to my older three...

Dear Ethan, Rachel and Kara ~

 A lot has changed in the past 5 weeks. We have a new family member in our home.
He's kind of changed up what little routine we had set in place before his birth and now, we've accepted sweet chaos as our new normal. And we're loving it.
You three have gone through lots of changes in the past year. I do my best to remember that, on days when it seems you're all struggling in different ways. Every once in a while it hits me when one of you says something that gives me a glimpse into your heart.
Like when Ethan is holding Miles and talks quietly about the babies we lost before him, or when Rachel asks if I'm sad to not be living near Nana anymore, or when Kara asks if I'm sad not to have a baby in my tummy anymore. Its good for me to remember that these changes haven't just affected me.
You all amaze me with how well you love your new brother. I love to watch you take care of him and hear the sweet conversations you have with him.
I had it all wrong before he was born. Before Miles was born I thought Kara would struggle the most. I figured Rachel would Mother him to death and I assumed Ethan would be pretty chill and enjoy having another boy in the house.
Instead Ethan, you have been 'Mothering' him to death - I have to remind you {more than 10 times a day} "remember I'm the Mommy - don't decide you know what he needs before asking me."
Rachel, you are the one who tells us many times a day "we have TWO boys now!" and you're the one who needs to be told often "be careful around Miles, if you accidentally kick him in the head it will be very dangerous."
And Kara, you have shocked all of us by being completely-over-the-top thrilled with his arrival, happy to be a big sister {you wear your "I'm a big sister" t-shirt all the time, letting me know its so people know he's your new brother} and yet you're very chill with him and don't clobber him with too much attention.

Since Miles was born I've learned to see you three in a very different light. I tend to need more of your help and cooperation.
I'm learning to see areas of strength and weakness in you that I had never noticed before.
I'm learning that 'teamwork' is something I talk about way more than I used to.
I'm learning that with one more child in our family, I don't freak out like I thought I would, I just pray a whole lot more ;-)
I'm learning so much about your different personalities; what makes you each 'tick' and what amazing people you're each turning into. Reminding myself daily to help cultivate those strengths I see in you and to not slip into that pattern of wanting little mimic children. I love how different you each are. Its fun to have 4 unique people in my every day life :)
What used to be every day occurrences - like keeping up with laundry, getting dinner on the table by 6:30pm, or getting all 4 kids down to bed by 9pm- are now viewed as major triumphs, when just 5 weeks ago they were every day happenings around here. Funny how things change.
I see God using all this change for good in our lives. No, its not been easy all the time. But I see it being used for good. I love the way one new life has bonded us even more together. I love the way its caused all of us to have to pull together more and depend upon each other more, but to remember God is our strength and the Giver of all good gifts.

I love the silly questions you all ask. I feel like I could fill a journal a day with them.
Rachel, you have been famous for asking "when on earth is your tummy going to realize there's no baby in it?!" You seem quite stunned that I still appear a few months pregnant.
Kara, you've explained to me {several times} how you know that one breast gives Miles vanilla milk and the other gives him chocolate. I love your reasoning :)
Ethan, you tell Miles the funniest stories and I love how curious you are about his poo.
Every time I change his diaper you are so concerned with how odd it looks. You keep suggesting that I eat something different to make his poo look "better".

There have been moments where I see you four together; I see you loving your new brother and I realize how big you 3 are getting. Its in those moments I wish I could go back and relive your baby years, just one more time.
Its in those moments when I realize these days, though they can feel long and so tiring, they're fleeting quickly.
I actually look at you, Kara, and feel like I wasn't ready to say good bye to you being my baby. And I remember feeling the same way about Ethan when Rachel was born and the same way about Rachel when you were born.
Don't get me wrong, I adore Miles and I'm so glad he's in our family... its just that sometimes things change and my brain and heart need a bit of time to adjust :)

I love seeing the way you each interact with Daddy. Ethan, you have a very man-to-man relationship with Dad. You're outside right now helping him drain and clean out the pool. I can hear you chatting his ears off. You're asking all sorts of questions and together, you and Daddy are learning new things about sub pumps and more. Tonight we're taking you to see the Avengers movie and you're completely thrilled. A date with just Daddy and Mommy {and Miles} to see a movie you've been waiting to find out if you can see. I think its going to go down as an "epic" moment in your life :)
Rachel, you are best known for random kisses on Daddy's cheek, followed by "I love you, Daddy."
You are without a doubt Daddy's girl.
Kara, you love knowing Daddy is home with us. When he gets home from work, your happy smile and loud scream shows how much you missed him when he was gone. You love to run errands with Daddy and you still cuddle with him, just like you did when you were a baby.

I love you 3 so much and I am so incredibly blessed to be your Mommy.
This journey we're on together is one I will cherish as one of the best journeys of my life.
Being married to your Daddy is the other 'best journey' :)
I know I'll need this post for days we struggle and I hope God uses it to remind me of the joy and blessing you each are.

Love you so much.

4 {comments}:

Charlotte said...

This was beautiful, Stef. I have written something similar, more for myself to read, when I am having one of those days when I want to give up.

And having 3 kids in 4 years and then waiting four years for the fourth child, I can relate to your words. It is so true that they grow up so quickly when the next baby comes along. And I also relied so much on their help and encouragement in those first months with my youngest. Such wonderful memories! Life is too fast.

Tara said...

you really are such a good, good mom!

Erin said...

Sweet big siblings! It is an amazing journey, watching your family grow & learn & everything. Blessings, indeed!
(I hope Rachel cuts your poor tummy some slack! Ah!)

Stef said...

thank you!


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