Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, Annie

After a rough start to motherhood, I started to get into a groove of sorts with the birth of our third child, Libby (now 9). Things started to fall into place over the next couple of years, I gained a bit of confidence, and amazingly, began to think about having #4.

My husband Dennis, however, was quite content with three, especially after seeing how much I had struggled just to get to this point. Whenever the topic would come up, he would very nicely say, "I think we have a wonderful family, just the way it is. Let's enjoy our kids."

If this conversation had taken place even a few years before, I might have tried to press the issue. But for one thing, he was just so, well, nice about it. It's hard to have an argument with someone who's being kind and loving and all that. And for another thing, something was changing in me. I was starting to realize that my course was inextricably linked to this man (imagine that - it only took 16 years!). I knew I couldn't convince him, coerce him, or force the issue my own way without it having serious repercussions in our relationship. I wanted to do it the right way.

That meant I was going to have to pray.

And I did. I purposed in my heart I was not going to bring up the subject again. He knew how I felt, but I refused to badger him on it. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done: I decided to give up my "right" to my hope of a large(r) family. Through it all, I had such a peace that God was in control. I even began to realize it would be "okay" for us to have three children and no more. I was content with the precious gifts God had already given me.

Then one Mother's Day, when our older children were 6, 5 and 2, Dennis gave me a gift. Usually, Mother's Day is a homemade-card-and-flowers occasion, so I was very intrigued that he had put some premeditated thought into it. I opened the small box, and inside was a sterling silver pin, fashioned into the shape of four small stick-children holding hands. All he said was, "I'm ready now."

The next July, six years ago, Annie was born.

And what a joy she has been. I call her my "ray of sunshine." She is our resident comedian, singer, smiler and hugger.

And she's the ultimate optimist. I love that about her. Yesterday for her birthday, we went ice skating - something she's been begging to do for months. She fell a lot (see how wet her jeans are?) but every time she fell, chin still on the ice, she'd smile, give the thumbs up, and say, "I'm okay, I'm okay!" She taught herself how to ride a bike when she was barely five, and falling did not bother her one bit. I tell her this fearlessness is going to come in very handy some day.

She has her own, perky view of the world, and her own names for things that have changed our family's vocabulary forever. Here are some examples:

Mockingbirds: "I love how the knockingbirds are singing this morning."
Preschool: "I used to go to pretty school."
Parmesan cheese: "Can you please pass me the cromosom cheese?"
Fly swatter: "Mom! There's a fly! Get the fly spanker!"
Each other: "Ruthie and I just love you chother."
Picture taken: "It's time for us to get our taker piction."
Pointy/pokey/sharp: "That pin was so poinky!"
Get well: "Grandma sent me a goodwill card when I got my surgery."

And my favorite, her rendition of the mealtime blessing. The other kids like to say something like ¨Bless the food, and bless the hands that made it. ¨ Annie says: ¨Bless the food, and bless the hands of Jesus.¨ I'm sure Jesus appreciates that.

I'm so glad Annie is a part of our family. Like a peace child, she represents a new chapter in our family, but more specifically, in my own walk with God. I can't imagine life without her.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of her, taken when she was two.

Happy Birthday, Annie. I love you!


Leslie said...

I laughed out loud when I read the vocabulary, and I absolutely love that you went ice skating in July!

Marc and Charity said...

Very sweet! Love the vocabulary! I tend to make up my own words too! :) And that is very sweet what your husband did! We are happy with 2 girls right now, but who knows, maybe a third one will come along some day. Did I really just say that?!?

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

What a sweet tribute to your birthday girl!

My Tink has her own versions of words, too, but her Daddy corrects her, which makes me correct him. Sigh. I love the uniqueness of it all!

Kim said...

What a sweetie!!!

Happy Birthday to your darling girl!


Lana said...

happy birthday Annie!

What a sweet birthday story!

Keri said...

What a precious girl you have! She sounds delightful. I wish I knew her! :)

Happy birthday to Annie!

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday to Annie! She is a sweetie!
Isn't it great how God works things out just the way they are supposed to be!!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

This was beautiful - a wonderful reflection on her! I loved the vocabulary - I need to pay more attention to that stuff and write more down! Thanks for sharing. I always love to read your thoughts...our paths are so similar, though I am several years back - working on "charting my course" as I figure this motherhood thing out!

Deidre said...

Bring it on, Holy Spirit!

Katherine, I want so badly to have another child (we have 2), but my husband is 'less than thrilled' with the idea. I don't press the issue especially since it took me 4 years to get pregnant with both of my children and the drs. said I would never have any. But, I don't want to resent him for his decision.

You've reminded me that I need to pray - not for God to change his mind, but for me to be content whatever the circumstances.

Once again, you've blessed me. Could you come live with me and be my own personal counselor/mentor/convictor/knock-some-sense into assistant????

That sounds promising, doesn't it? :)

Seriously, thanks for the reminder to Surrender! Have a wonderful week, and Happy Birthday, Annie!

My baby will be 2 tomorrow!!!!

David said...

That photo is darling. Thanks for sharing your process with us too. Prayer - it's funny how things just happen when we actually get around to doing it. :)

Beck said...

Happy birthday, beautiful girl.

Susanne said...

What a beautiful description of Annie. Love her words. What's life without new ways of saying things.

Tarrah said...

What a great story! I love how God works on our men when you just pray! Tell her I said happy birthday, and I just love the vocabulary list. My daughter has some like that that will stick with me forever.

Jen said...

How beautiful. Such a special tribute to Annie....Happy Birthday

Glass Half Full said...

What a lovely and funny post. :) Happy birthday to Annie too!!!

PS Glad you liked the Method links.

Paula said...

I like to lurk, but don't usually comment.
Happy Birthday to Annie.
I wanted to comment on you being so obedient to God. It is amazing how you prayed about a baby without nagging and even became content in your situation. Then God blessed you beyong measure. WOW! I am really going to chew on this for awhile.

Laura said...

Ahh, what a sweet tribute and a beautiful story. Happy Birthday!


holy chaos said...

i have a similiar story with how our family went from 4 to 6 kids.

so sweet!

Blessed Beyond a doubt.... said...

What a special sweet story. Your dh sounds as sweet as mine, however, his attitude is the more the merrier in our household. LOL! We have 5 boys! Children are a blessing from the Lord!

Anonymous said...

She's so beautiful! What a lovely post. And six is such a great age! I love six! (I teach six year olds and my son is six now!)

Happy Birthday Annie!

Marcia Francois said...

Oh Katherine, what a beautiful post and tribute to your little girl. She really is all sunshine and happiness, isn't she?

I love the way you pray - not "make him want one too" but "change me".

You are an inspiration!

Organising Queen blog and
Take Charge blog

Ladybug said...

I loved this post. Your daughter is adorable and love the vocabulary. I also enjoyed hearing how you handled the situation. I would like another child and my husband says the same things that yours did...I will begin to pray about it! ;)

Rachel Anne said...

What a wonderful, sweet girl! She is priceless. I love her outlook on life!

Anonymous said...

Your Annie is an angel, sweet, cute who brought sunshine if your family with her smile, changed everything, I liked her vocabulary and your sweet tribute your beautiful birthday girl.

Accept my belated birthday wishes Annie.

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Dena said...

Your husband wins the husband of the century award for that gesture - love it! Your daughter is so stinkin cute and sounds like a gem.
This post brought tears to my eyes!