“Sing my song, too,” he requests, scrunching his shoulders and grinning, tiny teeth shining white in the lamplight. “Sing it like Mumma does.”
I lean over his temporary bed — a toddler mattress centered awkwardly on the floor of my boys’ bedroom and piled high with mismatched pillows, borrowed stuffed animals, and a shirt that smells like her. Like home.
You are my sunshine, my little sunshine. . .
Peace sweeps over him like a linen blanket. He relaxes his shoulders and inserts thumb into smiling mouth.
I notice how easy it is now, four weeks in. The calming down. The tucking in. Familiar, sleepy routine of nighttime lullaby rounds.
The first week he was with us, he explained night after night that he was just going to wait up for her. Propped on his pudgy elbow, he’d fight drowsiness for thirty, forty, fifty minutes, head bobbing up and down, quiet snores betraying his ambition.
Beside him on the floor, I lingered, offering a comforting presence and praying the nurture in my heart would be enough to calm his restlessness and allow him to sleep in a room that must have seemed so far from home. A couple of those first nights, he sobbed and thrashed, refusing even to lie down until I lovingly bear-hugged him into submission, whispering through his wails, “I know you miss your mama. You have the best mama. You have the best mama.” Eventually, his resolve wore out and he melted into my chest, accepting a love that was second-best because it was the only love available in that moment.
He cried yesterday when I excitedly told him it was his last night as a five-year-old. “I like being five — I wish I could just stay this age forever. Will you take one last picture of me while I’m still five?”
He has always liked being little — being near. He spent hundreds of hours strapped to me in the baby carrier, peaceful and secure among the whirlwind of toddler and preschool aged brothers.
Years later, his brothers may wander to the yard or down to the neighbors’ house, but this boy often parks it at the kitchen counter, chatting to me about his Lego creations or asking if he can crack the eggs for me.
He is content to hang out with our animals or snuggle with me in the reading nook for hours, not thinking of what he might miss out on. I love this about him. I will never hold my kids back from growing and exploring, but I am grateful for the rare gift of a boy who sees everything he already has as enough, a boy whose undemanding presence reminds me of how sweet it is to just be — together.
Happy Birthday, Miles. And yes, I will keep a picture of you in my heart where you can be five forever.
The boy who made me a mama is nine today. I’ve written many letters to my kids over the years. I think I’ll share a few here. . .
You have been a big kid with a big personality since the moment we met you. When Dr. Ryan delivered you, he shouted to the operating room, “Somebody get this kid a cheeseburger!” When he put you on the scale and you weighed over twelve pounds, Mom thought she was hallucinating! Dr. Ryan must be some kind of a prophet, because you really do LOVE cheeseburgers, don’t you?
Mom and Dad have enjoyed watching you grow into the terrific guy you were created to be. We admire many things about you, but here are some of our favorites: Continue reading
It has been rainy for the better part of two weeks around here, and while we’re grateful the river is high and the green beans are watered, we’re just a little bit over cloudy skies and 60 degree temps.
Yesterday, during a downpour, my six-year-old approached me with a handful of fishing lures (no hooks) and asked for a bowl of water.
I almost said no. I was in my mess of a basement packing away winter coats (finally) and trying to figure out which water shoes from storage will fit my third son (and going blind doing it because all the size labels are worn off). I wasn’t sure I could navigate through my fortress of plastic totes to the stairs if I wanted to.
And honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the request. I didn’t want to stop what I was doing to go upstairs for a bucket and a towel. I didn’t want to clean up water messes or hear the post-water-play whining about wet shirt sleeves. I wanted the boys to find something quiet and orderly to do while I got stuff done. Something like Latin flash cards. Or piano chords.
Ha. Continue reading
It is too perfect that Her View from Home published my newest post on a day where the boys and I had to go into SEVERAL public places on errands. There were whoopie cushions sounded at the dollar store, ice cream spilled THREE times at DQ, and bully stick butt-poking wars at the feed mill. If you don’t know what a bully stick is, you should probably Google that.
Read full post at Her View from Home –>
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Yesterday, I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and she asked me where I’ve been. I tried replying, but I’m not sure I even knew the answer.
If this post had a subtitle, maybe it would read “That Time I Tried Working Two Part-Time Jobs While Homeschooling My Children, Supporting My Husband Through a Career Change, Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Licensed, and Why Not Throw in a Trip to Disney World Followed Closely by Influenza, a Stomach Virus, and Two Minor Household Floods.” Continue reading
Take your busy heart to the art museum and the
chamber of commerce
but take it also to the forest.
The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
were a child
is singing still.
-From “What Can I Say” by Mary Oliver
This evening, at what should have been supper time, I felt called down to the river.
I stifled the urge for a few minutes, knowing there was laundry to be folded, lunch dishes piled beside the sink, books scattered across the dining room table from the day’s lessons.
But the murmur of the river is persistent. It drowns out the beep of the answering machine and the swoosh of the washing machine and the buzz of the neighbor’s weed whacker.
Something big happened last Sunday.
I was upstairs getting ready for church, hustling (and sweating) like always, knowing I had the solo job of getting myself and three young boys dressed (Where are your church shorts?) and presentable to the public (Whoa, let’s clip those eagle talons!) and making it to church on time to get them settled into kids’ class so I could lead my women’s group.
When I came downstairs after blow-drying my hair, I nearly fainted.
Continue reading at HVFH –>
*Featured image by Amy Vivio photography
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The lake was calm, except for our speedboat with you and your noisy brothers in tow. You requested more chips, then scoffed at my expected Eat-some-more-grapes-first reply.
“Is it time to swim yet?” you asked.
“We’re heading to the swimming hole now,” Daddy answered.
In the glare of late-day sun, I noticed something on the water ahead. Squinting, shielding my eyes, I called to your father to slow down.
“What is it? he asked.
“I can’t tell – some kind of birds.”
I recently interviewed two women living with Multiple Sclerosis for a Grand Edits guest feature. When I asked them to speak about the life they envisioned as young women compared to the reality of their lives today, they both agreed that though they never dreamed they’d have MS and surely don’t want MS, the diagnosis has allowed them to connect with and help others who are facing the same illness, or working through other life struggles.
I think about this often – the way our circumstances create opportunities to help others who are suffering.
In my days of volunteering as a client advocate at a pregnancy resource center, a young woman came to an appointment in distress because her baby (still in utero) had been diagnosed with renal hydronephrosis. This malformation causes dilation in the kidney pelvis and can mean surgical correction shortly after birth.
My client and I had a long conversation that day about the what-ifs. It’s hard for a momma to be faced with the possibility of her newborn baby being whisked off to surgery in his or her first days in the world. We talked a lot about fear that day. About vulnerability.
I told her I understood how she was feeling, and I really meant it. My own son had been diagnosed with renal hydronephrosis less than two years prior to the conversation. I remembered the diagnosis, the scans, the machines. I remembered the fear.
Read the full post (HVFH) –>