Last night my friend Elaine commented on my post saying that 'the redheads make our story.'
She couldn't be more right!
For 3 1/2 years I did nothing but blog about Nora and Braden and all of their toddler adventures. I wrote about the things they were learning, the chaos they were creating, the non stop stresses of being a mom to two kids born 13 months apart. The things that they said and did are recorded here for a lifetime and I am so beyond thankful that I took the time to do that.
We all went out to dinner Friday night. It was the first time in a long time that we went out as a family. The redheads were so grown up and behaved so well that I think Daniel and I both left on a total high. Our kids aren't babies anymore. They don't have to be scolded like they once had to be. They don't even have to be asked to behave correctly. Suddenly they just do.
During those first few years with two toddlers running wild I didn't know how I would make it. I didn't know if I would survive parenting these two wild, loud, beautiful beings into well behaved and lovable kids. I tried my best to teach them manners and respect and prayed that they would grasp the concept of both. We desperately used words like 'obedience,' 'kindness,' 'generosity,' as we were doing our best to shape and mold them even as young babes.
And then all of the sudden it was as if everything shifted and changed. One day they evolved from babies who didn't understand and couldn't comprehend our teaching to children who really want to.
I am thankful that I wrote down funny things that they said when they were first learning to speak. I am grateful that I chronicled each mess made and each challenge that we overcame.
I'm also thankful that I have taken the time to write about Mabel and give her the words that she cannot speak. I am thankful that I have taken the time to record for Nora and Braden the details of their sister so that they can better know her when they are grown.
A few funny things from the mouths of my redheaded babes this week:
Braden to me-
"Mommy, sometimes when you wake up in the morning you don't look beautiful. But then you put on your make up and you really really do."
"Do you know when I really started to turn into a lion? It was when my thumbs started to turn colors."
This boy has the sweetest and most kind heart. He cries over 'Jesus songs' on the radio and was concerned that he would go to Heaven when he was sick. He thinks about death a lot, even without it being a topic we discuss. He is intuitive and very aware of Heavenly things and for this I am grateful. He is always concerned about my feelings and thinking about his sisters and what might be upsetting them. He's going to be a great man some day and I hope I can continue to grow and teach him in the ways that will mold him into exactly who he was created to be.
This week Nora noticed that on my conditioner bottle there was a gold strip. She insisted that she would wash her hair three times and then it would be 'a beautiful gold color like mine.'
She also told me that her skin was so pretty and white like mine and that God didn't make many people with skin like ours.
This week when I explained to her about Stevie going to Heaven she said, "Oh mommy! So now Stevie is an angel who can take care of Aunt Val instead of Aunt Val always taking care of him?!"
She really really gets it.
She loves and helps me take care of Mabel in such a way that is both innocent and very intent. She loves her sister with a knowing, I believe, that it is far deeper than I could ever explain to her. They have a special bond; one that sister's share. It goes beyond disease or delays. It is a heart connection that our God gives.
I was so thankful that Elaine acknowledged Nora and Braden in the ways that I see them every day. I may not write here about their every move like I once did but I am writing the story that God wants told for this season and this time. Their involvement in our every moment is crucial; they really do make this story what it is. They are the foundation for every feeling that I have in this journey with Mabel. They say and do things that sometimes are too in depth for me to even explain in a way that makes sense. They completely ravage me with their love and consume me with their ability to be so free and so little.
This story; their story is more about them than I could ever say. It's more about them than words could envelope. They know that and I know it. I'm so glad it was recognized.
These redheads-with their thinking and growing, amaze me. They are the best thing I have ever done. And I pray I can continue to do it well as long as they are mine to love.