And I don't have a clue where to start, because I think this could easily become the longest blog post I've ever written, but I don't have time to just write forever about the countless beautiful moments I have gotten to treasure this past year. So I'll pick just a few, the first ones that come to mind as I begin to write, and let the rest of them continue to scroll through the memory of my heart as I fall asleep tonight, even if they don't all make it to the computer screen.
Miss Katelyn Joy.... We learned I was pregnant right around New Year's, so we spent most of this year looking forward to and praying for her safe arrival. I was so, so nervous at the beginning of this pregnancy, after miscarrying last fall. And just when I thought we'd reached the "safe zone", at 13 weeks we had a scare with Katelyn, and I spent most of a day in the hospital thinking I was losing her. When I remember how broken I felt that day, I am overwhelmed by the incredible gift that this precious (and perfectly healthy!) baby girl is to our family. I labored overnight with her -- first time I've experienced all night labor and the profound exhaustion it brings. Never in my life have I felt so entirely drained, so at the absolute end of myself, and so completely surrendered to radiant joy as I did at the moment that Katelyn was born. It felt like my heart just shattered into intense relief and gratitude as she was tucked up onto my chest, and then she tilted her tiny head up and stared solemnly straight into my eyes, and all the shattered pieces came together again into the most complete feeling I have ever known.
So many happy memories from this year were at the water! We got to enjoy Lake Michigan in May, the Oregon coast in July, and Lake Coeur d'Alene all summer long. Plus overnight stays at two different indoor water parks (um, spoiled much??), and four weeks of swim lessons at the pool in the park just a few minutes from us. It was so much fun watching the girls build confidence in the water, and just delighting in the waves and the sand together. One time at the ocean in July I was resting on the sand and watching Lamont and the girls join hands to run into the water together as one long, laughing chain. The sun was hot and the waves were crashing so that they were all I could hear, and I sat there, suspended in that perfect moment in time, and fell completely in love with it.
About three weeks ago, the girls cleared their breakfast dishes and rushed to get their handwriting books, to begin school for the day. As I rinsed their bowls and listened to their excited chatter about what they were practicing writing that day (and more importantly, what stickers they planned to choose from the sticker box for their pages once they completed them!), it suddenly just hit me: I am homeschooling my children. No longer just We're going to homeschool, or even, I'm teaching them and I reallyreallyreallyreally hope it works out ok, but, I actually am homeschooling them for real and they're learning and they love it and I love it and this is really amazingly cool! It was a moment of confidence and joy, and it left me so very grateful to have the opportunity to experience this with my children! I have a feeling I'm going to remember that day from now on as "the day I really became a homeschooling mom". ;)
There are so many more lovely memories from this last year, and I'm loving writing them out and don't want to stop! But it's nearly 11 pm, and I'm about to fall asleep at my keyboard, so I'll raise my white flag for tonight.