Thursday, February 07, 2013

I Remembered....

In December I got an early Christmas present. 

I had wondered if I might.

On Friday, December 20, 2012, I found out that I was going to be an aunt.  My sister was going to have a baby!

I was filled with joy and excitement and couldn't wait to share the news.  But with strict instructions to keep quiet for a while longer, I held my tongue and let the realization of this life changing moment bounce around in my head.

As I went to bed that night I felt as if I was having past life moments flash before my eyes.  Life moments shared with my sister.

I remembered vividly the day in 5th grade when I was called to the office for a phone call.  My mom, who was expecting, had been taken to the hospital with hives the night before.  Although I had months of excitement leading up to the arrival of my new brother or sister, I had often joked, being a ten year old, only child, that I wanted the baby to be a boy so I wouldn't have "to share my toys"....

I remembered going to the phone and answering with a "Hello?".  It was then that I heard my dad's voice say, "Kim?  Looks like you are going to have to share your toys!"  I knew then that I was a big sister....with a little sister.

That day was the first and only time that I received flowers/balloons from my parents at school.  I felt proud having the bouquet sit on my desk and I was excited to share with anyone that would listen the big news.  That night, before going to meet the newest member of our family, dad took me to pick out Sarah's coming home outfit that she would wear.

I remembered seeing her.  My sister.  My only sibling.

From a young age I remember having a hard time with change, but I don't remember an ounce of worry over the addition to our family. 

She was mine....

Although my sister, I always felt as if she were mine.

**************
The next flashback was of Sarah as a child about 4 or 5.  She was my shadow.  She wanted to be wherever I was.  She followed me.  She imitated me.  When around my friends I acted like it annoyed me.

But it didn't.

When she looked at me it was as if she thought that I could do anything.  I remembered her crawling in bed with me to sleep beside me. 

She thought I gave her courage.

I knew the truth. 

She gave ME courage.  She made me want to be the person she thought I was.

*****************

I remembered the teenage school drama with friends, and feuds with parents, and feeling as if the world was against me, but hearing her tiny voice and feeling her affection for me would soothe my heart and make me ready to face the next day.

*****************

I remembered a night that Steven had been at our house working for my dad, hauling hay.  I was 16 years old and thought that he hung the moon. I had harbored a crush on him for years and had admired him in secret while he was working on our farm for my dad. 

That night, when everyone had came in from the field to eat supper, a neighbor had showed up. 

The neighbor continued to visit with dad and Steven was needing to return to the field to bring in the rest of the equipment.  Dad looked at me and said, "Kim, why don't you run Steven out to the field so that he can get the tractor?"

Most girls would have jumped at the chance to have the guy of their dreams all to themselves.  But instead, I took Sarah with me, my 5 year old sister, because, this time, I was the one that needed courage....

***************

I remembered spending days talking with Sarah.  This time about her friends at school, and nights talking about her grades and her struggles with classes and parents. 

I was her biggest advocate, as she was mine.

I remembered cheering her on at sports and loving watching her grow.

***************
I remembered being in college and having classes that got out at noon.  I decided that I would take my 10 year old sister to class with me and then to free ride day at the fair.  When getting ready to leave the house, Sarah came out and had on the same denim shorts, old navy t-shirt and white Ked shoes as I had on.

And I didn't make her change.

I loved that she loved me.

**************

I remembered times she stayed with Steven and I, going to rodeos with us on the weekend, and taking her to school during the week. 

I remembered dancing with her in our living room, laughing with her over something silly we had done and crying with her over the trials that adolescence and life brings us.

***************

In the last few years my fierce maternal love for her has expanded to a friendship. 

She's my best friend.

And the ten year age gap has seemed non-existent.

However, the news of the baby brought the age difference very much to light.  The age difference in Sarah's baby and my L will be only one month different than the age difference between Sarah and myself.

As I laid there in bed with the house quiet, I took in the news and thought about our life with this new little one...and how much love we have to share.  I thought about our blessings and how blessed this child will be.

I thought about "fun uncle Steven" and the trouble that he will get into with this child. 

I thought about B, and how he would finally get his wish to have a "real first cousin!". 

I thought about L, and how, just like I did with Sarah, she will mother this baby. 

And then I realized, that much like myself many years ago, L will be hitting the awkward teen years when the baby is at the pinnacle of cuteness.  L will be the one dating when the baby is only 5 or 6 years old.  L will be the one graduating when the baby is just starting school. 

All of a sudden I had another measurement of time.....one that is set apart from my own children.  You see, I have frozen them in time, refusing to see them as anything other than my babies.  But in comparison to the baby that is on its way.....they are anything but.  All of a sudden I could see all too clearly just how much they have grown....and how fast.

Tears filled my eyes and my heart ached.  I cursed the passage of time and the seasons of life.  My mind raced and I could no longer lie in bed.

I climbed out of bed and went first into L's room.  She was asleep and laying in bed and for the first time in a while it became blantantly obvious how tall she had gotten and how much she had grown.  Without waking her I crawled in and laid beside her.  I scooted her body closer to mine and whispered against her forehead that I loved her.  And then the flashbacks I had were of her....

When I felt completely raw I climbed out of her room and went into B's.  Standing in the doorway I marveled that although two years younger, he was almost as tall as his sister.  I went to his bed and laid down next to his warm body.  I rubbed my hand through his hair and whispered endearments against his ear.  This time, I thought of him and moments of his life...from the moment he was born, to the moment I was in.

The mental race I had been running had left me tired enough to sleep and I finally returned to my bed. As I fell to sleep I thought all of the love that I have for my children and how it has changed me. 

As did the love that I have for my sister and have had for her since the day she was born.

I hope I am able to return to my sister all the courage that she has given me throughout the years.  Motherhood is the most wondrous thing, I have ever experienced....but it isn't for the faint of heart. 

Motherhood.

It is a mirror to all your strengths and weaknesses.

It makes you feel a vast array of emotions....all within the same context.

It is a testament to our mortality and immortality. 

It makes you afraid, and it makes you fearless.

It makes you weak, and then gives you strength.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Face Forward

I have noticed that lately I haven't posted much of anything.  It seems like little thoughts, or pictures, end up on facebook, but not on my blog where (when printed) they are recorded forever.

So, I thought I would share some of those things here:

January 8, 2013

Apparently at Upwards tonight they asked members of Lakyn's team to lead a prayer during the devotional period. No one volunteered, so Lakyn thought she might as well do it. So there, in the First Baptist Church, Lakyn lead her team in the 'Hail Mary'. She couldn't figure out why no one joined in and 'followed along'.

(I figure next week she will have them making the sign of the cross.)

And on Christmas Eve, L, despite having immense excitement about the gifts she was going to open the next day, kept things in perspective.....

December 24, 2012:  Lakyn just came to me and said, "Tomorrow, if I get too excited while opening presents and I forget, I just want to go ahead and tell you now...'thank you'."

Then, after discovering the movie "Home Alone" for the first time and falling immediately in love with it, the kids embraced their inner independent child.



December 22, 2012

I am beginning to get concerned. After marathon viewing of Home Alone, Blake has been downstairs, going on an hour, designing his 'trap'. After going downstairs to check out the situation, Lakyn has returned with a roll of packing tape with a statement about needing to devise a 'trap' of her own. This could be interesting....

......and it was.  The basement had string and boxes, and tape and hot glue was used in places it had never been used before.  And the kids, they loved taking turns being the robber and getting "caught".

Of course, there was the Marlin "Redneck" Christmas, on December 15,....where we celebrated our roots...and Duck Dynasty:



We also participated in the 5th annual Tour de Turkey on Thanksgiving:



And even though B crashed and burned on the first hill, he was a trooper and got right back up, and right back on, and finished the entire 11 miles. 

November was a month of thankfulness.  Everyday, I listed something I was thankful for.  Some were big things, some were small things.  These are my biggest things....

Day 19: Today (and everyday) I am thankful for Lakyn. This 9 year old child of mine has taught me more about understanding and compassion than I thought possible. Like us all, she has faced ugliness, friends being unkind, and pressure to conform. At times, when even as an adult, I would want to lick my wounds, or hurl words at someone to hurt them as they have hurt me, she chooses, verbally an...d in actions, to "love them anyway"...often times citing reasons why they are feeling the need to do the things they have done and always showing understanding and empathy. She is not perfect (just ask Aunt Sissy), nor would I want her to be. She is, however, perfect for our family. I DO NOT know why God gifted her to us, as I know that I do not deserve her, but I do know that she has been one of the best teachers I have ever had.



Day 20: Today (and everyday) I am thankful for Blake. He is a little old man in a 7 year old body. He continually energizes me with his excitement and enthusiasm for small things…which are often old things. He finds value in things discarded and joy in the most unlikely places. He questions things I have always taken for granted and challenges me to reach beyond my comfort zone. I love heari...ng is common usage of big words and laughing with Steven over his adult conversations. He is sensitive, warm, and a definite momma’s boy. (He can be pushing a car through the dirt pile one minute, making explosion noises….and the next minute be found climbing on my lap whispering, “I love you, momma” while squeezing me tight.) Although in no hurry for my kids to grow up, I can’t wait to see the man that my little boy will turn out to be, and am thankful everyday that God allowed us to be the family that gets a front row seat to his life. My hunch, AND MY HOPE, is that the man will be much the same as the boy.....


Day 25: Today, on what happens to be our anniversary, I am thankful for my husband. As I have said before, he is the hardest working man I have ever known. He always, without fail, puts the welfare of his family above himself. He is thoughtful, loving, patient (Lord knows with me he would have to be!), kind, and has the best sense of humor ever! I know many people don’t get to see that side of... Steven, but laughter has gotten us through some pretty tough times…and his humor has prompted some of our friends to beg us to start our own reality TV show. ;) Steven is hands down the best father I have ever been witness to, and no, I am not biased. Seeing him with the kids leaves me both thankful, and striving to be a better parent myself. At the end of a 14+ hour day he immediately immerses himself in whatever the kids ask of him and gives 110% to them. I have often told him that it is alright to tell the kids that he’s tired and worn out and that he doesn’t need to feel like every night needs to be devoted to them…and they will understand. However, he tells me that all too soon they won’t want to spend this time with him. However, I can’t imagine that time ever coming…. 12 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to wrap my head around all the ways that God would bless this marriage and our little family, but I am thankful everyday that He has.

And then, on November 13, 2012 Lakyn showed me, once again, that she is wise beyond her years:
This morning, while watching the TODAY show and getting ready for school, I made the comment to Lakyn that I didn't realize that the music group One Direction was that big. She replies, in monotone, "they're not". I tell her that based on the record crowd showing up outside the studio they apparently are. She looks at me and says, "It's JUST teenage girls. That's all. They really aren't that big of a deal. Like, really, they only have one good song and only one of them is cute." Then she looks at the tv and exasperatedly says (as if to the girls on the screen), "He's not going to marry you!", and then she looks back at me and says, "they probably think they are going to marry them."


November 1, 2012
Day 1:  Today I am thankful for the sound of laughter coming from my children. Especially the hard core giggles that leave them short of breath. The harder they laugh, the harder it is for my mood to be anything but good. What a gift.


And, of course, I am sure my kids aren't thankful that their mom is a dork...but maybe they will be thankful I can at least admit it.....

Nothing like going to the school, talking to several people there, getting gas and seeing people I know, and then going to the grocery store to pick up a few things and ended up talking to someone I know, only to end up at home and realize that my new, comfy jeans still had the size sticker strip still on them. Down my leg. In full view. I am a dork. Look up dork in the dictionary and you will see my picture. (Why, oh why, couldn't I be a size 3? Then I would proudly "accidentally" leave the size sticker on when I went out in public.)