Sunday, April 9, 2017

.halle turns ten.

Double digits you guys...double digits. It's never been a secret that I am somewhat of an emotional and sentimental creature, so this milestone birthday hit me just as it should. Arrow to the heart. Milestones with this oldest child are always my milestones as well. Ten years of life for her, ten years of motherhood for me. It's big stuff.
People often ask me how I got started in photography, and that again comes down to this milestone. I took a course in high school, and always loved taking photos. However, the intensity and the drive to document moments arrived with Halle. I guess we could call her my muse. 
So, as I stop to share these images and mark this time...this is important to me to jot down some words to fill them out and help me remember. To remember how we had a mother-daughter battle over what pants she would wear for these photos. She wanted yoga pants...."but Mom....I wore jeans for you LAST year." Clearly I am a stubborn ox of a mother and won this battle. To remember the emergence of her increasing sass and wit. Her ability to banter with me and say things that I can literally hear rolling off my own tongue (Note to self: tone down the sass). Watching her climb the hill with exuberance and excitement. She is an explorer...loves discovering things...IF she feels safe. The hormonal tsunami that is already starting to come in undulating waves. I want to remember the leap from primary to intermediate. That subtle, but distinct change in her school life. The things she is learning...not just from books, but from watching those around her grow and face challenges. Her heart is extremely tender and inquisitive. She sees friends in her life hurting; she watched her sister...our whole family...go through a scary time of sickness; she learned her precious Auntie has cancer (and is going to completely kick it's butt)...and she is increasingly understanding what these things mean. Her feelings and comprehension are going beyond primary and she is making connections that wouldn't have been made a handful of years ago. 
And everything in me wants to grab a giant receiving blanket, and swaddle her up like I protect her from this next decade. I remember this decade that literally took me from girl to wife (and trust me...there is NO way this child will be a 19 year old bride like her mother), and I can't believe she's taking her own steps into it already. But I can't swaddle her...they don't make swaddling blankets that big for a reason. So I must learn to just hold her hand...when she lets me. To watch her run up the hill ahead of me like she did for these pictures. To teach her that I am always waiting at the bottom, and watch as she jumps and twirls at the top. To prove myself steadfast, and continually try and hold loosely, to pray fervently, as I already know she is in the best of hands. And when the waves of hurt and anger and tears come, to relish the opportunity and once again hold her against myself and be her home, as my momma was to me. That's my plan for this next decade. .I'll let you know how it goes.
Happy Birthday to my baby girl...I love you so.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

.maya turns eight.

Today our precious Maya turns eight. This birthday is, without a doubt, extra sweet for us. After experiencing 6 weeks of nausea, Maya became acutely ill two weeks ago and landed up in hospital. An emergency visit first, followed by a second (and more scary) emergency visit and a subsequent admission to the pediatrics unit. After a barrage of tests and consults, it was determined that she was experiencing dehydration from an acute GI virus, but the underlying issue remained a bit of a mystery. They were able to rule out a lot of the more serious possibilities and we stand hopeful that she will be completely fine.
Those are the facts...the story of my heart and those days and hours with Maya are a completely different story. As I was pulling into the emergency room the second time, Maya was very ill. She was so pale...falling asleep if she wasn't vomiting..she literally couldn't speak. They rushed her right in and started treating her, but my heart was stuck on the lyrics to a song I had just heard. Literally, as I rounded the corner to the hospital, these were the lyrics playing on the radio:

And when a sickness takes my child away, and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You, I trust you Lord

Every ounce of me just screamed "no." Absolutely not. This was not OK. My response scared me as much a Maya's illness. I am a Pastor's wife, a worship leader...I've loved Jesus all my life, but in that moment, the last thing I could imagine doing was trusting someone who would let my child be taken away. That strong woman that I picture myself to be these days...she crumbled. Thankfully, I am not the author of my faith. I am not the author of Maya's story or my own. When I am weak, He is strong. When I can't believe..he still IS. 
We saw so much blessing through that week...we saw the immense love and care of our family and friends.When we were on the floor, our people lifted us. We were prayed for, fed, gifted, called, texted. We were so LOVED. The day Maya went to the hospital, my parents arrived home from Hawaii. My mom moved in (and my dad let her). We couldn't have done it without her. The most beautiful thing though was watching Maya heal and seeing her response to this tidal wave of care for HER. Maya really is a classic middle child. She longs to be seen and noticed...often shadowed by her pre-teen older sister, and her insanely dramatic younger sister. The days in the hospital with her were hard, but they were also so tender and special. We had so much uninterrupted time...just me and her...that would really never happen otherwise. We snuggled, talked, watched movies, giggled...she received gifts, balloons, visits and messages...and she just BLOOMED under all the attention. Spring came early for my girl.
Maya - we are freshly reminded what a gift you are to us. You are a difference maker in our are so special, and important and so very treasured. And though the only place I ever want you is within my reach, I am reminded also that you are in the best of Hands. I absolutely love that I get to be your mom. Happy Birthday my sweet girl.

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