Sunday, July 22, 2012

Your Children Are Not Your Children

July ended surrounded with loved ones and celebrating the newest boy in out tribe ~ Samuel Zeppelin!  It was so much fun to line up our boys and take these photos.  Right outside of the frame, sitting close watch, are the mothers of these three babies. We literally have decades now of photographs of the three of us lined up together. Now we have the next generation to line up for pictures. So cool!
This first meeting of Wynn, Ruben, and Sam was especially sacred because we gathered for Sam's blessing and baptism in the most beautiful ceremony that his mother crafted to mark the day.

I had the privilege of reading the writings of Kahlil Gibran, On Children, in which he explains, 
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."

As I read I looked out into the audience of family and friends and my heart smiled to see the next generation of babies (lots of boys!!) listening.  I looked at all the "grown ups" that have brought forth these babies, and I was so thankful for the amazing friends that I have, and that will be part of my life as I raise my children. 

I looked to Mere's mother and realized how thankful I am for the generation that came before us, cared for us, and helped us become who we are.  I am so happy to be here to share in the life of her grandson and see the joy he brings her.

I also felt the very strong spirit of Mere's father with us that day. I know that he smiled to see all the love surrounding baby Samuel as we gathered to celebrate his life.  I definitely feel it is part of my role in Sam's life to help reiterate and impart the essence of the amazing man who is his grandfather, and share with him those qualities that I see have been preseved in his own mother.

The proud parent were glowing with happiness.

The godparents were beaming.
Anthony surprised all of us, especially, Sam - by hoisting him into the air at the end of the ceremony, but the motion matched the buoyant atmosphere.

I adored the fact that we were all there, friends and family, to pledge our faith in Sam's future and to promise that we will be there to help love and guide him along the way.

Now that I am a parent I can understand more wholly the meaning in the poem that states that our children are in fact not our own.  We are here to help mold them, but the life they make is their own.

I am so looking forward to watching this little bean grow into the most amazing young man!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

And Then There Were Eight

I remember my mom told me once that you make some of the best friends in your life when you have kids, simply because you connect to people who are sharing the same experiences you are.  It is hard to believe that only three years ago now Michael and I met the most amazing group of people  ~ in our birthing class of all places!  They have truly become some of our best friends, and the last three years have felt more like a lifetime together considering all that we've experienced. Together we went through the joys and challenges of becoming first time parents ~ and then we all managed to get pregnant again and have our second round of babies within six months of each other!! When we took that photo of the first four babies playing/sleeping on the world map quilt... I honestly never imagined that years later we would be lining EIGHT babies up in front of it!  But, here they are...

Introducing "Round Two" - Emma, Ruben, Carson, and Abram.  In a fascinating (at least to us) twist of fate Round Two had only one girl and the rest were boys. Compared to Round One where Miles was the only boy - and now spends his time surrounded by a harem of cute girls, which seems fine with him :-)  One family had two girls, we had two boys, and the other two had a girl and a boy. Unfortunately one family from our birthing class moved away - but they ALSO had second babies within the same time frame.  They had a girl first, and then a boy.  One day we will need to have a proper reunion and get all ten babies together for a play date!

Here is the first "batch" of kids - all lined up in the same order as the original photo.  Sophia, Josie, Miles, and Chloe.  (Yes we had to bribe them with popsicles to stand still for a moment!)
Look how much they have grown!  I do hope we can continue these photo shoots for years to come, I just adore the collection of photos I am cataloging of this crew growing before our eyes.

Then we added siblings to the photo shoot ~
There you have it - eight beautiful babies! 









Here is a group photo of all sixteen of us lined up!  Hard to believe that we have doubled the size of our tribe!  Some of us are talking about "Round Three" and others know for sure that two is enough. I so look forward to watching this group grow and change through the years.

When the reunion was over I found myself reflecting on the blessing I feel from knowing these wonderful people and their children. Because I was only given brothers in this life I have always wondered what it would be like to have sisters; I just never imagined I would find them in someones basement while learning how to cope with transition.  I am so thankful for the friendships we have created while experiencing the miracle of motherhood together. Now I simply cannot imagine this chapter of my life without these women in it!

Sometimes facts are stranger than fiction, and when I tell people the story of our friendship, and about the babies we've had together, they get starry eyed.  Many tell me they wished they had a friendship like ours when they were raising children.  All I can do is acknowledge the fact that I know that this friendship is a gift that has been given to me (us)! Truly - you are the sisters who found me and carried me through the "transition" into motherhood.  For that I am forever grateful and I look forward to making many more memories together!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


As I was walking through the woods I saw this image and I had to take a picture. Mainly because this picture feels like my life right now. As I write this I have no idea where to find one box of my kitchen supplies, I have spent far too long looking for a box of small trash bags today, and my entire office has been broken down into a series of filing boxes.  Really I just hope I can find what I need when I need it! Why? Well ~ we have moved!

I know - like my year needed more chaos and disarray, but really... I figure, why not shake things up even more!  Sometimes, life just tells you what needs to happen. Since most of our year has been like this - I was not really surprised when all of the house hunting we have done over the last few years culminated with us walking into THE house we knew we were supposed to make our home.

We actually found the house in May, but anyone who has ever purchased a home knows about the series of nail biting exchanges that can occur, and understands the excitement/tension/anticipation that accompanies the process.  It took longer than I ever imagined to come to the conclusion that we were in fact moving. We were hesitant to even get excited ourselves, yet at the same time in my heart I just knew that this was where we were going to live.  The extra time was good because it gave us time to say our goodbyes to "our old house" as Miles calls it.  I am someone who needs time for transition and change, and really we had ample time to help the boys (and me) get used to the idea of moving and beginning the next ~really exciting~ chapter of our lives.

It seemed fitting that our last visitor at our "old house" was my dear friend Sarah!  We have been through so many exciting changes in each others lives through the years - it was absolutely perfect that she was here to help me through this one.  And the girls night out to dinner was just what I needed!

As we worked to move boxes each evening, in an effort to diminish the amount of work on the big move day, I found myself in disbelief that the one week we needed to move everything we own in this life was the hottest I have ever experienced in Michigan!

Because we had such a relaxed moving schedule I was able to spend some quiet time clearing the house before we moved in.  I used my last big sage bundle from New Mexico to smudge.  It just felt right to have such a special part of my heart in the desert burn and fill the air of our new home with blessings for the future. 

In the middle of "moving month" we had a visit from GG.  It felt much too short, and I felt too busy with moving to get the quality time I like to have with her, so I am looking forward to her return this fall.

We also went about our regular daily activities as everything around us was taken off walls and from drawers and put into boxes.  Ruben got his first haircut, more like a trim really, at the "old house."  He had a little mo-hawk going with his wispy baby hair.  Michael trimmed it, but it won't be long and I think he will need a full fledged haircut.  Funny, because at this point Miles was still basically bald. 

Moving day finally arrived!! We had great help from family, and we could not have done any of it without "Uncle Joelie!" The big push was to get the boys rooms set up quickly so they could "adjust" to them through the day, and hope that they felt familiar enough in the new home with all their things around them to sleep that night :-)  The grandparent worked off and on supervising the boys while we worked moving.  As you can imagine - this two year old was especially enamored with the big yellow truck in our driveway!!  Papou must have walked him up and down the ramp a hundred times!  That is until he declared, "I can do it myself!" And he did.

This guy just sat back and supervised from his "rolly cart."  He has recently figured out how to get this thing moving, and it is fun because I think he feels like he is participating in things.

Needless to say, we were all so tired that we did indeed sleep well that first night in our house.  It was a bit strange waking up, but it did not take me long to unearth most of my kitchen gear (except for the one missing box?!?!) and whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes.  After all, nothing says home more than a nice comforting breakfast.

Soon after we moved we began to receive visitors! It was such a joy to greet Mere on the driveway and share this special first with her!  I got to meet Sam for the first time, and she got to see our new home.  In typical Mere style she arrived full of smiles and bearing beautiful things; this time a housewarming gift of potted succulents - including the precious string of pearl plant that will always remind me of her greenhouse when we were growing up.  We tried to catch up over all the insane happenings of the last year in an afternoon - and I think we did a pretty good job, but I could have used about ten more hours!  All the while her sweet son played and then napped nearby - surreal!  I am so blessed to have held on to such wonderful friends through the years, and I am so grateful when life makes our paths cross again!

So - that is the quick update covering some very huge changes in our lives!!  Beautiful changes mind you.  Exciting ones that encompass our hopes and dreams for the future, and for the lives of our boys!  This shift has given me yet another dose of perspective this year, and I feel like I have grown in leaps and bound; so has my love for Micheal, our babies, and our family and friends!  One of our absolute favorite parts of this home is the park nearby. I know that allure of watching it, and our land, grow and change through the seasons is part of why we fell in love with this place.

So - for now - everything is new again, which is fun sometimes.  Although I may feel "uprooted" when it comes to finding my personal belongings... on a larger scale I feel more connected and in-touch than I have in a long time.  I definitely feel excited about the prospects about really "growing roots" in one place.