just one more rock

Hudson and Hayes moved into a room together just after Christmas. It was Hudson’s room, but now it has two matching twin beds and houses the often wild, excited, sweet, sometimes restless nights of two brothers sharing a room.

Hudson is 5 and Hayes is 3, and they’re both so excited about meeting their new baby brother. But Hudson is my big boy and rule follower. He knows that when lights are out, it’s time to get serious and go to sleep.

Hayes is still so excited to be in the room with Hudson that he giggles and tries to get Hudson to laugh while Hudson stays as still as possible and ignores Hayes. Todd and I typically have to go into their room about three times to remind Hayes to go to sleep and be quiet.

Last night at bedtime, Hayes was extra tired and extra emotional. Hudson had won the “race” to see who could get pajamas on and get in bed first. He cried for me to come hug him. So I hugged him, but he continued to cry. I put him in my lap and swayed back and forth, but he continued to cry.

I asked him, “Do you want to go rock in James Walker’s room?”

The nursery is almost set up. Nothing is hung on the walls, but the furniture is all in place just waiting on our newest baby boy.

But last night, I carried my 45 pound 3.5 year old into the nursery and sat in the rocking chair. He nestled himself right above my large baby bump and squeezed his legs up into the chair. He rested his head on my shoulder as his hot tears continued to fall. He asked me to sing to him.

And at first I was thinking that I needed to make sure Hudson was okay. That I needed to get downstairs to finish folding that laundry.  That I needed to finished my grocery list so I would be ready to get to the store in the morning.

But as I held my big preschooler, and looked out the window at the stars in the clear sky, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever rock him again. He hasn’t asked to be rocked in years. A baby is about to be here and will be occupying my arms as we sit in that chair that has rocked all of my babies.

And I decided that I’d sit there and rock him until he decided he was done. So I smelled his hair and rubbed his back and said a little prayer over him, and after about five minutes, he was ready to go back to his room and go to sleep.

We can’t wait to meet James Walker, but it is heavy and humbling on my mama heart as I think about how much I’ll be needed by all three of my babies. Needed in three very different ways. And I know that God will equip me and cover me with His grace as I sort through how to be the mama they each need me to be.

So if I’m rocking a 3 year old and a newborn at the same time, I’ll just have to celebrate the fullness of blessings in my arms. Because I’ll never know when it will be the very last time that one of them wants to be rocked.

Happy 5th Birthday, Hudson!

Dearest Hudson,

Five years ago, at 4:38 a.m., you made your grand entrance in this world. We really thought you were going to be born on June 4 because that was the day of my induction, but you had other plans. You arrived sunny side up with the biggest cheeks any of us had ever seen. All 9 lbs 6 oz of you were sweet baby boy perfection.

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Now, you are fifty pounds, fifty inches tall, and a vocal, smart, energetic little boy. You’re heading off to kindergarten in August and, yet, there are times when I look at you that I can still see that sweet baby that was first placed in my arms five years ago.

You are such a fun-loving boy. You always want to dance and sing and you want everyone to do it with you. We’ve always had music playing throughout the house during the day, and I love that you love music as much as I do.

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You have the most tender heart of anyone I know. You feel things deeply and are such a joy to be around. I’m still trying to figure out your love language, but I think you show love with words of affirmation. You’re constantly telling everyone that you love them and how you feel about them. It’s such an encouragement, and you will meet many people in your life who love this about you.

You have grown and matured so much in this last year. You are reading everything and you love to write. You love your friends so much. We sometimes have to take a little break from too much time with friends because we’ve already entered the season of “friend spats” but you do love your friends.

Your favorite color is blue. You love Frozen. You love “Life is a Highway” and the song “Carry On” by Fun.  You love being outside to play with sidewalk chalk and ride your bike. Your best friends are John, Dolan, Heyward, Brennan, and Witt. You really love Mommy and Daddy’s friends, too. You love being around babies and trying to make babies smile. It’s pretty sweet.

You want to read and color all the time and you are obsessed with The Octonauts an Ninja Turtles, even though you’ve never seen an episode of Ninja Turtles.

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Hudson, this day is my favorite day, too, because it’s the day I became a mommy. It’s the day that I first looked in your big brown eyes and realized for the first time how special our relationship would be. It’s the day that we looked at each other and I knew that you were going to teach me so much about love and grace. It’s because of you that I know what grace looks like and feels like. Thank you, sweet boy.

My life completely changed the day that you were born, and I can’t imagine my life without you in it. Everything is exciting because you’re a part of it. Everything is new to me when it’s new to you.

I’m so excited for you to turn five. You’ve looked forward to this day for a long time. You’re going to kindergarten and you’ll be away from us more. We’re just so excited for you and this next year.

We love you so much, buddy. Happy birthday, Hudson!

Love,

Mommy

Throwback Thursday Stories : sweet summertime

My friend Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative hosts this fantastic link up on Thursdays called Throwback Thursday Stories. It basically takes the #tbt idea a little bit further and you can tell the story behind the photo.

I don’t know about you, but I can turn into a weepy mess if I start looking through my iPhoto account. I see pictures from pre-Todd days and pictures when we were engaged, and then married, and then we welcomed our babies. It’s so crazy that your whole life can appear right before your eyes in photos.

In honor of the beginning of summer for us, I chose this picture for today’s Throwback Thursday Story.

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I love this picture of sweet, round, little 14-month-old Hudson. He’s carefree. He’s totally unaware of his extreme wardrobe (or lack therof) choice.

My mom, Hudson, and I had gone to Tennessee to visit my cousin and her daughter. She and Hudson are about five months apart in age, and we just couldn’t wait to get them together. It was in the middle of August in Tennessee, and we decided to let the kids run around in the sprinkler.

So we stripped them down to a diaper, put on some water shoes and a hat, and then somehow they found golf clubs. They ran around like this for an hour and just loved it.

This is summer to me. Maybe not so much the diaper part. But being outside. Running through the sprinkler. Soaking up the moments with your kids because they don’t care if you’re sweating and they really just want to be with you having some simple fun.

The pace is a lot slower and sometimes that’s hard on us. Too much time at the house can make us go a little stir crazy. But these days will be over before I know it. August will come back around and they’ll head off to preschool and Hudson will be in kindergarten.

I’m trying to say yes this summer. Yes to a random day trip to the beach. (Thank heavens we live within driving distance.) Yes to sprinklers in the yard. Yes to a bike ride when it’s blazing hot outside and I’ve already washed my hair. Yes to movies on a rainy day. Yes to staying up late just to hang out together. Yes to wacky outfits in the yard because it’s the carefree way to be.

Who’s with me?

What’s your favorite summer memory?

why I celebrate

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I have some funny thoughts about Mother’s Day. I know it’s just a Hallmark holiday and it’s not to be taken too seriously. So we don’t really take it all that seriously in our house. There are cards, and my kids’ teachers were sweet enough to help them make some handprint gifts for them to give to me. Those are really the sweetest things about the whole day.

I don’t need to be pampered or given a day off. I really just want to be with my family and to spend the day with them.

I don’t take Mother’s Day very seriously until I look at my children. And then I am overcome with emotions about what it means to be their mother. I am the one that is celebrating because Hudson and Hayes Carroll are my boys.

And what an incredible gift that is.

I am not a perfect mother. I lose my temper. I snap at them. I don’t always give them my undivided attention. I could stand to play with them more and there are many times when I wish I could hit a “mute” button at our house.

They are not perfect children. They don’t always obey and they don’t eat all their vegetables. Or, really, any vegetables except green beans. They throw tantrums in public over silly things. But they are my boys.

And it’s when I stop, and look Hudson right in the eyes while he’s grinning at me and saying, “I never want to grow up and I always want to live with you and Daddy” that I see every little piece of joy in that moment. In his grin and his bright brown eyes that are smiling at me. Smiling at me because I’m looking straight at him. And knowing that he loves so so so deeply.

I’m so thankful for his grace. Hudson has taught me the true meaning of grace. As I’ve messed up and as we’ve both navigated this journey together. He’s my first and I’m his only. He trusts me and he’s the one that taught me how to trust myself. He made me a mama. I anxiously tip-toed and second guessed my way through so much of his short life. And we eagerly awaited each new milestone, almost in an effort to check the box to move to the next box.

He is full of sweetness. Full of wit and hilarity. And I love so very much that we have inside jokes. I’m not sure how it’s possible that Hudson has grown up so fast, but I am no longer looking forward to his new milestones because I want time to stop.

Then there are the moments when I’m busy folding laundry and watching the news, and I finally notice that Hayes has been running circles around me just trying to get me to look at him and laugh at him. So I look up, and we both give our biggest fake laugh, and I tell him that he is so funny. And he says, “I did it, Mommy! I’m funny!”

Yes, my sweet Hayes. He is the one that got me to relax as a mother. He’s the one that showed me that I don’t have to walk around with tension in my shoulders as I wait for the next new motherhood moment that will challenge me. Hayes is the one that has made us all laugh and lighten up and just enjoy each day for what it is. And we aren’t always anticipating the next big milestone. I’m not second-guessing myself.

I know that perfection is unattainable. We’re soaking up each day in a new way.

Maybe that’s how it always is the second time around.

So, as we approach Mother’s Day, I am thankful for the mama that my boys have helped me to be. And I pray daily that I can grow and show them the way to the Father. I am so thankful for the sweet little gifts that they are.

 

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