Sixteen months is a long time to be quiet in this space. During that time, a little baby grew in a belly and arrived 2 weeks early. A bright-eyed four year old embarked on preschool, and through many tears and 4 weeks of heart-felt resistance, conquered separation from mom and the comforts of home. That little girl eventually turned 5, celebrating with a pinata, a few close friends, and a yellow cake with butter-cream icing. Kindergarten soon followed. Likewise, the little baby grew into a boy, and is now 1 month shy of celebrating his first year of life.
These children are a constant reminder to me of how blessed I am. They also prove to remind me that my life is not my own and I'm here to provide for them. Each child has taught me something different. The oldest laughter, the youngest tenderness. What has flowed easily with one, I practice with the other. Lessons learned and lessons applied. A mother wants to remember the details, and so I catalogue a few things for safe-keeping.
Karis is so incredibly tenderhearted. She's strong willed without an ounce of sneakiness in her. She sins openly, much to her own detriment, I'm afraid. Her voice is strong and often-times demanding, requiring gentle shepherding in the ways of kindness and obedience. She is a typical oldest child, faithful to the family and all things communal. She'll share her last cookie with you without being asked and without any detectable hint of sacrifice on her face. She identifies herself proudly as a same gender likeness of me. While blow drying her hair before school yesterday, she picked up on of my hairs that had fallen to the ground. The hair bore some of my dark brown color with some flecks of gray (ahem). Twirling the hair in her her hand and assuming this hair was some sort of magical mixture of both of our hairs, both dark and light together, she sang a song about how we are mother daughter. Blow dryer in hand, I smiled. And when asking about matters involving her college years, she has made me promise she can "text" me whenever she needs furniture for her apartment, and I'll come and take her shopping. These are not hard promises to make to a little girl bouncing in the back seat.
What I've come to know about Micah in his near 330 days spent with us is that he is pleased by almost anything or anybody, save the cruel withholding of food at meal times. A smile for everyone seems to be his life's goal, and for that reason, he's a favorite of cashiers, customer service workers, and generally any human being, particularly females in the 40-60 age range who are far enough away from raising their children and desperately missing the feeling of cuddling a little one on their chest. It's understood that I'm his favorite right now, making things safe and right in the world, but it's clear he LOVES his Dad. Eyes scanning the room, his mouth opens with excitement when I ask him where his Dad is. Usually, we follow the singing and can find him. Not being quite old enough to demonstrate where he needs shepherding (though in very short time it will become clear), we cherish the fleeting moments that he still travels on knees and palms, claps at the endless theatrics of his dad and sister, and grows simultaneously bashful and smiley with anybody who speaks to him in public.
I write these things for own my memory, however I share them with reserve, hoping they won't paint an unrealistic picture of rosiness and family perfection. Rest assured, not a day goes by that Matt and I aren't reminded, through parenting these children, that we are broken parents in need of daily grace charged to raise these broken children in need of daily grace.