May Day Birthday Buddies!

The best sort of days begin like this…

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…while some of the best evenings end like this. IMG_6469We will just selectively choose to forget the very last hour of the day of teeth-brushing power struggles and overtired meltdowns. We’ll leave these happy feet as the end-cap. 
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May 1st is birthday buddies in our home. Selah Grace turned six while Josiah Benjamin turned four! Six and four feels so old most of the time, especially compared to little sis who is still a toddler. But we know the truth is four and six are still so little. SO little, especially when the distance is narrowed by requests showing the tenderness of their age; holding hands for safety in parking lots and safety at bedtime, leaving the “big” light on to fend off the darkness, joy and pride in reading a book together. The little cues that they want to be independent, but still want you near. I’ll take it. Plus I’ll take some killin’-time-silly-face-selfies with Little Man at school pick-up.

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The “I’m SO EXCITED I STOLE THE JELLY BEANS” again smile eyes.

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The “Are you seeing how proud I am that I stole the jelly beans again?” giggle.

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The “don’t take my jelly beans away from my toddler clutches” stare-down run.

As parents, we know our little ones better than anyone. They are their true selves right now within the safety of our family. We see them in ways others don’t, especially our Josiah who hides under the brim of his hat in public and is too shy to hold eye contact or speak to  people outside the family, or the chosen few he has invited into his “framily” circle. 

I want you to know him and see him the way we do here. 

I want you to know big sister, and see her the way we do here.

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But I can’t do that. Only they have the power to do that for themselves. To stand in the raw and the realness to show you who they are. I think about how often my own retreat is to be silent, to blend in, to fly under the radar where no waves are made and consequently no judgements about me can be made either because I haven’t offered anything to be judged. It is the social equivalent of pulling my hat low over my eyes like a certain new little four year old that I know.

My prayer for our birthday buddies this year is that our family continues to be a place of safety for them to reveal their true selves. Yet, further I pray they will teeter and tiptoe into revealing their true selves to the rest of you. To the world. To share the joke, the short story, the home play, the smile, the worry, the song, the hurt feeling, the pride of their new bike-riding or buckling-my-own-carseat-straps accomplishments without worrying about the world’s response. Or, maybe there will be fear, but the test-run of grace and encouragement and being-there-to-turn-back-to-in our family will be strong enough that any worry of the response will be overshadowed by the worth-it of the reveal.

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The amazing of all amazings out there right now, or as I like to call her – my buddy brene – has a breathtaking parenting manifesto to this end. Sometimes my children find me in the hallway where it is hanging in our home as I re-read to remind myself of what everydayness of the Spirit looks like. It is eloquent and inspiring and visually propelling. Print out your own and stand in front to re-read as often as necessary: http://brenebrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/DaringGreatly-ParentingManifesto-dark-8×10.pdf

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As ever, I am learning how to do this with my kiddos. It is one stumbling small step at a time of heart-molding, internal ah-ha’s, leading by example, coaching them along. They will do it. In their own time and own ways. I only ask one thing of you. Be gentle. Four and six (and one) are still so, so little.

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