Monday, December 2, 2013

A perfect gift

Tonight was a night I will cherish.

After we put the babes to bed, Ryan left to go work for a couple hours. While he was leaving he told me "this apartment better still be messy when I get home and I better find you relaxing."

I disobeyed and began cleaning up all the Christmas decoration boxes and folding the laundry that I pulled out of the dryer at noon.

As I was doing so Landon began crying for a cup of water. We usually ignore him and he goes back to sleep but this persisted for 15 min. Since my more strict half wasn't home, I snuck into the boys' room, picked my upset little man out of his crib, gave him some water and took him to the living room to rock for a while.

As I assume most mama's do, I soon got lost in the moment.

I soon realized what a precious gift God was giving me tonight.

Life is much different for Landon now. We still get lots of cuddle time whenever he allows, but our time at home together is definitely different now that big brother is home.

So I soaked in the time I had with my baby boy. I prayed for him. Thanked God over and over for healing his heart and giving us every precious day with this joyful child.

I remembered how just last year our Thanksgiving was spent in Minneapolis for Landon's heart cath. and how we spent our Christmas dreading going back and handing Landon over to a surgeon again.

These moments are reminders that I thank God for. I never want to take my child's life for granted. I want to soak in every blessed moment, even all of his "soon to be two" behaviors. Because I know that for every time I complain about any aspect of motherhood there is a woman somewhere who longs with every fiber of her being to experience what I am complaining about.

So I just held my baby and let God's goodness wash me clean of all my stress and anxiety.

I let the love He has for my baby bring me to tears.

I was overcome by the love that I have for Landon. Every time I brushed my fingers through his hair, I asked my soul, "what kind of love is this, that delights in studying each tiny strand of a child's hair? And instantly I knew the answer, it's a kind of love that can only come from God.

Then I realized that even this love I have for Landon is nothing compared to the love God has for him. I realized that I can spend hours stroking Landon's cheek and brushing my fingers through his hair, but that's only puppy love compared to a God who takes the time to place a number on every little hair on his head (Matthew 10:30).

After close to two hours of soaking in my baby who has gone from being my one and only, to having to share all my time and attention, my heart was full and he was sound asleep. So I carried him back into his bedroom and laid him back in his crib.

Then after making sure that Ivan was asleep I crawled up right next to him.

It was almost instant that I felt something so incredible and strong sweep over me like a flood from Heaven.

It was the same love and pure bliss that I felt holding Landon.

I feel bad saying this, but I was surprised.

I was surprised that the same crazy, uncontrollable, I'll study you till the break of dawn, kind of love I have for Landon, I also have for this child who has never been in my womb.

My experiences and my story with Ivan are so much different than my story with Landon and yet somehow I can love both of them with the same reckless love.

It blew my mind and I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry from the holy weight of it all. My heart almost couldn't stand it. I stroked his soft cheek, stared at his peaceful face, and brushed my fingers through his rough, thick, brown hair. So different from Landon's thin, wispy, blonde hair and yet somehow I adore them both.

In that moment, just laying by my six year old... a child who was born when I was only a junior in highschool, my heart couldn't believe that I didn't birth him myself.

My bond to him is unbreakable.

Even though my heart was sad that I indeed did not birth this child, I knew the fact that I didn't give birth to him and yet can still love him like I did, is the most beautiful part of adoption.

I am new to this whole "mother of more than 1" thing and at times it has stretched me thinner than I thought humanly possible. At times I just want to run away from all the chaos. At times I wonder what it would be like to be a "normal" 23 year old who God hasn't given such a crazy life to, but then God gives me a gift like tonight and my heart is reminded that this is what I was made for and I am blessed beyond what I could ever deserve.

All I can say is thank you. Thank you to God who gives such perfect gifts (even if they do scream all the time and knock over my Christmas tree) and thank you to everyone who helped us bring Ivan into our family.

Before he was home I dreamed about laying next to him and watching him sleep, thanks to each of you, I got to have that dream come true tonight and let me tell you it was more miraculous and beautiful than I could of ever imagined.

To God be the glory!!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Now for some pictures :)

Playing with daddy

cuddling after both of them took a little nap. Hence the bed heads :)

Landon has started climbing EVERYTHING!! He figured out he could reach the light switch.

Noses and belly buttons are kind of a big deal around here. Constant nose poking and shirt lifting so be forewarned ;)

"No Lindin!"

Snack time

Thanksgiving day! Eating PB&J's for lunch while daddy and mama work on dinner

Dancing and clapping to Christmas music
Coloring with daddy
Relaxing after the feast
Hard to believe last Thanksgiving we were stuck in the hospital with this little bundle. Counting our blessings!!

After getting to stay up past bedtime to skype with Grandpa and grandma Max and their uncles, they got to have apple crisp

Someone liked it so much he decided he would just eat it all by himself :)

Yes, those are turkey's not butterflies ;)
Setting up the Christmas tree
He can clearly sense all the joy and excitement of the season :)
Both of them, enjoying the nativity scene
Yesterday morning I turned on some Christmas music and he was the first one to start dancing :)
"music mama!!" Yes he said that without any promptings :)

Both of them, experiencing cocoa for the first time :)
Bottoms up!!
Life is beginning to settle down as we find routines that seem to work for Ivan and as morning after morning he wakes up in a safe, warm bed and is cared for and loved on consistently throughout the day. He is beginning to know what to expect of his new life and we can tell he is enjoying the perks of belonging to a family. We have seen his institutional behaviors deminish dramatically in the last couple weeks. We still have major meltdowns every now and then due to overstimulation, but now instead of hurting himself he will seek myself or Ryan for comfort.

Redemption is a beautiful thing and we truly can see it taking place before our very eyes.

For those of you who noticed our new blog design, I have my amazing husband to thank for it. It is still a work in progress, but I am loving how it is turning out!

Thanks for putting up with my annoying perfectionism and never once complaining when I ask you to change the same thing a dozen times, babe. You are the best!!

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