Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mae Turns One!

Just before dawn, after twelve hours of unyielding labor, my water broke. Within moments I was overcome by a force so powerful it took my breath away, I laid down on the bed and looked out the window to see the sunlight peaking through the blinds. For a moment there was pure silence, complete and total peace. Then in the most feminine and human moment of my life, I could feel you and, as if by perfect design, pushed with all the energy in my body. I took one more deep breath as I clung to your dad's hands for support and roared you out my body. It was life's most perfect moment.

Mae, you are the gift I never saw coming. A seemingly impossible circumstance, your tenacious spirit insisted on being here, surprising us all. You have endless energy and a joyful smile that makes anyone's day. You are loud, fast, loyal, loving and one fierce little ball of fire. I cannot imagine my life without you. This family is complete with you in it. You've only been here a year but you've already changed everything. I love you,  Happy 1st Birthday Baby Mae Rose Stern!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Two came, too fast.

It seems like only yesterday I found out I was pregnant with you, and then just like finding your soulmate you were here with me.. just as you were always meant to be. The past year is impossible to wrap up in a few words because both of you have grown into such amazing, vibrant, smart, beautiful people. How could I put this transformation into words and do justice to either of you? Even your most challenging days are always filled with moments that inspire awe, and I feel so blessed to witness your life unfolding.

You started your second year of life barely able to crawl and still months away from walking.... but by some act of heavenly grace, I managed to be sitting with each of you when you took your first steps.

Samantha, seeing you walk for the first time is a memory that will be forever etched into my mind. I will never forget you sitting in the rocking chair, then looking down at your feet. I could see the determination in your eyes. You knew this was it, you were going to do this! You put your feet down, pushed up from the armrest with your hand and lifted your other arm for balance. I can still see exactly what you were wearing as you stood balancing for a moment: a t-shirt that said "I am made of awesome" and a fluffy pink skirt. One at a time, you lifted your legs, one foot in front of the other... and you did it!! Those thoughtful and deliberate first steps have led you quickly into a running, jumping, climbing, somersaulting little girl, ready to take the world by storm.

Summer, you started walking in the same way you approach almost everything: a little less like jumping in head first to the deep end more like getting your feet wet one toe at a time, until you blink and suddenly you're soaked and you wonder when that happened. You do things with sincere intention, you know what you want and on what timeline you want to do it, period. You are mindful, specific, thoughtful, and extremely creative. The other day I pulled out the paints for the first time, I poured some paint into a container and handed you a brush and you didn't hesitate...you just lost yourself in the brush strokes, and your creative voice took flight. You dad has started to hang all of the art in our family room... I can see already we're going to need a bigger wall.

Each of you is talking, narrating, describing everything, all the time. At the beginning of the year I could tell you how many words you could say. Now, we can almost have a conversation. When did this happen? I try really hard to speak to you like the young intelligent people that you are, often wondering if you understood be long before I realized you really heard what I was saying. Of all the things I love the most over the past year of growth and changes, getting to hear your thoughts and voices has been the most rewarding. Recently, you've started saying "night, night mama... I love you" I lean in for a big hug, kiss each of your heads and then and you kiss my cheek in return... no matter how hard the day has been, it is the moment I live for each night.

Samantha, the entire family has started calling you a tornado. You have some serious talent at making a room look really, uh, "lived-in." This past year you've helped me to let go of some of my cleaning habits in favor of just letting you live a little, and I've learned making the mess is certainly at least half of the fun! You also LOVE music and dancing! If music is playing, you're always wiggling your hips... you can't even help it, music is just in your heart.  
Summer, you are the anti-mess maker, a girl after my own heart. You put all your toys away, stack your dirty dishes neatly when you're done eating, and (though you love being barefoot and playing in the sand and water) you aren't actually to keen on getting dirty. When you look around, you seem to view the world in categories and order. You observe everything and file that information away for safe keeping. If I ever forget where something is or who an item belongs to, you always remember. "Mama's juice" (aka wine), Sammy's diaper, Mae's baby bottle... you know it all. "No, this is Summer's!" You love helping keep everything where it should be, and it brings you tremendous joy to learn and remember as much as you can about everything and then share your knowledge with others. 

This year you both became big sisters to baby Mae. Your dad and I spent the better part of six months talking to you about the new baby that was coming, and you both watched as my belly grew, wondering what was happening. But soon you two started pointing to my stomach, saying "baby," and I still wonder if you really understood or not? When your sister was born, you came into our room and climbed up onto the bed, and were surprised to see a baby, but really you weren't particularly interested. As the days have passed you've each found your way to love and connect with Mae. I'll admit I wasn't sure how things would go with three children under 2 in our house, but I under estimated you both. Even just barely two, you are patient, kind, loving, gentle and fantastic big sisters to your little Mae. I can see what an amazing life you all will have because you have each other.  

It's been an incredible year. A challenging year, but incredible. I wasn't sure it was possible to love anything or anyone as much as I love both of you. I am in awe of the people you are becoming. Each so unique and yet better because you have each other. I've said it before, but it's true. You are gifts to one another. 

As I sit here now, tearing up over the fleeting moments that you're still my babies, and you occasionally still let me snuggle and hold you as long as I want, marveling at the journey we have taken and so much yet to come as you grow into your big kid selves. I thank the heavens for how blessed I am to be your mommy. I didn't know if I'd ever get to be a mom, but the stars aligned and you two were our gifts. When I learned at my first ultrasound I was having twins, when I heard each of your hearts beat, I knew it was destiny. You were meant to be: it wasn't random or by chance, you were always destined for this world, ushered in to waiting, loving arms. Nine months later you both were born, bright red and screaming your hearts out, ready to take this life by storm! 

You're two years old and already such incredible people. I hope as you grow, neither of you lose your courageous spirits, and I hope you remember to love one another, and find joy in everything possible. There is an extraordinarily beautiful life for each of you being written every single day. Remember that it is your one and only extraordinary story. 

"I would have given anything to keep her little. They outgrow us so much faster than we outgrow them." - Jodi Picot