I have an app on my phone that causes me to have the competing emotions of happiness and sadness daily. You may have heard of Timehop? After beginning our tenth homeschool year last week, a few pictures from 7 years ago came across my screen. 2011. Foster was in 2nd grade, Katie in 1st grade, Theodore was almost 4, Parker had just turned 2 and I was 7 months pregnant with Jonah.
I think there were about 6 pictures but I found myself analyzing everything. The place we lived at the time, the school books they were working in or toys they were playing with. It was a homeschool day-in-the-life but I wanted more! I wish I’d taken a picture of myself with my ginormous belly. I barely remember those days. I remember them but I can’t transport myself back to feeling the same, when I only had one child who was beginning to read and still had someone in diapers. When I had fatigue and hormones and very little patience. When we were still adjusting to the loss of Chris’s mom and the fact that his dad was about to remarry. When Chris was new to his job at the airport and our purse strings were pulled extremely tight. Scraping by to feed and clothe and house a family of 6 (almost 7).
It’s the looking back that affirms our choices. We can ponder and speculate all day long the “what-if’s” of life and try to feel confident in what the future will hold, but the looking back reassures me that while at the time it felt too difficult to be good, that God did honor our choices and is continuing to care for us and give us an abundant life. If someone had said to that tired, overwhelmed, burned out, struggling momma that she’d be mentally and emotionally strong enough to become a foster mom, I’m sure she would have said you were crazy. Or that she’d have the courage to homeschool her children through high school! At that time I was still trying to figure out how to get someone from reading c.a.t. to reading chapter books. Oh the stress!
Today I stalked my children and took some day-in-the-life photos. In another 7 years, I’ll be able to look back and praise God for what He was doing, what He was teaching all of us on those days.
My girl! She’s growing up. This past year she has changed a lot, I feel like the teen years start early for girls. She’s had all the emotions and feelings and some friend drama sprinkled in. She’s asking bigger questions and digging deeper to find answers. She cries a little easier, especially if she thinks she has disappointed her daddy or I. She snaps a little faster if someone is hateful or rude to her. But she is still so kind and patient. She is smart, eager to learn. She loves Science and World Geography and she tackled a 2000 piece puzzle and completed it in 2 weeks. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see all the amazing things she will do.
Pipsqueak turned 1 year old in September. We were able to have her first birthday party here at our home with her new mommy and daddy. She spent one last night with us on her birthday and then headed home with them the next day. I think it’s safe to say we all miss her. Some of us more than others (Parker asks about her almost every day).
I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions over the past 2 months. I kept hoping they would hurry and call with another child who needed us but I see now that God knew I needed a little breather.
Her adoptive momma keeps me posted with pictures and videos, asks me questions about what to feed her next and whether we’ve gotten a new foster kiddo yet. I think it helps in some ways to still have the contact but in other ways its hard to see *my* baby hitting all these milestones without me/us to see them and be there for her.
The thing is she’s not mine, not ours and we know that. I am so thankful that God allowed us to have her for a year. She was placed in our home for exactly 365 days. That’s pretty crazy in the foster care world. I feel like everything about Pipsqueak and her time here, God had perfected from the beginning. His ways are not our ways and seeing that in such a tangible way has grown me closer to Him.
Jonah turned 6 years old on September 28th. He is a smart, sweet little boy with an active imagination. He loves to help his older siblings and he really enjoyed being a “big” brother while Pipsqueak was here. This is his Kindergarten year and he’s eager to learn to read so he can get his own library card like the big kids. Some days he takes advantage of his status as youngest but most of the time he’s pretty mature for his age. He has several “friends” that he drags around the house with him like his little, satin brown lovey, his Mickey Mouse and his other animals daddy has brought home from trips. His big brown eyes and sweet smile light up my world. We love you, Jonah-baby!
I guess we didn’t get any birthday cake with number candles for ourselves this year. We need to do a better job with that in 2018.
We do our best to make each other feel loved and special. With this busy life, we tend to put ourselves and our marriage on the back burner. But we listen to one another. He gets me special chocolate that I love or sends me an Amazon wish list item just because. I try to surprise him with concert tickets and make sure he gets his *gross* sushi.
Most of all, we count ourselves blessed every birthday that we have together. Couples aren’t guaranteed any time together. Our anniversary is March, my birthday April and his is in May. Then we spend the rest of the year focused on everyone else.
I love you sweetheart! You’re my handsome baby-daddy that I love so, so much.
Since it was our FIFTEENTH wedding anniversary. We decided to skip town for a weekend. It was one of my favorite trips we’ve taken together. It was simple and slow, with a little historical sight-seeing and antique store shopping. A few good meals out. A nice hotel. An amazing concert in a cave. And best of all? Zero children.
So. My oldest child is now a teenager (as of this past Valentine’s Day). I thought it was sad when I weaned him, when he went on his first overnight away from me, when he started going hunting with daddy and leaving for days. Or when he turned 5, oh my goodness. Well, apparently 13 is like that. When you sort through and scan in old baby pictures and you cry for a week. I’m not sad that he’s 13, I actually love teenagers and all the drama that can bring. The rollercoaster of mature young man to petulant child to coasting into relaxed adolescent is a fierce one that speeds along every day.
The tears come from being so proud. And so in love. I cannot fathom how I can love him more now than I did as a precious newborn. How can I love him more now than I did when he looked up at me with those sweet, hazel eyes and beautiful eye lashes and sucked his thumb and told me “I wuv you mommy”? How does that happen? I’m so thankful for Foster Owen Grubb. If I tried to list all the reasons why, this blog post would never end. Love is like that. And love for a child? Even more so.
My prayers and goals now that we have a teenager in the house? That as parents we will know how to be a friend to our son and be his authority at the same time. That we will not only command his respect, but earn it. That our transparency will encourage his. That we will be so authentic that he will know that we mean what we say and say what we mean in all areas of our lives. Because if there is one thing teenagers are good at, it’s spotting BS from a mile away.