Thursday, April 9, 2020

.halle turns thirteen.

We marked this rite of passage for you in the strangest of days. The strangeness, though, is also saturated in moments and experiences that are extraordinarily precious. The day you turned thirteen, almost two dozen vehicles (along with one cyclist and some dears on foot) full of our friends and family drove past our front curb to show you just how loved you are. You had no clue this was happening, and when we asked you to join us in the front yard for a birthday lunch around the portable gas fire, you gave us a perfectly stereotypical eye roll. But, as your people rolled up with handmade signs, instrument accompanied songs, fresh bread, honking horns, special gifts, balloons and yummy treats - you lit up. I know you knew this was special. This was extraordinary. 
No, this was not what we had in mind. This was not the events you chose for such a paramount birthday. But my Hals, as your mom, I can't fathom a better gift. For you to see your people, despite a global pandemic, driving from all corners of the city, just for you.To see how we are blessed by such incredible neighbors, family, friends and a church being exactly what a church is meant to be. 

Now, to wrap my mind around the fact that my teeny, six pound baby girl is a teenager. I may be biased, but I think you're going to be great one. I love my time with you. Having the whole family home all the time has been a bit of a hard pill for you to swallow. Last week we both had a good cry over the sudden end to our first year homeschooling. Those were precious months. Your sisters have now joined us, and it is good, but it is different. Our alone times are fewer and we are navigating the dynamics that inevitably come with multiple learners in the home. I was reminded, as we talked, of a memory. I was driving our old car, back in 2009. It was the day before Maya was born, and I had a realization that just brought me to tears. We were so excited to meet your sister, but my heart needed to weep over the end of a chapter that would never come again. Obviously, we wouldn't choose to go back in time, and life only got better with your sisters' arrivals. (I will repeat this until it's stuck in your head!!!)
I am confident that the same truth will ring true in all this. That amidst the things that have changed and the losses we have grieved, we will come out of this thankful for what it has brought us. In all things He works for our good. You know this already, and this will be further evidence. 

Halle Ruth - you are a beautiful soul. You have your Dad's critical thinking skills and inquisitive mind. You have a mushy tender heart like mine. You are giving, loving, persistent, sweet (with a solid balance of sass) and actually very funny and quirky. You are a phenomenal big sister. You are so beautiful and I am SOOOOOO proud of the little woman that is emerging before my eyes. I can't even believe it. I love you and thank God I get to be your mom.

And, don't worry my girl, I'll still take you shopping when this is all done.  

Saturday, March 21, 2020

.maya turns eleven.

My amazing girl. This will be a birthday to remember. The day before you turned 11, we climbed a beautiful mountain as the sun went down. You wore this gorgeous burnt orange jumper we scored at Value Village, and the sun lit your hair into a stunning, almost celestial halo. You, my girl, are a bright, bright light and I cannot imagine a backdrop more fitting to mark the gift of another year with you.

The week of your birthday was probably one of the most bizarre weeks we have ever experienced and brought drastic changes to our plans, routines and expectations. And, while you are so excited to be getting a head start on home-schooling, you are also unsettled by strangeness of it all; you cling a little tighter and check in a little more often. You are very aware of the vast array of emotions that we have gone through in our home this week. It partly makes me proud of your perceptiveness and empathy, but it also makes me sad that I can't better hide my own struggles from you and your sisters. Inevitably, you being you, take on all the feelings of everyone, and so, my precious daughter, we must learn and grow together. We talked as a family, with bibles and hot drinks (that you prepared) this morning. We talked about how we are all experiencing grief and fear in some way over this silly virus and all its implications. We talked about how this can show up as anger, irritability, tears, and just general bad attitudes. We talked about how it was OK to feel these feelings, but it was not OK to set up camp, and stay in them. We talked about giving grace to one another as these feelings come and go - that sometimes you will be strong, and sometimes someone else will be. We talked about how God has a plan in this - in ALL of this - for our good, and His glory. My prayer is that through this time, BECAUSE of this time, that you will learn more about who you are, but more importantly about who HE is. That this will be a setting event in your life. That you will be able to declare confidently, that even in this, you have seen and tasted His goodness and His faithfulness.

We set up a plan and a loose schedule for coming days - the organization and order of it made you absolutely sparkle. Me too :) On the morning you turned eleven, you woke up and baked yourself a beautiful cake. Earl grey layers with German buttercream frosting and raspberry compote. I offered to help, or even bake it for you, but we both know how that would have turned out. We spent hours in the kitchen, you baking and me cooking. We watched baking shows, played clue as a family, went for a walk and played basketball, and soaked in a nice long snuggle. We both agreed that the isolation kind of worked in your favor and though the day felt a bit strange, it was indeed, perfect. Pretty much like the day you were born. The beginning of a new chapter.

Happy birthday my sweet one, I love you so.

May His Presence go before you
And Behind you,
And Beside you

All around you and within you
He is with you
He is with you
In the Morning, in the Evening
In your Coming
And your Going

In your Weeping and Rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you

From 'The Blessing' by Elevation Worship. Our current favorite song

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