As a mama to nearly half a dozen kids (aging from toddler to young adult), my days are long but oh how the years are short. In fifteen years Tim and I have made a home and unknowingly began living a legacy on this farm while raising our kids the best way we know how. I was just 17 when I was pregnant with my first baby. I was terrified and completely clueless as to the journey I was embarking on. Little did I know God was going to handpick me to be called mama by 8 more children. They’ve had to live through many of my mistakes, but one thing I hope they all know is despite my imperfections and shortcomings – how very much I love them. I’m still totally winging this mom thing. In fact, the longer I am a mom and the more kids we raise the more I realize just how much I don’t know & how very desperate I am for God’s grace to fill all the gaps our parenting leaves. Because it doesn’t matter if I have a natural birth or not, bottle or breastfeed, cloth diaper or use disposables, work or stay home, homeschool or public school, helicopter parent or free range parent – There will be gaps. Gaps that only God can fill. And what this video doesn’t show is the depth of brokenness our family has endured . . .
Listening to the lyrics of this song as a typical day in our life plays before me has more meaning than most will know.
“Hold on to me and I’ll hold on to you”
These words are bittersweet because that is exactly how I knew Truman was no longer with us – when I reached down to pick him up like I had a million times after all his little boy accidents, kissing his owies and making them better. I knew when he didn’t wrap his arms around my neck to hold on to me . . . I just knew. Five years, ago our world completely stopped when I stood on our front porch holding onto our little blue-eyed boy as he took his last breath on this earth. And it seems like ever since we’ve been working so hard to learn to live again.
“As long as we are together
There’s nothing we can’t do”
Walking through this deep valley has not been easy. Tragedy struck our house and the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy our family. I am not going to lie – there were many times we didn’t think we were going to make it through that cold bitter valley together. There were days I think we all wanted to give up – times we wanted to quit each other. But we didn’t. Instead we carried each other through the darkness. One small step at a time, day by day the Lord started to heal our broken hearts. He has been faithful every step of the way. Truman’s giggle and mischievous smile and all that he added to our family will forever be missed, but he is still very much a part of our family and his memory lives on through each of us. You don’t see him in this video, not in the physical form, but I see him through his siblings, through the love that fills our house, and that beautiful orange sunset. If it wasn’t for God’s mercy and grace there is no way we would still be together.
In some ways we live a simple country life on a beautiful farm; however, with a large family full of strong willed personalities – it often gets pretty chaotic around here. And really messy. These truly are the highlights of a day in our life. Aubrey did an amazing job capturing our family and the life we live together. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t hold on to them forever, but what I can hold on to, what I will never let go of are these precious memories: Braiding my girls hair, their little hands and feet, my boys throwing a baseball in our front yard, my little kids skipping around the farm, playhouses, trampolines, their life on the farm, our time together homeschooling – me reading to them, challenging them to find the answer to all their questions, my hands full & my heart fuller – all the things I will miss when they are grown. All the things they may take for granted in their childhood, but that will be memories they will someday treasure. Like being in the garden with their daddy and watching him drive his great grandfather’s tractor, feeding the animals, cooking with their mama, gathering around our family table, linking hands and praying together, and sharing the best parts of our day as we break bread together. Gator rides through the pasture, evenings at our lake – swimming, fishing, laughing – spending time together.
Oh how blessed we truly are. I wish I truly could hold them forever. I wish I didn’t have to let them go. I constantly go between wanting them to stay little forever, and being excited about all the amazing things they will do as they grow. These days – they are surely long and hard. Oh how hard being a mama is. It is by far the best job there is, but it’s also the hardest job there is. I often struggle to find the right balance. I pray they know I see them (like really truly SEE them)? I see all the things that set them apart from one another and make them uniquely them. Aubrey did a fantastic job recording just that and I will forever treasure this video of a day in our life.
“Oooh I wanna hold on to this feeling that I’m feeling
I can’t believe that your love has come to me
Forever I’ll hold onto, I’m gonna hold on to you”
Taylor, Tyler, Tucker, Trevor, Taralyn, Trulee, and Tellan – Someday when you are all grown I hope you look back at these moments and see how loved you are. I am beyond grateful for the memories you are giving me. Your mama loves you, a whole bunch, forever, and always.
*A heartfelt thank you to the amazingly talented Aubrey Lisa Photography. Thank you for using your talent to bless our family.