February is here, and I'm trying to have a positive attitude, despite the gray, cold sky that is about to open up and dump a million tons of snow on us. Billy is totally in denial of the freezing cold weather. He layered up, filled his "bladder" and is hitting the stairs at City Park this afternoon. At first I thought about joining him, but then I decided I also want to live. Currently I am sitting by a live fire, eating candy and enjoying a Sunday afternoon. It's not a competition, but if it were, I totally won.
February is special in our family for a couple reasons. On the 23rd, we will celebrate the one year anniversary of Zoe's adoption! And two of our kiddos have birthdays this month. For 9 years it was just Will on the 20th, then along came Zoe and the 8th turned out to be her big day. Will is going to be 11 this year, and Zoe is almost 4. At this very moment she's weeping loudly. Her brothers just asked her to leave the nerf battle about to commence, for her own safety. She does not understand why they would not completely and totally want her with them. She pretty much views all of life this way. She has what I would call a healthy self-image.
Zoe keeps me on my toes, to say the least. The other morning as we dropped Will off at school and watched him walk away, I said under my breath, "I love Will". She instantly followed my comment up with, "Will's funny. And kind. (small pause) And gorgeous". As soon as we got home she went up to her room and started yelling at her doll she has named "Jesus". I asked her why she was yelling at Jesus and she told me he had been sassing at her. I tried to explain the concept of blasphemy to her, but I don't think it really registered. A little while later, I heard her put Jesus in time out.
Will also keeps me on my toes, but in a different way. I'm the type of person that doesn't mind a compliment, or to be told I am liked for different reasons several times a day. And Will's the kind of guy that makes me work for all of the above. If I make him laugh out loud then I know I've accomplished something good for the day. If he tells me I did something well, I know I've earned it. He doesn't just give it away, that's all I'm saying.
When we decided Zoe would become part of our family almost exactly 2 years ago, I wondered how it would affect Will the most. Out of all three kids, he was the one giving up his identity in the birth order. He was going from the baby of the family, to a middle child. If you have ever read anything on birth order, you have to know that your status in your family of origin is a big deal. While Will fully owned "baby of the family", when Zoe came along, he gladly stepped aside so that she could jump on our crazy train.
Will's love and compassion for Zoe was evident from the start. All three of our kids accepted her immediately, but Will completely filled the sibling role right away. Jack and Faith are protective and careful for Zoe, but Will loves her like he's been her big brother from the day she was born. He plays with her and reads to her. He lets her scream and cry and will calm her down when I would have just walked away. He loves teaching her, and he's even been known to act out scenes from "Frozen" with her. That's what I call love.
I talk about our most recent adoption a lot. I don't mean to bore anyone or make it seem like we did something amazing. I talk about Zoe's adoption because it humbles me every day. Zoe reminds me of the concept of grace from the second she yells "Mommy I'm awake! Can I come cuddle?" to the minute she gets in bed at night, sits in my lap and thanks God for all of her family members by name. I can't escape the same gift God has given me, calling me daughter, and knowing in the deepest part of my heart that I am safe and covered in unconditional love no matter what my story may tell. Nothing can take that away from me on this earth. Not hurt, not sickness, not distractions, and not even death.
Before bed tonight Zoe, Faith, and I had one of those moments that reminds me being a mom is the best gift I have ever been given. The three of us held hands, talking first and working though some hard topics. As we talked, a song came on and Zoe couldn't help but sing. She asked me to stop talking so she could hear the words, and as the chorus played, "Christ is enough for me" over and over, she belted it out with confidence. Faith and I giggled at first, impressed by her zeal, and by the end the three of us were belly laughing, completely filled with what I believe is the kind of joy you can't find from anything else in this world.
So as the snow falls, it brings a gentle sense of peace. Reminds me of the purity of my sweet children, the gift of adoption, and the joy of another beginning. Happy birthday Will and Zoe. My words could never express the gifts you are to me.