Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brotherly Love

It warms my heart each time I see Whit hug, kiss or otherwise show affection to his sister.  I mentioned early on that Kirk was doing a wonderful job teaching Whit to interact positively with his sister.  He comes from experience as the bond he shares with his own younger brother is one of the strongest I've ever seen.

Don't get me wrong; I love the relationship I have as an adult with my sister and I'm capable of teaching Whit and Eilidh how to have loving interactions.  But the sibling relationships of my younger years were more likely to be punctuated with fights and competitiveness than hugs and kisses.  The relationship I now have with my sister evolved when we were both "adults" and in college together.  I pray that I can continue to grow the relationship I have with my younger brother now that he is an adult as well.

Discussing the dynamics of sibling relationships gets me thinking.... like so many other things in our society, it seems that sibling relationships are affected by what we perceive to be be "normal," ie, sibling rivalry, jealousy, fights.  But what if, like so many other things, it didn't have to be that way?

Many modern American families have two working parents which means children are cared for by someone outside of the immediate family from a young age, sometimes as early as 6 weeks.  In a typical day care setting, children are put into different sections based on age.  Even if your kids attend the same day care, they will get very little interaction with each other during the day.  By necessity, it continues on the same way throughout their years of elementary, high school and college.  Technology simply adds to the dilemma.  Anyone who has witnessed the moody teen sitting at the dinner table absorbed in their smart phone can see that although they are present, they aren't really "present." By they time they are adults, the sibling bond has weakened to a point that sadly many siblings fall out of contact with each other or rarely visit.

On the other hand, people talk about how closely bonded twins are. Does that 9 months (6 of which they are mostly unaware of the other's presence) really make that big of a difference? Or is it that they spend the majority of their formative years together? They share rooms, share a birthday, share life experiences.  Parents don't want their singletons to have to share or even have a close birthday, but no one bats an eye that twins ALWAYS (well, mostly) share that special day.

I am a family person.  Family to me comes before everything except my personal faith. So when I found out that I was pregnant with Eilidh I knew that I wanted my children to be together as much as possible, especially during the day if I would be returning to work.  We planned to continue to send Whit to pre-school but the rest of his day would be spent with a private care provider where he would get to interact and create a bond with his younger sister.  Of course, now that I will be home until God sees fit to send me back to work, I know, and am grateful that they will  get this daily interaction.

Getting kisses from Eilidh

Let me show you how to play with this moose...

Monday, June 17, 2013

A journey of faith

You can say "God has a plan" or "The universe knows best" but it comes down to the same thing.  I don't believe much in random chance.  Things certainly happen for a reason. 

When Kirk and I got married 6 years ago, I knew it was right.  But I was still a little nervous.  I prayed about it for weeks before hand, "Lord, just give me a sign that this is the right move, I don't want to make a mistake."  The answer?  A dream in which I was marrying someone else! I woke up in a panic and then when I realized that it was just a dream and I was, in fact, marrying Kirk, I knew everything was going to be OK.

Less than a year later I realized our relationship had grown more in the previous 10 months than the 8 years prior.  We were in turmoil.  I was facing surgery and we knew we were ready to move on from the hustle and bustle of life in Northern VA.  We didn't know where we were going, just that we were going. I had already non-renewed at the schools at which I was teaching and Kirk turned in his resignation on a Monday morning.  Monday afternoon he got a phone call from a friend about this job at a brand new high school in Knoxville, TN.  He applied, was interviewed over the phone and offered the job in the same day.  We never looked back.  It was easy.  We simply packed our things,  jumped in the U-Haul and drove south.

For those that know the story, Whit was our miracle baby.  We wanted him for so long and it wasn't until we gave up control that we finally got him.  "All in God's time" became our mantra.  It wasn't easy to give up control over things and rely only on faith, but we did it.  We took a backseat to our own lives and let God be in control. And we were rewarded.

2 years later I found out that the baby we were going to try for in the fall had decided to come a few months early.  I had just told Kirk we were going to be more relaxed the second time around and "The baby will come when God sees fit." Surprise! God saw fit a little earlier than we were planning.  That's what we get for planning!  Eilidh is such a delightful child and her timing was perfect.  She showed up on the evening of a rain delay just a few days after Grams showed up and a few days before spring break.

Now, I've been praying (and crying) about my desire to have more time with my children since the week Whit was born.  I never imagined that I would want to be a stay at home mom, and maybe I still don't want to be "only mom."  But I do want the opportunity to love and nurture my children more than I am getting working full time. Every time I prayed about it I got the same response.  "Be still and wait." Not an easy answer to get for 2 years....

Lo and behold, not long before Eilidh was born we started hearing rumors about a job opening in our hometown.  I knew moving home would mean that I would have the opportunity to stay home more, but I didn't want to be selfish.  If God intended for me to work, that's exactly what I was going to do.  I didn't encourage or discourage Kirk to apply for this position.  OK, I encouraged him to apply, but didn't really give him much advice on whether or not to take it (much to his chagrin).

For the first time, following our life path became difficult. It was like trying to read the exit signs on the interstate in the middle of a torrential downpour at night.  Not exactly clear. So we slowed down; we had to tread carefully and let the situation unfold.  We had to actually make a decision this time.  As the time to make the decision drew closer, the path got a little clearer.  And then, there we were, at the cross-roads and the sun came out and shined on the sign that said "Exit here."

I prayed a lot that day and, for the first time in a long while, got a different answer.  "God, what should we do? Should we stay? Should we go?"  And, quite clearly "Go, your work here is done."

What does the future have in store for us? Who knows! (Well, some one knows).  It's a good thing I like surprises and I'm patient, because I doubt I'm finding out one second before I need to know.  And now that I've learned (OK, I'm still learning) how to let go of control and TRUST it's getting a little easier.

It's like the songs I've heard Whit singing the last few weeks, maybe not just by chance.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.....

Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey...   

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Photo Update!

 So I know I haven't been forthcoming with a blog, but at least I've been busy with the camera! Eilidh still has a fair way to go to match the number of photos that Whit has racked up, but I'm trying.
The Crazy Eyes

With Grams!

Whit raiding Daddy's golf bag...and shoes

snoozefest take 2

The first go with the baby gym, she loves the mirror
Gym time is more fun with company

The best part of the reading festival? The play area!

Babywearing at the Reading Festival

More festival fun

ER at 2 months

Look at me go!

Daily batting practice...pants optional!

End of the year lunch with Daddy

This is my friend Marcus

Chillin with Aunt Val

Wow....supermom! Naptime!

Sydney, Whit and Opie (formerly known as Nana)

Shhhh....don't tell Nana we had a snack in her bed!