Sometimes I wake up early because that’s just how my body’s clock works.  But most times, I’m intentional about getting up before the sun.  There’s beauty and serenity in the dark before the light, the quiet of a busy house, and the slight snoring of four people in my room.

The kids still come downstairs half-way through the night.  They have sleeping bags in our closet that are packed each day, and then opened each night on the floor next to us.  It’s happened this way since we moved into this house.  Our room is downstairs, and the kid’s room is upstairs.  And it’s just too far away.

The connection of family is my greatest tangible gift in life.  The comfort, honesty, understanding, and forgiveness is what makes my heart beat.  I have few other passions that could even come close to matching the hearts of the ones closest to me, and it’s been my greatest work to cultivate my own healing and wholeness in a way that continually grows this beautiful gathering of “my” people. Any work I’ve done or do for my own life’s growth is more for their long-term freedom than it is for my passion. The contentedness in my heart breathes that.

Though pride rules the world, the humility of true motherhood will make us bend and break.  There is nothing that can peel away the dignity of a mother who holds, fights for, and loves her family. She will do anything in order to prosper this mystery of nurture and pain mixed into one. It’s an act of surrender more than anything else.

I guess that’s what I rumble through most as I celebrate each child’s birthday: how the love of David and I made a life, how the stewarding and development of that life belongs to us, and how we all learn as we go with old wounds that heal–and new grace that runs deep in each step.

Perhaps an age-old lesson of parenting for some, but a fresh look at surreal life this morning for me.

Happy Birthday, Oliver. Yesterday, you became a big man! We are so proud of you.


Photo by @mayreidphotography.

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