Welcome to birdro.com!
My husband Mark and I live in the southeast U.S. with our lovely daughters, Amelia and Florence. We also share our lives with a lab(ish) goofball of a dog named Shelby.
It’s me, Daddy. I have always made a conscious effort to let this blog be Mommy’s special place to share some of the things she does best: writing and capturing timeless photos of you and your sister growing older. Not that I intend to take over Mommy’s blog, but I wanted to take a few minutes and capture some of my favorite things about one of my all-time favorite people: my Amelia Pal.
You have always had your own style, your own personality, and your own imagination. Even since you were younger, you have always done things your own way. Admittedly, you can be a challenge at times with all your thoughts swirling around in your head. You like doing things your way and you have rules for just about everything one can possibly conceive. You show a lot of motivation and emotion for things you care about and you let us know what it is that you do not care for quite so much. Within your comfort zones, you show incredible aptitude for the way the world works around you. You have been rather hesitant to take on unfamiliar situations, though I know full well you are more than capable of succeeding.
It seems like it was not so long ago that Mommy and I received some news that scared us. We were at the doctor’s office on what felt like a normal day only to find out that it was not a normal day at all. I remember hearing the rushing sound of your tiny beating heart, so thrilled to know you were growing in Mommy’s belly. That sound always made me smile when it landed cheerily upon my ears. One of my favorite things was to go with Mommy to the doctor to “see” and hear you. But this day was different. The doctors began to move around more hurriedly than normal. Mommy and I knew something was not the same. Eventually a doctor came into the room where we were sitting and told us you were going to need to come out of Mommy’s belly that day. The “swimming pool” in Mommy’s belly where you liked to hang out was losing some water. The doctors knew you would be better off coming on out to see us, even though it was earlier than you probably wanted.
As you do so well, you showed your determination to be strong. You hung in there with us as we embarked on a new adventure together. There were so many times Mommy and I were concerned and yet you just kept on growing and showing us you were determined. There were some tough times. Mommy and I did not sleep well for a long time because you needed a lot of attention. You know what, though? That is perfectly fine. It was just as it should have been. We got to spend a lot of time with you that I am learning other parents do not always get. You liked to cuddle and I loved to cuddle you. You loved to listen to music and I loved to play music for you. We prayed with you and for you, that you would continue to grow bigger and stronger and remain healthy. I think you enjoyed your early years in many ways. You showed us so many smiles and goofy grins–what wonderful gifts.
It was a little later that Mommy and I again received some “bad” news. I want to explain why I said “bad” because there is much more to the story. Most of the time, when babies are growing up into bigger kids, they start to make certain sounds that are practice sounds for words that we use to explain things, tell stories, sing songs, and so on. Mommy and I knew you liked doing things in your own timing. There has never been a doubt in our minds that you have your own schedule for milestones that most parents expect to meet. You crawled when you wanted to, you walked when you wanted to, and you learned to use the big potty on your own timeline. We knew you were struggling with your sounds, though. It bothered you. You would get frustrated when Daddy or Mommy tried to work on sounds and words with you. Mommy and Daddy had a nice lady come over one day to see how many sounds and words you knew. You were definitely having a hard time and we now had confirmation that you were quite delayed in your sounds. This was hard on Daddy and Mommy. Not because we were in any way disappointed with you, but instead, we were so heartbroken to know that you were frustrated but did not know how to express it with words.
Imagine for a minute that your tummy hurt, but you could not tell Mommy or Daddy that. Or imagine that your teeth were aching, but you did not know how to tell us. Or how about if you wanted milk to drink, but you couldn’t make the right sounds and Daddy just kept trying to give you water instead because he didn’t know. These are just some of the things that made Mommy and Daddy feel so helpless.
You know what amazes me about all this? You.
You hung in there through the tough times. Mommy and I got you some help with your sounds and words. It was not easy, though. We had to give up some things for a while to make it work to get into the best place for you. We worried and wondered–hoped and prayed. Your grandparents and great-grandparents were praying for you, too. You did it, though. You began making such amazing progress so quickly that even your teachers were impressed. See, many kids with the same speech delay you had never get quite as far as you did–certainly not as quickly. Your teachers told us we may never quite get to the point where you were able to communicate as well as other kids your age. You proved them wrong, pal. You did everything they told Mommy and me that you might not be able to do. There were a lot of people hanging in there with you and trusting you could do more than the statistics said. That is amazing to me–you are amazing to me.
I wanted to write these stories for you here not because Mommy has not written about them before, but because of what is the most important part. In all of the “bad” times in life–the times when we wondered and worried for you, there was one constant: God. Through all of the times when Mommy and Daddy doubted, feared, cried and rejoiced, God was there right beside us. Sometimes He was walking ahead of us. Sometimes He seemed to take a step behind us to see which way we would go. But He was never far from you, Mommy, or me. Neither Mommy nor I are perfect. As much as we would love to have you believe that, we make mistakes. We have not always been the most faithful to God. But He has always welcomed us back with open arms and that is exactly the way I want you to feel with us. If there is one thing you learn from me in this life, it is that God is faithful if you trust in Him. Do not forget that.
Daddy and Mommy are still learning things, just like you are. Life is full of learning and there is so much to know. But do not let your mind control what is or is not possible. If something is good, true and right, the Lord will lead you to it through whatever obstacles might stand in the way. This year has been a learning experience in that same lesson for Mommy and Daddy. There have been decisions we have had to make for our family that were scary at the time. Daddy likes to try to make sense of things in his head–but sometimes God has other plans. It is amazing to see how much the Lord loves us when we are willing to give up all our fears and cares to Him. He can do incredible things when we follow Him instead of following our own paths.
You have shown a lot of interested in God lately. I could not be more thrilled than when you ask me a “God” question. Sure, I do not have all the answers. In fact, I rarely have any answers because you ask some real zingers like, “How big is God?” or “Is God and Jesus the same?” Questions like that are probably better answered by Grandpa B, but in any case I am so happy to hear your interest. I love to hear you pray before our meals. It is important to remember that prayer is our chance to have a relationship with the very One who created each of us to be His friend. Imagine spending a lot of time and work to create the most cool friend ever in the whole world. You give your friend all the neatest features like beautiful hair, a pretty smile and cool dance moves. But, after all that, the friend you created decides not to ever talk to you. Do you think you would be sad about that? I think God feels the same way when we decide not to acknowledge and talk to Him through each day.
I know there has been a lot going on lately. We all stay busy with various things and it is not always easy to be together as a family as much as we would like. That will all change soon, though, kiddo. God has a way of using tough times to show us all something better. He is all about working out good things for those who remain faithful and put all their trust in Him. Mommy and I know that is the case and we just keep trusting that there are bigger and better things in store for each of us. I know it is not always easy to see that in the day-to-day things we deal with. But we just keep trusting.
The last thing I want to ask of you is to be patient with Mommy and Daddy. But especially Mommy. You may not always realize it or believe it, but she has always wanted the best things for you. She has been your constant companion since you were born, and even before that. You two share a special bond that I hope you will treasure during all your years. Even now, you do not always agree with Mommy and you often make that known. But it is so important to calm down and listen to Mommy because she can share so many special things with you. As you move into your school years, I want you to know that Mommy wants you to do well and keep learning like you enjoy. Just like your Amelia Pillow says, “Amelia, you are a gift from God,” I want you to learn and appreciate that Mommy is your gift from God. Take care of your special gift and treat her like your most valued present.
Pal, do not stop being you. You are exactly how God created you and every chapter of your life is authored by The One who made you. Keep dancing, singing and painting like you enjoy so much and God will use those things to make someone else smile. I do not always get to tell you this enough because you are usually too busy, but you are such a cool kiddo and I am proud of who you are. I want you to be proud of who you are, also. I often catch myself saying that you are growing up too fast. I could not be more wrong. You are growing up at just the speed God intended for you. Daddy just needs to learn to slow down and live in the moments I have to spend with you. Whether you are “real four” or “pretend five” today, tomorrow or the next day, I am always here for you…
I love you,
DaddyFiled under General | Tags: Amelia | Comment (0)
When I was going through the pictures I took for Flo’s monthly letter, I thought one of the pictures looked familiar. When I went back through Amelia’s Tuesday pictures I saw one that was nearly identical!
Amelia is on the left (17 months), Flo is on the right (13 months). They are both even holding their hands the same way – left hand clenched, right hand open!General | Tags: Amelia, Florence | Comment (1)
Today you are thirteen months old! My big one-year-old, you are SO much fun. This month you started WALKING and you couldn’t be more proud of yourself! You took your first steps about three weeks ago and now you’re so quick that you’re practically running. That cute staggering zombie walk was short-lived as you become more and more sure of your steps. I must say that I’m not surprised that you picked it up so quickly. You are a daredevil and you can’t wait to be a big kid like your sister! We went to the park earlier this week and you were so mad that you couldn’t do the big slide like Amelia and her friend. I know I’m gong to have my hands full with you!
You absolutely love your doggie, Flo. Bringing Shelby all of her toys is one of your favorite activities! You pick up her ball or one of her stuffed toys and toddle over and shove it into her face. She’s such a patient dog and she’s extremely gentle with you. When you first started playing with her she was so scared to take the toy from you, thinking that she would hurt you. She’s become more accustomed to your attentions now, and will even (very carefully!) play tug-of-war with you! The only problem with your love of Shelby is that you want to share all of your snacks and meals with her too – while she may love that, I don’t!
Now that you’re walking you proudly gather things from all over the house and bring them to us with a smile on your face. You’re not always so cheerful, though – your molars are coming in and you can be a cranky beast in the afternoons. They aren’t bothering you too much during the day (yet), and for that I’m thankful. When you’re happy you’re super happy, but when you’re mad you’re SUPER MAD. You’ve got quite a set of lungs and you can shriek loud enough to shatter the windows!
Sweet Flo, you’re super smart and you understand much more than we give you credit for. Yesterday Amelia closed her thumb in the bathroom door and ran to me, crying. You picked up the princess dress that she had been wearing lately and brought it over to her to try and make her feel better – and it did! We are so blessed to have you as part of our family, and we’re thankful for all of the laughs we share together.
Filed under Monthly Letters To Florence | Tags: Florence | Comment (1)