Tag Archives: letters to Abby

WHAT IS THIS LIFE

Dearest Abby June,

Today, you have completed 3 cycles around the sun. If you aren’t the best thing to ever happen to this little family, I’ll eat my hat.IMG_5655

You are 34 and a half inches tall… not yet to where Gideon and Ry were when they turned 2. TWO! Our little Half Pint. You’d be lucky to break 25 pounds, but you carry a quick right jab to make up for anything. You are painfully shy with strangers but fearless with frogs, 4-wheelers, trampolines, hills, tractors, busses, candy, chickens, ornery yearling calves, and wood stoves. Brave. You are brave. You are potty trained (again). You know your colors and your numbers and most of the make and models of our neighbors’ cars. You eat only pancakes and noodles and cereal (nothing has changed since last year… your word is CONSISTENT). You will not wear dresses and have to be in a good mood to wear shirts without pockets. You can dress yourself, including zipping your coat. You are, we have always said, the Little General. You are the child I worry the least about. You have largely raised yourself… I cannot take credit for the awesomeness we see on a daily basis.

IMG_6106

Thursday last, I left a choir concert early with your sister (You won’t remember this, but she puked. SHE PUKED AT HER CONCERT). We were sad to miss the live nativity, and I asked you to sneak the miniature donkey into Dad’s car on the way home. The next morning we had this conversation (keep in mind that I, your 37-year-old mother, am in red and you, still clinging to 2, are in black):

Did you bring me my donkey?

No, I did not.

Why not?!

You haft have money and buy one.

I don’t have any money!

Then you needa ask your dad.

But my dad is not here!

Well, he will be on Sunday.

Child, you have the craziest handle on language this family has ever seen. You’ve been talking for a year, and are fluent in humor, sarcasm, and passive-aggressive suggestions. Our conversations have become the stuff of legends online and certainly brighten the Michigan gray around here. I am constantly forgetting that I am speaking to a minor.

You are an unapologetic fibber. A liar. A student of the untruth. Abby! I say, Do you have chocolate in your mouth? Is that brown candy dripping out of your face at 7am in the morning? And without hesitation, you will answer NO every time. Every time, Child.

IMG_6263I just cannot get enough of you.

I do love you. What’s more, I like you. I would hang out with you even if you weren’t my child. A hundred times a day, Girl, you save me.

Love,

Mom

Abby is 2. (my favorite)

Abby is 1.

Abby is born.

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because you asked

For every time I’ve said no, there have been 10 tiny yeses. 

because you asked, I will stay just a little longer

because you asked, I will wash your feet in the kitchen sink

because you asked, you are allowed to ride your race car bike, your scooter, your tricycle through the house and around the island around the island around the island this ridiculous winter

because you asked, we will have pancakes for dinner

because you asked, you may say the grace at dinner and thank the Lord for pencils

because you asked, you can wear my heels with your elephant jammies

because you asked, we will find videos on helicopters (again)

because you asked, we will risk emotional armageddon at 4pm on a school day and head to the bookstore to buy your first Bible

because you asked, I will call Dad so you can hear his voice

because you asked, you may have cake for breakfast

because you asked

You will ask for millions of things in your lifetime. I won’t always have this magical power to make your whims and dreams come true… but for now,

ask me another.

Lent, the 40 days of observation and remembrance before Easter, begins on Wednesday. This year I’m going to actively search for meaning and promise instead of waiting for and expecting it to find me.

There will be no regular Monday & Thursday posting here throughout Lent. Instead, I’ll tell my own story of Lent through pictures, following these word-prompts beautifully curated by catholicsistas.com.

Join me?

instagramLENT

 

P.S. #26? Laetare? It means rejoice. REJOICE!


Abby is two.

Dear Abby June,

You have completed 2 laps around the sun!

Gas is $3.09 a gallon, bread is a dollar-fifty. Mom is 36 nearly 37, Dad is 35, Ry is 7, Gideon James is a robust three and a half, and Abe (the best dog ever) is nearly 10 . You are 31 inches tall (6 inches shorter than Gus at this age), and you weigh 24 pounds. You are the tiniest, most self-assured girl I know.

We call you the Little General because you wear a poker face like it’s your job, and you march rather than walk, your arms swinging deliberately beside you. You have always, even since crawling, found your way into the cattle pen to stand among the young steers and hold court. Countless times, I have found you alone, leaning on the gate talking to giants in your raspy little voice, no different than if they were kittens. You go your own way.

You speak better than anyone in our house. When you caught me absentmindedly trying to scoop spaghetti noodles onto my spoon one night, you looked at me with a gentle smile and said, “Look, Mom! A circle!” and proceeded to demonstrate how one twirls the fork for perfect noodle containment. You can count to five-teen, you love the colors pink and blue, and you demand your ‘(s)parkly’ shoes each day. You are subtly brilliant. 

You’re our little blondie. We are not exactly sure where you came from. When I was pregnant with you I remember wondering what happens with the third kid? We had a girl. We had a boy. How different, how unique, really, could one more of one or the other be? And then we had you. You screamed not out of hunger or boredom or fear but pure rage. You walked at 19 months because you simply wanted to wait. It has only been a few short months since you decided to look your father in the eye. It’s been less time since you’ve been sleeping through the night.

You are, in a word, tough. 

But, child. You are the cuddler. You are the one who stands at my feet and begs quietly, “Carry you.” You are the silent observer through countless therapy trips, drop offs, grocery lines, and doctor’s visits. Your strength of character is balanced sweetly by your simplicity of youth. When you want help, you ask. When you are hurt, you seek comfort. When you are happy, you make the room light up. You carry such an incredible OLD spirit with you, as more than one person has observed.

You arrived and it was as if you had already been. Only louder.

photo by Trace DiCocco

There are only a select few who have seen your million-watt smile in person. Its something you save, something we earn. You prefer “pan-pakes” over any food, though noodles and then cereal follow close behind. You love to show me – “Mom! Watch ‘dis!” is a regular refrain. I watch, every time, because you are so incredibly sure that what you are about to show me will change my life.

I think you’re on to something.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all have your confidence to be. To feel like everything we’re about to do is going to change someone’s life for the better. To guard our hearts. To be confident enough to just go along for the ride and not be in the front seat. To hold a secret deep within… for not every thing is meant to be known by every one. To play well with others, but to fight for your own space. So much truth in such a little body. 

You are my littlest, and I beg you to go slow. It is such a joy to be with you, to be around you. I cannot wait to get to know you better.

Love, Mom

Abby is born.

Abby is one.


My children do not listen.

Put your seatbelt on, grab your shoes, you’ll lose that trinket if you yell out again. Brush your teeth, stop itching, you cannot draw on the furniture- again.

My children do not listen.

It is warm out side, wear shorts. It is cold outside, grab  your coat. You are going too fast, you are going to slow, you’re going to get hurt. Where is your helmet?

My children do not listen.

Dinner is in an hour, your dad is at work, your cousins are camping. We’ve gone over this a thousand times- today.

My children do not listen.

It has become my silent mantra: my children do not listen. When I’m making dinner, when I’m re-finding shoes, when I’m driving and solving the world’s problems: MY CHILDREN DO NOT LISTEN. A marching beat. A rhythm. An excuse and explanation.

I’m not saying it’s beautiful. I’m just… saying.

They could not hear me saying it, but no doubt they could feel it. Kids feel exasperation. It is perhaps the emotion they are most in-tune with, amen? Somewhere deep inside I thought, “I am bigger than this. I can change this.” My thoughts and self-talk and episodes have always run on their own power… but what if, for once, I could turn it around? What if I could actually change my mind? And so the next time those words ran across my inner screen, I molded them into a different story.

My children, do not listen. 

Do not listen to those who will tell you’re too little, too small, too young. You are exactly the right size, age, and character to do AMAZING THINGS.

My children, do not listen.

Do not listen to the silence of fear begging you to stay behind. Seek out the lonely, wear the striped stockings, hug your family. Grow. Laugh loudly. Cry earnestly. Love fiercely. It is not safe, but that is not reason to stand still. Wear a helmet.

My children, do not listen.

Ignore the hesitation that comes with change. Push onward, push out. The view up ahead is fantastic, and it will not come to you. You have to run, skip, and jump to it!

My children, do not listen.

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you? That is a lie. Bones heal. Words seep into the cracks and grow into insecurity, chronic bruises. Words stick. So, you choose your words carefully. You make them beautiful and big and heart-felt. Strong and true and soft. You will never regret being kind, and you will never hurt irreparably by speaking love.

My children, do not listen.

The world will shower you with comparison and doubt. But you ARE enough. You are exactly enough.

I can do this.

I can change the words.


mirror, mirror

abby's eyes

She crawls to the hallway mirror every day, every hour… to peek.

It’s stunning, really.  She giggles at that Little looking back at her.  She jabbers away to herself… kissin’ and high-fivin’ and smilin’ at the pretty, toothless, chubby girl looking back. I see you, Sweet Girl, and you are gorgeous.

I don’t know when exactly it all changes. Maybe junior high. Maybe earlier, now. But that sweet joy of seeing your reflection? It disappears somewhere in between high chairs and bus stops. We notice our friend’s clothes, we feel awkward in our skin, we want what others have. It is as certain as the sun rising… we women will struggle.  We will be discontent and disillusioned, and over time the reflection becomes something to fix. Something that is not funny.  Our eyes, they have changed.

Then maybe we make some amazing friends who make us feel normal, awesome, beautiful again.  We remember that everyone’s different for a reason, that the internet and magazines are impossible, that we look like our grandmother… and we like it.  We begin a new journey of acceptance and repair.

Then maybe we have children… you actually grow life within you… and our body changes to make it work- everything from the tips of our hair to the shape of our hips. We grow children and we find ourselves, again, confused with the reflection and the wardrobe and the image staring back. Our eyes, they are fickle.

For now, for such a sweet little time… her reflection is pure joy.

Let me remember this time… this sweet, sweet time… when that reflection was right and perfect and the best part of every day. And let me remind her, when the image fades and feelings get cloudy, that she is beautiful and eyes are tricky.  People are tricky.  Sight is tricky.

Best to look with the heart, as He does, and remember that all is as it should be. And, it is good.

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.


Abby is 1

[update, for posterity’s sake: doctor’s visit at 1 year = 27.5″ tall (6%) and 17.5 pounds (14%)… you’re still a little bird!]

ABBY!

Oh, Abby June.

If you just aren’t a peach of a thing!  Lawd, Child… who knew kid number 3 would be so normal?  Saturday, you turned 1… which seems impossible, but it’s true. We call you Muppet and Abby-O.  While you’re a happy little girl, you are not easy to impress… possibly because there is a constant 3-ring circus surrounding you. We have to WORK to get you to giggle, and we do- because it’s worth it.  You have some serious hair, hazel eyes, and an extremely kissable mouth. My favorite thing that you do is this “Oooooooo” thing, where you’re half singing, half excited.

Abby-O

See what I mean? Those lips.  I love them.

You are extremely quick. Rylie learns things over time and repetition. Gus Man tries and tries until he succeeds by brute force. You, on the other hand, you study something and then move forward with quiet confidence.  Wanna climb stairs? Sure. How ’bout we just do all 20 the first time and without a problem? Hear us talking at dinner? Why not just repeat what we’re saying? No big deal. Only have 2 teeth? Whatever. Bring on the solid food. I’ve no doubt you’ll be walking soon.  (All three kiddos crawled at 9 months.  Ry walked at 23 months; Gideon walked at 15 months. Care to make a guess for Abby? Pick a date.  Curt said February 2.)

You fill in all our gaps.

I have traveled with you twice alone… just me and you on planes, checking out the world and visiting family.  You can handle skipping naps, altitude changes, multiple time zones, and extremely attentive puppies.  You are not afraid to cry and be heard, though the noise of the rest of the family often drowns you out. It was so fun, both trips, to just BE with you. Only you. You are hilarious and easy.Abby is 1

That last picture… you holding the giraffe?  Makes me laugh so. hard.  You are 100% personality.

You’re still only giving us 6 hours of consecutive sleep overnight, which- what’s up with that? You’re a great morning and afternoon napper.  I think at night you get into some serious routines because you wake at the same time every night and demand an audience.  We’d just let you figure out life, but, Child, you are our angriest crier.  By far.  AND, you’re directly under our bedroom, which makes you impossible to ignore at 4:22 am.  Let’s work on that, ok?

You sleep in the laundry room. Yes in the unfinished half of the basement with Abe and the washer and dryer and boxes of hand-me-down clothing. We’ve pushed this little shoe-box of a house to its very limits of space.  There is just no more room. Anywhere.  And, since all of you kids have completely different sleep schedules, sharing a bedroom with Gideon (mister night owl and world’s lightest sleeper) or Ry (asleep by 7pm, up before God) is just not an option.  The reality is, you couldn’t care less.  The bunk-beds are waiting for you, though… as soon as you’re ready.

You’re the littlest and our last.  I could watch you for hours… just growing and making faces and living life.  I love you, Abby June.

mom


time keeps on ticking

Abby June,

You are 9 months of awesome, Little Girl.

You’re crawling, sitting up, and chomping pretzel sticks and graham crackers like it’s your calling in life.  Not that you have teeth, because you don’t- not one, but you eat all the same.

You’ve got grey-green–sometimes-blue eyes and straight, fine, red-blonde hair.  (No idea.) Your hair has been the cause of quite a few giggles around town… it only started laying down this past week.  Before that, it was all up all the time– like a muppet.  Related: we call you ‘Muppet.’

You have this incredible ability to trill your tongue to sound like a motorcycle? a Mariachi band leader? It’s pretty awesome.  You are not quick to laugh, but I don’t mind working for it.  It’s deep and real, and that’s all that counts.  While Gideon and Rylie rock some serious Disney-esque eyes, you are all about the cheeks and mouth.  It’s hard not to kiss and squeeze you all the time.

You will never want for a companion in this home.  We are all ready and willing- and sometimes even desperate- to show you everything.  You have survived 9 months of Gus Man sitting on you, feeding you inappropriately, squeezing you like a barn cat, and throwing match box cars at you to ‘share.’  You have weathered Ry’s bottle-holding, Ry’s spoon-feeding, Ry’s carrying/hoisting, and Ry’s burping/beating.  You, of all three children, are the toughest without question.   Abby, I pray you would continue to let your brother and sister love on you without hesitation.  Your unconditional acceptance has made you a bridge over often troubled water.

Child, what a gift.

When you yawn, it’s loud and dramatic… like your Mamma. I feel like you are 9 months going on 30.  Truth be told, I whisper a lot of secrets to you at that 11pm feeding that nobody else hears.  You’re my quiet buddy.  The one ready for anything.  The one who goes anywhere without question or fuss.  You are #3, probably the last, and the sweetest way to end a good run of genetics.

You are the smallest in our family but certainly the most stable.   Thanks for taking it all in stride… the endless car rides and buckles, the skipping of naps, the older siblings and animals who steal your spotlight every chance they get.  You are a champion.  A God-send. A-mazing.

We love you so much, Abby-O!

always, Mom