Monday, December 28, 2015

Glimpses: siblings

The afternoon sun is making its way into the door that leads from my bedroom to the outside. The house is at rest--my brother and his wife and their son all sleeping off some jet lag; my non-stop three-year-old tough boy dozing without moving a muscle in his toddler bed. And my five-year-old catching the eye of my seven-month-old. In an instant, baby Simon is grinning ear to ear. This is his brother in front of him: the one that has a special smile that's reserved only for him. I put Simon down on the floor so that he and Noah can play, giving in to the fact that only one of my children will nap this afternoon.

My mourning over lost nap time is truncated in an instant. Before my eyes are two handsome little boys, separated by five years minus six days. Their eyes are alive with delight in each other. Simon crawls over Noah's leg, nuzzling his face into Noah's pants and making Noah giggle. Noah gets on the floor next to Simon and lifts his body up and down, almost like a push-up, getting squeals of surprised joy from Simon.

first day at home together

playing around

I read somewhere about the gift of a sibling. When we as parents feel stretched, and feel as though there is no way we could ever divide ourselves enough to meet the needs of each child that calls us mom or dad, into that tough space is inserted the beautiful blessing of a sibling.

No grown-up (or very few) would have thought to entertain Simon the way that Noah had. Five year olds are gloriously creative! It was not planned or purposeful--it was accidental and hilarious, at least according to the baby, and that warranted repetition. Likewise, no baby responds to Noah the way that Simon does. In their short seven months of being brothers, they have developed a shared consciousness of joyful interaction. So it doesn't take them much to get going. And on this sunny December afternoon, Noah is soon in tears and Simon wears himself out from giggles.

I sit and watch and am amazed.

Simon on the left. A picture of Noah on the right.

Thank you, Lord, for making siblings. And for teaching me, bit by bit, of the importance of allowing other people into my children's lives to interact with them and bring joy to them in creative ways that I would never do.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Reminder

Oh, I have my moments when I feel like I can handle this three kid thing.
And then there are days like today when I wonder if this house and these boys wont just up and run off without me, leaving me in the dust, stunned and numb.
...When they are rowdy and loud up and down the hall while I'm trying to nurse the youngest one to sleep, and I've told them five times to be quiet and to stay out of the room, but it seems they are too loud and too busy to hear. ...When they take out everything that was put away and leave it on the floor in the kitchen, on the floor in the living room, on the floor in my bedroom, in the baby’s high chair, on top of the trash can lid, in my seat, on the couch, on the toilet. ...When they are frustrated that we can't follow through on spontaneous ideas, due to lack of energy or lack of margin. ...When the baby is not happy unless he’s being held, and I start to feel his 22-pound body put a strain on my back and my shoulders and my wrists. 
And I wonder how I can keep up.
I wonder about those words that I heard clearly a few days ago: that a big part of my job as mom is to be a blessing to my sons. That's my job. 
I confess: I was not focused on blessing them today.
Perhaps it is the lack of sleep from a gassy baby. Perhaps it is the stress of the season. Perhaps it is not being able to go outside much due to the shorter days. Perhaps it is just how it's going to be. 
Or perhaps it is God at work to give me a message--
--the same message I shared with an acquaintance this morning, when she asked how I was balancing the three.
“Balance?” I replied. “There’s no balance. When I am doing well in one area, I’m terrible at another. But,” I continued, “I knew I would be in over my head when I found out I was going to have another kid. So it makes me trust in God much more than before. And that’s a good thing.”
Perhaps he was just checking this evening to see if I still think it’s a good thing to need to trust in him more, to lean on him more, to depend on him for everything. Perhaps he saw it fit to remind me that instead of pushing harder, talking louder, working smarter, or feeling deeper, I need only to trust and obey. Perhaps he desired to give me a little reminder in this season of beauty and perfectly perfect-ness, that I am not perfect. That there is no way for me to raise these little children of his on my own. That these little royalty will be a picture of his glory shown through my weakness.
Just like it was his glory shining out of a small, weak town of Bethlehem, just like he gives answers in many unexpected places and ways, he can use an insignificant, hard night to remind me of my need for him. 
And that's a good thing.

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times."
He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.
Micah 5:2, 4