Friday, September 28, 2012

Nicky turns 6

We had a fun time celebrating our Nickyboy this past Saturday. He wanted an Angry Birds party, and we were happy to oblige. Ricky was a rockstar dad and built some fun launchers. Birthday parties are getting more chaotic as he gets older, but we all just pile in and watch the kids run around, and try to have a conversation here and there. Within moments, every toy is out and the house takes on a new energy. People pass babies around, give hugs, avoid running kid-packs. I love our friends, new and old.

Our kind and generous neighbors provided free face-painting. They don't mess around, as you can see.

Those who could stand to be still painted birdhouses (this is about as far as Silas got).

PiƱata time is getting a bit more serious. Nicky asked if he could go first and it occurred to me that he's not one of the little ones anymore. So, he was the first "big kid" to go after the little ones. 

Strawberry cake, by request. Fun with fondant.

Nicky and Jude. They're at different schools this year, so getting together outside of church is pretty special.

testing out the launchers....

So, now we have a six year old. He loves building with Legos and other "click-blocks", dance parties, movie night, Power Rangers and superheroes, still. He's a champ of a big brother; really good at "cheering up" the babies as he puts it. He's still full of funny sayings, like calling his drawings/paintings "fridgers" or "wallers" depending on how good he thinks they are, telling Silas to stop "buffalo-ing" everyone, and insisting that his school friend's name is Samanthum, not Samantha :) He does chores for money now, and is learning about saving and tithing. He loves school and goes to a really good after-school program, and gets upset when we try to pick him up early....

He is still surprising, sweet and full of life. I'm so grateful for another year with this boy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

two stories

Open your eyes to the bigger story.

Because there are always two stories: the one that is right there, obvious, and apparent. The one that seems inevitable. The one you don't have to try very hard to see.

The other story hides. It hides under a scrunched up, crying little face, again. It hides under your heavy sighs as you bounce and rock, and try to not feel anything because you're getting weary of the rollercoaster. This is never-ending, you think in those moments.

But it's not. It will pass. See how she smiles, on her tummy, reaches her hands out to bright, colorful objects; stares at the bright turquoise wall you both painted a few weeks before she came? Things do change, but it's so slow that you can't see it until afterward. So look back, and see.

Remember when she slept 20 hours a day? When she was never happy, never calm, unless she was asleep? And now she smiles at people. You play with her, for goodness' sake. She doesn't awake with a start, not every time. Remember when Silas was always in her face, and you had to guard her from his curious, not quite gentle ways? Look at him now, how he pats her on the back and brings her bottle.

There is a hole in your heart, and so you feel it. You're grieving the loss of things that every baby should experience, in a perfect world. It used to be an hour at a time, now it's more like three, and soon enough you'll be looking back on it all. Telling a story is the reward for living it.

I'm not going to lie and say that everything will be okay, because I honestly don't know. All I can say, in sincerity, is that it will pass.

You can pray for the faith to believe it will be okay. There is that.

It's not any of the stories that swirled around in your mind before. It's so real right now, that you kind of want to sabotage it because it's scary as hell. Every day you have to lay down that fear, or it will eat you alive. You didn't know what a mirror this would be, but here it is.

Right now, this story is mostly about humility, and accepting help, and family. You don't do this on your own; neither does she.  It's a story about burdens, and dividing the load. It's a story about a different kind of love. It will be about more, but for now this is what it is.

So don't worry about things like bonding and visits and what-ifs. Just do the little things. Maybe she'll eat some banana again today, perhaps not cry when you do floor play time. Maybe you'll bite your tongue and count to ten when Silas is head-butting your legs while you make dinner. Maybe you'll take time to just lay with him while he takes his nap, to kiss his unruly little head. Maybe you'll listen carefully to Nicky while he talks about school, and maybe you'll notice again how Ricky's coming into his own as a father in a whole new way and smile with gratefulness for all of it.

These are the little things that make up a bigger story.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a shifter's prayer

God, i used to think you were packageable.
i used to be able to say to others, to myself "this is exactly what God is like."
when i read the Bible i used to feel comfortable and right, affirmed in my belief
now i sometimes feel bothered by what I read, and oh so tired, and still thirsty
oh, how i miss being sure about you-
but God, i’m trying to lean into the present, to experiencing you in new ways.
i see you in the faces of children
i feel you in a sudden cool breeze when the sun is blaring down
i hear you in laughter and honest conversation, in the vulnerable
i smell you in an unexpected rainstorm, in the fresh morning air
i touch you when i touch the difficult, the messy, the un-explainable
thank you for these gifts. 
despite all the things i don’t know, i can still cling to this….you are full of compassion and mystery, and oh so 
and for that i, too, am thankful.  
God, please keep sustaining me in these shifts.
i do want more of you in my life.  

{This is another exercise from Kathy Escobar. She's my internet pastor, I've decided.}
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