Monday, February 2, 2015

Ode to Toddler: Happy 2nd Birthday Bruce!

Often the response, when reflecting on how much time has passed and how grown up our kids are, is to exclaim "how did that happen so fast?!"  Not today. Today Baby Brucie is 2 years old! While I AM in total awe of how much he has changed in 2 years, and what a big boy he now is, I wouldn't describe any part of Bruce's life as "fast."

This is by no means a bad thing! Rather an astounding blessing! I wholeheartedly feel I have SAVORED these precious years with my child. He so completely compliments our family and we are all so in love with this Little Man.

 Photo Credit: Meagan Wanschura

I don't remember much of my girls' younger years. Julia was born before my Senior year of High School and I had Taylor 8 days before I turned 20. I was back at work when she was 5 days old, the day she left the NICU.  Both Dan & I worked full time, Dan had 2 jobs, and I was in school. This is what was right for us at the time. It was not a wrong choice or a decision I regret, it was simply where we were at at that time.

We aren't there any more.  This is a totally different chapter in our lives - much further into The Book. I actually remember very little from my first 7-8 years as a mom, up until Dean was born. It was a really blessed, happy, and full life but it was a blur. Survival.  I remember certain places and events, a little bit of the "feeling" of that stage of life, but not many of the "moments."

After 5 months on bedrest during Dean's pregnancy we discovered we could make ends meet on one income, that God would provide (and He always has), and we prayerfully decided I would become a stay-at-home (and homeschooling) mommy.  There was this blissful time after Dean's birth (almost 6 years ago now) that I consider my time of "Derbe rest." (It was in Derbe that Paul, on a missionary journey, did NOT face persecution - for a change.)

Much has happened in the six years since then, and losing babies, especially Bentlee, caused me to operate with an impending sense of doom during Bruce's pregnancy (and probably afterward too, honestly).  So that was a LOOOOONNNG pregnancy (in addition to daily blood thinner injections, weekly P17 shots, and months of bedrest and hyperemesis/IV nutrition).  No part of that pregnancy was fast (I was in labor and dilating for 3 weeks) except maybe the actual birth - the hour or so after my water broke! [This post tells the story in more detail.]

I deliberately took the time to enjoy Bruce's baby years. I greatly desire to be intentional in my parenting and aware of my moods, words, actions, and reactions. (Disclaimer: I've made countless parenting mistakes. Thankfully my resilient children are so forgiving!) I can honestly look back on the 2 years since Bruce was born and say I was present. I soaked it all in and so completely enjoyed it all.

That's not to say life was perfect by any means, or that I didn't have my struggles with sadness or even despair. But I was present in each moment. Mommy-baby classes, baby playdates, photographs, an all-out first birthday party & photo sessionrecording all the "firsts." absorbing the moments and making memories.

I can remember Dean's entire childhood thus far as well, and have so enjoyed watching ALL my children grow these past few years.  I can't go back and redo any part of the past (nor would I want to) but I can treasure the here and now. My daughters, for all our challenges and changes, are growing into beautiful, amazing young women. My sons are my sunshine each day. Deliberate parenting has left me with so many precious memories to cherish.

I don't look back and wonder where did the time go - I'm intentional and present and so very enjoying each age and stage we are in. While I AM amazed how far we've come and how old the kids are getting I feel so grateful to be able to cherish all those moments that make up our life stories.

"Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Bruce is REALLY into those surprise egg YouTube videos (the appeal of them perplexes me greatly). Thuy and her kiddos made some surprise eggs for Bruce to open today and Julia and Taylor stuffed some eggs as well and he thoroughly enjoyed opening them!

Holy Crap, I'm officially nursing a TWO YEAR OLD!! I don't even know how this happened but honestly, I do love it. :)