Sitting in a sushi restaurant, eating mediocre too-mushy sushi, watching your toddler as she insists on eating every last of the edamame pods. There she sits, on her knees, biting into the salty green pod, trying to squish the little soybean delights into her mouth. They inadvertently fly out of their pods, bouncing off of her forehead before ending up on the floor (or in her diaper bag). She squeals with delight, giggling, making the best scrunchy-eye, scrunchy-nose face you've ever seen before diving into the next pod with sheer determination. You get to eat maybe one, maybe two pods yourself before she finishes the entire bowl and then looks up at you with an earnest, "more...?"
The happiness continues as she insists on eating the yam tempura rolls by first stabbing them with her chopsticks, and then holding them up in the air. They delicately dangle from the chopsticks as she takes bite after bite, sucking on the seaweed, and you notice a mom and son at a nearby table relishing the sight, and you think, "I'm so glad to share this with someone. Even someone we don't know."
The final delight of the evening involves an impromptu performance of wild, bum-waggling dance, right in the middle of the sushi restaurant. I thank God for her uninhibited spirit and ask that he will protect that in her for as long as he possibly can.
She truly is the light of our lives.
Today was a perfect day of summer. After a quick trip to the store I love to hate (any guesses?), it was out in the sun, sun, sun all day. We started with Kaiya at her new sand/water table, and me putting in the brick border around our garden. We ended with three sets of dirty clothes, and a tanned, wet and very happy mommy and Kaiya, slightly sun-beat (and very dirty) from a day of digging, watering, wading in the new turtle pool, and generally mucking around. I'm looking forward to a whole lot more of this.
Since sometime in April, Kaiya has taken to calling me "mum." No, not "mom." It's "mum." I don't know where she picked this up, but it seriously cracks me up. It's so ridiculously endearing. The thing that makes it hilarious is that she puts it at the end of almost every sentence. And with an almost imperceptible pause right before the "mum." As most of you know, Kaiya is a very talkative girl, so that calls for a heck of a lot of "mums" every day.
"Aiya ungry, mum."
"Aiya want go backyard, mum."
"ank you, mum!"
"Aiya wake up now, mum."
(keeping in mind she still drops most of her initial consonants. If you can't figure it out, just go through the alphabet, letter by letter. That's what I do...)
I don't know how much longer she's going to keep it up. I kind of hope it goes on for a really, really long time. I love it!
It's been a good week, but I'm also feeling a bit heavy. About a month ago, I found out that a friend's 4-year old son had a tumour removed from his brain. While they got all of it out, it was malignant. I've been following her blog as she details the day-by-day journey of radiation, chemotherapy, and a myriad of other treatments her sweet 4-year old has to endure. I admire her strength and courage. But I can't imagine ever walking that road.
At the same time, I learned this week of another friend who just had a baby with Down Syndrome. Her and her husband are every so slowly coming to terms with the new realities of their lives. Again, a road that I cannot imagine.
My heart feels heavy with these stories. Over time, I have become acutely aware of the fragility of life. The miracle that every healthy birth and every long life is. I struggle with the element of letting go. All of these things are completely out of my control. There is nothing I can do but rely on the grace of God in both good times and bad. But early in the morning and late at night, the fear has a tendency to grip me, and horrible scenarios pop into my head, thoughts that I can't control. Some nights I literally shake my head to make the thoughts stop. I have always struggled with my mind, but the struggle definitely deepened with Kaiya's entrance, and then again with last fall's miscarriage. I know that to an extent, every mother struggles in this way and has to learn to let go. Truly, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I know it may sound trite, but the more you meditate on those lines, the less trite they become. This life is completely out of our hands.
I don't want to judge anyone anymore. I don't want to feel bitter when someone else's life seems better than mine. The rain does eventually fall on all of our lives, and I want to be blissfully aware of each good... GREAT moment that comes my way. I want to be happy - truly happy - for other people's successes and joys. And I want to live each moment. Moment by moment. I am sorry... very sorry... for all of the ways in which I've compared my life to others'. And I hope to learn to be content and stop playing the comparison game. It's hurtful to everyone involved.
I'm realizing that what matters to me most is my connections. We all have our "schtick," the thing we are most passionate about. For me, it's connecting. And this is not easy to do. It takes time, effort, and a certain degree of transparency. It is very difficult to achieve this level of connectedness with friends. The kind where you can really just "be" together, where you're not trying to make a certain impression or promote any cause. Where there is truly no agenda, no facade. For now, I am mostly working on achieving it with Jeff and Kaiya. I have come to realize that this will be a defining factor of our family. And it's something I'm really excited about. All three of us seem to be coming together in this, enjoying the little moments, taking time to really listen and to really be there. It's very good.
This post has truly been a little bit of everything, so why don't we end with a nice light bit: a picture of Kaiya getting her first, official haircut. Sarah at Solace did it, and Kaiya was so good. I wasn't sure at first...she wanted