Saturday, September 10, 2016

Parenting Win

There are plenty of days that I feel like a total failure at parenting.  Have you had those days?  Of course you have?!?  (Please tell me you have!)  Then there are days like today.  Days when your kids make great decisions and prove that they are listening and you aren't a total failure.  Days when you raise your hands and praise the Lord (while doing a happy dance) because they got it!  It may have been one tiny little thing, but they got it!  It's that glimmer of hope that you are raising someone who will be a compassionate, considerate, and upstanding member of society.   

Most days I wonder if my children will ever be able to be productive members of society because they seem to lose their minds when we go out in public.  Every time is like the very first time.  This morning we had family pictures made and, of course, an unnamed child had a meltdown in the car as the photographer was pulling in.  After the photo session, we went to breakfast at one of our regular spots.  One child was throwing crayons and menus, sneaking things from the apron of every waitress that walked by, and licking the table.  (I'll let you guess which child.)  

In the car, we told Reese about the plan to take him to the Furman Soccer game tonight.  He has become interested in soccer and we thought it would be a fun (and cheap*) outing for a dad date.  When we got home we sat down with his spending bank.  We settled up a debt he was responsible for and started talking about the soccer game.  Bryan agreed that he would buy dinner but Reese was responsible for the tickets to the game and anything extra at the game.  The tickets were $4 each and we told him to expect a drink to be $2-$3.  I asked him how much money he wanted me to take out of the bank and he said $6. We thought he misunderstood and explained that the tickets would be $8.  He said, "I know, I want $6 extra. Daddy will need a drink too."  

He's ready in his Furman purple!

Despite the days he tells me, "you are the meanest mom in the history of mean moms," days like today remind me that he does have a precious tender heart.  It reminds me that the Lord is in control and is molding his heart to be like His. The days he asks to take extra money so that he can treat me to a snow cone show me that he loves this meanest of mean moms. We must be doing something right!

As I was typing this came through on my phone:

We are clueless about soccer, but Dad is smiling and letting him enjoy!
*Side note: Furman has athletic teams in most popular sports and the tickets are incredibly cheap.  Many don't charge for kids under 12 at all and only $4-$20 for adults.  It's a great way to introduce kids to college sports.  We love to make a day of it and picnic and walk on the trails around the lake. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To Brinkley On Your Birthday

Four years ago we began a journey that I could have never imagined.  For thirty-three long weeks I had anticipated the day that you would join us.  Many (too many to count) days a sickness, two (sometimes more) doctor appointments every week, and countless hours of prayer and research went into those thirty-three weeks.  

There were days that I was unsure that I could do this.  The day the ultrasound tech saw that something wasn't just right with your heart.  The day Dr. Fredrick told us that there was a pretty significant chance that you had those precious extra chromosomes.  The day the genetic counselor called and confirmed those suspicions.  The day Dr. Raunikar told us that not only did you have special chromosomes, but you had a special heart too.  That was the day he prayed with us and let us know that God was right there, this was not a surprise to Him, He has a purpose for you, and that we would be supported the entire way.  (That was a really scary one!)  

So many of those biweekly appointments brought new concerns about how long you were going to hold out.  There was a day I asked Dr. Nuthalapaty how long he thought you would be able to hold on and he told me that I needed to pray that we made through that weekend.  Well, you made it through that weekend but at thirty-three weeks the doctors were afraid that it was all becoming too much for you and they admitted me to be on bed rest.  We officially hit the thirty-four-week mark (6 weeks early) and it was time for your arrival.  Dr. Ruggieri came into my room about 11pm the first night and explained to me that you probably would not cry or breathe on your own.  He told me about all the people that would be in the operating room and who would be caring for you.  He told me that they would quickly whisk you away and get you to a special area called the NICU.  The NICU is a special area where they gave you some extra time and attention that was needed to give you the best start possible.  

What he didn't tell me is that you would defy the odds!  That from day one you would have your own plan and would do things your own way.  To everyone's surprise, you came out crying and breathing on your own.  That tiny little cry brought tears to my eyes.  That cry was so much more.  It was just one of the many many ways that God reminded us that you are His and that He alone is in control.  It was a reminder of His goodness and the fact that indeed, He has a mighty purpose for your life.  

You were born on a Thursday and that Sunday they moved you from NICU 1 (where the sickest babies are) to NICU 2 (where the babies are making lots of progress and learning to eat and grow without quite as much attention).  When you moved into your private room I posted this own your wall:  

  Jeremiah 1:5    
  Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you.
   Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.

I had no idea that even as a 3lb 2.2oz tiny little guy that you would take this so seriously.  You have never wasted any time proving that He truly does have a special work for you.  You are always determined (often times determined to be mischevious), do your best, and push harder than anyone I know.  All the while you smile, laugh, love, and give "ugs" to everyone that crosses your path in the process.  Your sweet smile, infectious laugh, and exuberance infect everyone you come in contact with in the very best way.   

You push me to learn more, pray more, work harder, love more, give more, and push through every day.  You make me a better person.  You and your brother have given me a new passion and helped me find a purpose in this stage of my life.  Thank you for pushing me further into my Father's arms as I could not make it through this journey without the wisdom, love, and support that He alone can give.  

I am not sure what I ever did to deserve the privilege of being the mother of an extra special child, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I wouldn't give up or change one day of this journey.  I wouldn't change a thing about you and I can't wait to see who you become.  I have no doubt it will be extraordinary.  

As we celebrate four years of you today, my prayer is that you would never forget the sentiment that you so often sing, "it's who I am, it's who I am and I'm loved by You."  He is your Good Good Father and you are so loved by Him.  Despite the unknowns of what may come in your future, I know one thing for sure.  He has very special plans for you and you are loved beyond all measure! What a privilege it is to be a part of the story!

Happy Birthday Brink!