Man Child and the Double Digits

The look on his face when he saw me standing there in the kitchen; saltines in one hand, small butter knife with butter on it in the other, was the dead giveaway.

“What are you eating?” he asked

“Saltines and butter! Why are you judging?” I sourly retorted

“Why are you eating that?” his tone giving way to disgust

“What do you mean?” I replied appalled. “Why wouldn’t you eat that?”

“Mom, that’s gross,”

“Well, it doesn’t taste gross to my emotions, okay,” I replied still a little bitter.

He just stared.

“I think I am sad that you are turning 10 tomorrow,” my voice cracking with the tears. “I just wasn’t ready for the emotions of you getting older. So these are helping.”

Smiling he leans into me, wraps his arms around my waist, and just stays. We chat a bit more about my favorite age so far, his laugh, his sister, how he should stop growing, and how it’s really okay he is getting older.

Today I am 10 years into parenting this guy. I am 10 years into discovering who he is, and today it seems as if we have turned a corner. This corner of grown-up and I can’t even. My heart is playing the movies of his toddler days on quiet repeat, reminiscing sub-consciously of goldfish, Wild Kratts, afternoon naps, Cars movie marathons, chubby baby cheeks, sweet innocent laughter, babyhood and being his favorite. He hasn’t been a baby for a long time, he hasn’t been a toddler for a long time, and technically I have this year and next left in elementary school, yet today, saying goodbye to that single digit age carries a significance my heart is trying to grasp.

Maybe it’s because we only have him. There is no one else in our house who will be nine after him. He is it. Embracing his age as an only child is like celebrating your oldest and grieving your youngest getting older all at the same time, apparently. What do I know though? Last night I was just a mom eating saltines and butter in my kitchen ignoring my feelings about my son turning 10.

To Isaac- Happy Birthday buddy!

You’re taller then anybody in this house prefers. Your shoulders are getting broader foretelling of the manhood that is coming. Your heart carries a wisdom that life granted you early and I can see your age catching you up. I joke that your dad and I are either saving for college or therapy, we aren’t sure yet because how easily I peak into this season and see the places I believe I am failing. I can helicopter parent like best of them sometimes demanding more then you have to give. I can also lean to the opposite extreme where I leave you to your own devices. My drive always is to find that middle ground where I helicopter far enough away. You son though. You are a treasure. This beautiful soul that I get to wake up to every day and discover. Although not a fan of school, you love your friends there. You are kind and considerate. You still love a good joke, and we are constantly navigating the seas of appropriate and simply too far. I can see you pushing for more independence, stretching for our family to make room for a new older version of you. You still love family movie night, game night, and pizza every Friday. Although my heart is processing today all that this double-digit holds, I am excited to see what is to come for you. To see more of God’s master design in you. I have called you man-child for as long as I can remember and it dawned on me today that now sooner than later, that phrase won’t apply. You will no longer be a man-child, you will simply be a man. Until then though….

Happy Birthday, Man-Child!

It’s time

Close to two years ago I wrote a post titled Transition.  A rambling preach about how Charles and I could see a transition coming.  How we knew a move back to Georgia was happening.  We knew it was going to take awhile and be abrupt all at the same time.

As I sit here tonight in the silence I am awestruck that the transition is here. As of February 1 2016, the Christian family will be residents of Georgia, once again.

Charles went in for an interview for a promotion, and not only did he get the promotion but the company asked if he would be willing to relocate to Georgia.  We of course said yes.  How could we say no?  God has been speaking of this move for many years. The intimate details of what He has worked out are mind boggling.

For tonight, I will this here as a simple announcement of what is to be.  In the weeks to come I hope to lay out the beautifulness of the faithfulness of the Lord.  His compassionate love. His patience for growth in such a long human filled journey.  The elegancy of arms open community.

The time is here.  We are moving to Georgia.

Man Child

Tomorrow, you will be 7, and you have experienced more in your brief 7 years then most.  Our life today isn’t what I thought it would be when you first came into this world.

When you were born, I was bound in chosen captivity. A captivity that made your life selected for you.  You were destined to be a farmer, to carry a last name that wasn’t yours(a name your dad and I carried also that wasn’t ours), and to walk a path without choice.  You could only be what your dad was, and do what the family was doing.  God was bigger though, and he broke us free. Your birth drove your dad  to no longer settle for complacency, and choosing captivity was more intimidating with you in the world.

The story is long, detailed and I hear often it needs to be in a book, yet at the end we left that family.  You, Me and your dad; three strangers practically; forging our way into a world we had hid from.  Yet we couldn’t stop, we couldn’t quit. We had you.  We needed to be okay. To keep moving, to keeping chasing the Lord wherever we felt led.

I am grateful because it led us to our community.  The one we have to this very day.  A community full of choices, broken people pursing health,  messes, and brave communication.

When your sister was born, it was that community that held us.  And it was you who pushed us to not stop.  To not quit.  But to be okay, to keep moving, to keep chasing the Lord wherever he led.  You needed us to be okay, to find the strength to do life with Katie Grace well.  You needed us to be the example of how to find God in the pain. To watch us learn how to lean into his chest and breathe in his peace as your heartbreaks.  You needed to see us trust him when it looked like we shouldn’t.  To chose forgiveness when we had every right to chose bitterness.  To chose grace when could have been angry and to chose to be powerful when we could have been a victim.

Not only did your presence push us but you met us there.  You embraced your sister in the fullness of who she was from the moment we brought her home.  You were insistent upon reading her books each night before bed.  You were careful and aware of how fragile she was.  As her care demanded more, and equipment began to fill our house, you carried an awareness of tubes and cords, diligently making sure not to pull or trip over anything.  That tenderness that wraps your heart and oozes out your pores, drew you to her.  Letting her nurses step in as your playmates but always pretending she was playing with you, sitting next to her as you worked on your leapster including her in your games and photos.

To be honest son, some days I get lost in all that you have had to negotiate in your life. Between your dad and I learning how to do marriage, our sweet Katie Grace, and our rocky beginning; I wonder how on earth you have turned out so well.  Earnest to makes those around you laugh, so free with your love and compliments, your tenderness.  And then I write this, and as I type I am overwhelmed with the bigger picture.  You see you are a catalyst son.  Your dad and I would not be where we are today without you.  We wouldn’t be who we are today without your sister, but surely we would not be where we are without you.  You have held us in account for how we do life.  Your presence has called us to chase after the deeper.  To be better and to keep moving.  You are one, Isaac Adam, who will call people to health.

Please forgive me for every moment, my heart mourned that you didn’t have a “normal” life.  That I thought my “mistakes” took away from you.  I see now…..I see how much I couldn’t have done what I did, if I didn’t have you. And how much that is apart of your destiny.  A part of the greatness that God has for you.

I am going to swap my mourning for dancing and my sorrow for joy.  I am going to dance on injustice and declare the goodness.  Thank you my boy, for being you. For running the race with your dad and I.  For saying yes to your sister. For being the watching eyes that called us to greater. For giving us your laughter, your love, and your tenderness.  You have changed my world in ways I am just beginning to understand.

I love you man child. Happy Birthday!

Perception of Expectations

Do you ever have those moments in life when you think people expect you to think or feel a certain way?  Like somehow you “know” what is expected, so you try to be that.  Then you become awkward inside because you don’t actually think/feel those things and instead of just stepping into what you do think/feel you kind of numb your feelings.

Oh you don’t?  Maybe it’s just a me thing.  It happens to me every once in a while and it happened with processing this grief.  When Katie Grace graduated, I thought that people expected me to be heartbroken. Like gut-wrenched, heart ripped out broken,  But I wasn’t.  I didn’t realize I wasn’t.  It took me almost a week and a half to process, and this is what I discovered.

I have been gut-wrenched, heart ripped out broken for the past 4 years.  I lunged into grieving while Katie Grace was still with us. I knew her season with us was not a long one. I wanted to breathe in every bit of pain and suffering not just so I was able to embrace life with her but also so that come the day of graduation, I could rejoice. I craved being able to celebrate her Homecoming and not just mourning my loss.

I am not sad my daughter is running wild through the fields of heaven.

I am not sad she is painting the skies with Jesus.

I am not sad that she is fully restored body and spirit.

I am not sad that she is praying for us and cheering for us while we run the rest of our race.

I am not sad that she whispers words of strength to me in my prayer times.

I am not sad that I have gotten to see her in my mind’s eye in a way I wasn’t able to for the last 4 years.

I am no longer gut-wrenched heart ripped out broken.

Please don’t misunderstand what I say…I miss her like crazy.

I miss her smiles that she so selectively gave out.

I miss her sweet soft cheeks.

I miss her red hair.

I miss her presence in our life.  She brought such a love to our home by simply being.

I miss her little sounds.

I miss watching her brother love on her.

I simply miss.

But I am not sad.

Again please don’t misunderstand, I don’t have this all figured out. This grief thing is weird.  Its like I am on the inside of huge emotional snowball as it rolls down a hill and I have no idea what feeling I am going to have at any given moment.  I find myself having feelings I didn’t know you could. It’s just that through it all the standing feeling, the one holding me through this snowball of emotion is not one of sadness but one of  joy.

My daughter came into this world to be a conqueror of pain.  To walk through suffering with purity (meaning of her first name), grace(her middle name), and joy.  I want to uphold that.

I want to reflect what she has taught me.  Suffering doesn’t kill us, giving into hopelessness, despair, and anger…that’s what kills us.

It is good that I miss my daughter and it is good that I rejoice over her graduation.  The minute I laid down my perceptions of others expectations, I walked into a freedom.  I stepped back onto the path I was running with Katie Grace.  I stepped back into conquering pain.

And I heard her voice say “Good job Momma. Good job.”

 

 

A few days in

I am snuggled up with my mens’..quietly typing this as their snoring fills the darkened room. If I were being super transparent with you all I would tell you….I expected myself to handle grief better. I keep thinking we all knew this was coming. I knew this was coming. I knew death and I would face off. So I tried to mourn when I could along the journey. I let myself cry the tears of what I would miss with her. Friends, school, talking, prom dresses, periods, weddings, and grand babies. I even allowed myself to mourn the things I missed on a daily basis…her voice, just waking up from a nap snuggles, sweet kisses, and baby giggles. I mourned the loss for Isaac as her big brother. It was as if I trained for handling her death (or graduation as we like to call it) like a marathon and when race day …..I froze. My mind is blank and instead of emotions going on automatic running like I trained them…I just stand there stunned by grief.

My mind sounded a bit like this this morning: I want to go to the gym? Nah I don’t really want to go to the gym. It feels weird to be doing normal life without KG here. I ache for a normal though. I should go to the gym. I don’t want to go to the gym? I will feel better if I go to the gym. Maybe I won’t feel better cause it still hard to be out there where everybody’s normal is normal and mine isn’t. But how can I make a new normal unless I do things. Gosh I just miss her. I feel so numb though also. But I miss her.

You irritated yet reading it? Cause I was super irritated doing it! In case you want to know…I didn’t go to the gym. I worked on getting KGs memorial set up. So bless anybody that talked to me this morning! You know who you are 😉 .

By 10:30am I was enough of a mess that when my mom suggested Charles, Isaac and I get out of town for a bit, it seemed like the only logical answer. We went North, where in a matter of minutes we were surrounded with trees much larger then us and mountains even bigger. Music played in the background.
“May we never lose our wonder.
Wide eyed and mystified may I be just like a child staring at her king.
May we never lose our wonder.
Cause you are beautiful in all your ways.
May we never lose our wonder.” -Amanda Cook Bethel Music Brave

We drove not talking but singing. My mind went silent and I saw my head upon the Fathers chest. I am a mess. Grief met me at the beginning of this marathon and I was not ready. I don’t know if I would have ever been ready. All that I planned for I surely didn’t plan for this. I took a deep breath inhaling his peace as I used to with Katie Grace and whispered “but I am not mad. May I never lose my wonder.”

And I knew my heart understood something. I may not have been prepared for grief like I thought I was. I may not be hitting automatic and running like I thought I trained myself but I am. Just like at the beginning of Katie Grace life there is not one part of this journey that has separated my heart from the Lord. He was my hope and strength in the beginning, middle and right now. I have not turned my heart, mind or eyes from him. He has sustained me and continues to sustain me. He is soaking up my processing, delighting in it because he loves how he created me. He aches with my aches, hurts with my hurts and he loves every inch of me! His only desire for me is to do the one thing I was doing…leaning into his chest and breathing in peace.

I am not doing grief well. However I am embracing Him well and in that I am embracing my precious daughter and her legacy well.

I am a few days in, a mess, and it is okay.

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