And then suddenly we were 4!
By day #13 we are struggling, an hour or moment at a time, to create our new normal together. Sometimes it feels like we take five steps backwards to get forward an inch…but I know that we are moving forward.
Every day reality sets in a little more…that we are in this together now…and that comes out in all kinds of colourful ways!
Sometimes it’s refreshing and endearing.
Other times it’s just plain frustrating or painful.
But it’s without a doubt, worth every second. In those moments when I stop and look around at my family, I am overwhelmed by the rush of love and joy I feel. I love those doll clothes spread all over the house. I love those off key voices singing at the top of their lungs. I love those giggles rolling all over the lawn and the sweet scent of bubbles in the bathroom. I love those big blue eyes gazing up at me asking questions and the spontaneous hugs that nearly knock me off my feet 🙂
Some people wonder if it bothers me that I have missed so many firsts in my daughters’ lives…
but there are so many firsts I am celebrating these days that in a ‘normal’ family would fly by unnoticed or seem insignificant.
The first time we make cookies together,
go to the grocery store
or walk to the park.
The first time a sleepy little body curls up next to mine in the morning,
the first time I get asked to comb that soft, fine hair.
The first bedtime story,
and the sound of soft snoring in the room next door.
The first “I love you”…the kind that you know is an honest expression of a little girl’s adoration for you.
The first time we go a whole day hearing “Mommy” and “Daddy” instead of Alicia and Kirby…I’m still looking forward to that one.
Alongside all the firsts, I am amazed at the resilience and strength of these young hearts. We are far from perfect, yet they are more than willing to extend grace to us again and again. I do not deserve the adoration and genuine love I keep receiving each and every day from my daughters. No matter how grumpy or tired I am, they are always happy to see me. They are always eager for more attention and affection, and they forgive easily. It is humbling to be the second, not first, to apologize after a hard day with my 5 year old. They have let me into their worlds and hearts despite the vulnerability they feel. To my daughters, I am beautiful and brave and wise…even though I am fumbling through each day.
“Mommy, you’re beautiful.”
“Mommy, I love you more than the bubbles in my bathtub!”
“Mommy, I made this for you!”
“Mommy, will you rub my back?”
“Mommy, I want to stay with you forever!”
Their Daddy, of course, gets the other glorious half of this adoration, acceptance and loyalty. I love to hear…”When will Daddy be home?!? He’s taking forever! I miss him!”
It is Project Attachment. Just like that newborn baby, every little moment strengthens that bond of love. Despite our daughters being 7 and 5, we look for those little ways we can meet their needs and teach them to trust and rely on us. Tying shoes, washing hair, singing, snuggling and playing together are tools to build our family. We have to prove we are worthy of the trust they’ve tentatively placed in our hands. When there’s been a bad dream, a tantrum, they’re feeling homesick, or they’re scared to get back on that bike…those are all chances for us to prove that we will be reliable. We will keep them safe. We will love them no matter what.
Trying to build this new relationship helps me realize how gracious my heavenly Father is to me. Despite all the evidence I have of His faithfulness and love for me, I test and try and pull back in fear. I hurt Him so many times by denying His love and guidance. I push against the arms that so desperately want to hold me. I struggle through the deep waters on my own, refusing to call for help. Yet He is still there. He never gives up on me or decides it’s just too hard.
If I can mirror even a tiny fragment of that love to my girls, it will create something beautiful.
Life is far from easy right now, but it’s rich and wonderful and right.
We are not alone.