That’s a line from one of my favorite Kenny Chesney songs and I think it aptly describes our life right now. Sure, I can list off a handful of things that are extremely hard about life at the moment (our financial situation, the lack of sleep from having a newborn, always feeling hungry because I’ve had to cut out so many foods that hurt Madden’s tummy, my three-year old who has suddenly become so hardened to her sin) BUT, most of the time, things are really great. People ask me “So, how are you doing?” and I sometimes don’t know where to start. I’m happy and tired and frustrated and sad and joyful and overwhelmed and relaxed and disappointed…it just depends on which moment that you ask me. Nevertheless, when I look at the big picture, I realize again, that most of the time things are really great. Let me fill you in a bit…
Mikias is such a neat kid. He’s a wonderful mixture of tough and tender and should the Lord call him to Himself, he will be an incredible member of God’s kingdom. He’s such a servant and always looking for ways to help Mommy. I constantly remind him how grateful I am for his help, but that his help is not why Mommy loves him. He gets it, and still just really enjoys being helpful. He’s also super compassionate. I’ve had to cut out dairy from my diet in order to nurse Madden, so the kids were upset that I didn’t get to eat any of Molly Kate’s birthday cake. This week Mikias told me when I make his cake, I could leave out the milk so that I would get to eat some! Of course, I had to explain that would be a yucky cake, but how precious that he wanted me to be able to enjoy something that he enjoys so much! In the last few weeks, he’s become a great hugger. We had to really teach him how to hug and it was so awkward for a while there. But now I get these amazing super-tight squeezes and the words “I love you Mommy.” And I know that he really does. As his English improves, I find myself enjoying our conversations greatly. I’m also learning so much about his past, which can be enlightening and heart-breaking. But it makes me love him all the more and thank God for already saving him from so much.
Molly Kate is having the hardest time of all right now, which isn’t surprising given the rapid changes in our family life. Nevertheless, it pains me to watch her struggle, even when I know it is for her good. I guess its much how the Lord feels when He walks with us through the trials that sanctify. Thankfully, there are still moments in the day where my sweet, loving, playful little girl appears and I treasure those. In the craziness of three boys, I love that God blessed me with a little girl who happens to be so much like me. But I welcome your prayers for her as she adjusts to so many changes and for me to have wisdom as I train and shepherd her little heart.
Miles will steal your heart in a second with those big brown eyes and winsome smile. He seems to be adjusting well, but its so hard to know with a two-year old. He’s super cuddly, so I love when there is time in the day to just sit and hold him…and he loves it too! But there are lots of moments when I wrestle with God and question why the Lord allowed him to remain in the orphanage for so long. He’ll fall down the stairs or hit his head on the table, stop for a moment and then get up and keep going. While I’m glad he’s a tough little boy, I can’t help but wonder if he’s learned not to cry when he hurts because no one cares. He’s also extremely possessive of food and doesn’t seem to know when he’s full. Again, I have to wonder how many days and nights he was still hungry because there just wasn’t enough food to go around. These things are hard to grapple with and a main reason I feel sad a lot right now. Between talking to Mikias about the hardships he and his birthmom faced to watching Miles not act like a normal two-year old in so many ways to Molly Kate not caring one bit that she hurts God’s heart when she disobeys, I guess I have good reason to just need to cry many a night. So I do.
And Madden…well, he hasn’t been the easiest baby, but I’m so grateful that he doesn’t have CF and with that burden lifted, I can face the rest of it. The food issues stink…I love dairy and its a challenge to cut it out because we are so accustomed to eating it in everything! Unfortunately, its not just dairy…beans, onions, peppers, and most fruits and veggies also seem to bother him, so I really have to be so careful about what goes into my mouth. I now eat peanut butter (or almond butter) and jelly sandwiches about five times a week! He’s much better than Molly Kate was about falling to sleep on his own, but his nighttime feedings are much more frequent than hers were at this point. For the last six weeks, I’ve averaged six hours of sleep a night and I feel pretty worn down. I know we’ll get there, but oh how I dream of 10 straight hours of zzz’s! At the same time, I’m wanting to store up as much time with my little man as possible as I know he’s our last infant. I told him the other day I want him to get older and stay a baby all at the same time! Sometimes I grieve the fact that I don’t get to love on him as much as I would like because of my other three little people and the needs that have to be met. Then I pray that God would fill in the gaps where there is just not enough of me to go around. He is starting to give us some great little smiles, which always help brighten the day.
The truth is…most of the time, things are really great. I love having a big family and the fact that there is never a dull moment. Doing it together with Kevin is just icing on the top…he’s an amazing husband and a great father. Life is busy and I know this time when my children are young will go by so quickly. In fact, I had two parents say that very thing to me today with tears in their eyes…one a dear friend and the other a stranger in the mall. But both had this yearning to return to the years when their child was young enough to crawl up in their lap or snuggle after a nap. And the Lord reminded me not to wish this time away but treasure it up and make the most of every opportunity.