A couple weeks ago I had a little talk with the girls that went something like this…
Here’s how Halloween is going to go down this year, girls. You’re going to go to the dress rack in your room and pick whatever dress tickles your fancy on the morning of October 31st. For dinner we will eat a jack-o-lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s because it’s
cheap and easy festive. Then, I will hand you a recycled princess gift bag left over from one of your birthdays and off we will go. Also, if you could please slant the candy selection to the chocolate end of things. Love, your very, very pregnant momma.
Friday night, we got home late from our annual pumpkin carving party with the small group which this year looked more like a mess of kids running around on a s’mores high and wearing half pajamas/half costume and some children who shall remain nameless (Charlotte) stripping down to their birthday suit in the middle of the garage. Matt and I tucked in two conked out little girls whose teeth were probably rotting out from all the chocolate and the lack of a nighttime brushing. The next morning Lydia declared it the best night ever which, granted, she declares about most days, but I think she’s onto something.
Sometimes, we make it too hard. Sometimes, we think we need Norman Rockwell, but really all we need is a bag of marshmallows, a fire pit, and some friends to laugh with.
Charlotte Anne, my little firecracker. No one wears me out like you do or makes me laugh like you do. Your crazy blonde curls and those mischievous blue eyes. The way you tilt your head when you ask a question and all the hilarious things you say to us.
In the past year, I’ve found you sitting on top of the table “reading” Charlotte’s Web, in the pantry gnawing on raw sweet potatoes, at the table for Easter eating the blue egg dye tablet and feeding the dogs handfuls of not-so-cheap organic raisins.
You are equal parts fiercely independent and faithfully clingy to Momma, Daddy and Sissy. You tell us all the time, “I got it.” But you love to sit in our laps, and you usually fall asleep snuggled right next to your big sis.
You came into the world with a bang, and you’ve been messing up my plan ever since in the best possible way. You keep me on my toes, and I’m pretty sure you had something to do with that new patch of gray hair I found the other day. But you make me smile like crazy. You make me dance in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store. You make me laugh until tears are rolling down my cheeks. You make me wonder how I ever lived without you.
When you were just a few months old, your daddy started praying you would be like Queen Esther. That was a scary prayer for me to hear because Esther was willing to risk her life to save God’s people. But I see now God laid that prayer on his heart knowing He had given you a feisty, sweet personality to fit the calling. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” It’s still a scary prayer, but it’s one I pray for you every day just like your daddy–that you will be like Esther, willing to risk everything to love God’s people.
To the moon and back, happy birthday my Lottie Dot!
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau
Friday morning, Matt, Lydia and I packed up along with our best friends Liz, Ryan and Lynnlee, and we headed to the woods for a camping adventure. Our bags were stuffed with the essentials like s’mores fixings, hot dogs and Matt’s favorite plaid shirt. I had forgotten to pack true essentials like toilet paper, a can opener and extra sneakers. But we made it work. (Liz was smart enough to remember toilet paper so don’t think we had to resort to leaves or anything like that.)
We explored the trails, found our first geocache and then found a rather large water moccasin. The girls made mudpies, drew their names in the dirt and gathered pounds of acorns like squirrels preparing for a cold winter. We sat around the campfire for hours laughing and telling stories. Saturday, we went for a horseback ride, and ten minutes in rain drops descended through the canopy of leaves above us. Lydia looked up at me from the front of the saddle and said, “It’s raining, Momma! Now we can really make mudpies!” Then she sang “Amazing Grace” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” while we trotted along our bodies drenched with rain and my soul bursting with gratitude.
Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, I was reminded that every day I wake up I get the chance to live. The chance to explore and learn and grow and see new things. Every flickering flame, every sunbeam bursting forth, every crimson mushroom, a chance to marvel at my God.