Our summer is moving along, lickety-split, and if I’m being honest, it’s actually been pretty good. This time last year, I could have not anticipated how much better this year would be. Last summer we were living in the the freshly-home-cocoon. This summer? We have broken out of the cocoon, and it is just plain fun to do things again.
We’re getting out a little more.
Playing at parks a little more.
We even went on a vacation to the beach!
We are meeting up with friends a little more.
Exploring a little more.
Trying new experiences.
Letting the schedule become a little more relaxed.
It has been… fun.
All of this is great, but there are times when we struggle a bit with the lack of hardcore routine. Julianne is more affected by the lack of routine than the rest of us; she has experiences in her past that make knowing what’s going on around her a necessity in her world. She faces new experiences and challenges with a braveness I cannot fathom. She is SO. BRAVE. But it’s hard for her, too, to live these new experiences for which she has no basis for understanding ahead of time.
She comes away from a week of Vacation Bible School having had a blast, but also needing to stick right by mama for a few days. Needing to call out “where are you” a little more often to make sure I’m still here.
She comes away from a beach vacation having had a blast and asking to go back, but also needing to be assured that whatever her siblings can do, she can do, too.
She comes away from days with more relaxed schedules having enjoyed the spontaneity of doing things spur-of-the-moment, but needing to plan out ahead of time which outfit she will wear the next day, and needing to know exactly what we will have for snack that afternoon.
She is aware that some kids are doing different camps and activities than others in the family this summer, and so she has started asking, “Can I?“; the question on the surface seeming simple, but the desire for belonging running deep.
I confess, the return to needing to constantly reassure her about her place in our family makes me weary. I wonder, “when will she completely understand that she is here for good, that we aren’t going anywhere, that we want to and will include her?”
And the answer is… I have no idea.
And so today, I am being intentional about looking for ways to be thankful in this call to being more than I think I am, this asking for more than I think I have to give. When she calls out “where are you?”, I choose to think about how sweet her voice sounds.
When she needs to be right next to me and declares she is going to, “follow me all day long”, I choose to be thankful that the dream of a child I harbored in my heart for years is here beside me and wanting to be with me.
When she asks, “can I?” in regards to anything, I choose to be thankful that I can answer “yes, you can!”, and I commit to finding more ways to say yes not only to her, but to all four of my babies.
When she needs a little more structure, I choose to help her pull out tomorrow’s outfit, and write down what we will have for dinner so she can hold on to it, and doing it all not just to make things easier for me, but to help her feel more secure.
Choosing gratitude isn’t always easy,
especially when we forget how far we have come to begin with.
Thankful for the sweet reminders of how far we have come in a year.
Thankful for the grace to enjoy today for today.