Some things I have to remember about this precious girl at age four-
I am always writing funny things she says down. I want to remember them forever. Jeff took her to Five Guys one day for lunch and when we drove past weeks later I couldn't understand what she was saying-she said, "I love that place, that's where I want to go!" She kept saying, "Everything Guy!" I finally understood what she was talking about. She calls Hobby Lobby "hobby wobby". She has the cutest little voice ever. I know I will watch videos when she is older and cry at the sound of her little baby voice.
Her two favorites foods are french fries and ketchup. A close second potato chips and dip. So healthy! She also loves granola with strawberries in it, thank the Lord, and will eat most everything.
She is starting to get feistier with her brothers. "Don't touch my stuff Patrick!" that sort of thing. But the minute Patrick leaves to go to school she says she misses him. She misses Abbey terribly.
She will play with her kitchen and her babies all day long. She is a pack rat. I call it the natural "gatherer" in girls that make these little ones pack all sorts of things in every bag they can find. She once walked down with a backpack on front and one in the back, carrying two purses stuffed full of things.
She has the ability to go from crying to laughing in seconds. Which is why we can recognize easily the "faker" in her. The boys can make her crack up in the middle of sobbing. It's the cutest thing.
She is and always has been my buddy. She goes with my everywhere and is always so good. But she is very shy and won't say hi to anyone, or answer their questions. I am sure she will outgrow this with a little prodding.
Her favorite movies are Sound of Music, any Curious George shows, and Mary Poppins.
Her favorite thing to do ever is to play with our neighbor who is six years older than her. She talks about Mary Carol every day and her whole face lights up when she hears a knock on the door.
She is so flexible but how can one not be if they are #6? And I guess we do have long slow days together so there is that consistency but weekend games, or mom and dad having to go to a meeting, or geez, the older kids coming and going, I always wonder what might go through her head with all the activity around here. My mom told me once though that I was her "constant"-it is true I guess, I am almost always here, and we are together a ton. (Not that she doesn't love her daddy, she sure does.)
I try really hard to not go back and think about "the last time I'll have an infant or baby or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 year old in the house". It's too hard too live that way. It's like the "live every day like your last" quote-I always think "if I did that everyone in my house wouldn't be clothed, educated and we would all be starving". I do and always will miss my baby days. I will always wish I would have babies forever, honestly, but I guess I'd have to admit that I also don't picture me aging at the same time as having babies forever, so there you go. I have pictures up of the three oldest ones when they were all at home together playing-I try not to idealize those days but they were so different than now and there was something so special about them-not that I knew that then, I didn't so much. Motherhood is such a journey-the things I worried about when the oldest were young, or the things I hear younger mothers stressing about today-most of them aren't worth the space in our brains.
I was thinking about what advice I'd give to my own children when they become parents and wives/husbands. I should start writing down little snippets. There is so much margin in how you raise kids, but there is sometimes not too. Sometimes there is just "this is right" and "this is wrong." I think when kids start to grow up too, you see that some super super good parents, have adult children that make decision that crush them or maybe even just merely disappoint. And children from parents who were downright neglectful or irresponsible in their parenting, sometimes have a child or children escape from that and become stellar adults and parents themselves. There is no ONE thing that has to happen to "make our kids turn out" ok. If it was that easy. It's so much care, and concern and prayers and love and attention and sacrifice. And with all that, life happens and there are things that affect these children, individual circumstances, tragedies, hardships, just LIFE that affect them also-good and bad.
I know that I also, looking back, would tell myself first to stop worrying so much about this or that. Just love them, and be with them, and thoroughly enjoy them. But I can see myself in 15 years, telling myself the same thing about the teen/young adult years too-asking myself why I worried so much, and why I just didn't put those worries aside and not let those worries invade the joy of raising the kids. I can make the excuse (and it's a valid one) of how hard this culture is for parents today, but there is good to be found everywhere too.
A friend and I were talking about this the other day. I was listing out loud to her some thoughts in my head about "what I wanted" for my children. If I'm honest with myself, it was what would make ME feel like I did what I set out to do with all the hard work I have done. Any by the time I got to number ten I was laughing at myself. We were both cracking up. Because honestly, it's ok to have high expectations, but as my friend put it best is "what you want is heaven". Heaven, where everything is just smooth and perfect, and there is no struggle, no heartbreak, no hard lessons full of learning opportunities, and nothing to ever worry the parents or nothing to ever break my heart to see my child, no matter how old, walk through. No weight on my shoulders, no pride lost, no humble learning experiences for me, no late night begging prayers of "please God". Just happy happy kids and gloriously awesome grandkids with no struggles of their own? Ridiculous. That's not life! That's heaven! And as wonderful as heaven sounds, I would choose to be here and struggle through it all, to celebrate the joys of the journey and find grace when the journey gets more difficult. Even looking back as a parent for 22 years, which is not that long, the "tough" parts-watching a child struggle with school work or with fear, helping a teen with heart break, or dealing with disappointment over a mistake they've made and pushing through that correction with them, seeing them grow-those days are looked on as just as precious as the "easy" days too. What a gift to witness-those times have forced my growth as much as theirs, if not more so.
Sorry for the ramble, this was supposed to be a post about things I don't want to forget about Janey.
Happy Groundhog Day! I'll take the sunshine, shadow or not.