This year it's busier than most. Not only do I have to manage around my schedule, and my side of the family's schedule, but now I have my stbx husband's family and my oldest's father's family to try to schedule in too. And.. being a single parent at home, chaos is simply the name of the game some days.
Baby girl is growing like a weed! She has been chomping away on solid foods for two months now, though still nursing around the clock. She learned to sit up about 2 weeks ago, and is now beginning to crawl. She is a busy, happy baby, who also said her first word -- a happy, insistent "Mama!" first thing in the morning as she woke up in her crib and saw me across the room asleep. It was 6 am, so of course she had to wake me up.. hehe.
2 yr old girl is an intent toddler, who loves her trains. We have one of those wooden Thomas the Train Engine sets, and she has claimed it. She has also, unfortunately, learned about temper tantrums. There are days I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing as this willful little girl stomps her feet and tells me she's mad at me, because I won't let her have her way. I discipline appropriately, of course, and then turn away and just smile at this adorable curly-headed little girl so determined. The old nursery rhyme plays so true here, especially since she does have this perfect ringlet that always falls in the middle of her forehead. For the unfamiliar:
There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very, very good,
When she was bad, she was horrid!
3 yr old girl (Yes I know, they are all about 18 months apart-- didn't I say that before?) is a curious, bright, curious, active, extraordinarily curious little girl. Did I mention she has an overdeveloped sense of curiosity? My mother says she is so much like me, it gives her flashbacks. She touches everything! She is always asking "why". She wants to know what everything is, what it's for, and why we do that. She loves doing preschool with me, and is always asking for more. And her imagination is out of this world! Such a delight and a joy.. and a stretch for me, which is good.
5 yr old girl is gorgeous as always. She is learning and growing and I can see the development coming. She's still "behind" her peers, but in our house, she fits in just fine. She is learning her letters and numbers, and she surprises me every day. I love how she reminds me to celebrate all things girly and feminine. She pauses to notice the beautiful, the sparkly, the pretty things of life, and needs the space to process emotionally. She is NOT quiet, and lives life right out there in public. Between her and the 3 yr old, there is always music, noise and laughter in my house, when they're awake.
9 yr old, almost 10 yr old, is growing into an amazing young woman. Developing right before my eyes, she is delighting me with her responsibility and good sense. I thank God and try not to pull a muscle patting myself on the back, lol! We have been having some great conversations in the vehicle as we drive to and from places, with all the errands lately. I love these "teachable" moments, and I've been trying to take advantage of every single one I can get with her.
Me? I am coping quite well, I think. Some days better than others, obviously. There are days when I hit the ground running and make every goal for myself, and fall into bed exhausted and satisfied. There are days when I look for the reset button, because nothing seems to have worked the way I hoped. There are days when it's all I can do to keep from crying, so my girls and I cuddle, play, read stories and try not to stress too much. But I have learned that I take each day as it comes, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and take care of myself so I can take care of the little ones God entrusted to me.
My current focus is my home-based business (look me up at www.eveventure.com/lifechoices). I homeschool in the mornings, and fit in chores, but my afternoons and evenings tend to be devoted to work. I am pushing hard, because I need the income, for one, but also because I need to know that I can do it, that I am capable. I have felt so overwhelmed.. like I'm only pretending to be an adult and one of these days someone will see it and call me on it. I'm learning to recognize that this isn't true. I am an adult, a responsible, capable, talented and skilled one, and I can do this.
My relationship with God is becoming more personal, more revealing. This has been a daily prayer for months, if not years, and I find I'm finally realizing it. Even though my days are so full, and a daily "devotion" time isn't really an option at this season, the Holy Spirit brings scripture back daily, hourly even. I will begin to worry about something, and all of a sudden a verse or passage or story comes to mind that calms my fears, and I relax. I know God's got this. I know what He promised, and I know who I am in Jesus. Life may not be perfect, I may be hurting, but I know who my Redeemer is, and I know He lives, He lives in me.
This time last year, I was miserable. I was so confused, I was in danger of making one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I was 6 months pregnant, and so afraid. I look back and realize what a huge difference God has made in my life. He set me free. Not in the way I'd hoped, but no one can make another person do something against their will, not even God. But I'm still set free. I'm not miserable. I'm following His leading. Some may think I am making the biggest mistake, and while this is never God's perfect will.. neither was staying where I was. I have a gorgeous family, and while I'm sad that it may never be completed, I've come to terms with that, and I have peace. I'm not afraid anymore, at least not every day, like I was.
Unfortunately, I am still afraid, at times. My stbx is quite intimidating, and has no self-control. Each interaction with him is a risk. All I can do is create the best environment to minimize that risk. Right now that means we aren't ever alone with him. At the same time, I'm extremely grateful that he has made my life easier by giving me the use of a vehicle. I thank God for working on his heart that much.
So.. life goes on. We are growing, learning, living, thriving. Dynamics change daily, and while in some ways it feels so repetitive (wake, dress kids, feed them, teach them, chores, work, feed kids, undress, bed) no two days are ever exactly alike. Kind of like the snowflakes that are falling -similar yet so unique,they are the crystaline moments that create beauty every day And as I cultivate this attitude of gratefulness, Jesus is closer to me everyday. Life is good.