This year was slower than years past- but also busier in some ways, too.
For a long time, there hasn't been a year when we haven't left the country or even country. Throughout residency, your dad traveled to Haiti and we all went to Ghana not once, but twice! This year, we stayed more grounded, closer to home, and really put down our roots here in Lubbock, TX.
But also for the first time, you kids have both been going to pre-school. Oliver, you can write your name so well, and you are starting to draw the best pictures. The latest one is of each member of our family holding hands underneath some tornadoes, because, "We are STRONGER than tornadoes!"
I'm spending more time away from from home now that you are a bit older. I'm working on getting my Ph.D. Up until this semester, I've only been taking one class per semester, but this year I'm a full time student with an assistantship position for a music history course. This year was hard for me, juggling work and school with mothering and running the piano studio. I want you to see that becoming a parent doesn't mean you have to forget your dreams. At the same time, being the best mother I can be is infinitely more important to me than being the best at anything else. More than anything I want to love you both with everything I have.
I think finding balance is one of the hardest things to do in life. If you ever struggle with this, just breathe, and pray, and breathe, and pray. It will all be ok. Probably. :) And if it isn't, well.... Things ebb and flow, things get better and worse then better again. Just like seasons pass from Spring to Summer, Fall, and Winter- there are seasons in life, too. Usually, there is something beautiful to discover and savor and remember even in the bleakest times. You can't always see it at first, but it's probably there, somewhere.
We are loving this season when you are still little, but old enough to have conversations about memories and desires and simple things like what adventure we should go on today. So far, this is my favorite stage, when you are 2 and 4.
I just finished looking at all of our pictures from the past year, trying to pick out all the best ones to put into our family yearbook. I cannot believe how much you both have changed in twelve months.
Especially you, Cat- your hair is so incredibly long! You've definitely morphed from a babe into a full-fledged toddler. But some things have stayed very much the same. You love animals so much! We got a dog, Ginger, just for you! We adopted her from the SPCA. She's a Brittany Spaniel, and you love to try to "ride" her and bring her plates of "food" from your play kitchen. It's pretty adorable.
But you've changed a lot, too, Oliver- at the beginning of 2013, you were full-fledged toddler- insisting on wearing you fire chief jacket on every outing- now I struggle to describe you as a toddler. You're a pre-schooler. A 4 year old. A little kid who loves ninja swords and riding fast on his bike, who can write his own name perfectly and play songs on the piano. My sweet little boy.
My babies aren't really babies anymore. I don't know why this so bittersweet. I love watching you both learn and accomplish new things. I love teaching you and watching you grow. But thinking about just how much you've grown in just a year kind of makes my heart constrict a little. I guess it's just knowing that one day, one day sooner than I'd like, you are going to come downstairs early in the morning and snuggle with me for the last time.
I am going to miss that.
This year, 2014, I want to focus on Joy. It will the 10th wedding anniversary in April. Dad and I want to kind of relive some of the special moments that marked important points in our relationship. We want to take you both to Junction where we met- maybe even take you to Spain where we got married.
I want to slow down and enjoy the little moments when I can help you put on your shoes, or get you a snack in the afternoon. I want to really embrace the little things like that. In the end I think the little things may be just as important as the big things. So I don't want to tell you hurry up or to stop making such a mess (well. sometimes I may tell you to stop making such a mess)- I just want to slow down and enjoy this time when you are still little. When I still have time to write a letter while you are napping- because something tells me that nap time will soon be a thing of the past. Your whole childhood will be a thing of the past. And I don't want to miss a second.
Here's to a Joyful 2014!