Saturday, March 23, 2013


If you had been mine from the beginning, I would have cried tears of joy as soon as I knew you were growing inside me.

If you had been mine from the beginning, Daddy and I would have stayed up late at night dreaming about you: who you would be, what you would look like, who you would become.  I would have sung lullabies to you, and Daddy would have read books to my tummy as I rocked gently in my rocking chair.

If you had been mine from the beginning, Daddy and I would have walked through the baby store, hand in hand, making plans for you.  I would have been so proud of my big baby belly, and thrilled with each tiny kick from inside.  As the time grew closer for you to come, we would have been so excited; we hardly would have been able to wait to meet you.

If you had been mine from the beginning, Daddy would have held my hand, lovingly urging me on as I struggled to bring you into the world.  Your first cry would have filled us with a joy like no other, and I would have cried happy tears as I held you in my arms for the first time.  Recognizing my voice, you would have looked up at me with your beautiful, trusting brown eyes...

...and you would have known instantly that I would love you forever. 

If you had been mine from the beginning, I would have held you close to my heart: nursing you, covering your downy baby head with millions of tiny kisses, marvelling at all your perfect little fingers and toes.  I would have held you for hours, drinking in your warmth and your sweet baby smell. 

If you had been mine from the beginning, your new-baby cry would have broken my heart.  I would have spent hours soothing you, if you needed to be soothed.  I would have rocked you and held you and changed you and fed you and burped you and kissed your sweet baby face another billion times.

If you had been mine from the beginning, I would have spent hours looking into your darling face. I would have cooed at you and smiled at you, and Daddy and I would have gazed down at you with love in our eyes, and we would have celebrated those first little sounds that you made...and every little thing you did after. When you rolled over, sat up by yourself, clapped your chubby hands, spoke your first words, took your first steps...we would have been right there cheering you on.

If you had been mine from the beginning, I would have kept you with me always.  I would have made up a gazillion silly little songs to animate our days together, and I would have read books to you and dressed you up and put tiny little bows in your hair.  As you grew, I would have taught you your numbers and your colors and your ABCs, and I would have pushed you on the swings at the park.  You would have laughed and squealed in delight, and looked at me with your beautiful, chocolate brown eyes...

...and you would have known that Mama would love you forever.

If you had been mine from the beginning, you would never have worried that someday, you might be abandoned.  You wouldn't, deep down, think that you're worthless and unlovable.

If you had been mine from the beginning, you wouldn't feel the need to control everything.  You wouldn't be so full of anger and fear and you wouldn't have the need to fight against me and Daddy and against everything we ask you to do.

If you had been mine from the beginning, things would have been so much easier for you...and for me...and for our family.  You would have been a happy, care-free child.  You would have let the adults worry about adult things, and you would have spent all your energy on simply being a child.

If you had been mine from the beginning, you would trust me, and you would trust my decisions.

You would trust that I'll love you forever, no matter what.

It's been a tough day, huh, kiddo?
It was the kind of day that makes me cry out to God, asking Him to take away the suffering I see in your heart.  The suffering that's in my heart, too.  I wish life could be easier for us, and especially for you, dear one. 

But I know you're going to make it.
We're going to make it. 
I believe in you, and I believe in us. 
We're fighters, you and me.

Oh, girl.  How I wish you had been mine from the beginning.

No matter how many days like today we have, no matter what you do or how angry I am or how horrible you feel, I promise you...I'm so thankful that you're mine now. 

Mama loves you, Butterfly. 
And I'll love you matter what.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oatmeal Waterfalls

Back to real life...back to joyful chaos.

The stowing-away-in-my-bedroom-with-a-newborn-babe days are long gone, the grandmas have stopped coming over to help, and the ever-elusive routine is slowly worming its way back into everyday existence.

I've missed it.  I've missed living life with my kids: teaching them new things, going on field trips, listening to their silliness and chatter, and all the simple little things, like watching them make waterfalls in their oatmeal at breakfast. 

I feel like myself again. one seven-week-old ball of poo and cuteness... one newly-two-year-old mischievously naughty mountain goat (aka The Tornado)... one ever-so-sweet, thrilled-to-be-a-big-brother-again, just-turned-five little warrior who is slowly recovering from a fever and a nasty cough... one darling, hyperactive, attention-starved seven-year-old big sister who is struggling to find her place in all this chaos...particularly the emotional chaos of her older siblings...and who is also wracked by a fever and a cough... one on-the-way-to-healing-but-oh-so-insecure ten-year-old RADling that is dealing with so many emotions that she just can't control, and who, most days, requires more of my emotional energy to parent than the younger four combined...

...and minus one lost and hurting thirteen-year-old RADling, angry at the world, who is slowly, hopefully, making a bit of progress outside our home.  We keep praying.

And wow, am I tired.  And overwhelmed.  And behind on my responsibilities, like laundry and cleaning and correcting schoolwork and sending out birth announcements and thank-you notes.

And wow, am I blessed.

So blessed to be overrun by all these little people.
To take care of them.
To feed them.
To teach them.
To love on them.
To laugh with them.
To learn life's lessons from them.
To spend all day, nearly every day, with them.

To be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.

My life is not what most would call paradise.  It's cluttered...and sticky...and smells a bit like diapers and dirty laundry.  I spend far too many days feeling like I'm accomplishing nothing, waving my hands in the air and singing the "Mom's going to Screeeeaaaaam!" song, which my brood gladly sings right along with me.

I have no peace and quiet.  There's no such thing as peace and quiet here: just noise and more noise and joyful noise...and screaming (see above).  I rarely get to spend time doing what I feel like doing.  I have (literally) no time off, someone always wants my attention, and I go to bed exhausted...just to wake up a few hours later to feed the baby.

And there is nothing more important that I could be doing with my life.

In the midst of all the chaos...the blowout diapers and the tinkle on the carpet, the toddler's mouth full of cat food, the screaming baby, the bossy big sisters, the arguing, the coughs and boogers and runny noses and the spit-up running down the front of my shirt... in the midst of all that, I get to enjoy life with my kids.  I have time to enjoy life with my kids. 

The world is fast-paced, career driven, and super-charged with personal ambition.  Far too few mommies, I fear, will ever have the time to enjoy oatmeal waterfalls at breakfast.