Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Christmas

Perhaps you remember the dream I had that lead me to have another baby (Micah)?

After having that dream (in July 2002), I wasn't sure that it was a message to have another baby or just a simple dream.  It took a few months to determine that we should try to add to our family.  James and I put a lot of thought into this decision.

I certainly wasn't baby hungry.

At the time I had three daughters that had become fairly independent.  As a result, the thought of nighttime feedings, diaper changing and constantly being needed from a baby was less desirable than it had been previously.  I was scared to go back into the baby stage...

You see, as a young mother, I really struggled.  Being a mom to young children was not anything like the fantasy I had created in my mind as a young girl.  I certainly loved my children!  But it was HARD and I learned that I was impatient, selfish and far more immature than I previously realized.  (Isn't it funny how parenting becomes all about how much WE need to improve instead of all about creating perfect children?)  Learning all this information about myself felt like a really big pill to swallow.  And I've never been great at taking pills.

Needless to say, I wasn't anxious to add more reminders of how imperfect I was into my life.  And I was sure another baby would do just that!

However, then I experienced December 25, 2002.

There are many reasons why this Christmas has become so special to me.  First of all, my brother and sister-in-law were visiting for the holidays.  My aunt and uncle and their darling adopted daughter also joined us for a family celebration.  We enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner together.  Then I got a call from my brother Douglas.  He was en route to St Louis and wanted to know if he could stay at our place for the night.  What a wonderful surprise!  For some reason, we hadn't done our traditional nativity reenactment on Christmas Eve, so we took the opportunity to do it on Christmas night.  Everyone participated by playing a character in the production and singing Christmas songs.  Then we pulled out the bells and had everyone play "Silent Night" together.  It is an absolutely beautiful memory.  Especially now that Douglas has passed away.

Throughout all of these events, I kept having the distinct feeling that someone was missing.  It was so strong that I kept catching myself counting everyone.  I kept feeling the need to search through the house for the missing person.  But after counting everyone, I would realize that no one was missing.

But someone was missing.  And he would join us the following Christmas.

Micah's first Christmas, 2003
 This years Christmas had some of the same elements.  It was surprisingly simple and relaxed (I don't think I've ever said that about the holidays before!)  We enjoyed spending time together (except for a few heated moments during a Phase 10 game on Christmas night).  However, I kept feeling like we were missing family members.  Our home simply felt too empty!  But after looking around and counting my four children, I would realize that no one was missing.

But there were missing people.  And they will join us next Christmas.

As a final side note, just as I had fears adding another baby to our family, I have plenty of fears adding three more children to our family at this point.  I realize that adding these children will certainly showcase all my weaknesses and imperfections as a mother.  It will be HARD.

But here is the good news:

As scared as I was to add another baby into our family 10 years ago... I did it anyway.  And you know what I discovered?

That as difficult as it is to take care of a baby, I had forgotten how much JOY a baby can bring!  And I truly enjoyed every moment with my baby... every feeding, ever diaper change, every.  single moment.

And I'll do my best to find the same joy in each and every moment I have with Albina, Alina and Maks.

Because after already missing out on so many moments, I mustn't take any moment for granted!

We leave for Ukraine in 16 days!  We still have $19,544.92 left to raise.  I can hardly believe how much success we've experienced in such a short period of time!  However, we still have a ways to go.  Your generosity and help in getting Albina, Alina & Maks home is hugely appreciated!

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