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A Day at the Ballgame

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I picked SD up from school before lunch today, and we enjoyed a day at the ball game.
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Ok, so it was only 5 innings at the ballgame. Two hours is hard on a girl.
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I love watching you SD. You’re a people watcher…just like your mom.
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I am always awed and amazed at how differently you see things than I do. It’s refreshing to see a small glimpse of life through your eyes.
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And what better way to finish up a day at the game than with ice cream?
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I hope it is a day you’ll remember. I know I’ll carry fond memories of our day together for years to come.
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Especially since I have apparently reached superstar status, worthy of signing autographs.
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I absolutely do girl. I love you more than you’ll ever really know.

Love,

Daddy

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Happy Tears

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I never understood happy tears…until I became a dad. I just put my NE on the bus to school, his first day of kindergarten.

First Day of School

Excited For His First Day of School

 

First Day of School

Ready To Go

 

My little man is growing up. It literally seems like yesterday we brought you home from the hospital…all 5 pounds of you snuggled in a pumpkin seat. As I sit here with my youngest buddy, a 3 year old SI on my lap, a wave of emotion is flowing over me. I think today (and this week) is going to be harder on me than you.

I never understood happy tears…until I became a dad. The “firsts” in life are often the best. And the most bittersweet. Your first words…your first steps…your first time going “Wa Yay” on the Potty…those milestones in life we celebrate a little more than the rest. By the end of the year, I’ll be used to this, and it won’t be so dramatic. But for now…I know happy tears.

It’s not easy trusting your 5 year old to the world. It’s all I can do to pray that we’ve made the right choice and trust in God to protect you. That’s harder to do than I thought it would be. Until today, we have controlled almost 100% of your life. When you eat…sleep…play…what you watch…who you play with…what you see…what you hear. And as I reflect on giving some of that up today, I know happy tears. Because I’m happy to watch you grow into a young man…and I’m sad to know you’re growing into a young man.

Sending my little buddy out into the world is hard…and quite honestly, I’m having a hard time typing this through the tears. I trust that God has your back. But I’m your dad…my trust in God is not often tied to my emotions. Your brother misses you already. He’s been hugging me over and over for 30 minutes. Perhaps he senses my sadness and knows its what I need. Either way, you two have been together almost 24/7 for 3 years. Where you go, he goes. Your momma said it best: “He’s gonna miss his partner in crime.” So am I.

And yet it’s time to stop wallowing in my sadness. I find comfort in this verse today:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

I find comfort in knowing God is preparing you for a great work. He’s preparing you for the world…and the world for you. For Him to do that, I have to let go…and let God.

So I will continue on with my day because I have the attention of my 3 year old Bubba all day. He has me all to himself today, and I am going to soak it all up. Because two years will pass in the blink of an eye, and tomorrow he’ll be getting on the bus to kindergarten too. And I’ll again know happy tears.

Love,

Dad

Have We Met Before?

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Hi.  Have we met before?  I’m your dad.  I remember playing with you while you lay on the floor, unable to crawl or even roll over yet…your tiny hand squeezing my finger with all your might.  I remember your soft breath as you lay on my chest, sleeping ever so soundly.  I remember crying at your side in the PICU after open heart surgery left you helpless at only 11 months of age.  I remember your first steps…your first scraped knee…your first words…your first solo bike ride.  I remember you calling out to me for help in the dark…kissing your boo boos and hugging you close when your friends were mean.  I remember dancing with you as an infant to help you fall asleep…can still recall the words to our song.  I remember reading your favorite book over and over again…and again…and again.  I remember watching your favorite movies so many times that I can still recite them verbatim to this day…10 years later.  I remember driving you two hours round trip through lifeless Kansas at two in the morning just to help you fall asleep.  I remember when tucking you into bed meant butterfly kisses, bumblebee kisses, frog kisses, and looking for the alligators in your ears.

You wouldn’t remember most of that.  And that’s okay.  I wouldn’t expect you to.  You’re twelve now…becoming a young woman…independent…strong-willed and determined.  I wake up some days and don’t recognize the girl you’ve become…the woman you’re becoming.  In my world, you’re still that little girl who needs her mommy and daddy for everything.  Some days, I don’t know who this woman pushing back against us with all this attitude, sass and anger is…I don’t recognize who the young woman I’m looking at is.  Hi.  I’m your dad.  Have we met before?

Love,

Dad

Lawn Mower Train Rides & Caterpillar Tickles

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As I write this, we’re headed home from your grandma and grandpa’s house. It’s spring break, and we came down for a day and a half to visit. It’s nice being close enough that we can drop in for a day or so without driving all day. I like that we can spend some time in the country, letting you explore and have fun roaming the property freely. It’s the little things in life that remind me what matters.

Y’all just eat up the attention and find excitement in such “mundane” and “normal” experiences…things we adults take for granted…like it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever done. Watching as your grandpa pulls you around the yard in your wagons, hooked behind his riding mower like a little train, is like watching a momma duck and her little ducklings waddling behind, trying to keep up. He’s going so slow, even I can run faster…and we’ve already discussed how slow I run. Yet, the wonder in your eyes and the excited laugh that escapes your lips as you roll past…waving at me like you’re leaving on a 3 month cross-country trek…reminds me that this is the good stuff.

Watching your amazement and awe at seeing a real live caterpillar for the first time. The initial timidness and anxiety you have about the mere thought of letting it touch you slowly morphs into little giggles of excitement as I show you how it tickles to let him crawl on your hand. Then, watching as you so boldly carry him around, proudly displaying your new find, reminds me that this is the good stuff.

I love you all SO stinking much! Yep…lawn mower train rides and caterpillar tickles…this is the good stuff.

Love,

Dad

Are You Awake?

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It really is the little things in life that bring me so much joy.  Simple things like this:

Shortly after lunch today, I walked into the living room to sit down.  SD, you were lying motionless on the floor in a ball, presumably asleep.  So I asked, “are you awake?”  Imagine my surprise when you replied, “No.”  Ha!  You do this a lot, and I love it.

You’re awesome like that girl.  This reminds me of playing hide-n-seek when you were younger…sometimes with me, other times with your friends or other family members.  When I or someone else was was “it”, you would hide, usually under a blanket, or behind the couch, or in the pantry.  I would call out “SD, where are you?”  You would giggle and say “over here” each and every time.  Hehe.  Priceless.

I sat down to write those memories out, and as I’m writing this, another memory is coming to mind.  When you were still a baby, even before the surgery to repair your heart, we danced.  Late at night when your mom had gone to bed, I would hold you tight and play one song over and over as we danced.  I don’t know if your momma even knows this.  I still remember the sound of your breath on my shoulder, the feel of your head resting above my heart, how your hair tickled my face.  SD, you are amazing in so many ways, and I love you for who you are.  As you grow up and become a young woman with dreams of your own, I’m proud to be your daddy.  I’m proud of you for who you are, not what you do or how you do it.  You stole my heart a long time ago.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, always remember that I Do Love You.  If you ever doubt it, play this song to help you remember.

But I Do Love You

Dad

A Weekend to Remember

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There is nothing that brings me more joy than spending time with you, my kids.  This past weekend, we held our annual Family Life Celebration weekend, our 5th year doing it.  It’s a way for your mother and I to celebrate each of you and your lives, how you’ve impacted our family so much…a way for us to celebrate the births and adoptions of each of you and rejoice in who you are and to just love on you for the whole weekend.  What a great weekend this year!

I truly enjoyed spending Friday floating on the river with you.  This was the 4th year we’ve done the float, and it was by far the best.  SD, I love the excitement you bring to everything we do, and floating on the river is no exception.  The way you embrace life with such passion and energy is refreshing and inspiring to me.  Watching your excitement as you have so much fun really makes it fun.  NE, you’re getting more and more brave, taking more chances this year than last.  Watching you grow and become more confident in who you are and what you want is really cool.  You’re swimming out farther on your own than ever before, and really coming into your own.  Throwing rocks into the water from the edge is a lot of fun.  I really am enjoying this stage in your life.  SI, this was your first float with us, and you really had a good time.  I had an even better time.   Having you cling to me as we float in the water keeps me young.  You are all energy all the time, and I love it.

The picnic on Saturday was a blast…hot and humid, but a great day.  I really love that we’re blessed enough to be able to do this for you every year, and I am already looking forward to next year.  Spending time with the three of you rejuvenates my soul.  Having a weekend where family and friends can come together to spend time with you and love on you is a true blessing, and I look forward to continuing this tradition for as long as we’re able.  Next  year, I’m thinking we need to incorporate a camping trip somehow.  Either way, the weekend is all about you.

Love,

Dad

My Quiver is Full

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I’m sitting here in a flood of emotion today, and it occurs to me that I think I was wrong in what started this passion for writing to you all.  When I started this blog in February 2011, I credited this post for the inspiration behind it all.  This morning, I just finished this note to SD, and as I sit here reflecting on the years gone by, I’m reminded of a little “song” I put together several years ago.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen it, it took me awhile to find it.  I call it a song loosely, because I have no musical talent…I couldn’t put together the musical composition needed to actually create a full-fledged song if I had to.  But, this is the song of my heart.  When I wrote it, I had a desire to really tell you…to show you through words and music how I feel about each of you.  I actually first wrote it shortly after NE was born, in August of 2007, and I went back after SI was born to add a section for you, adding your section in the summer of 2010, shortly after your first birthday.

It’s a dream of mine to be able to sing this to you one day…to have a song we could call our own.  Maybe a musically gifted person will read this one day and help us out with that.  🙂  For now, I’ll have to settle for sharing it here in letter form…if it never goes further than this, I’m good with that so long as you know it was written in love and lots of tears for each of you.  You each mean so much to me that words could never accurately display.  Without further delay, here is the inspiration that started it all:

Psalm 127:3-5
Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their
enemies in the gate.

This song is inspired by each of my 4 “arrows

My Quiver Is Full

SD
When we took you in, my walk was weak.
Trapped in my sin, of God I didn’t speak.
Doctors said your heart was broke; needed repair.
To my knees I fell, in desperate prayer.
God’s plans are bigger than our own.
And now I know, it was my heart He needed to sew.
 
DW
Through no fault of your own,
Strangers came in; took you from your home.
I can’t grasp the pain you’ve seen, the hurt you’ve known.
God’s plans are bigger than our own.
It was I who needed healing, more love in my life;
He blessed ME when He brought you to our home.
 
Chorus:
As arrows for the warrior, our children are born
I’m the soldier He chose to reward.
My quiver has more than I ever dreamed
He’s given me more than I’ll ever need.
You’re the arrows of my quiver
Straight, strong, and true.
My arrow, my child from God
My reward from Him is you.
 
NE
Doctors said we’d never conceive.
In the world’s eyes, you were never s’posed to be.
The day you were born, to my knees I fell; cried like never before,
In awe of how perfect you were.
God’s plans are bigger than our own.
God’s gift to me…to bless me despite my sin.
 
SI
With news of you on the way, I laughed aloud; a sign from above
I needed more joy; more room still, for love.
Your laugh, your smile, you light up the room
God’s plans are bigger than our own.
In rhythm now, our lives in harmony
In you, God completed our family.
 
Chorus:
As arrows for the warrior, our children are born
I’m the soldier He chose to reward.
My quiver has more than I ever dreamed
He’s given me more than I’ll ever need.
You’re the arrows of my quiver
Straight, strong, and true.
My arrow, my child from God
My reward from Him is you.
 
My quiver overflows with my reward.
My child, you’re wonderful; beautiful.
Created in His image; phenomenal.
My quiver is full.  My quiver is full.




Love, Dad

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