Years ago when Steve and I were first dating, I began a fun, zany relationship with his sister Laura. We would play shadow puppets on the wall and just be up to silly tactics to laugh our hearts out. I know that paints a picture of us being small children. We weren’t. Ha! I have treasured my friendship of 17 years with her, as our silliness has continued and she brings the kid-at-heart part of me to the surface. But also because we get to talk about life at a deep level. I love that about her!!!! I love that she is now a mommy of a 3-month old girl and we now have the amazing awesome world of motherhood to talk about, in addition to our lives of faith and being wives. I thank God for her and her profound friendship.
Just last week I was able to spend time with her in New York. I was able to meet her absolutely breath-taking adorable daughter Isabel who is just pure cuteness!!! Being with them for a week was a treasure for me. I was thankful beyond words that between Steve, my mom and my in-laws, I could rest in assurance that my children were well cared for and I could vacation with my sweet girlfriend. Being able to sleep in, have quiet times, read whenever I wanted to, take strolls through the city without being in mommy-mode while crossing streets and holding hands, oh the joy.
Returning to my life was difficult at first. Re-entry was not exactly smooth. I was missing my super amazing friend and hadn’t really realized how genteel and near-silent life is with a 3-month old, as opposed to having a near 6-year old and 4-year old tearing through the house playing tag, laughing heartily, fighting, playing with toys, asking a ton of questions, fighting……WHOA! My ears were not used to it anymore. So it was a sudden re-entry that I was unprepared for mentally. Not to mention the mess of the house as the kids ripped through it. DOUBLE WHOA!!! Very different then a sweet, docile baby who sits in her little recliner observing the world without a single toy in her reach. I returned to sets of marble runs with hundreds of loose pieces, marbles rolling on the hardwood floor, fairy dolls, tea sets and all the rest spreading over what feels like every inch of our home.
I just recently was made double-aware of how thankful I ought to be for all the sounds. During my flight to NY I read the book “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman. A tragic story of how she lost her five year old in an accident with a car. Awful. Tragic. I sat on the plane with a measly five pieces of toilet paper from the airport bathroom, as I practically convulsed with tears through the chapters of that book. The people sitting in my row must have wondered what in the world was wrong with me. I couldn’t stop the torrential downpour of tears that kept coming down my face. Just trying to imagine this mother’s pain in losing her child. Reading her words about desperately wanting to hear her child’s sweet voice just once more. Ugh. It made me realize that every sound (however loud it is) is a gift.
And then this past week Natalie started preschool. There I met a young child in her class who is non-verbal. A 4-year old who cannot speak with words. Unthinkable. I think of what it felt like when Jacob & Natalie were younger and I would try to guess what they wanted or needed. I was soooooo thrilled when that guessing game was over and they could verbalize their thoughts with words. To see this young child in preschool who cannot do that, and how his mother continues in the guessing game, even now 4 years later…..ugh, the sadness. My heart has been overwhelmed with thanks for my children’s words. Thankful that I can hear Jacob pounding Natalie with reasons why she ought to try going on Space Mountain. Thankful that I can hear Natalie say to him, “Jacob you are being soooooooo redundant. Let’s have a conversation about something else.”
So this week I’m especially thankful for sounds. Sounds from living, growing, expressive children. Thankful for the noise and boisterous sounds that at times make me crazy. Thankful that though their baby fat and cooing have been replaced by super strong muscles and incredible vocabularies, they still love to snuggle with me. Thankful that daily their cells are going through mitotic divisions without us even thinking about it. Thankful for the daily miracle of their life. Thankful for the daily privilege of being their mama.
And so as this year has revved up…..with soccer season, music classes, piano practice, preschool, kindergarten, home school activities, play & pretend drama class…..I simply want to wake up each morning thankful. Not overwhelmed. Just thankful.