Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Middle!

Dear Little Middle,

Today you turned 7 years old. Seven! Tonight, even as I write this, you and several of your friends are running like wild men through our house. They've been invited to your birthday party--your first sleepover! (You made sure that I knew that girls have slumber parties, but boys have sleepovers. Big difference.) Daddy and I are exhausted, but every balloon, pizza slice, and drained juice box is absolutely worth it for the big smile that you are wearing on your face.

I wonder how many more birthdays you will celebrate before I stop calling you my "little" middle? I would guess a lifetime's worth, but you're not so little anymore, are you? I became more aware of it over the last few months when people started commenting that you look so tall...and then you outgrew all of your pants to prove it. Your long legs and big feet are constant reminders that you are well on your way to dwarfing me!

First grade has been an adventure, hasn't it? God was good and blessed you with another fabulous teacher this year. Lucky for us, she is a sports fan. That has motivated you to enjoy the classroom and put forth a good effort at school. Otherwise, your grades might reflect your overall learning philosophy: If it's something that interests you, it's worth learning. Otherwise, you don't waste time on it. Same with reading. Every time we go to the library, you make a beeline for the animal non-fiction section. You know exactly which shelves house the books about snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and other creepy crawlies. Those books are pretty much the only ones you want to read...and I suspect that it's just as much for the pictures as anything else!

In spite of your limited repertoire, you've become a good reader this year. You read all of your own birthday cards today. What fun! I still remember when you first read Dr. Seuss to me. You've come a long way since then!

Aside from icky animals, your other two affections are still Star Wars and Legos. I cleaned out your closet earlier this week, and I could not believe how many teeny tiny Lego pieces I picked up! They were everywhere. Your creativity is astonishing, though. You will easily sit for an hour or more at a time while you are building something. I often find you sitting on your closet floor, surrounded by the small, colorful blocks.

I tried to steer you away from a Star Wars-themed birthday party this year, but I failed miserably. This is your third one in a row. I guess nothing comes close to the awesomeness that happened long long ago in a galaxy far far away.

Over the last few months the dynamics of your relationships with Goliath and Baby have begun to change. You and Baby still are (and always will be, I think) the best of friends. But as friends sometimes do, you get on each other's nerves. I see your desire to be included in more "big boy" stuff--namely, whatever your big brother has going on. Many afternoons, I am walking a fine line between giving you the independence you need and giving him the privacy he needs. Hang in there, buddy. Your time is coming. It won't be long before you will come and go with your friends and ride your bike around the neighborhood minus a parent. Trust me on this.

Our family dynamics have changed some over the past year, too. The Year You Were Six will forever be marked as the Year of the Sickness. How I hope and pray you don't remember it when you're all grown up! I have spent a lot of time feeling guilty over my perceived failures as your mother--like when I had to stop volunteering at your school, when I couldn't go on your field trip, and when I had to trust someone else to take care of you because I wasn't able to. But then I step back and take a good look at you. I realize that there are some things that life--cancer included--can not change: it can't change the fact that God created you to be exactly what He wants you to be. And He made you for me. No one else could be your mother. God picked ME. And you know what, Little Middle? I think I am the luckiest mom in the whole wide world.

You make me so happy, my sweet 7-year-old. And no matter how big you get, you will always be my Little Middle.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They're Different, All Right!

I am constantly amazed at the very distinct personalities that my 3 little cowboys have. In spite of their close ages and relationships, they are not as similar as you would think. Here are a few ways they are different, and how we celebrate them (usually)!

Goliath: Salami with mustard
Little Middle: Turkey with mayonnaise
Baby: Cheese with mayonnaise

Goliath: Likes to sing
Little Middle: Would rather eat dirt than go to choir
Baby: To sing or not to sing?...that is the question.

Big Issues
Goliath: Worries. About. Everything.
Little Middle: Goes with the flow.
Baby: Lets everyone else do the worrying for him.

Goliath: Horses
Little Middle: Dogs
Baby: Buffaloes and longhorns

Goliath: cooking, hunting, and cooking what he hunts
Little Middle: hunting, fishing, and Legos
Baby: video games

Goliath: Loves it!
Little Middle: Can, but doesn't want to.
Baby: Doesn't know how.

Chick-Fil-A Sauce
Goliath: Ranch
Little Middle: Ketchup
Baby: Polynesian

Goliath: khaki shorts and t-shirts
Little Middle: "soft" shorts and Star Wars t-shirts
Baby: jeans and cowboy boots

Favorite Thing to Do With Mom
Goliath: Get ice cream at Marble Slab
Little Middle: Roller skating
Baby: Playing Wii

Favorite Thing to Do With Dad
Goliath: Riding horses
Little Middle: Hunting
Baby: Playing Wii

Goliath: Jump on the trampoline
Little Middle: Lego
Baby: Anything outside

Goliath: Bronco Billy
Little Middle: Star Wars
Baby: Rango

One Word
Goliath: Passionate
Little Middle: Sweet
Baby: Funny

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hair Update

It's been a while since I posted an update on my hair. Most of ya'll are too polite to ask about it, but the subject still comes up every now and then. So, here's what inquiring minds want to know: My hair is growing. In fact, I got it cut a few weeks back. I didn't cut it because it has grown to an unmanageable length, though. Don't get too excited! I cut it because it will grow faster and better if I do some upkeep on it, or so I am told. What I secretly am hoping for is that there will be magic in those scissors, and it will begin to grow in a completely new way. What's coming in now is a weird texture (curly) and a weird color (mud). I much prefer my old texture (straight, at least with the help of a flat iron) and my old color (salon-blonde). That's what my "pretend" hair is, and that's what I will wear until...well, until I say otherwise. The curly mud grows on, though, all crazy-like--so much so that it must be restrained these days. I have to wear a grippy headband-type thing to hold it back before I smush it all up inside the pretend hair. Wig-wearing was easier when I was completely bald!

I wish I could say that looking in the mirror is easier these days, but that wouldn't be exactly true. Besides the mop o' mess, I am annoyed at the pasty white color of my skin. I am disgusted by the weight I lost last year and have managed to put back on (The Sickness and I will share the blame on this one). I have HAD IT! with the little zit that keeps showing up on my chin, regardless of how often I wash my face. I'm not 14 anymore, for crying out loud!

For as long as I can remember caring, I have always wanted to __________. Have better hair...lose weight...apply makeup like an expert...have clear skin...update my wardrobe--you can fill in the blank with almost anything that equates with prettiness. I don't feel much more comfortable in my body as a grown woman than I did in the awkward-for-everyone adolescent stage.


The Sickness has forced my hand in a lot of areas, but this is a big one for me. When Goliath was a baby, I used to recite this Bible verse to him (we had fun hand motions and everything!):
"I will praise you, O Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and my soul knows it full well." Psalm 139:14

Now, if I could be so easily convinced that God took perfect care to weave my son together, what makes me think He would just toss together a few ingredients and hope for the best when it came to me? And if I could so readily and easily praise Him for the three miracles that are Goliath, Little Middle, and Baby, why would I neglect to praise Him for the miracle that I am?

Any good 12-step program will tell you that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I have a problem with my self-image. The next steps in my "recovery" can be found in the pages of my Bible, where it says that I am special and loved...cancer, curls, and all.