Joan's funeral was today. We were at the Wesleyan Church so we could fit everyone in. So happy to see all the lives Joan touched in her lifetime. Thank you to her family. You were gracious, willing to share her with us. Thank you for inviting us into this very personal time. My family and I were blessed to be able to change our vacation plans so that we could be a part of the funeral. We are so glad we were here.
And I am excited to jump into the second part of our vacation. The girls and I will be in Florida while Brian remodels our bathroom. I know. He got the best end of the deal.
The snow seems colder since I know we will be in tank tops in a few days. But I'm okay with that. Because we will be in tank tops in a few days.
Last night, I am ashamed to say, I had a meltdown. I have had many meltdowns, but this one was different. This meltdown was really a failure in my parenting skills. Last night, my oldest made a decision that completely disappointed me. I was so disappointed, it drove a wedge between us. I was so disappointed, I couldn't see the big picture.
The reality is that even though we are born with certain character traits, better ones can be learned. And character is to be taught by parents. Parents who should know that 5 year olds aren't the best at decision making. Parents who can keep long term perspective. And that, last night, was not me.
Okay, the title is not as cute as the littlest girl one. But I stole that one from a book we read.
Today is my oldest's birthday. We don't forget that one as easily, because we were at the hospital two hours after she was born. We spent the night in a hospital room, with her, as she made her little breathing noises. It was one of the first nights I didn't sleep like a rock. How could I, with all those little noises coming out of her?
It was cold that year. We drove to the hospital in snow. We left the hospital in -10 degree weather. We did drive slow, because we were new parents, but also because of the snow that had fallen the night before. While we were in the hospital, all we could do was wait impatiently for someone to tell us we could go home. When we got home, we couldn't believe someone let us leave with something so small and fragile. ACK! We were in charge of keeping another human being alive at the most precarious time of their life.
Thankfully, I had given most of that anxiety to God. I knew that if I didn't trust Him to give her her next breath, I would be spending the next 3 months on the floor by her crib. Staring at her while she slept. Oh, it was tempting. But sleep deprivation really helps with the trust thing. She gave us our share of scares--asphyxiating on her own puke, sliding out of her car seat while it was on the table, that kind of fun stuff. But thankfully she did all that while we were all awake and somewhat alert.
Although blurry, I have deep, precious memories of the first few months with her. The extent to which she changed our lives was profound. And it continues to be so.
Every day I struggle with the high expectations I have for the future, while balancing her present needs. I wish for an instruction manual, like all parents. I wish for all the answers to my questions, for confidence in my decisions, for wisdom in my actions. All I can do is immerse myself in the Word. In that place, I can find perfect love. I can find sinful people. I can find the interaction between the two that is mind-shattering. And soul shattering. And sometimes, when I can stop thinking of myself, I can feel the Love that I am instructed to share with my girls. And I am humbled and thankful. And more resolute. If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, I think I can have grace for one more muddy dress. For one more interruption. For one more small sacrifice that is an inconvenience to me, but a lifeline for them. Thank you, my girl, for showing me what love is.
Today we went to JCPs to get our annual family picture out of the way...I mean, taken. Things went surprisingly smooth. I am much less exhausted than usual. I guess that is a benefit to having older children. I have a beautiful new haircut I was trying to show off, but it just looks like my normal UFO hair. I'm going to have to go to beauty school just so I can figure out how to be presentable.
Another appointment we attended to was our accountant. I know, loads of fun. I couldn't agree more. I love getting this stuff done. Makes me feel like an adult. OH, and a new law went into effect this year. We may get some money back on our adoptions. Originally we didn't make enough to get any money back, it was considered a tax credit. Now, we may be able to qualify for almost 2/3 of it. I will be d0ing a little happy dance if that actually happens.
At this time four years ago, we had one baby who hadn't turned a year old yet. I was amazed that we had been entrusted to this little life, and was savoring every moment. After her finalization, we told our social worker that we were ready to be put on the list for another baby. We fully expected it to be a year wait. That was in September. On this day, four years ago, we were still waiting. But God had already brought this little life into the world. God, and her birthparents, to whom we are so grateful.
In some ways, it's hard to remember that today is her birthday. We didn't even know she existed until around the 22nd of February. And we picked her up on the 24th. So to me, the 24th seems more like her birthday. But by that time, she was 3 weeks old. A 3 week old, 4 1/2 lb, screaming little girl. She was 4 weeks early, so when we got her she was almost to her due date. (Which, by the way, is the week of my birthday.) She was tiny! At 4 1/2 lbs, I could put her in my sling and forget she was there! I can gain and lose 4 1/2 lbs in a day or two. She was very small. But she made a big impact.
All of a sudden, we were a family of four. Our oldest was a big sister. Some people have 9 months to absorb the news. We had 2 days. Granted, we had 9 years and 2 days if we count all the drama surrounding us trying to have children, but still. It was a time for major readjustments. The night feedings started again, the doctor visits, the sleep records, all of it. And she was so different from our first child.
I could record all the ways she has been different, all the funny things she has said, all the scary things we have been through. But that would be long and naptime is almost over. Instead I want to say thanks to God again for bringing her into our lives. For stretching me in ways I need to be stretched, for teaching me things I didn't know I needed to learn. I am amazed (and sometimes frustrated) at how different we are, and how precious she is. I am blessed beyond reason to be a part of her life. I am proud of the person that she is and will become.
I let the girls listen to some music on my phone today. They kept staring at the screen, even after it had gone dark. I said, "Girls, it's not TV, it's just music." To which my youngest said, "Mom, I'm letting my ears see the music." Can't really argue with that...