DPP ’11 // December 28th // First Day Walking

My dear friend, Mihee, has an amazing blog called First Day Walking.   Mihee has been one of the richest gifts in my life for the last eight or so years.  My husband may claim that he’s responsible for Mihee and I meeting {she, her husband Andy, Matt, and many others shared the Princeton Seminary experience together ten years ago}, but I am convinced she and I would have met up somehow, even if it weren’t for the crazy men.  Mihee talks here about why she chose the name for her blog, but it immediately came to mind today.  There is much to be seen in the halting, timidness of one’s first steps, and the many foibles that come for the remaining years of our lives.

But today, I had the gift of actually seeing Drew’s SECOND first steps.  The first ones happened earlier in the day with Grandma LeiLei, but I managed to capture a pretty good segment later this evening.  Here’s the proof….

And it all got me thinking…Matt, Alex and Sally are gone for a few days up at Matt’s Mom’s house.  I am allergic to her fun new puppy like there’s no tomorrow, so I stayed home with the Drewmeister.  As I mentioned, we had pages of lists to accomplish.  And man alive, is it easier to get things done with only one kid and no anxiety-ridden dog in the mix.

So, a few reflections….

With only one child, there is some sweet opportunities for connection we don’t normally get.  I’m realizing that once Alex starts Kindergarten next year, this will happen even more.  And I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m looking forward to that time.  Alex had our full attention for 3 1/2 years before Drew came on the scene.  So, in some ways, that will carve out some of his special, alone time.

Is it coincidence that he really started going for it with walking when there wasn’t competing attention around {aka….a rather “involved” brother}??  Not sure, but as I watched Drew go to town with his spaghetti tonight, so focused and independent,  it got me thinking.  Then…get this……he was taking his bath and I started singing the clean-up song and he picked up ALL the toys, put all the stacking cups in order, put all the pirates back up on the bathtub wall, squeezed the water out of all the squirty toys and put them on the side of the bath tub, all the while bouncing to the song I was singing and then clapping when he was done.  WHAT!?!??!  Seriously?!??!  Just so interesting to watch.  {FYI:  this does NOT happen when big brother is in the tub}

As we move into January soon, I have the gift of attending the wedding of some dear friends, former summer staffers we worked with.  They asked me to share a bit about marriage {THIRTY seconds-ish, people….short!}, and I have been thinking through a lot of things, wondering what to share.  As the last few days have unfolded, I have felt kind of weird.  Like part of me is missing.  It is so odd to go from a family of four/five (the dog FEELS like family member number 5!) to just two of us—and he can’t even talk!  I have thought about the gift of time apart, though.

time with Grandma LeiLei today while Mom had lunch with three girlfriends here (YUM!)

(a busy boy is a happy boy is a tired boy….)

I think time apart, while hard in so many ways, gives us the opportunity to see things in ourselves that were pushed aside.  Or, as happened with Drew, maybe even have enough space to learn and explore a new skill set.  The more we sit with our own selves, which is often a hard and painful process, the more we are pushed to know our selves, to deal with our selves, to confront our fears, to think through what we want or which areas we need to grow.  These are not easy things to process and often are raw and take effort.  But what I have seen for so many others, and also for myself, is that these times apart make me a stronger member of the team, the family, the marriage and the friendship.

Luckily, as Mihee points out, when we ARE all together, there is even a gift in the stumbling.  In the times when things don’t go as planned or desired.  For it offers a chance to “embrace it for the grace-full story that comes out of the falling flat on [our]  face[s] at so many levels.”


p.s.  And then there’s the PURPOSEFUL, planned falling….proof of what the three Gough boys do when they have too much time on their hands.


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