Sunday, May 19, 2013
I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant carseat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.
And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.
I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.
When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together.When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.
I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary. I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.
I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.
It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.
I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family - with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.
Children in Church
Children and Woodland Creatures at Church
A Little More Broken, a Little More Grounded in Love and Grace
Friday, April 26, 2013
Jamie, mom of 2, dropped out of marathon training last year due to injuries but not before finishing her first 20 mile run. Spent 6 months hanging with her physical therapist leaving her husband wondering about this Dr. Gary. Hey, it didn’t hurt that he was easy on the eyes as she suffered through Graston. Currently training for her 6th half.
Jennifer, juggling life as a single mom with her job as Clinical Director of a facility for adults with developmental disabilities. Swore up and down her sister was crazy for this running thing, until she drank the kool-aid. Started logging the miles, finished her first half marathon with her sister by her side in November and is training for her second.
Top 10 Reasons We Should Be on the Another Mother Runner Ragnar Team
10. We’re sisters. The only thing better than BRFs (Best Running Friends) are Best Running Sisters. We’ve spent hours squished in a small car on family road trips, making it out alive and still liking each other - a fitting skill for Ragnar.
9. We are moms to the cutest ‘future runners.’ We might be a little biased, but they inspire us to be the best moms, runners, and women! We asked Ben (middle) why we should get picked. He said, “Because you’re a great mom. Or you’re a great runner. Actually, you’re both!” Aw, sweet. Then he added, “But mom, I can run faster than you, so maybe they should pick me instead.” Thanks, kid.
8. When our kids are not inspiring us to be better people, they are inspiring us…. to go on really, really long runs. My son was the kid who licked his brother during the Christmas program. Really. 197 miles sounds like a vacation!
7. We can do hard things. Whether it’s discovering our fitness, quitting smoking, or climbing an ice-covered mountain. We know Ragnar won’t be easy, but we are ready for the challenge!
6. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Hey Elvis. Running (and motherhood) can be hard, but we make sure to laugh a lot and keep the whining to a minimum.
5. We know how important it is to support our fellow mother runners, in person and far away! Here’s our “Training Survival Kit”. It includes some of our favorite running goodies, a get-it-done playlist, a note of love and encouragement, and of course the wisdom of Another Mother Runner!
4. We’ve learned from the best how to cheer on runners, and we are ready to cheer for our teammates with the same enthusiasm, even if we can’t quite replicate their cuteness.
3. We are always ready to celebrate a job well done.
2. We had so much fun meeting and laughing with Sarah and Dimity at the Mother Runner party in Montclair, NJ. At first we thought this picture that showed up on Facebook was pretty awful. Then we thought about some of Jamie’s recent race pictures…yea, she’ll work on that.
And the number 1 reason…
Of all the running shirts we’ve collected, we wear this one with the most pride. We are stronger than we thought. Through marriages, babies, post-partum depression, a child’s birth injury, a divorce, health struggles, depression-that-can-no-longer-be-called-postpartum, and running injuries, running has and continues to show us our strength.
From taking that first run with the Couch to 5k app talking in our ear to joyously crossing that first half marathon finish line, we discovered a strength, a spirit, and a joy in ourselves that had been lost somewhere in the hard work of motherhood.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
My children were exhausting during the service, and I wasn’t feeling it anymore than they were. It happens sometimes. We would have survived without much issue.
After church, I needed to talk to someone about a CPR class I am doing, and the kids were antsy. E was pushing buttons as he ran through the crowd “punching” people. (Let me be clear, he was not hitting hard, it was more of a tap besides the fact that he said “punch” each time he did). I grabbed him and we had a quick chat while I got some disapproving stares. I made a mental note to get him out of there. He was overwhelmed by the people and he was anxious to get home. Plus, I was feeling edgy with the stares I was getting. After our chat, he ran off again and “punched” one more person on his way. Sigh. Kids are exhausting and 4 year olds aren’t always the best behaved. But then I got the nastiest, eyebrows raised, really-did-your-son-just-do-that-OMG-can’t-you-control-him look, and it pushed a button. I was tired from surviving church. I was frustrated at my sons less than stellar behavior. I was feeling pulled in two different directions from the necessary conversation about the CPR class and the obvious needs of my kids. I felt the shame wash over me. How dare that kid not listen? Why can’t he do anything right? Why do I always have to deal with this? Now, all these people are looking at me and giving me nasty looks. Shame sends me right to blame.
Not familiar with the visceral, physical reaction of shame? Check out Brene Brown.
Next, I did something I am not proud of. It was fight or flight. I couldn’t think straight. That woman gave me that final look, and I lunged after my son. I grabbed his arm, not gently at all, growled unkind words into his ears, and pushed him towards the back door telling him to GO HOME. (We live next door, he knows how to get there, and his brother was going with him). I was mean, nasty, and shaming to my son because of my own reaction to shame.
Sigh. Right away, I was mad at myself. I knew I took it out on him. I was frustrated with him, my parenting, and my reaction. I walked back across the front church hallway to say goodbye to my husband before leaving when I heard a man walking out the front door say in a disgusted tsk-tsk kind of voice, “those kids need a little Catholic school” to his family.
Excuse me? EXCUSE ME? I almost said it. I almost stopped him right at the door to say, “Excuse me?!?” I didn’t, because I couldn’t think straight. I was seeing red. Here I was, an exhausted mom of two small children who had struggled through church, and then had a rough time afterwards. Judgment and shame were exactly what I did not need. I stomped out of church, swearing (loudly) through my tears across the back parking lot. I can only imagine what our poor Council President thought as she got out of her car and watched as I stormed away.
After letting this sit for a few hours and restraining myself from responding to comments on my angry Facebook post, I have come away with two things.
First, people come to church broken. We all do on some level or another. I came to church today incredibly broken. If our church is going to talk about renewal and wonder where all the members are or why churches are dying, we need to consider if we’re meeting broken people where they are. I left church today more broken than I when I went in. I struggle to get through a lot of my days, and it’s a simple fact of survival to not do something that I know is going to make it harder. So why would I go to church? Well I have lots of reasons – a seminary education, a belief in raising up faith-filled children, and a desire to support my husband, the pastor. But what if it wasn’t me, what if it wasn’t the pastor’s wife, what if it wasn’t the girl with a seminary degree? What if it was another broken Child of God without the support network or church connection that I have? Outreach and community are not just words to throw around. I am thankful for the many supportive members of the community we have. Just moments before the dirty looks and the mean comment, I had been joking with another church member about my kids’ antics during worship. We can joke because we know their presence is important for them and us. At the same time, I am also reminded that we need to be really outspoken with our support of each other, especially young families. Church can’t be another place where it feels like us vs. the world.
Second, it has to start with love and grace. The fact is that the people at church today looking at my admittedly misbehaving children don’t have any idea of what’s going on in our life. They have no idea that I’ve spent the last three days doubled over in pain wondering what in the world I am allergic to and what is actually safe to eat. They have no idea that my kids are hanging by a thread after having their routines destroyed and no school for a week. They have no idea that depression and anxiety threaten to suffocate me constantly - sometimes they loosen their grip and sometimes they squeeze tight, but they never let go. They have no idea that juggling therapies, school, and other commitments while trying to help my sensitive children with special needs succeed brings us to our knees daily.
I am not angry (okay a tiny bit, but I’m working on that, it’s only been a few hours) at the people who gave me dirty looks or the man who made his rude comment, but I am frustrated with a world where this is how we operate. I am reminded and inspired to just hold space for people. A kind word to a struggling mom does so much more good than the enjoyment you might get out a snide comment. I know that everyone is doing their best. Life’s just hard. We all have different kinds of hard, but it’s all hard. I am stretching my limits of compassion and empathy, for myself and others. It takes courage. Love, grace, and courage. I might have it tattooed on my forehead… or maybe somewhere slightly more acceptable.
Today, when I felt myself spiraling into anger, shame, and guilt, I did the only thing I knew to do to stop it. I went shopping.
No, no, not for me. I ordered some books that fill me with hope and ground me in grace, and I had them shipped to people I know who could use some hope and grace.
That’s all I could do. When I need more love and support, I am pushed to reach out to others with love and support. In the end, love wins. It always wins. I told my little “punching” 4 year old that the other night, and he said, “But I thought God wins?” It’s all the same, buddy. It’s all the same. God is love.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I swear I say it in every post, but we are struggling. We are barely keeping our heads above water. It’s a billion different things that all come together into a giant tidal wave. We found ourselves in Holland. We had a death in the family. I finally saw a good doctor for some chronic health issues; this doctor discovered I have serious gluten and dairy sensitivities. I swear just figuring out what I can eat has felt like a full-time job in the past two weeks (I have a host of other food allergies in addition to the gluten and dairy).
I can’t quite figure out how to both meet and survive the needs of each member of this family. My bucket is empty. I can’t breathe – often literally, always metaphorically. The waves just keep coming, and there isn’t enough time to stand up, brush ourselves off and brace for the next one.
I’ve told you before about the Orange Rhino. This inspiring mom has built an entire community around the idea of learning to yell less and love more (an idea I can totally get behind!). I first decided this was a change that simply had to made, just like that. I did really well for a while, and then I struggled. I had the honor of guest posting over at the Orange Rhino about my struggle and my commitment. Those words still resonate daily and deeply. I’ve continued on my journey to becoming an “Orange Rhino”, a once believed mythical creature (my kids thought it was a fairy tale when I first told them about her!.. hey Orange Rhino, when’s your children’s book coming out? Seriously, next project!) known as the mom who doesn’t yell. I’ve had big failures and big successes.
Yesterday was hard. Hard, hard, hard. I was working so hard to manage my emotions, my physiological response to stress, my fight or flight. I did a damn good job. It wasn’t perfect, but it could have been a serious disaster. When we struggled, the kids and I talked it out. We reconnected. I made hard choices. Chicken nuggets got thrown on the table for dinner, because I knew they needed to sled with their mama. Grocery shopping didn’t happen, because I knew I had to continue on mission damage control to make it out of the day with everyone in one piece. I skipped my workout, because my kids needed me, plain and simple. It can’t happen every day. My bucket’s as empty as it can get, but I made the necessary choices yesterday. My reward was a peaceful and calm bedtime, and a beautiful piece of wisdom from my son.
I have a calendar where I color the days orange if I go the whole day without yelling. Lately that’s not been very often. At bedtime tonight, the boys and I were talking about our day. It had some rough spots (many of my own were thankfully exhaustingly concealed from the kids), but we had some bright spots too. B asked me if I was going to color today orange, and I told him no I didn't talk very nicely when such and such happened, but it's ok, we forgave each other and we focused on love and grace. We make mistakes and we help each other to try again.
Then Ben asked if he could have a calendar like mine to color his days because he liked that idea. I told him sure, we could make one tomorrow. He got quiet and thought for a moment... and then he sadly said, “I don’t think many of my days will be orange.” He has a hard time. Emotional regulation is just part of our journey in Holland. It’s no small feat for me, so I can only imagine how hard it is for him. I said, “I know it can be very hard but we keep trying. We give each other love and grace in the meantime. We love each other no matter, we try our best, we say sorry, and we forgive each other.”
As so often happens with this boy, his face lit up and he told me that he had a great idea! His idea was that we should put a heart around those days that we can't color orange, those days when we fall short. It can help us remember that we are loved and that we love each other no matter what.
Oh. my. word. This kid knows grace. Seriously, he just blows me away.
I talk about grace a lot. I need it. I know I am broken. I know I fall short, in every way possible. But there’s still a part of me that is scared to trust this grace stuff. I just want another checklist, a criteria by which I can evaluate myself. I can either fill in a whole month of orange numbers on a calendar and feel validated, or I can be faced with a white calendar staring at me with failure, with my inability to be a better, calmer mom. There’s safety in that… the success and even the failure. It’s black and white, or in my case orange and white.
But I *know* better. I know that beating ourselves up with our failures does not inspire us to do better, it does not equip us to make changes. I know it doesn’t work with children. That’s why we strive to parent the way we do. That’s why I say it over and over again every. single. day. Love, grace, and courage.
So maybe that calendar isn’t covered in orange, but it’s covered in love. Those red hearts are a reminder that I need more love. When I am struggling, I need to give myself more love. I need to be a little kinder to myself so that I can be kinder to others. And the same goes for my kids.
With a whole lot of love, even more grace, and as much courage as we can muster… we can all yell less, love more… judge less, connect more… criticize less, listen more. Love, grace and courage can change our world, and then they can change the world.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
B has been teaching me things since before he was born. As a sensitive, spirited, and engaged little boy, he has taught me to trust my instincts, never underestimate the power of snuggles and hugs, and to approach the world with a kind of empathy and compassion that I never could have imagined.
He has been asking for a necklace recently. He loves beautiful things, and he loves jewelry. I asked what kind of necklace he’d like, whether he wanted something specific on it or for it to say something (he knows that mommy’s necklace says I can do hard things). He thought for a moment, and he said confidently, “I want my necklace to say ‘Ben is loved’. That’s what I want to remember always.” What a wonderful thought; the world would be a wonderful place if we could all remember and be reminded that we are loved.
He was proudly wearing his necklace, a Valentine’s Day gift, as he went to work on Friday. My uncle died unexpectedly last weekend, and Friday was the funeral. I had spent a good part of the week with family in the town where I grew up, and my husband brought the boys down for the funeral. It’d been a chaotic week where our routine was tossed out the window which I knew was hard for B with his sensory issues and anxiety. I knew the funeral would be especially hard as he is overwhelmed by new places, lots of people, and the intensity of people’s emotions. I explained to him that people would be very sad but that they were all looking forward to see him. I told him that he could be a little ray of sunshine in the middle of a very sad day.
It was a very sad day. My uncle was a wonderful man who died too young leaving behind a wife and three children not to mention extended family, friends, and coworkers. Personally, the funeral was probably the hardest I’ve ever attended. And B was a little ray of sunshine. As I cried in the pew, he’d scoot himself over to snuggle into my arm. He’d reach out and hold my hand when he could see how hard it was. He offered sweet smiles to those who greeted him. He shook hands and gave hugs to people he didn’t know because they asked. And, he sang the liturgy that he didn’t even know (a Catholic service is just different enough to confuse me!) with his whole heart.
The next night when I returned home after another night with family, I sat and talked with B at bedtime. I thanked him for his hard work, and he was so proud. He declared, “I was a ray of sunshine. When people asked to hug me, I hugged them. I felt shy but I shook their hands anyway. Sometimes I felt nervous, but I know you trusted me to help people.” I hugged him so tight, and I was so grateful for him, for his wisdom. Rooted in the knowledge that he is loved, by God and by his family, he was able to do hard things just like his mommy tries to do. He is such an example of courage and love to me, and I told him that.
The grief remains. My heart aches for my aunt and cousins. I feel a hole in my heart and feel sick when I think that the hole in theirs is a hundred times larger. But B continues to ground me. The other night, I was crying after receiving a text message from family about how things were going. I was trying to put B to bed.
B: Mommy, why are you crying?
Me: Oh I’m just sad because Aunt J is so sad.
B: Why is she sad?
Me: Because she misses Uncle L. But it’s ok, B, I’m ok. Sometimes we feel sad just because we hurt for others who feel sad.
B: Do we have an envelope? Paper?
Me: yes, B.
B: Can I send her a picture? I will draw a picture of them together with a big heart around them.
Me: That’s very nice B, how thoughtful of you. I am sure she will love it.
Here I thought it would end. He snuggled in, and it was time to go to sleep. But then he rolled over to look at me and I could see the hurt and worry in his eyes as he asked “What if it is not enough?”
I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. It’s not enough. It can’t be enough. That’s why I had been crying when I got that text. People I love are hurting so much, and I can’t make it go away. This little boy put words that I hadn’t been able to find into the heaviness on my heart.
I took a deep breath and gave him the only answer I could come up with, “We will do more. We will go visit. We will spend time with them.”
He got quiet again, and then I heard him mumbling. When I asked him what he was saying he explained, “I’m just trying to figure out what we will do after that if it doesn’t work, what will we do next.” That’s exactly how our minds work, isn’t it? Fix the problem. Keep trying until we come up with a solution. Make the hurt go away. Something will have to work. But, it won’t.
I sighed and squeezed him, “Oh Ben, we will just keep loving them, however we can. We’ll figure it out as we go.”
Not to be deterred from his planning, he thought for a few minutes and the conversation continued,
B: What will I do when I go visit?
Me: Oh we’ll play. They would love to play with you. We will play and visit.
Me: Maybe you can even read to Aunt J. I bet she would like to hear you read.
B: (looks nervous)
Me: Or you don’t have to, we can do something else.
B: no, I will, if she will like that, I will read to her. And I’ll be a ray of sunshine, right?
That’s right, B. You will be a beautiful ray of sunshine. That’s your gift. And when people hurt in ways we can’t fix, we can love them. That’s all we can do, but there is great power in that. The world hurts, we just keep on loving. The world needs us to love. It’s hard, but we can do hard things because we are loved.
I’m in awe of this little boy, his love, grace, and courage, and I am blessed to be able to love who those hurt alongside him.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I have a friend who when she came back from a blogging lull over the summer, she explained that she had trouble writing prior to that because the one thing she most wanted to talk about she couldn’t. That one thing was a wonderfully little boy in her belly who is now out in the world soaking up the love of his big sisters along with everyone else who meets him! (And I haven’t gotten to do that yet, but I have no doubt I will love on him when I do.) She wasn’t at a point in her pregnancy where she was ready to take it publicly to the blog.
I’m feeling similarly. No, I am not pregnant. Goodness gracious, I could not handle that! So hush, don’t even think that.
But life has been full. There’s been so much I wanted to write, but I can’t find the words or the space. It’s been raw and blurry. Hard lows and big teary highs that bring you to your knees with a mixture of hope and weariness. I’ve wanted to reach outwards, tell my story, shout to the world. And I’ve wanted to curl up into a ball into the back corner of my closet where it’s nice and dark and where I’m convinced if I hugged my knees tight enough no one would see me.
I have reached out to close friends. I am so amazing grateful for the support and love from a handful of people who know where I’ve found myself. Some know because they’ve been there or are there. Some because they are the friends who get the emergency texts, the ones I’m typing before I’ve even realized I’m typing, the desperate pleas I may not make it through this day, this hurts too much – please share this hurt with me. And some know because they’ve read the emails I poured myself into, typing while crying my eyes out in Panera Bread. (For real, that happened.)
So where exactly am I? It’s hard to admit. It hurts my heart to say aloud. I’ve whispered it. I’ve thought about hiding or ignoring it, keeping it my little secret that most would never need to know. But, well, that’s not me. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, I spill my guts. I don’t do so without discrimination though, and this is a story I’ve decided I need to tell for me, my family, and for anyone else is in the same place. Because sometimes just knowing someone else is there, reading someone else’s words and saying ohmygod, it’s not just me is what gets you through the day.
I’m in Holland.
There it is. I said it. That’s where I am.
Welcome to Holland is a story written by Emily Perl Kingsley in 1987 about having a child with Down’s Syndrome, and it is now widely used by well-meaning organizations and individuals to support parents with children of all sorts of special needs. Please go read it if you are unfamiliar. It’s short. I’ll wait.
The reactions to the story are widespread. If you Google it, you will find a lot of parents who hated it and resented it for its positive spin or it glossing over the struggles. Others find it too pessimistic, the thought of always being hurt that you aren’t in Italy I think is perhaps too much to bear. I can understand all of the reactions. I particularly like this response and spin-off to it, Welcome to Amsterdam International. Although Welcome to Holland was originally written about having a child with Down’s Syndrome, this story now reaches parents with children of extremely varied abilities and needs It only makes sense that their responses and experiences would be just as varied.
There’s this part of me that feels like a fake, that feels like I’m not allowed to say I’m in Holland. There are parents and children there with much greater needs than ours. There’s a part of me that worries people will think badly of my son if we’re public about our time in Holland or think badly of me because perhaps we don’t really need to be in Holland and it’s just my bad parenting or I’m being overly dramatic. There’s a big part of me that has felt like owning our place in Holland cheapens the experience of those who have held residence there much longer than us. After reading this interview with the author, the history of the story and how grateful she is for the ways her story resonates with people in a large variety of situations, I feel a little better about claiming my place in Holland.
I’ve talked a little about my older son’s challenges before, like here and here. The last month and a half have been an exhausting, emotional chaotic mess of managing daily life (which is more like crisis management), meeting with teachers, finding doctors or therapists doctor’s appointments, evaluations, speech and OT (one kid gets one, one gets the other), and a list of constant questions of what else we should we be doing or what’s next and how we’re going to make it happen schedule-wise and financially. We haven’t gotten official reports. Diagnoses don’t matter that much right now. We’re just trying to find tools to help us help our kids and help our kids help themselves. One of the challenging parts is that this is a mix of both of our children.
For a while we were managing, carefully balancing the chaos and the needs of everyone involved. Then things collapsed, and we picked them back up. And now we seem to be in a pattern of managing for a period of time until it all comes crashing down and we try to start again. It’s exhausting. It’s isolating. It’s terrifying. It’s emotionally draining. It’s downright heartbreaking.
But, there is much gratitude. And I cling to it most days. Gratitude for everything my boys can do and where they do excel. Gratitude for the ways I can see them working and growing. Gratitude for the fact that some of the things that give them the most difficulty will someday be their biggest strengths. Gratitude for friends who have been there and share their story and their support. Gratitude that most people have no idea what we struggle with because of how capable and successful the kids are in some areas of their life. I refuse to feel guilt about this or let it convince me that our struggles don’t count because they are invisible to so many.
*I say they because they have each been having their own challenges, but they are two entirely different people with different needs and are in different places as far as what they can do and what they need.
This is me sharing my truth right now. I will continue to share pieces of this journey, because I hope it can benefit someone and because it helps me to share it. We will continue to be blessed, stretched, challenged, and rooted in love and grace on this journey. Love, grace, and courage.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
My boy is 6. It’s crazy. Every year seems crazy. He just keeps growing.
He attends a really awesome Montessori school, and one of their traditions is that they have each child on their birthday carry a replica of the Earth in their hands and walk around the replica of the sun to represent the years they’ve been alive. If parents send in pictures from each year, they share those with each orbit of the sun.
He helped me pick out the pictures below for his own walks around the sun. Birth, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years.
As he explained to me, we don’t need a picture of him now because well he looks like he does now! But I had to grab a couple for the blog and for me when I look back on this post. Here is my big bad 6 year old!
I made Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats for his birthday celebration at school. A little time consuming, but easy and totally worth it. I’ll be sure to take some more pictures and throw them up on Facebook or Twitter when we cut them for Wednesday. But in the meantime, we are celebrating his actual birthday today!
I’ve been meaning to get a reusable birthday banner for years and never figured it out. This year, thanks to Dream Child Studio on Etsy and abigailshopedesigns on etsy and their crazy fast shipping for me, I was able to order just a few days ago after my brain had recovered from Christmas. We also got a special birthday crown to add to our birthday traditions. (ETA – unfortunately the birthday crown didn’t make it in time, but to no fault of Dream Child Studio… not sure what happened with the post office – it’s somewhere in Washington now. It started in Wisconsin and was supposed to go to NJ. Washington state is not on the way. Hopefully it’ll get here so B can wear it to his school celebration, if not to his birthday party with his friends in two weeks).
After their first birthday, we haven’t done a lot as far as birthday traditions. We threw things together at the last minute each year. Ben’s is hard being so close to Christmas, and well after haphazardly throwing his together we never felt like we should more for Elijah. This year is my attempt to finally start a few simple traditions that we can do for everyone’s birthday to make them the star of the day even if it’s a quiet day at home.
We’ve created a little birthday table, inspired by this blog, with pictures of the birthday child as an infant along with our candles to represent the sun and the numbers of times he’s circled it like in the Montessori tradition. I’d honestly love to get a wooden birthday ring which is from the Waldorf tradition, but I couldn’t lay out the money for that right now. We’ve added his gifts to this table as well. He has a gift from his godmother who lives a few states away… and his gift from us – some gymnastics rings for the playset outside! (We have a set with the trapeze bar in the middle, but he wants to move up to the straight rings like he practices on in the big kid class at gymnastics. Seriously, 6-12 y/o boys! It’s so crazy to see my baby with those big kids.
Today, we will celebrate with a super rare trip to the mall! (I know, it’s funny, but we live 45 minutes away and very rarely need to go to a mall). Ben loves legos and has never been to a Lego store! So that is the main purpose. We’ll also probably eat out, because he loves to eat out as well, but we’re going to be flexible and just see how the day goes and what the Birthday boy has in mind.
We celebrate your birth
And your place on the earth.
May the sun, moon, and stars
Bring you peace where you are.