The story of Liana Hope

“Every time the sun sets it leaves behind luminous colours. Those colours are the sun’s promise of a new day to come.” – Carly Marie

These are some of the words I wrote out a year ago and placed on my fridge, reading and rereading them over and over again as God and the many blessings he has given me; particularly my children, husband, family and friends, pieced my heart back together. It was the 11th of January 2014 when I collapsed, losing the life that was growing inside of me and putting my life at risk. That day was the beginning of a new understanding of God’s grace and love in my life, that I never would have believed would culminate in the birth of my daughter exactly a year later.

Finding out you are pregnant after a miscarriage is not the same experience as it is before the experience of a loss. Our miscarriage journey was not over, in April we lost another precious star early in the pregnancy so when a few weeks later I suspected that I was once again pregnant…the news was filled with a deep anxiety. The words that I had written,
“the promise of a new day to come”,
along with God’s word, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends understanding, will guard your heart and your mind.” (Phillipians 4:6-7) were my constant companions.
In all honesty, praying some days was hard. We also decided to buy our first house and with four kids at home, surviving the morning sickness with heartfelt pleas to God to let my baby be born into my arms so that I could watch him or her grow up was about all I could muster.

As my belly grew, my confidence that I would hold this baby did too. On January the 11th, exactly a year after I woke up to a nightmare, I woke up knowing that today was the day we were going to meet our rainbow baby.IMG_7188Untitled 2.001

My contractions began slowly, different to Caden’s birth which began and finished so quickly. We had decided to go to hospital for this birth. I LOVED my home birth with Caden and if we had a low risk pregnancy I would have had one again, but after haemorrhaging and our first trimester screening results coming back as high risk, we decided the best place to be was in the hospital.
After a relaxing morning, a walk, sending the kids off with Grandma and a quick bit of weeding,IMG_7848 IMG_7362
we headed to the hospital at 1pm. Contractions were regular and had a little bit of a bite, enough to remind me what labour contractions really feel like compared to the practice ones! Rick and I, along with Sara (our doula) and Bek, a friend who is studying nursing and hoping to be a midwife were enjoying chatting to the midwife with the job of assessing my progress. Watching Rick try to sit on the exercise ball is always humorous and between the building contractions and knowing the hard work to meeting my precious baby was drawing closer, the atmosphere was relaxed and I felt at peace. During the pregnancy, the little baby growing within me had felt very calm. Never a particularly active baby, I had often gotten to the end of the day and wondered if I had felt the baby move. I would then skull a bottle of ice water and lie on the couch in a panic until I felt tiny hiccups or little elbows and knees rolling slowly around. I tried to let this calm fill me as we journeyed closing to meeting face to face.
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With the birthing pool finally at the right temperature, and my blood pressure back to behaving, at 3pm I was able to get into the water. The warmth and lack of weight are such a wonderful feeling when you are in labour. I sat comfortable breathing through the contractions as they built in strength. Once again, as with Nevaeh and Caden’s labours, the contractions were relatively short, and as I rode each wave up, knowing I would soon be coming back down. My midwives watched, leaving me be. Rick, Sara and Bek brought me wet cloths and shared encouragement. Soon the contractions turned to pushing. This stage seemed to last forever but it really must have been not much more 20 or 30 minutes. With Beautiful Things by Gungor playing in the background, all in the same minute, at 4:10pm, the waters that had kept my baby safe for 9 months broke and with the soles of my feet burning (as they always do), my much longed for baby made her way into my hands, out of the water and onto my chest.

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Every time I think of that moment, nearly four weeks later, it still brings tears to my eyes.
Seeing this perfect little face. Two wide eyes, the most perfect lips. A tiny body perfectly formed and hearing a lusty cry is the most exhilarating experience of my life.
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I am overwhelmed when I look at my new daughter’s face, and see the reflection of her biggest brother when he was tiny. My heart melts when I see my little girl holding her baby sister and I wonder what secrets and joys they will share together for the rest of their lives. And I laugh when Caden talks about when ‘Liana gets bigger and she can talk’. I am blessed again with the birth of Liana Hope. God has heard my cries and answered my prayers for a healthy baby to hold in my arms. As I snuggle her under my chin and breathe in her sweet smell, I don’t wonder what life would be like without her. I don’t wonder what would have happened if my other much loved babies had grown to be in my arms. I love them no less and my precious Liana doesn’t replace them, they are a part of her in the same way Adley, Nevaeh and Caden are a part of her. And they are all a part of our family story.
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Liana, which means ‘my God has answered me”, is nearly four weeks old already. Her little life has been spent sleeping and eating.
IMG_7744Liana hasn’t changed from the calm little baby I held in utero. IMG_7657
Her movements are steady and measured, she has eyes that look like she has seen everything before. She is loved intensely by each one of us and I am so proud to be her mummy.

In honour of all of seven of my children that I have held in my womb, we will once again be participating in the SIDS and Kids Sunshine Beach Run. Taking part in this event last year was truly healing for me both physically and spiritually.
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We won’t be ‘running’ this year, rather as a family we will be joining in the 1km family walk. The work of SIDS is absolutely necessary for families that go through the absolute tragedy of losing a child during pregnancy, stillbirth or childhood. Last year I was amazed and so thankful for the pledges from beautiful family and friends from all around the world that totalled over $1000. This year, I don’t want to run for us. I want to run for the many amazing friends who have loved and lost a baby at any point. There are so many friends who have shared the journey of miscarriage and tragically some who have had part of their heart stolen with the death of their child. The grieving process for everyone is different and I know that there are some of the beautiful women I share life with that have never been able to share about the life that grew within them. If you would like to sponsor us in honour of your baby, or a friend’s baby, we will create a flag unique to them that we will proudly walk with down the beach.

If you have read all of this, thank you. I have written this more to keep our story recorded somewhere, sharing it with those who want to take the time to read it is just an added bonus.

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(Just one more of this cute girl!)

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Dear mum in detention

Dear mum in Detention

Happy Mother’s Day.Image

Today as my children wake me up with their buttery fingers and vegemite smeared faces, I will think of when you woke your children up to get on a boat you weren’t sure any of you would survive, because you knew that it was your only hope for a life.

Today as we head off to church dressed in our best, I will remember that you ran fleeing from your home, with your children tucked under your arm because of your beliefs.

Today as I open my present, purchased with gold coins given out by daddy at the school Mother’s day stall, I will remember the day when you watched your family walk to the market and never return because someone decided to strap a bomb to their chest.

Today as I laugh and snuggle my toddler and kick the ball freely with my son, I will remember the day that tears streamed down your face as you told your children that they would never see their friends again.

Today as I enjoy a home made scone with strawberry jam and a cup of tea, I will remember the days you spent at sea, watching your scared and sick children, but with hope in your heart because you were bringing them to Australia.

Today as I read the card with rough etchings of Dear Mummy, I love you written on it, I will remember the day when you were told you didn’t have the documents to come to Australia and that it didn’t matter that you had never been given a birth certificate because you were born a girl.

Today as I call our my children’s names as they play on the swings and slides, I will remember that your child is not known by the name you carefully chose for him, but by a number. I will remember that your child doesn’t have a playground to play on, or toys for that matter.

Today as I kiss my precious babies, stroking their hair off their face and willing them a good nights sleep, I will remember that you are separated from your sick newborn, your baby born too early and alone in a hospital far away.

Today as I give thanks for all that I have been blessed with, a comfortable home, a husband who supports us financially, a Dr to go to, food in my fridge, education and toys for my children…and yet ask God for more, I will remember that you are giving thanks for a roof over your head even though it leaks. For food in your children’s bellies, even though it is not enough. For a safe place to sleep, even though cockroaches and mice crawl over you. For the space your child has and what he is learning, even though he still doesn’t go to school and doesn’t have any toys. For the hope you have, even though it is fading fast.

I know that you, just like me, held your first born baby in your arms. You squeezed him tight, but not too tight because you didn’t want to hurt him and you told him that all the hours of unbearable pain, the uncertainty and the fear of childbirth was all worth it because he was the most precious thing you had ever seen. And whether you said it our loud or in your heart, you knew you would do it all over again and that you would go to the ends of the earth to protect this tiny little baby, your baby, if you had too.

I wonder in that moment if you ever believed you would actually have to go to the ends of the earth? That you would take risks that you  didn’t know existed for the sake of giving your child a life…not necessarily a better life, but a life. 

Dear mum in detention, you are not just a mum like me, you are far more then I am, for you have been tested over and over, you have strength that I have never had to know.

Today, as I enjoy my day, I hope you enjoy your day too, and I hope that tomorrow we can build a better future for our children together because no child should grow up in detention.

You have done all you can for your child, your love has made a way. My hope now is that Australiathat we…that I… will do all that I can for your child, because we mums belong together. We have one shared hope and desire, and that is to see our children grow up to be all that they can be.

Happy mother’s day to you

xx

For more information about children in detention please check our Chilout

No matter where you stand on the refugee issue, surely you can agree that children do not belong in detention. Period. Let’s take a stand mums….if you have an idea, no of something happening or want to be a part of advocating for #kidslikemine, please leave a comment.

A final word.

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Five + one = a new kind of family

Today we ate cake.
Yummy chocolate cake.
We had candles on it.
Six candles.
Three blue candles.
Two pink candles…
And One yellow candle.

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We didn’t sing happy birthday though.
We sang ‘Jesus loves me’.
You know the words…
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are week, but he is strong”

We have been fostering for a few years now. More then once over this period of time people have said to me, “You guys are amazing, I don’t know how you do it.” I am never too sure how to take this comment….I am not amazing. I am as broken as the next person. I worry, I get angry, I can become self centred….just ask my husband, he will tell you that it is all true 🙂

But I also don’t want to make light of the compliment people are giving us. Taking in another child and all the trauma that child has lived through isn’t easy. It puts strains on our marriage, our finances, our children and our time. So generally, I smile and point out something that is wrong with me…because that is what you do when you get a compliment, right? (Side note- I need to work on being gracious with compliments).

Rick and I both grew up learning about a man named Jesus. We learnt all the stories, we knew memory verses and how to be good kids that Jesus could be proud of. Somewhere in our teens, on opposite sides of the world, we went from knowing about this guy called Jesus to loving him, and through that love wanting to follow him. We are convinced that following Jesus is more then just learning about his word, it is living it out every day; in short, it is welcoming the weak…
“Little ones to him belong…”

Nearly 15 months ago, the ‘stork’, in the disguise of a child protection worker, brought a little baby boy to our door. No one knew much about this little one, but Jesus did. He knew the hairs on his head (there weren’t many), he knew where he had come from and the journey his parents have been on since the day they joined this earth….Jesus also knew that this little boy would not be leaving our home, that on the 9th of February 2013, at 1 month and 1 day old…baby J had been dropped off at his forever home.

We are not perfect parents, we are far from a perfect family, but we follow a perfect God. Our God is love in action. Jesus was love in action. His messages are about putting God’s love in action…
“they are weak, but he is strong!”
And that is all we try to emulate. Welcoming the little ones, the lost and the vulnerable. Saying in cuddles and warm food and safe spaces that
“Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells us so.”

So, (almost officially….court orders take time), we are a family of 6. Blessed by a little boy and his parents. We still don’t know their story, and they certainly have a role in baby J’s life…only God knows where and how. We are forever grateful for the little boy that they gave life to and we pray for them each time we are able to hold their boy.

But For now….I am going to go an eat another piece of cake and celebrate our imperfect family, made perfectly by a perfect God.

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It’s like a hug and a squeeze…

My heart over flows.
carly marie cross

Four weeks ago, at my amazing husbands encouragement to find a ‘space’ to do something for myself, I signed up for the SIDS and Kids sunshine beach run. The run is still two sleeps away, and already it has been a gift to me in more ways then I ever could have imagined.

Beyond the obvious benefits to my health and waistline, my early morning and evening runs have been a great time to reflect and admire the beauty around me. The colours of the sunrise remind me of an affirmation I copied out a few days after losing my baby in such a traumatic way…

“I am grateful for every sunrise as it means I have another day to make a positive difference in my own life and in the lives of those around me.” (Carly Marie)

And at the end of each day, each sunset sings
“Every time the sun sets it leaves behind luminous colours. Those colours are the sun’s promise of a new day to come.” (Carly Marie)

These spaces in time have created a new rhythm in my life, and as I have pounded the pavement, I have been conscious of being grateful and that each day is a gift, and while each day brings it’s own challenges, there are always moments, sometimes brief, that are gifts.

I have been blown away by the $1025 my friends and family have donated in honour of Quinn and Aria to the Sunshine Beach Run. The kids have a story book that teaches about saying please, the line at the end of the book says that “please is like a hug and a squeeze”. Each email that has run through cyber space with the breaking news that another friend had put their hand in their pocket and had donated was like a ‘hug and a squeeze’ to me.
Each dollar not only helps prevent the death of a baby or child, it has helped a pieces of my heart be glued back together. My friends from as far as Germany and Alaska and as close as next door have spoken clearly that I matter, that my tears have mattered, that my babies short lives mattered, that my love for them matters.
I am blessed. Your love is a blessing to me. I wish each person that has or will travel this terrible journey had you all behind them…and now they will, as your support will be a hug and a squeeze to them in their darkest days.

Moving forward in hope

The picture Nevaeh drew of the the baby in my tummy.

The picture Nevaeh drew of the the baby in my tummy.

Thank you all for reading my words in A new reality of pain and hope. The loss of Quinn and Aria has placed me in a ‘club’ that no person even thinks they will be a part of. It is made up of rich mums and poor mums, young mums and old mums, christian mums and mums of other or no faith. It is a club that doesn’t care what colour skin you have or where you live (although, mums living in absolute poverty make up too many people in this ‘club’). But there is one thing in common…once a baby, as small as a pea or one that you have held and loved and soothed in your arms leaves you here on earth, a part of you leaves with them and you will never be the same.

I have been reading and searching for a way to be thankful in all circumstances over the past few months. Not to just grit my teeth and move on with a smile, but for a way to acknowledge my love for what I have lost, to mourn the child that I will not see playing with my other children and to be ok with that. I don’t know if I have my head all the way around it but one story has certainly helped me.

You may have heard this story, or it could be completely new, the story is of 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and you can read it here. While the story is a great one to read to my son about integrity and bravery….the verse that has helped me is,

“17 If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us.[b] 18 But if he doesn’t, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you’ve set up.”

That simple, but so profound view that ‘If’ God is able to rescue us, then great, BUT ‘If’ he doesn’t then thats ok too. 

The way I am trying to look at it, without discounting mine, or anyone else’s loss of a baby in pregnancy is,

If my God – the one I serve – is able to bring the child from my womb safely into my arms, then let him. But if he doesn’t, I know this for certain, My God is good for he has prepared a place for me and my children and I have hope in that.

I think that is where I can be thankful in all circumstances. I am not thankful that I have gone through this. I am not thankful that I nearly died in the process. I am not thankful for the hurt that I feel. BUT I am thankful that this is not the end.

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Part of my healing journey has been to join in the SIDS and Kids fun run. Now understand this, Historically, I am not a runner. No, not even a little bit. I like to walk, but I run only when being chased or when I need to catch one of the kids (and only then if they are in danger!) But, when I signed up for the run I wanted to be serious about it. I wanted it to be a place where I could find some confidence in my body again as well as raising funds and awareness for families going through what has to be the hardest experience a family ever have to get through.

With only signing up a month before the run, and as I am not a runner, I chose the 3km journey, something I was hoping would be achievable to train for in that time. I made a fundraising goal of $250 and within a few days due to generous donations from wonderful friends I had exceeded that goal. Tonight, I have also exceeded my training goal. With two weeks to go I am now able to ‘run’ albeit slowly, 3kms! YAY! As I pound the pavement, I have Quinn and Aria’s names pounding through my head alongside the names and faces of friends who have also unwillingly joined this ‘club’.

I would be honoured if you would sponsor me in this run. I am now hoping to fundraise $800 and am looking at running the 5k instead of the 3k. Being a part of this event, the training, the fund-raising, the messages from friends and I am sure, the actual day, are all a ways I can move forward in hope.

A new reality of pain and hope.

 

*Trigger warning – talks about baby loss and miscarriageImage.

There was a day not so long ago when I could walk down the card aisle, picking up the new baby and mum to be cards with a smile, reading the words without a thought. A day when my eyes didn’t fill with tears when hearing the words ‘baby bump’ or looking at a friend’s ultrasound picture posted on Facebook or the baby sale catalogue coming in the mail.  

There was a day when I knew about miscarriages, had hugged friends who had lost a baby and had thought,

“I am so pleased that that will never happen to me.”

I know terrible things happen to wonderful people all the time, but like most, I never thought I would be at the end of a hug from someone telling me that they were sorry for my loss.  

The journey over the past 6 months has been full of ups and downs. Terrible aches that I never knew I was capable of feeling alongside joy that I feel is going to pour out of me, so grateful for the lives I have held in my womb, and particularly for the promise that I will one day meet each of my children.

I have thought a lot about writing my thoughts out and if I should share them with others. I have never been very good about talking about my feelings, I stumble over words, can never quite find the words to speak about the depth of my conviction or what is going through my head. Writing gives me the chance to press the delete button, find the thesaurus and sit in silence and ponder a point without making a conversation painful.

One out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. When my forth pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at just 6 weeks, I was devastated. I had found out a week before that we were expecting again and never once did I consider that this baby wouldn’t be born into my arms. My experience to that point had been that I was blessed to be rather ‘fertile’, joking that all we had to do was wash our clothes together and I would be pregnant. Besides being very sick with an undiagnosed Intestinal parasite during my pregnancy with Caden, my first trimesters had been rather dull. To me pregnancy was a joyful period of expectation, a time to ponder baby names, browse through the baby ailses with a goofy, expectant grin and watch my belly expand. Anxiety, blood, pain and tears never entered into my dreams.

After my first miscarriage, I at times felt guilty, feeling that my pain was out of balance with what I had lost. I had two close friends who miscarried their babies within weeks of me, the difference was that they were both at the end of their first trimesters, while I was just short of 6 weeks pregnant. But do you know what; pain is pain. Loss is loss. Once conception occurs a baby is a baby, no matter whether it is the size of an apple seed or 9lbs. And love is love. Love can not be measured by time and neither can grief. I had to come to realise that I didn’t need to feel guilty because my baby didn’t have fingers yet, I could feel however I wanted to because my baby had been there and now he wasn’t. So I cried.

The loss of the baby we named Quinn meant that the discovery of a pregnancy was now different. While still exciting, being pregnant was now tainted with anxiety, a loss of the innocence of pregnancy and a knowledge that two little pink lines on a stick didn’t necessarily result in soft squishy cuddles from a sweet smelling newborn. I found out I was pregnant on Thanksgiving. I think I took 4 tests, each resulting in a faint line and I fretted that the line wasn’t dark enough and something must be wrong already. A few days later and another test showed a dark pink line and finely I could exhale…already I was feeling tired and nauseas, a wonderful reassuring feeling. I past 6 weeks and began to feel more comfortable and confident. This time, things were different. This time things were ‘normal’. My body was doing as it should, I was exhausted and sick, gaining a little weight and I took joy in all of this. We began to share our news with our friends and family, I don’t think I have ever waited till 12 weeks to tell anyone. Being pregnant is news to be shared! But then my heart nearly stopped when there was a spot of blood on the toilet paper. I tried to dismiss it. I had just been to the Drs and had all my blood tests. I called the Dr and everything had checked out fine. My hormone levels were perfect for 10 weeks, I put it down to one of those things that you can experience and got on with the day. But later there was a little more. The next day an ultrasound showed that my baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks and had no heart beat. I am sure my heart stopped at that point too. 

How could I have not known that my baby wasn’t alive anymore?

How could my body be pregnant but my baby be dead inside of me?

How could this happen to me again?

Wasn’t I a good mother?

What had I done to deserve loosing another baby?

How could God have not heard my prayers to hold my baby in my arms?

So many questions went through my numb body. I lay curled in a ball while others took care of my kids, brought us food and cleaned my house. I wanted someone with me but I didn’t know what to say or do with them there. I cried more tears then I knew I had. I was grateful, so grateful for friends who hugged me and made themselves available but sometimes their well meaning words made my ache deeper.

Phrases I know that I have uttered at times of grief to other people just seemed so hollow as I mourned the loss of my baby and struggled through having no control over my body.

“God does everything for a reason” or “God can make anything good” made me so angry. Even a loving message that a friend was praying for me would send me into a foetal position on the couch, tears streaming down my face as I wondered what the point of God answering their prayer now was when he hadn’t answered my prayer to hold my baby in my arms. None of what I was feeling seemed to fit into these cliches. How could my baby dying be for a good reason? Or what good could come out of it? Others told me to cling onto the children I had, that at least I had been blessed with them.

Please understand; A child is a child. Once conception has occurred, a baby is a baby it doesn’t matter how big it is. And a mother’s love is what it is; powerful and unconditional and never ending. It is not determined by time or sight, it is an instinct and the reason a woman puts up with throwing up every day for 3 months, why a woman allows her body to go through changes that will end in surges stronger then she has ever experienced before. A mothers love does not have a start time or and end time. For some the love occurs years before she ever pee’s on a stick, for others it starts as a little flame. But please, never tell a mother who has lost a child that was real, tiny and out of sight, but no less real then you are, that it does not matter because she has other children. Through my heart ache I was thankful for my children, they brought me joy with their cheeky grins and my thoughts went out to the many women who suffer through miscarriages and infertility without little arms that tug on their legs or sweet voices to say I love you. But you can not compare grief, because what is the worst kind of grief? The worst kind of grief is your own grief and no one can take that away from you.

I would like to tell you more about my journey. Over the past few months I have felt torn apart. I have felt alone, ashamed and forgotten, or worse as if I was being punished. I have learnt though that this is far from true. I have never once been alone. Not only have I been surrounded by friends and family and the most amazing husband, I have come to understand that God cares deeply and shares my pain.

Jesus’ death and resurrection have a completely new meaning to me now. They are not distant, wonderful concepts, they are now a painful reality.

The pain in them is that our world is fallen, people make selfish decisions everyday and through those decisions consequences occur. The pain is that Jesus, God in person, grieved the suffering he was going to go through. He grieved the suffering he was going to put his mother through. The pain is that my babies, a much hoped for and loved being that was growing in my womb died and I will never hold them in my arms.

If I were to dwell on these aspects, I think I would still be a curled up ball on the couch, but the reality is that there is hope.

I wasn’t being punished. I wasn’t to blame. My selfishness, anger, temper, gossiping ways were not being held against me because someone had paid for them. I am not under the system of law and justice where I receive penalties and punishment for every wrong thing. Christ’s death on the cross has paid the price for my penalties.

Colossians 2:13-14

13 When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong. 14 He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross.

 

There is hope because God entered into a covenant, a promise, an identity with us when Jesus came as a baby to earth and died on the cross. There is hope because he did not stay in the grave, he rose again and he promised to prepare a place for us with him.

There is hope because I know my beautiful Quinn and Aria will one day be in my arms because of the love of God who saw that we were a broken people and he stepped out in pain to make it right. I understand this on a new level today then I ever have before.

There are days when I wake up and this hope is harder to see and feel. I find myself curled up on the couch, soaking the pillow in tears as I miss my children. But, each day is a new day. Each morning the sun comes up again and I have another chance to show the love that my children have given me, all of my children, and each day I am trying to find the hope in my new reality.

 

 

 

 

The boy who made me a mum

Not to be outdone by his sister, having turned 6 yesterday, Adley requested a ‘letter like you made for Nevaeh with the things you love about me, and there needs to be 6 things cause I am six now!’

Of course, I always intended to write Adley a letter too. He is the boy who gave me the name mum.

 

Adley, you have taught me more then anyone else what it means to be a mum. More then any book, more then any other person, more then any blog I could read, or show I could watch, it has been your every breathe, every tear you have shed, every question you have asked and every hug you have shared that has lead made me the mum that I am.

There are some moments that I really am not proud of. Times when I have exasperated your tears and the hurt you feel instead of making it all better. Or times when I have let you down, forgetting that you are still my baby and expecting more of you then I should. I just pray that in these moments that I have failed you that you that you are too young to remember them or that the good moments outweigh the bad moments. 

There are many things I am proud of too. Your ability to learn and question to find out more…I hope I helped to teach you that. The times you make me proudest though and when you show your love to others when you think no one is watching. Like when the littlest boy in your class fell over and you stopped and helped him up, calling your teachers for help Or when you got a certificate at school but the smile you saved for when your best friend got one too, a smile full of utter excitement and delight.

But let’s step back to the day you were born, your birthday. You entered the world screaming, your dad was the one who told me that we have a son.
47b7d903b3127cce87bdfe42eac100000026100FYsnDVuxY8 You were much awaited for, making your dad and I as well as Grandma and uncle Jon and Aunty Jekka wait 24 hours in the hospital to meet you.

you were loved right from the start. I knew this was what I was put on this earth for, to be your mum. So here are 6 things I love about you, one for each year you have been my son and I have been your mum.
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1- Your first year of life was just that; a year full of firsts. Our first mums group, first smiles, first plane ride first cold…you took it all in your stride. You weren’t such a happy baby, but a content baby. You were rather serious but you were happy to sit and watch the world pass you by. I loved watching you with your first friends, playing with Alex and Kaylee was our favourite thing to do and ending the day with a story made my day complete.

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2- when you turned one your little personality started to grow. That was the first time we realised how loyal you are. Your uncle Brendan introduced you to the Wiggles, and that was the end of that. From then on all we heard about was ‘toot toot red car’. We soon knew all the words and owned what could have been our own private Wiggles merchandise store. Your love for the wiggles lasted well beyond this year, but it encapsulated you so fully…and since then other things have come close, but not to the extent of your absolute love, obsession and loyalty to the wiggles. I think it was your wiggly hips in the shower that I loved the most!

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3- You were an easy two year old. No crazy terrible twos that I can recall. Every night we would read ‘sheep book’ together,
“it’s time for bed little goose, little goose. The stars are out and on the loose.”
You would give us concerts with your guitar and spend hours reciting lines from the Wiggles. My favourite was when you would wake us up, “oh no, mummy has gone to sleep. When I count to 3 it’s time to wake mummy up, ready? 1, 2, 3! Wake up mummy!”
How I love play acting with you!

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4- At 3 you had a growing sense of independence, which for you meant a need to express yourself using your whole body. Your mouth, your hands, your feet…all needed to be used at the same time. Your sense of self was growing and you became a fantastic little helper. Helping mummy cook pancakes, clean up and of course helping ‘pa’ with anything he needed. We took a big trip when you were 3, and I will so fondly remember you playing in the snow with Uncle Jon and his jump leads pulling you along on the sled. Your sweetness grew in this year and the way you took care of me when I was sick I will always be thankful for.

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5 – The year you were 4 was a big year for you, you became a big brother again and started school. Your loyalty and curiosity grew and so did your need to move your whole body! I love the way you played with your baby brother…even if you did squeeze him a little too tight. I love that you love to learn, that you are excited about finding out about all the little things that make the world work.

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6 – Being 5 meant that your little world got busier and busier. Now we had school everyday and places to go after school. Your loyalty to your friends and the things that you love were still so paramount. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t answer your questions as well as I should have and for the moments your constant noise drove me a little insane but but I love the big boy you became and the generosity you shared. Sharing mummy with others comes so easily to you, but those moments we stole together, just the two of us reading or learning something new were so special.

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And now that you are 6 and need two hands to count the years I am looking forward to a whole new start for us as we learn together everyday. I am so pleased that you are so excited about homeschooling, I hope I don’t let you down. I can’t wait to be there as you make discoveries about yourself and to watch your relationship with your brother and sister grow. I hope the loyalty you have shown your friends transfers to your family and that as you grow you, Nevaeh and Caden will be best friends forever.
Thanks for your forgiving heart…you are my first baby, the one I get to make all my mistakes with but so far, I don’t think we have done too bad.
I love you Adley, always have, always will.

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