Friday, May 28, 2010

Other People's Wisdom

I'm going to be frank. We are in a season of tough parenting with Abigail. Don't get me wrong...there are beautiful moments, and even beautiful days (today was overall, a pretty good one). But the last few weeks have felt like we are constantly hitting our heads against a four-year-old wall of assertiveness, independence, stubbornness, and really just who is this kid? I'm not going to go down the laundry list of what a day looks like to us, or Lord have mercy, what bedtime looks like to us. It does no good to you, the reader, to hear about the sassy, fit-throwing details, and it does no good to me, the mama, to rehash it all.

But we are a tired people, this Daddy and Mommy.

We've read books. Articles. Heard sermons. Prayed. Talked to people much further along in this process than ourselves.

And this week, there have been two things that have lifted me, have made me think we can get through this cycle until the next one hits. The first came from learning about the strong-willed child from Dr. Dobson. And my goodness, does she fit the bill. Reading ways that we can guide her, establish our authority over her, and pray for her was a real teaching moment for Paul and me, as I'm sure it will continue to be.

The second came from my dear friend, Charlotte. We met up with Kerry and Charlotte for dinner the other night. Talking in our best try-not-to-let-Abigail-hear-us voices, Charlotte asked how Abigail has been adjusting to Sadie. I told her the answer that I feel I've said to everyone who has asked that Sadie, she is perfect. She loves her, sings to her, hugs her, kisses her. It's overwhelming, her love toward Sadie. It's beautiful and I adore it. But I do think there is jealousy there, it just doesn't get directed toward Sadie. It gets directed toward me, and maybe just a little bit toward Paul. She and I butt heads a lot now...too much. Paul has always said she is just a little version of me, and frankly, it isn't too fun to see yourself in a miniature mirror.

On the way out to the car, Charlotte told me that I am doing a good job, even if I don't see it. I assured her that lately, I don't see it. Yes, I know in some ways I am doing a good job. And I am still doing what I have always wanted to do by being a mommy. But when you are in the thick of it, all you see is how you are not doing any of it "right."

Then Charlotte said something to this effect: But you know, Amy, God has started a good work in Abigail, and He will be faithful to complete it. But you are not the only person He has to use in order to complete that work. I realized it with my oldest daughter when she met her husband. I realized that God was using him in her life in a way He could not use me. There are many people that God can use to complete that work in her, so don't put all of that pressure on yourself.

I have thought about these words several times this week. My friend Angie and I were talking today about hearing our little ones singing songs that they learned in their Sunday School classes at church, songs that we know we did not teach them. I shared what Charlotte told me to Angie, and it kind of hit us both that we were seeing this unfold before us....God is indeed using other people in the lives of our children. Yes, our influence is great, especially at this stage, but it isn't only our influence that will shape them into the completed work God has in mind.

I love my Abigail. And today? It was a pretty good day. There were sweet moments and no bedtime battles. I silently sat next to her bed tonight and kissed her cheeks as she slept. I know that this is just a part of growing up....for both of us. And hopefully, when all is said and done, we will both see that God was faithful to complete the good work that He began in us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Just Some This and That and So On

It seems lately that I can have 18 bloggable moments in a single day, or go several days of blogging dry-spell. And that is when the bullet points come out, because they are simply easier than waxing poetically every silly ol' time.

1. We are leaving for Florida in a couple of weeks. The Southern Baptist Convention is in Orlando this year, and we are tacking on two extra days just for some family time. I love that we have the SBC every year to guarantee a little family get-away to somewhere. So far, the ones we have gone to have been no farther than a few hours drive, so this is pretty exciting to us. The next several years will all be locations we will fly to. Paul and I have flown together several times, but never with the kiddos, so I'm a little nervous about that. I love to fly, so I'm not scared or anything...just nervous about maneuvering the airports with the girls and all the gear.
We will also spend one day at Disney, which I know is like dropping a cup of coffee in the Grand Canyon and calling it sufficiently filled, but with our little ones at this age, I think one day will be fine. Abigail has told us repeatedly that Disney World is the best place in the world except for heaven. And I don't think I can dispute that claim in any way, shape, or form.

2. Sadie is nothing short of heart-melting, barely-able-to-stand-it adorable right now. She coos little songs and kicks her legs and smiles like crazy. She has chubby rolls on her legs. She watches people all the time. She alllllmost sleeps all night (wakes up around 6:00 a.m. to eat and then sleeps some more). The only way you could possibly know how precious she is would be to come hold her, and yes, you are welcome to (maybe I would finally mop my kitchen floor. Or take a nap.).

3. Bedtime for Abigail has been pretty rough lately. Lots of fits and angry words. But last night we had a big ol' snuggle fest, and it worked great. Maybe I've been snuggling the little one so much I haven't realized that Abigail needed to be caught up on snuggles herself. So we did. And it was wonderful.

4. Did I mention I need to mop my kitchen floors? It's embarrassing.

5. Yes, Paul and I watch LOST. No, we have not yet seen the finale. We try to not watch it while Abigail is awake, because we used to watch it with her in the room, and then there was the time Sayid's girlfriend got hit by a car, and she brought it up two week's later about the girl who got hit by a car, and we have watched it after she has gone to bed since. I think I may have seen something about the ending on someone's facebook status, and now I feel bad for knowing. So don't tell me anything. I think we are watching it with friends tomorrow night.

6. Adorable Sadie is crying like crazy now, so I shall go pick her up. Bye for now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who's Chasing You?

I have a habit of staying up way too late at night watching movies on tv. Movies that suck me in, no matter how much I know that I will have the 5:30 a.m. wake-up call of Sadie loudly sucking her fists. It's her discreet little hint that whispers, This fist will do for about 42 seconds, and then you better do something about it.

A few nights ago, I was folding my late-night loads of laundry while watching some good movie (I don't remember, it's not important). Paul was about to go to bed, I was about to call it quits for the night. And then, OH THEN, the opening credits came on....Wishin', and hopin', and thinkin', and prayin'.... Shut it off, Amy. SHUT OFF THE TV. It is 12:30 in the morning. That won't get you into his arms.... Don't do this to yourself. You must go to bed. My Best Friend's Wedding. I couldn't help myself.

Paul's eyes start rolling back in his head as he told me he has never seen the movie. And then he kept saying things about Michael like "You're gay." And I would inform him that Michael was not gay, he was THE BEST FRIEND. Then he would say, "Well, I have never seen the movie, but there is someone who is gay in it."

Ugh. It's Rupert Everett. He's missing the point. I told him that EVERY college freshman girl had to sigh over this movie at some point because there was ALWAYS a best friend (like I need to tell've been there).

I began saying my favorite quotes from the movie, which at age 31 (did you know Jules was 28 in the movie??? I mean, come on), do have an air of cheesiness to them, but 18-year-old Amy did not care. Things like "He has you on a pedestal, and me in his arms."

I told Paul there is the wake-up call of all movie quotes...
George Downes: Michael's chasing Kimmy?
Julianne Potter: Yes!
George Downes: You're chasing Michael?
Julianne Potter: YES!
George Downes: Who's chasing you... nobody, get it? There's your answer. It's Kimmy.

That was when every girl realized that she was chasing someone who was chasing someone else. I did it. You did, too, so quit denying it.

Then I realized something. Paul chased me. For quite a while. I like to joke that he wore me down, but really I think I just realized it was good to be chased instead of chasing. I told him so, too. I thanked him for chasing me. We will have our eighth anniversary in a couple of weeks. And he still chases me...I just don't run as fast anymore. Maybe it took a late-night movie to remind me of that, and to thank God for a man that didn't stop chasing me.

And he sure can kiss.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What a Year Can Do

I remember a year ago, yesterday. May 4th. It was the due date that came and went. It was the date we had hoped would bring us a baby. But it was the due date of our second miscarriage. It was a beautiful day, just like yesterday. Sun shining. A visit and coffee with my minister's wife from the church I grew up in. Flowers from a friend. Thoughtful emails and cards. People remembered. They remembered our sadness that day and they poured forth love.

A little over a month after that due date, we had the confirmation we had been waiting for. Pregnant again. Hard to believe it was my fourth pregnancy. We were so happy, so cautious, and for a while, so scared. Wanting to be happy, yet so aware of all that could happen. Wanting to love the little one growing inside of me, yet afraid to give my heart fully in love for a baby we may not meet.

But we did meet her. And hold her. And kiss her. And love her. Oh, my heart, do we love her. God was faithful in the dark, and He is faithful in the light. A lot can change in a year.

For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land ; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12