friend of mine.  Luke is making tremendous progress at his ABA school.  He's now transitioning to going 9 am to 3 pm every day of the workweek.  He's such a big guy!  He probably has 50 words by now and best of all, he's starting to say, "I love you."  Girls, lookout. This boy is by far the sweetest, most calm, puzzle-loving dude out there.

Isabelle--the threes hit Izzy hard.  Isabelle has definitely developed some willfulness in her three-year-old stage, which has been hard for me given that she's my "baby baby"--the youngest of my babies (by six minutes).  I used to sing Justin Bieber's "Baby Baby" to her when she was small (don't judge--I was sleep deprived).  She's definitely the princess of the family, but now when you ask her something, her typical response is "Izzy says no."  Well, that doesn't work for this old gal, so we're trying all kinds of parenting tactics to help Isabelle work through her wilfulness.  ADVICE WELCOME!
My baby baby
Izzy and Clara with Grandpa at Grandma and Grandpa's House

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, we also changed the kids to "big kid" beds which have been a major change.  The girls absolutely love it, but they are staying up all night playing with each other (no toys allowed in their room).  They sing, play tag, play Ring around the Rosie, etc.  Luke has his own room and has already transitioned to a big boy bed.  So, one down--four to go.  It's so hard.  They say it gets better.  I'm hanging on that, please sweet Jesus.  

Does this look like summer camp to anyone else?

As I sit here and write, more than one sparrow has stopped and sat on the bench that I'm sitting on.  So I'll leave you with this verse from the book of Matthew:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 

Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...

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