The Blessing of Bedtime Snuggles

When Charlotte was younger, she got in the habit of asking if she could “sit 5 minutes” and rock with me just a little bit longer before bedtime (I blogged about that here). She gradually stopped asking for that time, and while part of me was glad to eliminate one thing from a bedtime routine that seemed to stretch on for hours each night, part of me was also sad because I knew she was growing up and each day she needed me less and less. Don’t get me wrong; she’s still only 6 and will need me for years to come, but the need changes and evolves. And while some days I feel like I’m already living with a sassy teenager, other days I’m reminded of how much of her is still my little girl.

I don’t know quite what started it, but she recently started asking me to snuggle with her before she goes to bed. I think it may have begun when I stayed in bed with her for a few minutes after I tucked her in one night (never start something you’re not prepared to continue!). Regardless, she asks me every night now. I don’t always say yes, but when I do,I tuck her in and clumsily make room for myself in her twin-sized bed, and I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek a million times, and after we play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who loves the other more (that’s a story for another day), we talk. Sometimes she doesn’t have much on her mind, and other days she will let me in on things she’s worried about or sad about or frustrated with, and I will pray with her and reassure her and hopefully leave her feeling happier. I don’t know exactly what it is about our nighttime snuggles that encourage her to open up more than other times, but I’m so glad that she does. I hope that she always knows I’m a safe place for her, and I hope that even when she outgrows snuggling, she won’t outgrow sharing her heart with me. And I know that as long as she keeps asking me to snuggle, I won’t regret saying yes.



Don’t Forget to Remember

I have missed blogging. Even though I’m fairly certain people don’t read blogs much anymore, I miss writing one. Taking up blogging again seems a bit foolish right now, since some days I end up not even having a chance for a shower (#momlife), but I want to remember this time in my life, and blogging helps me document, in an albeit public way. So I’m going to do something I did a few years ago, which is take the 30 days of November to practice gratitude. I’ll write each day (or at least attempt to do so) about blessings big and small. I am so prone to negativity, so prone to letting one bad day or even a bad few hours sour my mood, and the best weapon for that is gratitude. In the chaos of every day life, it’s easy to take things for granted and not remember all I’ve been given, but as soon as I start forgetting, that’s when discontentment and bitterness can start to fester. With that in mind, today I give thanks for this:


Charlotte begged us to have a sister for years. She prayed for it, asked us to pray for it, and hoped and hoped. And oh, how I wanted to give that to her! But the last few years have been filled with health challenges that made me wonder at times if Charlotte would ever have a sibling. But God in His wisdom knew Charlotte wouldn’t be an only child, and in His timing we found out last year I was pregnant. Ava is a gift to all of us, but she did something only she could do for Charlotte: she made her a big sister. I watch Ava’s face light up every day when she sees Charlotte; I watch Charlotte do everything possible to make Ava laugh; I watch both of them and can barely get over the fact that these two beautiful girls are mine.

The past few months I have slept less than I can remember sleeping in a very long time. Ava stopped sleeping well at night, along with not napping well during the day, and it’s exhausting. Some days I have cried with the sheer frustration of it all. But I look at her grin and remember the Lord’s faithfulness. I see her tears and remember my own, during nights of pain and sickness when having another baby seemed like an impossible burden for my body to bear. I see her brown eyes alight with laughter and remember the prayers that were prayed for her before I even knew she would be a part of our family. Every day of her life is a testament of God’s kindness, and I never want to forget that.

On the Night Before Kindergarten

Dear Charlotte,

As I write this you are asleep in your bed, hopefully dreaming sweet dreams and anticipating the excitement that awaits you tomorrow, your very first day of kindergarten. In a way it seems impossible that we are already at this huge milestone. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I brought your tiny self home from the hospital and marveled at the beautiful wonder that is you? I am so incredibly excited for you, and I know you are ready for this new adventure. You are so smart and sweet and kind and sensitive and caring, and I know these qualities will serve you so swell as you learn what being in “big school” is all about.

I know you are nervous about not knowing anyone and about making friends, and I want to encourage you to do this one very important thing: be yourself. You put on your best Charlotte smile and offer your best Charlotte hello and give your best Charlotte answers to the questions that are asked of you, and you will be fine. Remember that if you feel lonely and scared, chances are someone else in your class feels lonely and scared too. So when you see another kid in your class who looks like they need a friend, be that friend to them. There may be days when someone is mad at you or tells you they don’t like you, and even though I hope those days don’t come, if they do, remember this: being kind is never the wrong decision. Even if your kindness is met with meanness, be kind anyway.

When you feel afraid, remember the verse from Isaiah and the song we often sing: “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Know that even when Mommy and Daddy aren’t with you, there is someone who will ALWAYS be with you: God. He loves you and is cheering for you and will be with you every day of kindergarten, and every day of your life. Let God’s love be bigger than your fear. 

When you feel frustrated because something you are trying to do is hard and you feel like you can’t do it, keep trying. Do not let those moments of frustration prevent you from achieving something great. Some of the best things in life are things that we have to work very hard for or that may not come easily. You will not be perfect, and we don’t expect you to be perfect. We only want you to work hard and do your very best.

Charlotte, your dad and I love you so much more than words can say. We are so proud of you and who you are and cannot wait to see how you continue to grow and learn. We are praying for you to have a wonderful first year of school, and we trust that God will give you all that you need. I have a feeling that it’s going to be an awesome year.

Charlotte Turns Five

Charlotte turned 5 years old on Friday. I can hardly believe it. She’s definitely not a baby anymore, but of course I will continue to call her my baby, protest though she may. 🙂 I have loved to see how Charlotte has grown over the past year. We don’t have nearly as many tantrums and battles as we used to, and even though we went through a rough stretch with her fighting bedtime, she is a rock star about going to bed and has been for many months (probably no doubt due to the fact that we let her look at books in bed after lights out as long as she is quiet).

Charlotte at 5 is genuinely fun to be around—sweet, thoughtful, kind, affectionate, and delightfully silly. Some of the things she says and does crack me up. She loves making up nonsensical songs and prancing around the house. She loves stories (and in fact she told me she will always love stories—rock on, daughter!) and gets so emotionally invested in them, which is why sometimes movies or books are too much for her to handle. We recently finished reading through our first chapter book, A Little Princess, and while I was worried that we’d have to stop after how she cried when Sarah’s father died, she wanted to keep reading it and ended up loving it. We then read Sarah, Plain and Tall (I promise we don’t just read books about people named Sarah), and she loved that also. We’re now reading A Secret Garden, and I’m already trying to figure out what book to read with her next! Even though it sometimes drives me crazy when she interrupts me to ask a question while I’m reading, I love that she’s really thinking about what she’s hearing and working to understand it. She can’t wait for the day when she can read books to herself, and recently she’s been obsessed with sounding out words to figure out what they start with. One of the gifts we got her was a gift card to Books-a-Million, and it was so fun watching her excitement at getting to pick out her own books.

We had Charlotte’s birthday party at a local bouncy house place on Saturday, and it was the first party where she got to invite friends. I was nervous because it was going to be a blend of church and school friends, but she had a blast, and so did all of the kids who went, as far as I could tell. Watching her run and play with her friends was so much fun. I’m going to be so sad when Charlotte starts kindergarten and has to leave the school she’s been at since she was 7 weeks old. I’m praying already for God to give her one or two best friends in her kindergarten class so she won’t be lonely. That is one thing about Charlotte: she loves to be around people and really hates to be alone. How she is like that is beyond me, since her dad and I are both introverts who value alone time, but she prefers to hang out with us instead of playing with toys or doing things on her own. Sometimes her inability to be alone makes me want to pull my hair out, but I remind myself that one day I won’t be the one she’ll want to be with, and so I try to cherish our time together.

I look at my girl these days and can’t believe how grown up she looks, and I pray that as she continues to grow she will keep her tender heart and her joy. I pray that she will have confidence in who God has made her to be and that she will love Him all of her days. I pray she will know how much she is loved and will love fiercely in return. I pray that she inherited all of my good traits and none of my bad ones. And most of all, I pray that she will come to know Christ and live to make Him known. Happy birthday, my sweet girl. Here’s to many more!