Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fears and other birthday gifts

Fluffy white clusters of flakes dance around outside the window of my living room.  A giant helium filled shark is flying around my head inside my living room, thanks to Isaac's borrowing of his big brother's Christmas gift.  I hear the Jaws orchestral riff--duh da....duh da...duh da, duh da, duh da...."Look out, Mommy!  He's going to EAT YOU!"  Ah...another birthday has come.

Rewind twenty four's my 10th birthday.  Because being born a few days after Christmas has it's negatives (let's face it, sharing a birthday the same week as Jesus kind of puts my birthday at the end of the totem pole...) I have learned to enjoy the little things--they mean so much more to me.  1988 was one of the memorable birthdays--I had a sleepover with some of my friends, and each part of that 24 hours is still alive in my mind like a Technicolor remake.  Everything from the talent show we did, to my dad pretending to be "the blob" and scaring us all to death.

Fast forward to's my 30th birthday.  My husband and friends threw me a surprise party that will forever be a highlight of my life.  It's not easy to surprise me, but they did--and severely.  I almost had a heart attack when I walked through the swinging kitchen door of my friends' house to hear "SURPRISE!" Sitting around with those who were, and are, so dear to my heart was priceless.

Of course...if you can rewind again to December 28th, 2006, you'll find me sitting up in my hospital bed.  I can still remember that beach front scene framed on the wall directly across from me.  I stared at it, trying to imagine sand between my toes curling, breathing during my labor with one of the most fantastic, painful, surprising, and amazing gifts I have yet to experience.   A new life.  One that would challenge every fiber of my existence, and thrill me deeper than any birthday surprise ever could.  On the morning of December 29th, 2006, I was holding my baby boy snug in my arms.  Looking back at that moment, I realize I had sort of been prepared for that exciting fearful moment--what lies ahead?  And being filled with hope and peace at the prospect of the journey.  God knew I'd need it. 

Every birthday comes with fears and often times, unmet expectations.  I have learned through each December to soak in each moment--even if you AREN'T the headliner.  The beauty of life isn't found in avoiding the hard parts, it's created in experiencing and conquering--adding another small medal (or, huge trophy) to your heart's collection.   That's what each yearly milestone is about, and that's what I love about December 29th. 

As the snow still falls, and Isaac sits on my lap, wiggling and singing in his loudest voice, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUU!" I'm so thankful for the memories, thankful for the fears, because I have shelves overflowing with reminders of victories.  

Best. Gifts. Ever.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Wonder: A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

Last week, as we spent the evening at my parents' house for dinner, my mom and I were talking.  As we discussed upcoming holiday plans, times, at whose house we'd be for what, we paused from talking.  Isaac had been at the china cabinet in the kitchen as we frantically made plans.  He had carefully repositioned the shepherds that were on display in the nativity.  They weren't facing out anymore.  He had turned them so they were facing the baby Jesus, backs to the room.  He then simply skipped away as if nothing had changed.  

"Look at this," my mom noticed.  We both stood by that nativity scene and let the implications soak in.  Isaac had seen what we often look past. A nativity is for display, yes, but it is our attitude of focus that defines where we direct our worship during Christmas.  We can decorate and wrap and stage all season long, but if our faces and hearts aren't turned to the truth of Christ's birth and allow that to shape our hearts, it's just a show.  

I love the wonder that comes from the perspective of my son.  In a moment, he can allow us to see what he sees.  Often, that perspective brings me back around to eye-opening reminders like this nativity scene.  It can be so easy to look past this gift.  I can care too much about others' opinions--care too much about how others see me. Isaac sees the unexpected and isn't afraid to share it, even if it goes again status quo.  He is a reminder of God's impact in my perspective every moment...a reminder to turn my heart to Jesus and to worship his beauty that outshines the lights of a million stars.

He truly has a gift for wonder.  And what a treasured gift he is to me.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

worthy of being loved

I am feeling under the weather today.  And it is quite the weather to feel under.

Outside, buckets of rain and thunder and lightning ricochet around, while I, with tissue box and tea in hand, sit on my chair.  I am reading my latest issue of People on my Nook, when I decide to delve into a story about Demi Moore.

I'm not sure if you are as savvy as I and keep up with all the juiciest gossip ( insert thick layer of sarcasm here...) but you have been buried under a rock if you haven't heard that Moore and her husband, Ashton Kutcher are no longer.  Well, this article squeezed some lemon into that wound as it talked about Kutcher's newest romance, leaving Demi in the dust, so to speak.

Why am I writing a blog about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher?  It's because of a quote I read in the article referring to something Demi had said to Harper's Bazaar in a past interview about her biggest fear:  "it's that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not lovable, that I'm not worthy of being loved."

I have to set my reader down and let that comment soak in.  I am thankful for this beautiful movie star's candid openness, but I'm broken-hearted at the lie she is afraid of!

We are ALL worthy of love, if we are talking about the kind of love that is worth it all.

There are many forms of love--in the Greek language, there are 3 that I can define:   "Eros" or, romantic, passionate love; "Philia" or, friendly, brotherly love; and "Agape", love that is selfless and totally committed.

Eros + Philia = trouble, pain,  confusion, undetermined expectation and comparison, selfishness

Eros + Philia +Agape = complete acceptance, complete devotion, and complete satisfaction.

If you don't know Agape love--the kind that is selfless and committed, that covers the ugly we all have in us--you will never know TRUE love.

I think of my children, and I think of how they see the world around them.  It is my passion to teach them the right equation for love, because it was the most difficult, the most challenging, and most eternally exhilarating lesson I've learned in my life (and continue to learn daily!)

Isaac always tells me, "I love you, Mom."  I am confident in his hugs and his affection, not because I'm worthy--but because I'm exactly the opposite.  I'm confident in my unworthiness, knowing that with the love of Jesus--Agape love--I am free and forgiven, no matter what stains may mare my past, no matter how much devastation has swept through my soul. It's because of this love, this mercy, I am lovable.

I can take a deep breath and close my eyes and know this love...
"Never fails, never gives up, never runs out..."

And that's worth it all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

out of clay

I wake up to a rainy, dark morning.  Isaac is in bed with me, snuggled between Dan and I...humming and announcing each minute change on the digital clock.  "It's....6:12....13!" As I get out of bed, I am reminded that today is my first day of free art therapy at Julie Billiart.  I am looking forward to meeting other moms and hearing their hearts (and maybe making something crafty too...)

I pick up our carpool buddies (Sandy, the mom, and her 3rd grader at JB, Sean) and we head over to the school.  After we high-five the boys good-bye, Sandy and I make our way into the school, signing in with pens topped with plastic sunflowers.  (These flowers are the school's symbol:  "Look to God as a sunflower looks to the sun for life")  

Making our way to the art therapy room, we are surrounded by organized drawers labeled with supplies, weaving looms and paintings, framed pieces of childrens' art work.  My heart does a little leap with excitement:  free time to make something?  Yes please!

As we find our seats, take of our jackets and sip on our coffee, other moms begin coming in.  I am introduced to everyone--most moms have been coming here for years, and obviously, get something much needed from the time.  I smile at them.  They do their best to smile back.  

As we begin, our facilitator (who is also Isaac's art teacher) reads a meditation from a book.  We start with piles of clay on some fabric.  As she reads, and soothing, instrumental music plays in the background, she tells us to close our eyes.  

I use this time to pray. I'm not sure what the others do, or even if this what what we were instructed to do...but in my experience, when I have quiet time, I use it to talk to God.  Plain and simple.  It's the best use of the moment.  

I begin to make something from the clay, but we are encouraged to keep our eyes closed.  Using our hands only, we shape the cold, moist ball into something...anything...

At the end of the session, we open our eyes to see what we've made.  Some of us have abstract, tree-like vertical creations.  Some have flat, pancake-like stepping stones.  Mine?  A bowl, with a spout on the side.  

We talk about what it's like being moms.  Not just moms, but moms with children who have special needs.  I listen more than talk, because honestly, my problems seems small in comparison to the hurt, the frustration, and the pain that these women brought into the art room this morning.  One mom, Kelly, rubs her teary eyes while sitting in her sweat pants and hair in a bandana..."It just couldn't be a worse time for a divorce...Grayson is in 6th grade and needs a can I do this alone?"  Another mom, Anne Marie..."We had to tell our son he had Aspergers years ago when he was suicidal, he was so young...I wanted him to understand why he is the way he is..." I am flabbergasted. I am humbled, and I'm looking at my clay bowl on the table in front of me.  

I was reminded of the scripture verse, from Isaiah 64:8:  "But now, Oh Lord, we are the clay, and you are our potter.  We are all the work of your hand."

When the potter works the clay, he wets it down, forms it gently, and never takes His hands from his creation.  Sometimes, if he isn't satisfied with the work, he will fold it up and start again.  This isn't easy, and it isn't quick.  It applies to us as moms, and to our children.  They were made by the potter's hand, and so were we.  He never takes his hand from us.  

As I shared this thought with the other moms, I felt I had said something weak or irrelevant.  But in response, there were muffled sniffs, tissues wiping eyes, and I could feel hearts soaking in the reminder:  We aren't alone as long as we remember the potter.  

I decided to have my sad little bowl that I made with my eyes closed fired.  It's not pretty, and it's not perfect, but isn't that the point?  We are made perfect through the fire...and when I see that little bowl when the times are frustrating, or when I feel like I can't make it through the day, I will remember...

I'm still just made out of clay.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Oh sweet, lazy, bittersweet summer...

You were my favorite.  

There were amazing adventures with friends and to parks, pools, and beaches...and a heavenly reminder of how precious those times are with one another...(We will always love you, Boompa! We will see you again soon...7-4-2012) 

Sometimes it takes the difficult to make us dig our heels and hearts in to love deeper, hope stronger, and push harder for the things that are so valuable and yet so fleeting.  

And here we are, the last day of that free-wheeling, wear-your-bathing-suit-all-day, eat-ice-cream-for-dinner, catch-lightning-bugs kind of season...and I'm gearing up for routine again!

Back packs are ready, hanging on hooks in the foyer...lunch items are picked and ready to be stashed for the first lunch of my 3rd grader and my [gulp...deep breath...] Kindergartener.

Isaac is a Kindergartener.  My Isaac.  

The baby who stopped talking at 20 months.  

The baby who physically pushed me away.  

The baby who didn't call me Mommy until he was 3.

The baby who didn't look anyone in the eye. 

The baby who couldn't be around people or loud noises.

The baby who stole my heart and challenged every hope, belief, and dream I could imagine...

And he's going to school. And he's going to be amazing.  


I'm truly grateful for the amazing place he gets to learn at.  The teachers, the building, the way they teach a child HOW to learn, not just what to learn; how they treasure Isaac's differences without forcing him to conform or feel stomach is in knots and butterflies all at the same time with excitement and with pain.

I'm reminded of the day I broke down in a Target parking lot when Isaac was just diagnosed with his autism over 3 years ago.  I was feeling the heaviness, the burden, of trying to solve my son's "problem."  And just like that, God spoke to my heart through a message on the radio I had stopped to listen to in tears.  The story of Isaac and Abraham is one we learn in Sunday school...but it never meant much until the Holy Spirit made it relevant to my situation:  I remember it as clear as a bell ringing.  

Give Isaac to God.  

What did that mean?  In my hot angry tears, I shouted this question in my soul.  I hadn't really allowed myself to submit to who could possibly love my son more than me?  Who could possibly know him better than I?  God does.  And He is capable of making a way for Isaac to live, to thrive, and to reach his full potential.  I laugh at this scenario now, because honestly, it was the changing point in my daily life with my son.  And just like Abraham had to follow God's difficult instructions to submit to God's plan and not his own...I saw the power in that.  I handed Isaac's present, his past, and his future up to a God who is the ultimate provider.  

And boy, am I glad I did.  

So, here we are...on the cusp of a new season of challenges and victories.  And I'm ready.

I have a feeling, Isaac is pretty ready too. 

Happy Kindergarten, everyone!  (sniff, sniff...where's the Kleenex?)

my babies, big bro Ethan and little Isaac on his birthday

Isaac and his Boompa, Father's Day 2011...we will miss him so

My Booder 2008

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Remembering Boompa

It is a quiet morning.  July 4th, 2012.  It's very early.  And it has been a long month of hospital visits.  Coffee is brewing on my kitchen counter, and Ethan and Isaac have zipped past me and are frantically putting on their flip flops at the back door.  "Mom, when is the parade starting?"  "Are they going to throw candy?" "Is everyone coming to our party?"   I smirk and answer a blanket yes over their rapid questions.  As I cut up watermelon and get plates and cups out to host our annual party and parade for friends and family, I start realizing this answer isn't completely true.  

Everyone will not be joining us this year to celebrate.  

My Boompa (my grandfather on my mom's side) had been one of the greatest parts of our 4th of July celebrations.  He and my Grammy would arrive, get their cups of coffee and bagels and take a seat on the porch swing.  It was the perfect vantage point for Boompa.  He could "see the action" and take in all the laughter, all the children squealing with delight, and welcome friends and family as they made their way to say hello and chat a bit. Not to mention, hear the trains as they went by in the distance (they reminded him of his childhood, growing up in Cleveland).  He always had a smile on his face on the 4th because that day embodied all of his favorite things: life, freedom, family, friends, and celebration.  
Boompa in his spot on our front porch, July 4th, 2010

 This year, Boompa was not at our house.  He was not on the porch swing.  
He was breathing some of his final breaths, in hospice care, surrounded by family and held by Grammy.  
He was, and always will be, on our hearts.  
We reserved his spot with a family photo--with him at the head of the table

That morning, after the parade had gone by, and the coffee and goodies had been shared...
We got a call that our beloved Boompa had gone from this world to the next...
made whole, made perfect, and made eternal.  

Boompa was one of the most loving and listening people I knew.  He encouraged me when I would bring Isaac over to visit.  He would immediately sit up in his chair (even if he was hurting) and get genuinely excited when Isaac showed him his latest Hot Wheels car, or construction truck.  "Oh, man!  Look at that!" Whistling an impressed sound at Isaac and raising his eyebrows with enthusiasm.  They would play together, and Boompa made all the car sounds.  His eyes would light up and Isaac would show off a bit.  My grandfather would look right at me and say, "Girl, you're doing a fantastic job...he is doing great!"  My chest would swell up with pride.   This man worked so hard to make sure his family knew he loved them...and he knew I did the same.  

Boompa was a carpenter--he built amazing things with his hands. He was a craftsman, and a true appreciator of all things handmade.  Balancing on railroad ties in the backyard, and walking into his "shop" (a big barn behind Grammy and Boompa's old house) transported me to when I was a little girl, when he would hug me and the smell of Old Spice and wood shavings mingled on his stylish clothes (he had style, that man.)  I understood at a young age what it meant to work at something, to have patience.  I grasped this invaluable concept of what really matters--family, God, doing what you love and what you've been made to do--because of his example.  It was never about money--it was always about passion.  (He could barely get through a family prayer before a meal without breaking down in tears--he had one of the most tender hearts.)

He and I shared the same personality--I enjoyed being with others, but found great fulfillment in being introspective with my thoughts.  I remember when we would go on family vacations to the beach, Boompa would get up at dawn and sit on the porch with a pot of coffee, whittling a figure or working on a piece of his model ships he made from scratch.  If you chose to sit with him, you'd be sitting in silence.  Boompa would take long walks by himself, coming back an hour later, having explored some untouched place where tourists didn't go.  We never asked him what he did on those walks, and other than horrendous sunburn and maybe a few unique shells, he didn't reveal to us either.  I can imagine he would think about his life--his Russian parents and the 7 siblings he grew up with...maybe ponder the time he spent in the Navy out on an aircraft carrier during WWII...reflect on that night in a jail cell years ago after a bar fight where he gave his heart and life to Jesus and forever changed the way he lived...    

Isaac and Boomps, Father's Day, 2011
Ethan and Boomps, Father's Day, 2011
I will greatly miss my Boompa.  I will miss his encouragement, his silly phrases, his high pitched laugh, his excitement for life and love for those around him.  I am blessed to have had time for my sons, his great-grandchildren, to experience his contagious joyful spirit, and to remember what it means to truly live:  To love God, to serve, and to love others.  I am blessed that a part of who he is will live through myself and my sons.  

From now on, the 4th of July will be so much more meaningful to me.  It will forever be a day that I will remember true freedom, true love, and true joy.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Graduate

Isaac, Chagrin Falls, 2010

My pint-sized warrior, 2011
Me and Isaac, Disney World, 2009
Spring scootering, 2011
Surprise!  2010

"Whatchu talkin' about, Willis?"  2009

You can appreciate the present by looking at the past...
and that's what I did. 
Old photos take me on a stroll through moments, milestones, and memories.
I giggle.  I sigh.  I get teary eyed...
but never, ever, do I get remorseful, disappointed, or dissuaded.  
I gush.  I smirk.  I close my eyes...
but never, ever, do I lose hope.  

Here's to Isaac.  Here's to the little graduate.  
So many faces, so many challenges, so many triumphs...
So long preschool...hello future!

Big boy!

Monday, April 16, 2012


It is a chilly Friday morning.  Isaac and I are driving home from his latest speech therapy session.  His favorite MuteMath song is playing, and he sings along, softly under his breath.  He is swinging his legs and hitting the back of my seat.   The heat is on, but the windows are rolled's one of those Spring mornings.  

On this particular day, we don't have shopping to I decide to take him to one of the parks nearby.  I am emboldened by the breeze.  Yes.  I am taking him to Preston's Hope...a playground of wonder for children, and utter terror for adults.  

The entire playground is handicap that means they can go everywhere and anywhere via a ramp or a slide.  For those parents who aren't normal, this may sound entertaining.  Trust me.  It's a stress test disguised as a place of fun.  But, once and awhile I feel confident that I can keep track of my busybody son.

We enter the playground and take off running.  Literally.  Here we go.  

Isaac hits up the firehouse...climbing on the ride-on emergency vehicles that spring back and forth.  Then, it's off to the "runway of doom" (I fondly named it this because it's an elevated walkway leading to some of the playhouses)--where you are most certain to loose track of your child.  Like a ball in a pinball machine, Isaac bounces from one exciting moment to the next, and I'm flailing behind him.  

As we arrive at his favorite slide, I sit at the bottom to catch my breath as he slides down a few times.  

I smile when he gives a little girl a turn.  
I laugh when he comes down the slide backward.
I cringe when he hits the ground.  

Interestingly enough...this playground is one of the only places that I find myself trailing Isaac, and where he isn't bound to follow me.  

He heads to the wall to climb.  I let him go.

I rush after him, chasing him as he giggles and screams.  
Okay, maybe screams a little too much--people are looking at me funny....

We get to the wall on the other side of the playground (making sure to sample each and every activity on the way...)

And here is where I am in awe.  I watch this boy scale this wall in record time.  His hands and feet flow smoothly over the handles and footsteps, like he could maneuver this in his sleep.  He is a natural.  

I smile when he reaches the top.
I laugh when he throws his arms in the air, "Rocky" style.
I cringe when I think that he'll be scaling walls bigger than this one someday...and he won't need me to be there.

As we maneuver through the changes to come...preschool ending; new IEP, school, teachers, friends coming this fall with Kindergarten, I am reminded that life is just a big playground.   

And climbing walls is something Isaac does best.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012


On Saturday morning, our family was gearing up for our oldest son, Ethan's, birthday weekend extravaganza.  (I say this because when you have a child with a personality as big as Ethan's, you have to celebrate in equal fashion).  Dan and I were taking our time getting out of bed, and we could hear the conversation taking place in the kitchen:

Isaac:  "I'm hungry."

Ethan: "I'll make you something.  What do you want?  Waffles?"

Isaac:  "Yes, with peanut butter and jelly!" 

(sounds of the freezer opening, silverware being removed from the drawer, and the toaster going down....)

I slid out of bed, smiling.  As I walked down the stairs, I paused at the corner and watched as my 8 year old made breakfast for his 5 year old brother.  My hands up under my chin, elbows on my knees, I soaked up the view:  Ethan spreading a more-than-generous amount of PB and J on slightly burnt waffles; Isaac on his tippy-toes at the counter, squeezed up next to his big bro, watching and licking his lips like he was getting a steak--and then looking up at Ethan and smiling.  I made a mental note never, ever, to forget that image.  

Why was it so poignant?  Maybe because we spend each day of our lives teaching our children to love others more than themselves.  Maybe because I have made it my endeavor to show my boys that it is a joy to help others when they cannot help themselves. Perhaps it's because since they were born, I have never stopped praying that these two boys would love one another as best friends, not just because they have to share a mom and dad, but because they truly, honestly, love one another, and embrace their differences.  And maybe...just maybe, it's because I know as they grow older, these moments may be few and far between, and I'm okay with that.  I just want to have the reminder in my heart to use to keep reminding them.

When I finally came down the stairs to the kitchen, I took them both in my arms and squeezed.  

Waffles are wonderful.  

The very first picture with my boys (We just found out we were pregnant with Isaac this day)
Ethan was so excited to be a big brother!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Ever since Isaac was a baby, he has been drawn to hearts.

The shape, the color...I've never really understood it before.  When he first started looking at books, one of the many shape board books we had became his favorite.  He would sit in the rocking chair, flip frantically to the page that he memorized, and stare longing at the red heart.  He would put the book against his cheek and close his eyes.  It was a sight I can't forget.

For a boy who has fought so hard to identify and communicate emotions, Valentine's Day is HUGE.  The hearts he loves are stores, on commercials, at school and on little cards handed out from friends.  It's an overload of hearts for Isaac--and he soaks it all in with smiles.

"Mom, what is a heart?"  The question came this morning as we were getting dressed.  I stopped as I was helping him button his red plaid shirt (he wanted to wear red).  I tried to expain it in a way that would be both scientific (he needs that concrete image to build off of as a context for understanding)...and figurative.  "Well..." I started,  "it just means love."  There...I waited to see if the answer met his approval (if it didn't I would get another series of questions).  He just smiled and hugged me.  "I love you Mom."

Paper hearts, stuffed hearts, hearts with lace or made of doesn't matter to Isaac.

It's all about the love.

Isaac getting a smootch from big bro Ethan

Friday, January 13, 2012


The snow is falling.  Isaac is playing at the kitchen table:  Race cars, monster trucks, and "Pop the Pig" are having a convo of sorts...

Then, he does it.  Two times in a row.

He, unconsciously pushes a forced breath of air through his sounds like wheezing...or a bit like struggling for air...and then he clears his throat.  Sometimes the combination of these sounds changes.  But, no matter the combo, it starts to bother me.  Not just because it is annoying, but because Isaac is completely and fully unaware that he's making these sounds.

He's been doing this for a week or so now, and I thought it was something serious.  But...there have been no symptoms of anything to hint at illness...and there is no rhyme or reason to the sounds.  When I ask him if he's okay or if he needs a drink, he looks at me like he has no clue what compelled me to question him. I needed a second opinion.

" I just a nervous mom?"  I half jokingly asked the pediatrician at yesterday's appointment.  "Well,"  the doc said, "this is common in kids this age...they develop habits that stick around for a little while...sometimes they're gone in days...other times months."  I asked about allergies, about how this may relate to his delays...I nodded in approval, a rote action, (maybe my OWN habit) but I was thinking far beyond the examination room.  I was thinking of how to help Isaac deal with this.  And how I can stand hearing him make this concerning sound over and over again.

I started researching...tic:  "a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups."  I know Isaac enjoys repetition.  But I haven't seen him do much of this for a long time...

I start a log:  When he makes this sound, how what situations...

So far, after this calculating...I have no answers.  

And with kids, that's the only thing you're guaranteed--lots of questions, and often, no specific answers.  

I'm hoping this little habit will dissipate like the doctor told me.  Til then...I'm trying my best not to let it get to me.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Daddy's boy

"Mommy, is daddy coming home tomorrow?"

The question has been asked approximately 407 times in 2 days by Isaac.

I look down into his big baby blues.  I take his hand and walk with him to the calendar on the kitchen wall.  "Let's look."  I point to the January 9-square and then count with him...until we are ten days out.  "This is when Daddy comes home from China."  There is a deep sigh, signaling a resolve...for the moment.  Schedules always seem to calm and refocus my son--and I feel I've helped reassure us both.  Then...softly..."I miss Daddy, much..."

It's hard not to be kind of jealous, actually.  And this is a good thing.

For moms, we take satisfaction in being needed.  We may not rejoice in it and we may not admit it; but we do.  From tied shoes to wiped mouths to dried eyes; slathering on sunscreen or Neosporin with a Bandaid; hugs, kisses, washing up or tucking in...the list can seem endless while simultaneously monotonous...

But this is part of the gift of motherhood:  loving without condition, and giving without expecting.  We mothers know our kids before we see them.  We have a picture of them without having to look them in the eyes, and this picture is enough.  We just feel.  It's what we do...

For a long time, Dan struggled to connect with Isaac.  My husband is a talker and a visualizer, and to have a son so limited verbally, and who barely made eye contact was like the two existed with a giant heavy wall between them.

Of course, Dan loved him, but he really truly couldn't see him...or be seen by him.  He, like most fathers, needed to see.

Then, one day, as if the stones from the wall had been slowly removed one by one--the separation between Daddy and son was dismantled.  Words were like a bridge--paragraphs like long lost love letters recovered and read over and over as they would engage in little conversations here and there...told imaginary stories in the dark at bedtime...shared silly jokes...talked about things they saw.  I watched as a relationship was created, and those stones that once separated them, now closed them in together as a team; a pair who discovered they were more like one another than they knew.  They share something that is untouchable.  They needed each other to open BOTH of their eyes.

I am proud of my husband for being patient.  He has stood the test of time and the silence that once enveloped his relationship with Isaac...

But I can say with a full, deeply joyful and jealous heart, that Isaac is a Daddy's boy. And I'm just fine with that.

hand in hand

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


" I five now?"

It's the end of Christmas break for both of my boys.  There have been late nights and even later mornings of sleeping in; movies, baking, playing "Food Fight" and "Operation" and "Battleship"; trips to Grandmother's house, church, playdates, parties...[taking a breath] falling asleep on Daddy's lap, playing with new toys, drinking egg nog like it's going out of style.  It has been a fulfilling, beautiful, and memorable 2 weeks--one of the most lovely holiday times in my memory.  That being said, my brain has lost track of what day it is.  Forget about multi-tasking at this point...folding laundry and trying to have a conversation is just harder than it normally would be.

"Um...yes, you're five now."  I put down the socks I'm trying to match and think for a minute...

I thought about when I was little...having a birthday on December 29th wasn't always so fun.  I didn't get to bring cupcakes to school and have a party.  Everyone was gone.  Opening Christmas/birthday presents was something I was used to, and never complained about.

So when I was spending my own 28th birthday in the hospital with a newborn, pink-faced baby boy whom we named Isaac Josef, I knew he and I would understand.   I was already imagining the celebration a year from then--and resolving that he would always come before me, in every way.  His birthday, December 28th, is a day before my own.  And he was one of the best presents I ever held.

5 years have passed.  And the gifts still keep coming...

Every day I get to unwrap something new with Isaac:  A new look, a new joke he's discovered, a new emotion he's tapped into.  The excitement isn't just bursting at the seams the last week of the year--it's every moment.  That little baby who fit into a small Christmas stocking the day he was delivered, still manages to fit into my heart.

The birthday boy
Happy birthday to Isaac.  Happy birthday to me.  Happy New Year to you.  May it be filled with new discoveries that keep on giving...