Monday, July 8, 2013

first friend

Abigail made her first friend today.

Wait,you're thinking, She's 2 1/2 years old and still has no friends?

First off, Abby is not in daycare. Aside from the occasional extended family get-togethers when she can see my cousins' kids, she really doesn't see other children too often. Sure, she's had acquaintances. There's Standish, the boy who lived in the next apartment at our old house (ok, he was more than an acquaintance to her, but she was just a baby then). There's Tucker and Kayleigh, who were born to co-workers of mine at the same time I had Abby (but again, they were babies). And there's Amelia and Memphis, the adorable kindergarten-age kids who live on Prudence Island. But as of yet, we don't know them very well.

Enter Reid, the Boy Next Door.

Reid is the grandson of our landlords. He is six, has bleach blond hair, and huge crystal blue eyes. I had heard about him when we moved here almost a year ago, but up til now I'd only glimpsed his figure as he zipped around the property on a go-cart with his dad.

The other night, we were enjoying a smorgasbord of steak, lobster and other shellfish on our patio with my aunt and uncle when Reid and his father appeared in the yard to park the family tractor in the barn, which faces our house. Abby was captivated by the sight of this small person on top of such a large vehicle, and kept asking us to go say hi. But it was Reid and his dad who walked over after locking the barn and introduced themselves.

I can't even put to words the magic of what happened next, but I'll try. Abby and Reid hit it off right away, and considering the obvious age and gender differences, it was incredibly entertaining to watch. This little boy was like no other I'd ever met. He was so calm, gentle, sweet, and caring. He didn't just listen to everything Abby said (and she had a lot to say), he bent down to her level so he didn't miss a single word. And for nearly an hour (or more? The five of us lost track of time in our amazement), the two of them kicked the soccer ball around the yard, looked at the flowers, picked peas together, and chatted endlessly about things that only the birds and the bees were privy to. Abby showed Reid her earthworms. He pushed her around in her little car, walked with her, cautioned her not to trip. At one point, we all noticed Abby's diaper falling down (it was all she was wearing, and I'd feel bad for her except that she's kind of a wild girl and probably couldn't have cared less), so I walked over and whispered in her ear if she'd like me to fix it. She said yes. And as soon as I started, Reid turned his head and said, "Don't worry, I'm not looking."

This mama could have cried. This mama almost did. Seeing my little girl eagerly make her first friend with such fearlessness would have been enough for me. But to have that first friend be someone so kind and reciprocal turned the entire milestone into magic. We simply couldn't have wished for a more perfect experience for her. Gratitude filled my heart that night, as I know it did Jeremy's.

Before Reid and his dad headed home, Reid told Abby, "Remember my name, ok? Practice it tonight." And then he added, "I'll be by tomorrow with my hot rod."

And then this mama did cry.
Monday, July 1, 2013

happy 3 months

You are 3 months old today, Sadiebelle.

You are mama's girl, through and through. You look like me. You prefer to be held by me. And if you had it your way, I'd be holding you 24 hours a day. My arms would be sore, but let's be honest...I wish I could hold you that much.

You have lots of delicious baby fat. You have mastered the art of The Coo. You have also mastered yelling for attention, though we're still not sure if this is something you figured out on your own, or learned from your big sister. You love watching Daddy and Abigail play, and bouncing you on my legs makes you laugh almost every time, but aside from us you still don't seem particularly interested in the world around you. And that's perfectly fine with me.

Sometimes, when I'm nursing you, and I'm talking to someone else, I'll realize suddenly that I don't feel you nursing anymore and you're extra quiet. And I look down and there you are watching me, nipple barely resting on your lip, with a big smile on your face. I will never forget this simple expression of pure, sweet, unadulterated love, or the way it makes my heart swell.

Sadie, I love you. You fill up a space inside of me that I didn't even know was there. My princess, my little lady. Happy 3 months, baby girl. <3
Sunday, June 30, 2013

trust

If our deepest desire for our children is that they grow up without guilt from past wrongdoings, trusting that we'll provide for them today, and secure in knowing that they gave hope and a future...

How much deeper is that same desire that God our Father has for us?

Our children trust us, because they don't know any differently. They don't wake up each morning with worries about time or finances or stress. They just assume that everything will work itself out, as it always does. Children are experts at simply living and accepting love.

Our childhood days may be behind us, but our hearts and minds are still the same. It isn't always easy, but let's learn from our children and have faith in the next moment, hour, day, week, month and year.

Sometimes, having faith is literally all we can do. How awesome it is - how thankful I am! - that it's all God asks of us.
Friday, June 28, 2013

and we're rolling

It's officially been about six months since we've used our video camera. Six!!! There's a long, sad story behind it, which is really too painful to re-live at the moment (or ever), but the good news is that we're finally rolling again. And for this, I am so so so so so so SO thankful.

Lots of people my age, it seems, haven't jumped on the video-taping bandwagon. I'm not sure why. My impulse is to blame technology. Specifically, the ubiquitous smartphone. These super-advanced, multitasking cell phones (which for the average American might as well be considered another bodily organ) do it all now - phone calls, video calls, pictures, video clips, Internet, GPS...and on and on and on. It's literally a One Thing Does It All Tool. And being someone who appreciates organization and streamlining nearly to a fault, you would think I'd be a big fan of smartphones.

Well, I'm not the biggest fan. I do have an iPhone, and don't get me wrong, the convenience of its features is, well, convenient. But I think we've taken convenience a little too far in this day and age. I could write an entire (very lengthy) post about that, but I won't. I'll just say this: The main reason I've used my phone to take pictures or video in the past is because our camera and video camera were out of commission. Now that I have both instruments back in working order, I really don't use my phone anymore. I like to do things the old-fashioned way (not just in this regard, but with many things...again, there's a whole other post hiding behind that statement). I like to take pictures and then develop them, and sort them into an album and, you know, LOOK at them. I like to take video, lots of it, of my kids and our home and camping and autumn and rain, and then after a while go back and, you know, WATCH it all.

Crazy, I know.

Anywho, back to the present. I'm Beyond Description Sad that six months of our lives will be missing from our video collection (starting with the moment we sang "Happy Birthday" to Abigail when she turned 2...and ending with the first three months of Sadie's life...yep). But this is something that is out of our control and cannot be undone, no matter how much mourning goes on. And so we are trying our best to just be grateful for what we DO have, and move on in gladness.

Girls, get ready. Mama is going to be in your face ALL...THE...TIME.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the dream, part 1

It's been a while since I dreamed about something. Not like I'm dreaming of a white Christmas or I'm dreaming of that first beer after having this baby, but like...a big dream. The kind that scares you.

Jeremy and I both remember the first time we rolled up to 497. Actually, we drove past it. It was a late summer evening, the air smelled sweet, and we were early for our appointment with the landlords to tour the house. Carefully watching for the correct house number, we craned our necks as we slid right past it (it comes up quick, and is nearly hidden by a tall hedge), but I distinctly remember spotting the front of the house and yelling, "Oh my God...NO WAY!!"

The mossy gray/green paint. The original wood planked door. The stone steps. The trellis beside it crawling with wild roses. The classic cape lantern. It was already more than my antique house-adoring heart could stand. Clearly, we must have the wrong house.

But we didn't. It was the right house, and for nearly an hour (us being early turned into the landlords being late), Jeremy and I and Abigail, who was 18 months old, walked around the yard and dreamed. Dreamed about living in that perfect little house. Peeked in the windows. Walked around it again and again. Abby ran around the yard in her pajamas in such joy, which I think is what really made us want the house. There was a yard to run around in, period. Grass! Flowers! Air! A very happy little girl!

Then the landlords arrived, and we toured the house. I kid you not, it was like someone (now I know, it must have been God) had lifted the lid to my brain, eavesdropped on all my wishes in creating "the perfect home", and handed it all to me in one fell swoop. Wood floors...beam ceilings...lots of windows...a stone fireplace...two stories...just enough bedrooms. Was this for real? No, seriously.

It was for real, and we moved in a month later. We've been living in that "perfect" house for almost a year now, and every once in a while Jeremy and I will look at one another and say, "Remember that night? This place was purely magical."

We have to do that sometimes. Because back then, this house was a symbol. It represented a fresh start, a dream, a promise of good things. And I think we expected too much from it. Don't get me wrong, it has not disappointed us. But even though moving here has blessed us in so many ways, it is just a house. There is still sadness here, there is still hardship and exhaustion. And the blessings actually come from God, not the house.

Still.

We have to remember the magic, because it is there, every day. It's in the dew on the grass every morning and the nostalgic chirp of a hundred unseen crickets. It's in the wildflowers you didn't know existed until they bloom overnight. It's in all the little critters, the chipmunks, the bunnies, the mice that scurry about the yard, giving us small, quick glimpses of their otherwise secret lives. The magic is there, if we open our eyes to it. Abigail does, and it's the most delightful thing to watch. So often I look at her chasing the birds or blowing milkweed or crunching on the snow peas she just randomly picked from the garden, and I'll think to myself, "Wow...she gets it.". And that is what I dream about for my girls (along with other things): that they grow up slowly, and enjoy childhood as it was meant to be. That they are awakened to all the magic around them, and that they not lose it but take it with them into adulthood.

Life can be a fairy tale. I believe it was supposed to be that way. All we have to do is open our eyes and keep the dream alive.

Part Two coming up...
Monday, June 24, 2013

what i wish you knew

Dear Abigail Grace,

I know that being 2 1/2 is hard.

I know that being 2 1/2 is especially hard when you have a 3-month-old sister who is stealing a lot of the attention you used to get before she was born.

I know that after she was born, your entire world changed and would never be the same again.

I know that this change makes you cry sometimes. It makes me cry sometimes, too.

I know that you love your sister to pieces.

I know that when you hit her, it's not out of a desire to hurt her but out of frustration and an inability to express your feelings otherwise.

I don't know how best to handle the situation.

I know that I love you more than words can say, and that my greatest wish, my deepest hope, my most fervent prayer, is that my actions will say it instead.

Always, Mommy
Sunday, June 23, 2013

persistence in love

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a little leather-bound book of devotionals titled Jesus Calling. That was nearly a month ago, and I hadn't made time for it until today. There are a lot of things I don't make time for these days...not things that I really feel badly about, just things that would certainly enrich my life, for sure. Like devotional reading (although this is the one thing, along with reading my Bible, that I do feel badly about. This will change.)

This morning I sat outside on the patio with a cup of coffee as Sadie slept and Abigail danced around the yard peeking in rain buckets and smelling the flowers, and I opened this sweet little book to today's devotional. Here is the gist of what it said:

Let my love stream through you, washing away fear and distrust. A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. My continual Presence is a promise, guaranteeing that you never have to face anything alone...Gently bring your attention back to Me whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence - instead of perfection - in your walk with Me.

As I'm sure was God's incredible timing, this is exactly where my heart has been lately. In the persistence of love. Specifically with my girls, though truthfully in general I just want to be better at loving everyone. It's not that I don't love my kids - I'm not sure there even exists a word in all of creation that can fully describe the deep, all-encompassing love of a mother. Would agape love be appropriate? This is the word used to mean Christ's love for humankind. I suppose I can't compare my own love for my own children to that. But goodness, it must come pretty close.

We are not perfect. There lies the difference between our love as mothers, and God's love. He is perfect, His love is perfect. He never grows impatient with us, never loses His temper, never says things He doesn't mean. Why do we fall prey to these things? I say 'we' but I mean I. Why can't my love for my girls, which is so fathomless that simply looking at them makes me cry sometimes, be enough to make me a perfect mother? I can't count how many times I've thought back to the moment, the many moments, when Abby was a baby, and I would hold her and stare at her for hours, thinking, "My God. How could anyone get angry at this? How could anyone raise their voice?". So many people warned me that day would come, but my heart was in denial. I didn't want to imagine, couldn't imagine, being anything less than loving toward my child.

But it did happen. It does happen, still. And every single one of those times leaves me feeling cold, empty, and ashamed. I cry about it! What is wrong with me? I wonder. Where is my compassion? My patience? My grace? Where is that mother who held her newborn baby in her arms and whispered, "You will always be safe here, in my arms, forever"? Where is that safety now?

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Raising kids is the toughest job I've ever had; there is simply nothing in the world that can be likened to parenthood. And there are many days when I'm not very good at it. But God's promise, which was shared in my devotional today, is that He isn't interested in perfection. Only persistence. The willingness to admit that we do fall short, to take a step back, trust in God, and try again.

And again, and again, and again.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

me

My name is Audrey. I'm just a twentysomething learning how to master the arts of cooking, cleaning, working and being in a relationship, same as you.In between all that, I like to collect sea glass and salvaged furniture. Occasionally, I cut and paste scraps of paper together. In the end, I am hoping that all of these things together will somehow amount to something good. This blog is a journal of my efforts to get there.

contact

thesalvagedbride at gmail dot com