We met working at a bar in Waco, while we were both going to Baylor (#sicem). He was a bartender and I was a cocktail waitress. Totally romantic, right? I dared him to kiss me in the bar elevator at 1am, one night, and when the clock struck, he led me there and the rest is history. ;) EJ fills in my gaps. He is the bit more funny and sarcastic, he is the bit more confident, he is the bit "more" of a lot of things I am not - and I am that for him. I love him in a hundred ways. One of them is because he knows me better than I know myself. Another is because he will re-watch "The West Wing", from the beginning, the same amount of times with me. So, there's that.
Aidan was our life changer. When we found out that I was pregnant with her, our lives went in the best direction possible. We were a family. We had this first baby who I can only explain as amazing. Aidan, who turned 8 in December, is smart, funny, silly - and the most empathetic and caring person around. She still sits in my lap to cuddle, rounding into a tiny ball and falling asleep. She makes up silly poems and leaves them on my desk and draws pictures for her sisters, to make them smile. She is a GT student who needs no help with school and can recite the most amazing animal facts that I have to look up, sometimes, to see if they are even true. She is my dancer. I cry when I see her take the stage at competition because I am overwhelmed with pride. My first born for always. She will take me through every stage of life first, and I am glad that we are there to guide each other through life, together. Aidan being herself, reminds me that I am a good mom - even when I feel like I am not.
I thought Sawyer, now 6.5, was going to be some sort of tomboy. Little did I know that she would be wearing hot pink pageant heels in kindergarten. A girl who wouldn't wear pants for several years of her life, Sawyer is my sass. She teeters the line between "drive me crazy" and "get over here and cuddle" most of the day, finally settling into story time to finish off her bedtime routine. She is Aidan's opposite in most every way and for that, they are best friends and enemies. Sawyer knows exactly what buttons to push and also how to fix Aidan if she is sad. A girl who doesn't care what anyone thinks - she wears what she wants and rocks it. We are recently navigating life with an ADD dx and also moving forward with dyslexia testing, and I am so excited to see her thrive. Her day starts with a required, but welcomed, kiss and a hug - and ends the same - my little lovey. While alternating from soccer to modeling to dance and softball, then wanting to try 100 other things, she shows me that life is too short to do anything except be awesome and try it all.
When Reese was born in May 2010, I would joke that God gave me her because Sawyer was such a terrible sleeper as a baby. Reese was an angel. Finally I had gotten one of those babies that people talked about - who slept in their cribs, just snug as a bug, early on. Reese was always the one who was "along for the ride". Such a perfect 3rd kid, who eased us into the transition of more. While not a big talker, she was silly in every way. In 2012, our world changed. Her right arm went "dead", she started to throw up more often, and finally on Halloween night, after being so sick and in the ER several times that month, her eye floated inward. She was dx with a brain tumor - a pilomyxoid astrocytoma. We were in the PICU for a month after brain surgery, shunt placement, port placement, then down on the oncology floor for another few weeks for another shunt surgery and to start chemo. We went home, found out that chemo at failed immediately, and had another tumor debulk in December 2012. She started another chemo protocol (babyPOG - cyclophosphamide, vincristine, cisplatin, etoposide) January 2013 that ended April 2014. It shrunk her tumor immensely and kept her stable until December 2014, where we saw slight growth/enhancement. Since then we started vinblastine and she seems to be stable enough to continue that protocol (next MRI in April). Reese is strong. Though she grew up with nurses as friends and knows the inside and outside of a hospital, she is a pretty normal almost 5 year old ;) She goes to preschool, she knows her letters and numbers, takes dance classes, and she is so excited for kindergarten next year. She makes me cry with laughter at her antics - stealing people's booties or hiding her lips from kisses. She needs her sisters in every which way. She loves every day. Reese shows me how to live life.
Miller. Oh, Miller. I refer to her as #badbabymiller and will continue to do so for the rest of her life. She is smart, too smart. Since speaking in full sentences before 2yo, now, at 3yo, she is basically like having an amazingly cute teenager around ;) She was just a baby when Reese was dx, so she has just been the most friendly, go with the flow kid around. She says things that make me wonder how she even used it correctly. She makes jokes that make me laugh for minutes after. She is loud and obstinate, but can be easily sedated by tickling the heck out of her. She begs for school, to see her friends and teachers who my little social butterfly loves so much. Spending time with Miller, alone, is such a treat. She is filled with so much excitement and happiness that she literally bounds vertically in the air when she walks. Reese is her best friend. They have always been partners in crime, but when Reese is sad, Miller is there to fix it. Bringing her the things she wants or simply there to rub her head, Miller is so intuitive to her feelings. She challenges me each day to be a more patient mother ;) I could cuddle her tiny body all day. Miller reminds everyone around her that joy can be, and should be, found anywhere.
I was "fine" being done after Miller. I have that in quotations because, in reality, I will always want more kids - forever. So when I had a bonus baby 5, Corbin was the absolute perfect piece of the puzzle that we didn't know was missing. Comments floated around about "how dare we" have another kid while Reese was in chemo. Yet, life showed to prove the opposite reaction. Corbin brought more happiness into our home. She is the kid that the others fight to be around. She is the one they begged to hold. She is who Reese takes care of and who now, over 1, is becoming everyone's cohort. Corbin makes us laugh harder and love more fiercely. Life continues to go on, even when one of your children is sick, and Corbin helped us push through to learn that as fact. She is my bud. Corbin has no problem climbing up and sitting on your lap to lay her head down, just to say "hi". She mouth kisses with furor and spit. She just likes being one of the sisters, part of the team. Watching her become her own person, learning words, causing trouble, helping sisters... She completes us.
I don't know what life has in store for us. I have been blessed, that I know - even through times of fear and sadness, there is happiness in the mix. God is always doing work, even when you do not see it, yet.
(written Jan 2015)