Friday, September 21, 2012

16 Years and Counting

September 21, 1996

16 Years ago, in the pouring rain, we are talking Noah and the Ark kind of rain, the kind that leaks right through the church roof rain; I took Mark to be my husband and he took me to be his wife.  Months of finding the right dress and head piece, the guys getting fitted into tuxes, flower and cake choices and on and on, we thought we were all ready to start our life together.  Looking back, the only ideas we stayed on track with was loving each other.  16 years ago, we had our future planned out.  Then came life, you know, jobs, bills, house buying, babies and our own growing up. Apparently you don't know everything in your early twenties, who knew.  Over the years, we've learned to give and take and we have learned to hang on to each other because this life road we are on can be very bumpy.

I am so glad Mark is who he is, I think we even each other out.  I loved who he was and I love who he is now and I know he feels the same.  I love the father he is to our children, taking the time to teach them the things he knows.  He still makes my heart skip a beat when I see him working with the boys or having a tea party with our daughter.  I am humbled at his work ethic and how much he does so I can be home with our kids.  I love his determination when he wants to do something, like how he went back to finish college despite working a full time job and having us at home.  I still love it when he sits down beside me and slips his arm around me just as much as the first time he slipped his arm around me when we were dating.  I love that he doesn't worry what people say or think, I could take a lesson in that.  I love that on him, camo and flannel go together. 

I love that our life did not turn out like we planned, because we wouldn't be who we are today and wouldn't have the blessings that we do in our life now.  Mark, thank you for loving me these past 16 years and I am looking forward to the next 16.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Steven

Steven (vacation 2012)

Today my oldest son is 14 years old.  14 years ago, my husband Mark and I were 20 somethings,  we had purchased our first home and we pretty much thought we had this world figured out. 14 years ago, our lives changed forever, and in a way I never imagined was possible. On September 14th 1998 at 7:26 in the morning, we became parents.  After all the months of preparing and waiting, I was finally holding our son.  We named him Steven Hayward.  He is named after his grandfathers on both sides and his Dad, who by the way he looks just like.

I do believe first born children are made a bit stronger than their younger siblings.  They have to be to handle the mistakes their parents make.  After two days in the hospital and the nurses telling me when to nurse him, they were sending us home to care for this child on our own. On one hand we were so excited, on the other hand, we were scared and  did not know what we were doing.  Sink or swim is how it's done.  We got our discharge papers and set out on the hour drive back home.  We had to stop half way home because he was screaming so much.  You see, my milk hadn't come in yet and they did not tell me to nurse him before we left.  It finally occurred to me that he hadn't eaten in several hours and that might be it.  IT was.  I remember sitting there nursing him in that gas station parking lot telling him we would just have to figure this out together.  And that is just what we did.

Over the last 14 years, my love for him has only grown with each passing day.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  I cherish the days when he was small but I so enjoy watching him explore this world and find his place in it.  

Who is Steven.  Steven smart.  He is serious and thinks about things that never occurred to me at his age.  He is a perfectionist.  Things have to be a certain way.  He loves science and wants to know how everything works.  He is reserved but will come out of his shell and surprise you sometimes.  He prefers old, classic shows  and old comics to the new ones.  He will watch the how the movie was made part of the DVD as much as the movie itself.  The boy loves to read and thinks that a once a week trip to the library is not enough.  Steven is a great big brother.  He is a protector of both his brother and his sister.  He is caring, considerate, respectful and hardworking.  He is an alter server at church and takes such pride in doing that job well along with any job he is given. 

playing the cello
He is growing up fast and will be spreading his wings before I know it.  But he will always be my baby.  As I think about these upcoming years, I feel hesitation and anticipation at the same time.  My prayer is that he learns to trust his gut, God gave that to him for a reason.  I pray that he learns to lean on God and go to him often out of love and desire.  I pray he finds his God given gifts and runs with it.  I pray as he finishes middle school and heads into high school next year that he continues to be true to himself and know that God made him who he is.

on a hiking trail
I am so thankful and proud to be his Mom and I love him to the moon and back and will continue to with every breath I take.  Happy Birthday my son.

yes he is flying a real plane in the real sky.

Monday, September 10, 2012

He Has The Whole World In His Hands

from on top of Sky Bridge

family pic under the bridge

Under Sky Bridge in the Red River Gorge

Yesterday my family and I went hiking after Mass in the Red River Gorge.  It is a beautiful area in Kentucky that we are blessed to live very close to and we are able to visit often.  The picture above is one of the many rock formations that are throughout the Gorge.  When we walk these trails, I can physically feel the stress and worries of my life removed.  It is as real as removing a heavy pack from your back and feeling the weight gone.  My entire body relaxes and I breathe easier and feel  a peace I have trouble feeling elsewhere.  I believe that there must be a part of heaven that will look like this area.  I can picture God molding these formations  like an artist and his sculpture.  I look at these rocks that God designed with the rain and time and know that He sees a much bigger picture than we do.  The detail that is in every leaf, plant, flower, and rock show the love for beauty that our Father has.  Since He took so much care to make these rocks and mountains and hills so beautiful and breathtaking, think of the beauty He must see in us.  He created us in His image.  The design of these rocks is no mistake, they were built to last generation to generation and they are rocks.  Just think of the plans he has for us.  These hills were made to last people, wind, rain, and storms of great power and when things get knocked down, they have the ability to rebuild themselves.  He thought of everything.

The week has started anew, but these hikes in God's Art gallery and the blessing of receiving the blessed sacrament  make the stresses in my life manageable.  They give me the  strength   and peace that I need and that God knows I need.  No, it doesn't remove the illness of family members and friends nor does it change job struggles or bank accounts but it does remind me that God is looking at a much bigger picture and He has it all in His hands.