3 girls in 3 different places for Independence Day.
Girl #1 with her companions in the mission field:
Girl #2 at home with her boring parents:
Girl #3 staying with a friend. I haven't seen her for days. Ah!
We partied all day long with Girl #2 in tow. I was so excited that she was actually willing to be with me. I begged her to take a selfie with me. That. Did. Not. Go. Well. So here's how I improvised in the moment. I took a picture of her and a picture of me and squeezed them together. Now I can pretend she was standing slightly near me and was enjoying it. See? We're both looking down at our phones. It's almost like were matching BFFs!
What's more American than baseball? The Houston Astros! A large group of friends gathered at the highest tier of the stands and had a blast. Baseball is actually interesting. Who knew?
We ate enough sports food to be slightly sick. When at a sporting event, soak in the beauty of the concession stand. And enjoy being with friends.
Fireworks finished off the day. Freedom feels like a beautiful thing.
I laid in the dark early this morning. Remembering. How she came into the world and into my heart. It was a short labor for a beautiful baby girl. She came out looking exactly like the sister before her. With her arrival, we became a family of "girls".
There has literally never been a dull moment. I can't think of any one calm space of time. She has challenged me and challenged the world. She has always looked at life from a different angle. She marches to a beat unknown to me. Sometimes it's chaos and sometimes it's pure beauty.
I have loved her always. Even that day she threw her entire bedroom out her second story window. I may have used my outside voice. But I still loved her. She continues to push my mothering skills way past any place I've ever known. She's forced me to see with new eyes and to love with my whole heart.
She is my joy. This girl that makes life one big adventure.
She is the brightest light in every way.
Her smile infectious.
Her laugh contagious.
My brain lately feels hardwired to look back. Into different days than these. I've tricked myself into thinking it was easier then. I know it wasn't, but I'm telling myself it was. Deep in my bones it feels like life was fresher in different days than these.
Because, here's the thing: they were all mine and they were all home. End of story.
Life now feels like a game changer. One is on a mission, the second graduates in a year and the third wishes shes didn't live here. You see? When they were little, they liked me and they loved home. Now no one's ever home. Dinner feels on the fly. And lives are spent elsewhere. It leaves me spinning sometimes. How did I ever get here?
I have lived this part of my life in knee-deep mothering. I just can't imagine it any other way. But now, mothering takes a different role. Sometimes it's ugly and sometimes it's beautiful. It's just the way of things. And teenagers somehow push you to examine yourself and life in an entirely different scope. That's a truest story.
But this I know. Right here, right now, this is where it's at. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. But today. With these people that literally take up all the room in my heart. My very soul is made up of theirs. They are the air I breathe.
Days pass. Ages change. Life moves. I know I got here one day at a time. One daughter at a time. And here is where I'll always be. In THIS today. Soaking up all it has to give. Not wishing for different days. But taking today as it stands. And holding it's bounty in my arms.
Let's gift ourselves with life where we are. To love and hold and cherish these moments. And to take courage in what is to come.
Look at your people and breathe them in. Love them where they stand and as they are.
Enjoy your story as it unfolds.
I've been through a few Mother's Days by now. Some were good, some were not so good and most were just "fine". But this Mother's Day? There simply are no words.
We got to talk to our missionary!!! Tears just started as I write this. The moment was pure joy and excitement all rolled into one. She's still her sassy self, just missionary style. That was nice to see. She now loves real, and I mean real, Mexican food. She has sung quite a few times in quite a few places and she got to shake hands with Elder Bednar. Bucket List for sure.
We talked for an hour and a half and it nearly flew by. For just those few moments, our family felt whole and right. Just complete. Laughter held a higher meaning, simple stories became golden moments. And best of all? She prayed with us. In. Spanish. Stop. Right. Here. And imagine your daughter praying for you in another language. Words left me and my heart opened right up and she poured right in.
That final cut-off goodbye was rather difficult. She left us with , "I'll see you soon." Tears were everywhere.
Just now, days later, I'm finally able to soak in the full moment of her call. It has been stored in a place in my heart for my dearest treasures. And ya'll, she's doing it. And she's doing it well. She is obedient and hard working and tries to follow the Lord's will in everything she does. When she graduated from high school, I wrote in her journal, "Be The Good." And look. At this girl right here. She's doing the good. From sun up to sun down.
She really, literally, is my heart.
One of the 4 strings that wrap and hold it all together.
And this Mother's Day. Oh, this day. Will be remembered forever.
And stored on a heart string.
In the mornings, I watch her through the blinds. She has no idea that I stare at her and think of all the ages and moments she has been. This stage, this 13 year old torture, is a hard one to swallow. She pushes me to the brink in all her teenager ways. She only speaks to me if she has to. And when I try to talk to her? You would think she was in pain. She hides in her room, behind her phone, headphones plugged in. It's the way of things. A phase? Maybe. Maybe not. Perspective is hard to come by when you're knee deep in the thick of it.
So, I watch her. Every morning. She comes alive when she's with her friends. And I soak in her smile. I want to reach out and touch her joy. And my memories flood with her as a sweet, little girl. A best buddy. I was convinced she would always be that way. I was wrong.
The internet is flooded with advice for toddlers. Teenagers? Advice doesn't exist. At least, real advice. In the trenches kind of advice. Why? Because it's so dang hard. And who wants to talk about all that trouble. So, we stand on the sidelines of their life and we give it everything we've got. Literally, everything. We try and we love and we love some more. It's the only way. Teenagers can pull your soul right out. And every time, I give it right back to them. Every. Time.
Through the blinds I see the girl I adore. And I pour all my love right in her. I want it to surround her every moment of every day. I give it all with my mother's heart. Me to her. Always.
Let's give it all. Every day. Love and patience, and love some more. Sure, it's ugly. And hard. And constant. But deep within me lies a strength of love so strong to make the ugly and hard blur away. Let's hold on to that. Our soul deep love. Let it give us the strength we need as we muddle through the hard stuff.
And let's watch. Through the blinds, in the car, asleep on the couch. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can overcome a mother's love. We'll give it all we've got. Every time. Every day. In every way. Love just may be our road to recovery. No matter the outcome.
There was a trip to the Alamo with the Baby Child and Her Friend (who feels like one of our Foster Children). 7th grade is the year for Texas History, so this is the 3rd time we've Alamoed.
Traveling with 2 teenage girls and 1 crazy husband has definitely been checked off my bucket list. Oh the Alamo, we love you. And your Riverwalk Boat Tour is always awesome when you're traveling with 2 girls who think it's dumb. Teenagers are my fave. Like, for reals.
The Husband and I had an anniversary.
21 years. Boom.
He is my joy.
Oh, and did you know our anniversary is also his birthday. Boom again.
I get a gift and he gets a gift. "In Theory". It's a genius way to celebrate.
We had the Rain Apocalypse of 2016.
People, it poured. Like, massive buckets.
School canceled for 5 days straight.
Flooding everywhere. It was crazy.
Wanna know what else is crazy? The Turd (our nickname for this car) was parked on the curb. Then it started raining during the night. And it rained HARD. The Turd filled up with water all the way to the steering wheel. The car was full, the trunk was full. Water everywhere. Once it drained, it wouldn't even start. So it sat. In the heat. For a full week before it was towed. Just for fun we opened the car doors to see what it smelled like inside. There are no words to describe. I think Daughter #2 has been praying for it's death for a loooonnnngggg time. Prayer answered.
I leave you with a happy thought. Not.
20 more days of school left. Pah-Leaze.