Friday, March 25, 2011

flip flops and love.

We have been away.  
It was delicious. Somewhere along the way, spring and sunshine arrived. Finally.

After much contemplation, I cut off my hair. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.
It is shorter than I was thinking of getting, and a bit bolder than I am used to. But - somewhere, this bold hairstyle taps into my inner badass that was in need of something. Something was up.
Before and after. (My apologies for the dirty mirror.)

My vision-of-loveliness that is my girl - she and I spent an afternoon together to nurture our feminine spirits. It was delicious, too.

Did somebody say time away?
We went away to have some relaxing time as a family. Because frankly, we needed it. I can't be dishonest.
A wonky work schedule from our self-employed daddy to our clocks springing forward during spring break, gray skies and dipping temperatures and sickly kids and Too Much Time Cooped Up Indoors... it was as good a time as any to walk away from our own four walls that can become too familiar at times, and head somewhere refreshing, nurturing, challenging, and peaceful. Brother John's. Fresh air. Sunshine. Perfect.

This time we went and stayed. All of us. As a family.

This time we didn't get to a place of sigh. so relaxed. nearly as easily or quickly because this guy, the guy who admittedly detests routine, who hates schedules, and who is a self-proclaimed struggler of remaining patient and when stressed by the previously mentioned self-employment finds it difficult and tedious to be joyful and tender with wife and children - this guy bucked the system. 

The first several days this guy kept trying to nail down a strict routine, and then felt so much stress when this ethereal routine did not solidify. It was so heavy, in fact, that his stress and anxiety and anger overflowed onto all of us. It pained me. It made my heart heavy. My gut and human response to it? I wanted to fight, hammer it out of him. I wanted to weed out his problems because I am so strong. But I didn't do those things.

All I could do was pray. And cry sometimes. And watch my tongue. So I loved on him anyway. Did it make a big, satisfying, noticeable difference?
No. Maybe. Not at first.

And while I was waiting for Joel, God showed up. He showed up in my heart. He reminded me He joined us to one another. Be darned if any man will separate us.

Is that why I bit my tongue, held back in love, didn't come out with both guns ablazin'? Maybe. No. 

Truthfully, I did it because my Father has been showing me with the same gentle insistence that Amos calls out of me (from deep in his milky grins and sparkling long lash-framed eyes) that what I see in my husband anyone around me that gets under my skin is precisely what He wants to be weeded out of me - refined out of me.  
Not out of anyone else, but out of me.

Much like the fresh green and crisp buds of spring - I rose to the call. Bloom where I'm planted, baby.

And with that, the sun came out. Thank you, Jesus.

No problem is too much that a little patience, a little prayer, a little effort, a little coffee, a little snuggle with some little ones, and a spackling of sunshine can't fix - or can't cause my heart and mind to flip-flop to the other side, and see things in a new way.
Ooh - or maybe a ride on a double-decker bus. Or digging toes into warm sand. The first bare feet of the year.
That was also divine.

ooh, this baby boy.
My babies and I are happier if they get carried, don't cry themselves to sleep and we sleep together.
The suck-swallow-breathe, suck-swallow-breathe at night that I worried I would miss out on with this baby being fed from a bottle, but not so... cradling his sweet fuzzy head, hearing his contented breathing and little baby gasps and sighs that are oh so fleeting - I can't imagine missing out on those with him being elsewhere. Slow blinks with each suck that turn into the heavy breaths of a sleeping baby.

Curling my body around his, and he melts and molds his sweetness into my arms. Little neck in the crook of my elbow. Delicious Babyness. These days are gone so quickly. I am relishing them, and I welcome any and all reminders to soak them up while they are here.

Reminders like his sweet face and squealing sounds. Reminders like soaking up his big brother's little conversations stretching words into longer and longer formed sentences, each word, each phrase not sure if it's going to be the last of the sentence... these sentences and expressions stretch on... and on... and on... it is pure deliciousness in everything it encompasses about toddlerhood. Little thoughts and memories pouring out of his mouth, more and more everyday. His words are powerful, emotional, celebratory for us to hear - as his parents.

I missed getting a post together for World Down Syndrome Day - 3.21 (you follow? three-twenty-one?) I instead was feasting on the time away with my family - and just continuing to grow in the lavishnous it is to be Amos's mama. His sweet face. His gentle spirit. His preciousness. His gentle yet pure and clear insistence that we all slow down and watch him gently and slowly emerge and unfold like the petals of a flower. A dear friend shared words similar to those with me, and like a morning's gentle dew, they refreshed my outlook and gave me a beautifully simple new perspective on treasuring Amos as he is each day, while truly celebrating milestones as they are lovingly and sweetly plodded toward. 

His little workouts are paying off.

Gripping onto thumbs, he can go from his back to standing up. Can we get a whoop whoop?
Such a proud little face that says - "look at what I can do, Daddy!"
Proud big brother's face says "look what he can do!"

So in belated honor of our precious and amazing and wonderful little boy, World Down Syndrome Day, and all of my sweet and precious friends and their amazing and beautiful children, I share with you these special words from Adeye at "No Greater Joy Mom".

until you came along.

I never knew the absolute JOY that the beautiful extra chromosome could bring to a family.  Joy unspeakable, really.  And unconditional love?  Well, I didn't fully grasp that either.
Until you came along.

I used to rush around and do a million things a minute, never really stopping to savor the moments.  I lived my life in fast forward--forgetting to live for the day, for the moment. 

Until you came along.

I forgot to cherish each and every milestone--and etch them in my memory forever.  I didn't pay much attention to the milestones our children reached.  On most days I forgot to praise even the smallest victories they achieved. 

Until you came along.

I worried about tomorrow, fretted about the future, and gave way too much attention to the things that really don't matter.  I got caught up in the mundane, trivial stuff time and time again.

Until you came along.

thought I understood that each and every person was fearfully and wonderfully made just the way they were.  But I didn't really get it. 
Until you came along.

My ears had never heard the judgments
, the snarly remarks, seen the horrible prejudice, the mockery, the snickering, and the evil that is so often targeted at people who have special needs. I was oblivious to it all in my own little world.
Until you came along.

I never in a million years ever thought that I had the ability to parent a child who struggles in this life. I always prayed that God would give the job to someone else. Anyone but me God, thank you very much.

Until you came along.

I felt bad for families who had one of
those kids... 

And while I still have a very long way to go in getting things right most of the time, and I am one of God's biggest works in progress...

Because of you, I am changing.
Because of you, I am becoming a better mom.
Because of you, I am learning to linger in the moments like never before.
Because of you, I seek out those who have "special needs" just to tell them how amazing I think they are.
Because of you, I am more patient, more understanding.
Because of you, my relationship with God is richer, deeper, more intimate.
Because of you, I see ALL children as valuable and priceless.
Because of you, I am learning to love unconditionally... just as you do.
Because of you, my life will never, ever, never, ever be the same again... it will be better!
Because of you, I am blessed beyond description.

Until you came along I had no idea how absolutely wonderfully and exquisitely created the glorious 47th chromosome truly is. 

Our God
never makes mistakes.

I know that now.  With all my heart I know it to be truth.

Yah. What she said.

My little man with Down Syndrome, my Amos - he continues to be a catalyst for change in me. In being his mama, I am becoming aware of how God wants me to not necessarily weed out my heart and mind, but instead to fertilize the good stuff - to nurture and focus on and pour my energy into the good that is in me. And in the man He has joined me to. And to our precious children.  

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help then to become what they are capable of being.

Of course, we may have to go through a few more days of cold, but once my flip-flops are out and my heart is changed? They're not going back, baby.

Happy Weekend to you.


  1. beautiful photos. I'm soaking in some much needed time away from home too. Feels SO good.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful family. Lovely post with wonderful music! Officially a follower :)

  3. You're such a little jerky! Get me all teary-eyed with your words, then post a funny picture of you and Joel...well, of Joel...not you. You're gorgeous. Sigh. Once again a good read friend.
    Love it. And thank you.

  4. You all have the greatest hair :)
    Hope your vacation was rejuvenating!
    And your family is just so beautiful to look at...

  5. Hi Laura. Your words and sentiment are just gorgeous.

  6. Great post Laura!

    I was smitten by the pics of Amos doing his exercises...reminded me of my Ruby....check it out..almost the exact same scenario. We ARE more alike than different!!


make no mistake, I am smitten with your words. please say hello, or pour something out - you will make my heart happy.

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