Ten years ago, I met a man who gave me a call.
Eight years ago, he gave me an engagement ring.
Seven years ago today, he gave me his hand in marriage.
Three years ago, he gave me two little girls.
Three months ago, he gave me a little boy.
Happy Anniversary, love. Even if you had never given me anything other than your heart, I would still be eternally thankful God gave you to me.
Becky: “Cows eat hay.”
Susie: “Horses eat hay…I don’t know what sheep eat.”
Becky: “Sheep eat…bananas!” (giggle)
Susie (giggling too): “Cows eat bananas!”
Becky (giggling harder): “Monkeys eat bananas!”
Susie (suddenly sober): “Actually, monkeys DO eat bananas.”
Becky (also sober): “Right.”
Becky: “Sheep eat sheep.”
As of today, both the girls are officially THREE YEARS OLD. That doesn’t seem possible. I wish I could pause time and drink in every ounce of their personalities, their expressions, their mannerisms at this age. They are honestly a delight for me to be around, and I have so much fun talking and laughing with them every day. And even though I can’t capture every aspect of their newly-three-year-old selves in words, I can try to record some of the things I love most about them.
Becky: You are my brown-haired, big-eyed “long drink o’ water” (as my grandpa used to say). You make me smile every day with your elaborate explanations, your GPS-like geographic precision, your desire to do everything with your sister, your tender adoration of your brother, your crazy love for toaster waffles and “fishies,” your burgeoning ability to turn everything into a game with rules (just like your father!), your love of books and TV, your excitement whenever we are around other kids, your soft impromptu serenades, your silly eye rolls and gestures you make when you know you’re being a goofball, your hand placed lovingly on my arm when you’re sitting in my lap…I love it all.
Susie: You are my fair-haired, blue-eyed featherweight. You make me smile every day with your impish grin, your bouncy walk, your belly laugh, your amazing ability to color within the lines and draw recognizable figures, your love of making your sister laugh, your announcement anytime you come down the stairs: “I’m COMIN’! I’m COMIN’”, your adorable pronunciations (“Yook at me!” or “I’m too yiddle”), your compliant “Okay, okay,” your love of talking on the phone and cheesing for the camera, your quiet thumb-sucking cuddles, your enthusiastic neck-wrapping hugs…I love it all.
I’m so proud to have you two as my daughters, my little girls…even when you’re no longer so little.
The other day, my niece Alli was sitting beside me on the couch, typing away at her laptop. I asked her how she was doing, and she sighed heavily. She had signed up for a summer program to get one class out of the way, but it was requiring more time than she had anticipated. She was working on an assignment about self-esteem, and her frequent groans indicated how juvenile she found the whole exercise to be. Half-jokingly, she turned to me and pleaded, “I need to write down ten good things about myself. Help!!” I only had to stop and think for a millisecond before I could think of oh, fifty good things about her. She’s mature, she thinks of others before herself, she is spiritually-minded, she has a wonderful sense of humor, she is adventurous (especially with watersports – that girl can hang on to a tube with the big boys. And don’t get me started on her love of insanely high rollercoasters), she is a faithful friend, she knows her own mind, she is extremely generous, she is an excellent conversationalist…I could go on and on. Every summer she spends with us in Connecticut leaves me more and more amazed at the Godly woman she is growing into, and I am more and more thankful to have her in my life.
Jim’s and my seven-year anniversary is coming up, and today I was fondly reminiscing about our wedding day. Alli was our flower girl. She was eight-years old, still in elementary school, playing on the monkey bars at recess and carrying a back-pack that looked bigger than she was. It is so hard to believe that that little (well-beloved) whippersnapper is now a fifteen-year-old beauty. In high school. With a learner’s permit to drive.
She flew back home to Arizona today, leaving us with an empty place in our house, but hearts full of great summer memories. Once again, I have to thank her parents for being willing to part with her for our benefit. And for raising such a great kid. Alli’s an answer to prayer in so many ways.
So Alli, I don’t know what you ended up writing about in your self-esteem assignment, but I do know that you are loved from one coast of this country to the other. We miss you already.
(This is actually a reenactment of their bubble-catching techniques, per my request, since I couldn’t figure out how to blow bubbles and take pictures at the same time. The girls were happy to oblige!)
It was HOT here today. As in, Arizona hot (according to our Arizona expert, Alli). Plus humidity. So once the temperature dipped below 90 degrees at 7 pm tonight, the girls and I finally ventured outside to splash in the pool. So thankful we had a way to beat the heat!
The girls even serenaded us from the pool. Their pool “marching” song reminded me of their mud puddle song. Although with fewer clothes this time!
What better way to start your day than a chat with your child?
Nobody better tell Jimmy how good he looks in purple.
I try to read a story out of a Children’s Bible to the girls most mornings. Today’s reading was about how a young David comforted King Saul’s troubled spirit by playing the harp. I explained to the girls that the Lord has given us talents to use for His glory and for the benefit of others. I told them how it pleases God when we use our gifts to make other people feel better, and asked them what they could do to help someone today. After a moment’s consideration, they replied that they wanted to help their Pappy feel better (he’s been under the weather lately). When I pressed them for details as to how they would go about doing that, they said they would simply “make silly faces for Pappy.” Now why didn’t I think of that? Of course that would make him feel better!
So Pappy, I don’t know if these expressions are truly gifts or talents, but nonetheless, we hope they put a smile on YOUR face!