Today is my baby's birthday.
I think celebrating our kids birthdays are as much for us as it is for them. It's such a sacred moment where you look at them and reflect on all the ways they have grown, all the beautiful things they have brought into your life and MOSTLY (in my case) how you've managed to keep them alive and make it through the year. A birthday is that annual stamp of approval that you survived and the first birthday is a sigh of relief that you made it through all of those first-year milestones, heartaches, and frustrations that stretch you as a mother and keep you up at night (literally).
As I look at Courage today, on her first birthday, I am aware of all that was missing from my life before she came into it. There was a time where I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of another child because of how special Wisdom is, but then came Courage and just like that, I grew another heart and realized how desperately I needed what she carries inside of her.
The last year hasn't been without lessons, in fact, the way Courage came into the world was one of the biggest lessons of all. Where Wisdom made me a mama, Courage is really teaching me how to rise up and settle into my motherhood and it has been the most stabilizing journey. So much of Courage's entry into my life changed my story and forced me to grow into and embrace my motherhood journey in a more confident way. There's something about a second baby that makes you feel like you aren't practicing anymore and it has made me walk a little more securely in my own journey, like "sis, you got this."
What Courage Has Taught Me About Life
1. God's (kairos) timing is perfect. I spent so much of my pregnancy internalizing all of the different opinions I had heard about my girls and their age difference and how that would impact them. I wondered if I had made the right choice and wrestled over how the girls would relate, connect and what our family dynamic would look like. What a waste of time! Families come in all different shapes and sizes and age gaps and we make it work. Whether children are close in age or far apart, the bond that brings them together is sharing in the joy of being raised by their crazy parent(s) and all of the memories they make together. One thing I have constantly found myself repeating to Wisdom time and time again is that of all the gifts we could give her in this life, Courage was the best one. No one will understand her life better than she can and for that reason alone, she should cherish her. And she does. Seeing Wisdom as a big sister has been a gift and I learned this year that whenever the Lord decides to allow children to enter into our life is ALWAYS the right time.
And if you would allow me to take this lesson a step further, this year I learned that His timing in every area of my life is TRULY perfect. Nothing is by chance and isn't a surprise to Him. God is intentional towards us and really knows what He is doing. There were so many things that happened to me the last year of my life where I found myself asking
"Why now God? What is it about this time in my life that you allowed this to happen and what is it that you want me to learn OR what is it that you need from me that made this information so important for me to have right now?"
I also believed so strongly for the impossible. Pleading with God, prayers that I felt would go unanswered and boom, restoration, reconciliation, and healing. Everything in His timing. When I approach life in that way, it makes everything worth it because nothing is wasted.
2. There is grace for every season that we are called to. Having two children was a tough transition for me. Courage is nothing like Wisdom (and shouldn't be) but Wisdom was my only reference to motherhood and she made parenting VERY easy. Courage is a different child and really requires me to show up and mother in a way that Wisdom never did. I have, at times, really struggled with managing all that was already in my hands and figuring out how to get it all done, but my sister recently reminded me that there is grace for every season that we are called to, and she is right. Somehow, with all that has been before me, I have managed to get it all done. I often pray this prayer "Lord, meet me where I end," in hopes that God will trade His strength for my weakness and it's His supernatural energy and wisdom that has helped me to show up to all that is before me with excellence over the last year and I know that it is He who will sustain me as I go forward. If we are called to it, even as mothers, there is grace to make it happen and I have seen that every day of the last year of my life.
3. It takes courage to activate wisdom. I mean this statement both figuratively and literally. As I have watched my girls over the last year, I am seeing ALREADY how much they are going to need each other. Wisdom, like her name, is so smart and beyond her years. It is generally the first thing people say when meeting her, but she is timid and often times afraid to move, afraid of both the complex and non-complex things of life. Courage, on the other hand, is fearless. In her short time on earth, she has fallen off of things, bumped her head and has caused more stress to my mama heart by her adventures then Wisdom ever did. Where Wisdom is methodical in her movements, Courage jumps first and thinks later. Seeing them in action and watching their relationship play out, I realize how perfect they are for each other and how one can't exist without the other.
You can have all of the wisdom in the world, but if you don't have the courage to go after it, you will never move, and courage without wisdom is a disaster waiting to happen. They cannot exist in the world without the other. They are a perfect partnership and often when you find one, the other isn't too far behind it.
4. Courage is a choice. Courage lives inside of all of us. It isn't something we have to will or ask for. It's there, we just have to activate it. That's it, that's all.
5. Life is the adventure. My life looks far different from what it did 10 years ago, 3 years ago and even a year ago. I have had to slow way down, clear my plate and intentionally lean into what is MOST important. My capacity has shrunk and I don't have the same energy I once had. Becoming a mother at again at 37, on the backend of your 30's feels and looks much different then it did at the beginning of this decade, but wherever I find myself in life is the adventure and that is what I need to seek. There is an adventure in the fast pace life and there is an adventure in the day to day mundane. The next ten years of my life are bound to be the most important as I prepare my girls to become women, and the adventure's look different when you put others first, but it doesn't make the adventure any less fun or exciting, it's all about your perspective. Motherhood is one of the greatest adventures of all!
Shortly before Courage was born, I made the commitment to myself to take daily video footage of her for the first year of her life. I had done a similar project with Wisdom when she was born and took a picture a day of her for the first 2 years of her life. I wanted to do something just as special for Courage, that would be quick and easy to document our time as we got to know her over the last year, and the app 1 Second Every Day made it so easy for me to do that. Although I missed a few days during travel, I mostly was able to stick to my promise to myself and have a beautiful gift to give her one day of our first year together.
Below is Courage's year in review video recap:
Courage in action as she grows... What I hope she learns.
she approaches life with the same (aggressive) energy she uses to let me know that she is ready to nurse😁.
that she's always a "mood." If you followed "auntie" this year at all, you know she is good for a shade/stink/unbothered expression. I pray that she is always honest about how she is feeling and honors those feelings. That she shows up as her most authentic self in every situation. That she is respectful to others and honors their feelings, but not above her own.
that even if she looks to be affirmed by others, it is only after recognizing that affirmation isn't approval and that any approval she seeks she knows she already has from the Father who created her.
that when her favorite song comes on, that she continues to stop everything to dance. Happiness is fleeting, but peace and joy are a gift that we always have access to and foundational joy will help you recognize that life is never too serious to NOT stop and dance when your favorite song comes on.
What a blessing this last year has been. Thank you for celebrating with me today.
With strength, COURAGE and wisdom,