The pressure's on, folks... 5 of my children have birthdays in October... and 3 of them in the same week (can you believe it??)... and I have a miserable cold. Oh Lord, help me to heal quickly!
I can't promise that I'll be able to do each birthday justice (and oh, will I feel bad if I leave someone out!), so let me highlight NOW the birthdays (and anniversary!) coming up:
October 3rd: Sean turned 11, and had his very first sleep-over. We have a small house, so there's really no place to put a bunch of kids who plan on giggling all night... unless you put them in a tent in the backyard! Problem solved!
I know that many are tired of hearing his story, so I'll just direct you to last year's birthday write-up if you care to see how he came into this world. We are so blessed to have him.
Happy birthday, sweetheart!
October 11: Miss Grace is turning ONE! It's been a wild ride with this one, starting with the panic attacks that I had (see my St. Therese post below) in the hospital after having her. She's an incredible imp and we love her to pieces!
October 15: My dear, sweet, quiet Kathryn is turning 8. She came into this world howling like a banshee (she screamed the ENTIRE time the doctor's were sewing me up after the c-section), and she has been a little spitfire ever since. She was a challenge for the first two years, and then she turned into this amazing, sweet, wonderful little girl who takes joy in quietly serving. When I'm having a rough day with Grace, I can guarantee you that Kathryn (or Reilly) will come up and tell me that they are just itching to play with her... and graciously take her from me for awhile so I can think.
Underneath all that sweetness, though, is still the same little spitfire we saw in the OR. She loves to serve and will bend over backwards to help, but if she feels like someone has crossed the line, look out! When she was very, very little... maybe 7 months or so... Sean tried snatching a toy from her (he was 3 at the time). She got this look that can only be called righteous indignation, and she reached out and smacked him across the face and grabbed it back.
While we don't condone hitting, my husband watched that exchange and said, "I don't think we ever have to worry about Kathryn. She'll be able to stand up for herself."
And she does.
Kathryn, I love you more than words can say. You rock!
October 16: yes, the very next day Thomas turns 5! To say he "twinkles" just doesn't do it justice. He has got more energy than I've ever seen a child have before, and he just flits from one activity to the next, with an angelic smile on his face that can light up a room.
He is a challenge, though. He tries to use that smile to get out of doing what he doesn't want to do, and my husband and I struggle to keep him contained without breaking his spirit completely. I can only trust that God will give us the wisdom needed to raise this little guy.
But when it's all said and done, that sweet little guy will ask me to lay down next to him and tell him a story about when I was little, and he will grab my face in his hands and say, "you are really the best Mommy in the whole world... the whole UNIVERSE even!"
I love you too, baby. You are my most favorite-est 4 year old in the whole wide world, and it's a joy to have you in my life!
October 20: Ah, the poor kid is going to get more than her fair share of "broccoli birthdays," because we're all going to be so sick of cake by the time hers rolls around!
Miss Marie is turning 3. What a joy she is! We really got spoiled with her. After 5 children who had to be convinced that it really was time to go to bed, we were blessed with a child who would look at us sweetly, say (with her eyes) "oh, is it really time to go to bed? OK, if you insist..." and lay down without so much as a peep. My husband and I couldn't believe it. We didn't think God made these models anymore!
Believe it or not, I can trust this little girl to watch the baby... and she does a FANTASTIC job. Not a lego... not a marble... not a cheerio can go into Grace's mouth without Marie seeing it and saying, "No! No! You take dat outta your mouwth!" If Grace has climbed up on something, Marie will let me know. If she's reaching for the dog food or trying to swish in the toilet, my faithful babysitter is there.
What amazes me... and I know it's all God's grace... is that each child has gotten used to losing the "baby" status easily and gracefully, and has taken his or her role as an older sibling quite seriously. Marie still loves to snuggle, and I try to give her that whenever I can, but she's more than willing to scoot over for the baby, and to help me look after her.
Another first with Marie -- she's the only child we've had who has a special blanket. Her Dee-tee, she calls it (it was her attempt at saying "sleepy" when she first learned to talk). Dee-tee goes everywhere, and she worries that he will be lonely if she leaves him too long.
I love you with all my Mommy heart and soul, sweetie!