Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Day in History

On this day, many moons ago, God brought a great blessing into my life. I didn't know it at the time, though. It took quite a few years later for me to begin to suspect that this day would become so important to me, and a little longer still for it to be such. Once upon a time, it was just another day, but now I know the significance of this day in my life, and I thank God for this wonderful blessing.

Happy birthday, my husband, my love.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Toddler Rules of Possession

Have you ever seen the "Toddler Rules of Possession" that are sometimes printed on t-shirts and posters? If you haven't yet been so fortunate, or if you've simply forgotten them, here you go:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

It's been exciting to watch Eliana learn her pronouns and possessives. The most common possessive we hear, of course, is, "Mine!" I wasn't even sure she had completely mastered "yours" until last Friday during breakfast.

I was preparing to join Eliana at the table, placing the same food but different drinks in front of us. I had given Eliana orange juice, as it was already in her sippy cup, but I had poured myself a mug of milk. Before I could even sit down she was reaching for my milk and declaring, "My milk." She then placed her sippy cup in front of me and said, "Yours." After a good laugh, I told her it was okay, she could keep the milk, but we would share it. However, whenever I reached for the milk to take a sip she would again remind me to whom the milk really belonged and point to the sippy cup of unwanted orange juice and say, "Yours."

I've determined that I must have violated over half of the "Rules of Possession" at one point or another in that particular encounter.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Fitting Finale

Let me start by saying that, any way you look at it, I am feeling much better today. Tuesday was certainly a difficult day, exposing my spiritual and emotional frailness (read previous post). When Chris came home from work that day he watched the girls while I had some time alone out of the house for about two hours. That was so refreshing, and I came back feeling like a different person.

The next day, however, while Chris was in California, my physical frailness was being exposed. I was at home struggling with mastitis. For those of you who don't know, mastitis is a breast infection that makes you feel as though you have the flu. All I could think about (while I was still in the right mind enough to think) was, "Of all the days for me to be so ill! Chris isn't even in the state!" This was his third and final one-day trip to Los Angeles to give a briefing on what he and his team have been working on for the last four months.

The past two months have been particularly difficult for us, with these last three weeks or so being a downright hardship. We're all still adjusting to the new dynamics of our family and have not had proper "down time" together since Evangeline was born. In some ways, it might have been easier to not have seen Chris at all these past three weeks rather than seeing him only long enough to say, "Hello," while he showers and turns right back around to return to the office. Eliana is now very clingy to him and throws a fit if he leaves or has to momentarily separate himself from her for any reason.

Anyway, so here I was, running a high-grade fever, half-delirious with two small children to care for and no one to care for me. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, resentfully thinking what a fitting end to this assignment, what a perfect way to sum up the feelings of loneliness, helplessness and fatigue that I've had lately. There is, however, a good side to this story. (I know, you're probably tired of all the whining - me too!)

Praise be to God, who has mercifully delivered me from this illness with a quick and steady hand! My fever broke that very same evening and continued to fall through the night. Chris was able to stay home for a couple of hours in the morning to help me rest a little more, and though I still felt draggy and sore, I continued to improve as the day progressed.

I now feel much, much better, and instead of feeling tempted to question why God would allow me to become so ill on such an inconvenient day or go through such a difficult few weeks without my husband I now feel that it was actually a perfectly designed and much needed opportunity to remind me of my limitations and of my dependence on Him from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Laden With Guilt

I feel like I'm really starting to get the hang of having two children in some ways, but, in other ways, I still feel maternally challenged. In many ways, I don't feel quite so overwhelmed as I did at first, and I do believe that those feelings will continue to lessen. However, I'm starting to believe that it becomes "easier" not because I will get better at handling the two of them together but because they will get older and more easily manageable.

Don't get me wrong - I feel overwhelming joy that God has blessed me with these two precious little girls. However, it has been rather depressing to realize an even greater depth to my depravity than previously imagined. I never quite knew what a monster was lurking within me until I was faced with this most recent challenge. It has opened my eyes to see things about myself that I'd rather think were not possible.

In addition to the guilt over the ugliness in my heart is the guilt of failing to be "supermom". I can't seem to stop comparing myself to other mothers who seem to have things so much more together, work hard and joyfully make sacrifices. I feel like I've lost my grip lately. I feel as though I'm so behind on everything that I'll never catch up or make up for it.

I am hoping that with the completion of the huge, time-consuming project at my husband's work later this week will come great relief for our family. I know, however, that true peace and restoration will only be found in Christ. I know that I need Him, but, oh, how I've struggled to call upon Him lately! Hear, my soul, these words from Isaac Watts:

Laden with guilt and full of fears,
I fly to Thee, my Lord,
And not a glimpse of hope appears
But in Thy written Word.

The volumes of my Father’s grace
Does all my griefs assuage;
Here I behold my Savior’s face
In every page.

This is the field where hidden lies
The pearl of price unknown;
That merchant is divinely wise
Who makes the pearl his own.

Here consecrated water flows
To quench my thirst of sin;
Here the fair tree of knowledge grows,
No danger dwells within.

This is the judge that ends the strife
Where wit and reason fail,
My guide to everlasting life
Through all this gloomy vale.

O may Thy counsels, mighty God,
My roving feet command;
Nor I forsake the happy road
That leads to Thy right hand.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Losing It hair, that is. The postpartum hair loss became noticeable around 4 weeks and has only gotten worse over the past two and a half weeks. I expect it to get worse still before it gets better, but, thankfully, I have a thick head of hair. It's the head full of inch and a half long hairs sticking straight up once all that hair begins to grow back that I dread. But for now, I guess I should invest in Liquid-Plumr.

Friday, August 11, 2006

God's Instrument: A Mirror Named Eliana

"Blue Fish! Blue FIIISH!!"

I wasn't but fifteen minutes into the day and already dealing with a tantrum. Eliana was demanding that she be allowed to wear her "blue fish" outfit while her mean, unreasonable mother was pulling a perfectly nice denim dress with a cat on it over her head. Nevermind that the "blue fish" outfit has a button missing, that, due to the design of the outfit, I must completely undress her every time I need to change her diaper and that it is requested nearly every day (it and the "shark shirt" with "blue pants" take turns - we're convinced that Eliana's obsession with sea creatures will lead to a study of marine biology). I sometimes allow Eliana to choose her own outfit for the day, but other days I insist that she wear something that I pick out for her.

The whining, fussing, crying, screaming and squealing continued for many minutes. Being in Eliana's presence became most unpleasant, which, I'm sure, was her intended purpose. I just wish that she would fully realize that, even if I wanted to, I could never give in to her tantrums. What would that teach her?

There are so many simple truths I wish for my daughter to see and so many things I wish to give her, and yet, she persists in fussing over the smallest, most insignifcant matters. How much more could she learn and how much more could she be given if she would just stop her ugly behavior and trust me?

Being a mother teaches me so much about myself and my relationship with God. I know that I must, at times, be just like Eliana in God's eyes. I have to ask myself what I gain by acting that way and what I could gain by trusting in God. I must also strive to keep in mind how gracious God has been to me, a sinner. Oh, that I may show that same grace to my own child.

Lord, help me, I pray.