Our lives are especially crazy in the fall. It’s not just the start of school. Or fall sports. Or getting into new routines.
On top of all of that, all four of our children were born in the fall. All four of them advance by one year in age in the 10 weeks between Sept. 14 and Dec. 1. Every few weeks it seems, I am trying to think of ways to make one child feel super special.
All of these birthdays also cause me to reflect. I think every mom knows that sense of wishing we could hang on to these moments a little longer. Bottle up their childhood and savor it. Gather up all of the special memories and keep them from slipping away.
But lately I’ve been feeling something else. I feel so blessed sometimes I could burst wide open, just realizing what amazing people they are becoming. Seeing them grow up. Watching each of them make choices and work toward goals and focus on his or her own interests. Seeing each of them develop into the person God is calling him or her to be.
In two more days, our oldest will be a teenager. You can listen as other people talk about this transition, but nothing really prepares you. Except time, I guess. And the reality that you can’t do anything about it anyway.
Last week, I wrote about how he made this movie for his science project. We really weren’t sure what his teacher would think about his presentation. So, it’s been really fun this past week to hear what has happened at school. It seems the science teacher showed the video to a few other teachers. I was walking into the school on Monday when one of those teachers was standing with the principal. She started raving about the moving and how impressed she was. The principal asked if he could see it, too, so I sent him the link.
The next day, he showed it to the rest of the teachers and staff. For a day, our seventh grader got to feel like a bit of a celebrity going from class to class and hearing his teachers commend him on his movie-making ability and how funny he was. But the cool thing about this is that his teachers finally got to see a different side of him.
According to this teachers, he is typically very quiet and reserved. Many of them were surprised to see his funny, creative, imaginative side.
Our 11-year-old son also is starting to come out of his shell a bit at school. Last year, I think it took him until spring to feel comfortable enough to raise his hand and talk in class. I think he must bottle up all of his words for the day so tight during school, that by the time he gets home, he talks non-stop.
So, I was surprised when he told me he had signed up to do the opening prayer at school. He had to pray over the intercom for all of the other students and teachers to hear. If it had been one of the other two, it wouldn’t have even fazed me. But I couldn’t believe he wanted to do this, knowing how far it would be outside his comfort zone.
When the day finally came for him to pray, I asked him if he would like me to come inside and stay for a few minutes to hear him. “If you want to,” he said, with a sparkle in his eye that meant he would like that.
I started choking back tears before he even started his prayer. By the end, I knew I better give him a hug and hurry out of there before I was overcome with emotion. What a blessing not only that he goes to a school that starts the day with prayer, but that he wanted to be the one to pray.
Our 9-year-old daughter has had to overcome a few disappointments this year, and it’s been so good to see her rise up and make the best of situations. One area where she has really had to work hard is in her gymnastics class. She has had a goal for several years now of getting to the Level 4 class of gymnastics.
She kind of got “stuck” in gymnastics for several years because we would sign up for classes, then move on to something else, then sign up again a year later. She finally decided it was time to get focused and make it to Level 4, which is a bigger commitment. She had to put in a lot of extra effort, but she made it!
Then, there’s “the baby,” who will be turning four in about three weeks. She is my constant companion and such a joy in my day. She absolutely loves her time at preschool three mornings a week. When I come to pick her up, her reaction is always the same. She jumps up and screams, “MOMMY!” as if I am the most unexpected and most joyous sight she can imagine.
Each evening, she ends the day with the same request, “Can we snuggle?” We curl up together in either my bed or hers and read books together until it’s time for her to go to sleep.
So, yes. This is my blog post to brag about these four blessings in my life. I really don’t know how I deserve them. It feels like every time I turn around lately, they are giving me a reason to burst with joy.
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  1. Boring? No way! I would bawl my head off, if one of mine got to pray over the intercom!!! LOOOVE!
    I also get so proud of mine when they achieve a goal – congrats on level 4!!!
    We are SUPER BIG on snuggle time in our house: my 9 yr old 4th grade boy MUST have snuggle time EVERY NIGHT before bed. Praying that lasts longer & longer… 😉

    1. Haha, Sues! I love how you thought the title was “Boring.” It was actually “Bursting”… as in “bursting with joy”! It’s funny how our eyes can play tricks like that! 🙂

      1. HA!!!! I got the title, but I swore the last paragraph said, “So, yes. This is my boring blog post to brag about these four blessings in my life.” So weird!!!!! 😛

  2. Love this Emily. (Playing catch up on your blog today!) We think the Neal kids are pretty special too! Your kids friendships have been priceless to our boys. What a blessing it is to have friendships that are filled with encouragement and love. Any parent would be blessed to have your kids in the children’s lives. Love you guys.

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