Friday, February 24, 2012

Small Style


Her eyelashes

Shoes on her feet

Not quite loving...

The, um, strong personality that has surfaced over the last two weeks. (Still hoping it's the teeth.)

Thankfully, "ilk!!!" seems to make a lot of things bearable for Little Miss, including an annoying Mama desperately trying to get a full-length shot of her outfit.

Happy Friday everyone!

Making it Work
Blazer: Gap, Emma hand-me-down
Shirt: Tea Collection, Kendall hand-me-down
Jeans: Old Navy, friend hand-me-down
Shoes: Pediped, Emma hand-me-down
Bow: Adornemegirl

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little Better

As she buried her head in my chest, I felt her shakes and I knew they were real. The tears were falling from a child, but the cries were from a grown-up place that I often wish my 6 year old didn't have to visit.

I knew she had been struggling lately, that something was up. But it wasn't until a walker stood between her and a much-anticipated tea party that I saw her heart.

"Why does she have to use that, Moooom. Just take her out so we can get started."

I knew right then and there that all of this "rock star" walker business was getting to her. My heart ached at the thought, and my tongue was tempted to quickly "fix" her hurt. But this wasn't the time. The table was set, the Princess music was already on full blast, and Kendall was anxiously waiting to do her welcome dance. So we all sat at the table, poured "tea" into mini tin cups and shared Rice Chex and raisins as if everything was okay.

It wasn't until a few days later that I saw my chance. Jeff had sent Emma to her room for disrespecting him, and I quickly suggested that I do the "sit down" with her this time. After we talked about her behavior, I only had to mention Brooklyn's walker before she broke down.

"Why does she have to have a walker? Why can't she just walk like you and me."

We had one of these kinds of conversations soon after Brooklyn started physical therapy, but that was before there were standers and walkers and lots of people acting like these were all good things. To an innocent heart and a praying big sister, these weren't good things at all.

So we talked. We talked about Faith, we talked about miracles, and we talked about Heaven. We talked about sister love and playgrounds and God's plan and dancing. We hugged and we cried, and when it was all said and done, she answered one of my greatest prayers in just seven simple words.

"Mom, you always make me feel better."

Today, instead of playing Barbies with Kendall, she sat on the floor and played with Brooklyn until her bus came. When I told her it was time to get her coat on, she kissed Brooklyn on the head and promised her they would play some more as soon as she got home from school.

As Emma closed the door behind her, Brooklyn called out for her -- "Me-maw!" -- and started to inchworm crawl her way over to the door. Emma caught it all out of the corner of her eye and ran back, sneaking in one more kiss on her baby sister's head before skipping up the driveway and heading off to 1st grade.

~Linking up with Just Write.~

Friday, February 10, 2012

Having it All

The first time she said it, it stung.

"Where am I going tomorrow, Mommy?"

I never thought my child would be wondering who she'd be spending the day with. It should be with me -- her Mommy -- shouldn't it? Shouldn't it?

When Jeff and I decided to start trying for a baby, we both agreed that me being at home was a priority. At the time, I was able to finagle an "at home" work arrangement that let me do my writing during nap time and at night, with a "big girl" trip into the office once a week. I admit, it was a good gig.

But then life threw us a few curve balls and work was no longer an "option" but a necessity. And as much as I feel blessed to be able to help provide for our family, there are days when I have to fight to not get angry. To not get jealous. To not get resentful.

I am just so flipping tired.

But then there are days when I love the fact that I can grab my cup of coffee, enter my "office," and stretch myself outside of these four walls. I get to research, talk to smart people, and create something that I am good at. And get paid for it. All the while, my girls are happy and being well cared for.

In a way, it's like having it all. I know this. But at night, I find myself wishing I could be like "everyone else" who gets to enjoy some downtime instead of psyching myself up for another long night of work. I want to go to bed before 12am. Just once.

On Mondays and Thursdays, when I hear Brooklyn laughing two rooms away, my heart wishes I was the one making her giggle. I want to trade in stressful deadlines for a round or two of Candy Land, where my only worry is to not pick up the dreaded gingerbread man when I am only two reds away from sweet candy bliss.

But I know all to well that Candy Land has its own set of stresses. I've had a taste of both sides of Mommyland, and neither one is easy. Being with them all day; leaving them with someone else. It's all hard. And exhausting.

And that's the part where I actually get encouraged. Not in a "misery loves company" kind of way, but I must say it is extremely healing to realize that you are not the only one struggling to find balance. There was a time in my life when I played the "I'm busier" game, and it's very lonely. The fact is that we are all busy and trying to figure out how to enjoy the life we have been given.

I admit that many days I have to work at finding the joy. It's a choice -- plain and simple. And although my head knows the "right" perspective, sometimes my heart is just not there. And, lately, my heart just so isn't there.

But I am working on it. I am trying to accept this season of my life and how it is shaping me. I could waste my days longing for "simpler" times when I didn't have to work so hard, or I could be thankful that Kendall can run into my "office" and give me one of her awesome hugs before rest time. Some days I have wasted, but many days I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to be near my children, even if I can't be with them every second.

Today, life forced me to trade deadlines for snuggles and sniffles, and let me tell you, I appreciated every one of those snuggles. And instead of a quick hug before rest time, I got to read about princesses and ballerinas under the covers.

Yes, I was exhausted at 8pm when I sat down to begin yet another late night, but as I settled in my chair, I couldn't help but appreciate my "day off." It wasn't easier, necessarily, but it was exactly what my heart needed in order to catch up with my head. Today, I felt like I had it all.

But the funny thing is, it will all still be there tomorrow.


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Rock Star


They said there was no way to know her abilities. What she will or won't be able to do.

Every case is different. Every child is different.

Wait and see. Wait and see.

Well, we have waited, and now we are seeing. Seeing miracles. Perhaps through a different lens than the rest of the world, but we are seeing miracles.

From the first day she kicked those legs, to the first day she sat up, to first day she scooted across that floor, to the first day she stood tall and proud.


And now we are here. Walking. A place that looks different than I ever would have imagined, but a place that is more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed.

Of course, there will be more milestones. More independence. More work. But I have no doubt she will amaze me every single time.

Just weeks ago, they said that she was "too young" to start using a walker.

"Mrs. Bonnema, these kids with Spina Bifida aren't typically ready until 24 months, sometimes 3 years old."

Well, my dear surgeon, perhaps you have forgotten what you told me 2 years ago. Words I have hung onto every day of her existence.

Every case is different. Every child is different. 

She is different

and motivated

and stronger than you or I will ever be.


And perhaps, my dear surgeon, you haven't met my God. Because He? Well, He can do anything. Through you, through me, and most certainly through these kids with Spina Bifida.

They are rock stars. Every one of them. Not because of their challenges, but because of how they overcome those challenges.


Our rock star has decided to skip the part where you fit her for a more mobile form of bracing. We will get fitted for that next week, but until then, she has decided that she's not waiting for anyone to tell her what she is able to do. All she needed was some wheels, and thankfully God provided us with a therapist who ignored her age and her diagnosis -- and only saw her abilities.

Apparently "wait and see" isn't on Brooklyn's agenda.

Yeah, total rock star.

Linking up with Small Style...
T-shirt: Okie Dokie (gifted)
Leg warmers: hand-made (gifted)
skirt: Baby Gap, niece hand-me-down
hair bow: Adornmegirl
shoes: Pedoodles, Kendall hand-me-downs