Sunday, May 26, 2013

More Than Just a Number

Our children celebrated their 9th birthday today.

This post has gone at least a dozen different ways as I have drafted it in my head this week. From reliving the dramatic life and death events of that day, to celebrating each of their lives and the way they stretch me in new ways as they grow. I considered documenting our celebratory traditions, posting NICU pictures compared to now or open letters to each of them. But this evening as we lit sparklers in the driveway (a gift from my precious, wonderful friend/neighbor/surrogate aunt to my kiddos) my husband and I reveled in how they were suddenly, inexplicably and undeniably nine year olds.

To a child, I firmly believe, age is so much more than just a number. At least for my trio, today, it seemed an invitation to step it up. I am not speaking figuratively, it really did seem to happen overnight.

Because birthdays are indeed "Yes Days" (within reason, of course) we allowed the kiddos to choose post-church activities. As a result, we spent a gorgeous afternoon at the pool.
P sat with legs crossed in the shade reading to his heart's content. (So many new books, so little time.)
K swam and ran and played in the nonstop way only our little energizer bunny can--smile beaming constantly.
R 'held court' on the green lawn just outside the pool fence--leading a 4 hour baseball extravaganza with Dads and friends and little boys being cheerfully brought into the fold of the Summer tradition.

Between glances to see that they were having a blast, I managed to read 130 pages of a book.

As we walked home with tan skin and wonderfully exhausted bodies I watched the strides of those six legs that once filled my womb like spaghetti noodles. I listened to the voices I got to know via the late night sounds of baby monitors as they enthusiastically shared the stories of their day's adventures. Mostly, I simply noted the changing way my no-longer-babies carried themselves. While the trio's physical stature remains small in comparison to their peers, there is no denying their affect. My people have solidly joined the ranks of 'big kids.'

If you had asked me to project how I would feel about this, I am sure my response would have been wistful...but the truth is that I am not only at peace, but joyfully so. And tonight, I do wish I could sneak back for just a moment to that terrified, overwhelmed new Mama version of me 9 years ago and whisper:

Hang on. Dig in. Breathe. You cannot even fathom what is coming. Motherhood will be exhausting, terrifying, gut wrenching, sleep depriving, laughter and tear inducing, joy producing, stretching, rewarding, life altering and heart changing...But it will be so very good. (And that's just the first nine years.)

Grateful beyond words...


Pam said...

Been waiting for this post, knowing it would bring me to tears before its conclusion. Have thoroughly enjoyed watching your trio grow and change from the first time we made the connection that the little sweeties we'd seen at the Chiaha in their wagon "train" were the same ones we'd been reading about here for months prior to our first in-person meeting.
JMom, watching you grow and change as a mom has been just as precious as those changes in your sweeties. God works in your heart, teaches you lessons, and gives you opportunities to stretch into the shape He wants you in for the upcoming years of raising those He's entrusted to you. Along the way, He uses you and your story to teach those of us who read along and now look from a distance.

So, thank you. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday to your "big kids"!

Love Being A Nonny said...

What great kids....What great parents! I LOVE how you allow them to be themselves....I was never very good at that. Happy Birthday to your trips Jenmom!! You KNOW how long I have read your blog and I have loved watching them evolve into these great little people! Treat yourself today have done a great job!

dee said...

Happy, happy birthday to K, P, And R! Praying it is a grand year for them and your family. Nine is an awesome age. They definitely look like "big kids."

Jennifer said...

Another poignant post! I am crying too because it is so amazing how quickly we change from the terrified mother to this amazing mother that we all strive to become. You are such an inspiration to me! Happy Birthday to your precious trio.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I love this x 1000. Happy birthday to your sweet babies. And happy birthday to you too, Jen. You tuck it all down, deep in your heart, and wallow in the joy. I love that about you.

I can't believe how big they are getting. :)

Cathy said...

Love your posts, always.
Happy Birthday to the trio.
I can't believe how much K looks exactly like you when she smiles. Precious!

JMom said...

I adore you people! Thanks for your sweet encouragement and celebration!

Karen in VT said...

Happy Birthday to your trio and to you! I always love your posts and this one did not disappoint. Thank you for all that you share--honestly, your words have caused me to pause more than once as I navigate this crazy ride of motherhood with my own crew.

While I don't know your children outside of what you write, this picture seems to fit perfectly with the image that was in my head--and I cannot get over how much K looks like a mini version of you in this shot :)

Blessings to you and your sweet family!

Lynford Rozario said...

Hey this is so fun loving post.
Happy b'day to your trio and to u too.

Twitter manager Australia

Jill said...

Happy Birthday K, P, and R! I think I've been reading since they were 2! So fun to experience their precious lives through your blog. I love how their personalities and interests have really developed the past couple of years. Hope 9 is a richly blessed year for you all.

Lauren & Eddie said...

Beautiful words! Happy Birthday K, P, and R!